Buyer's Guide: Microsoft ERP Systems

The sheer range of Microsoft ERP offerings might be confusing for some enterprise IT managers. What's the best choice for your company?
Posted October 12, 2011

Drew Robb

The sheer range of Microsoft ERP offerings might be confusing for some enterprise IT managers. It comprises Dynamics GP, Dynamics SL, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX. What's the best choice for your company?

Microsoft Dynamics AX

According to Weismantel, Microsoft Dynamics AX is positioned for the enterprise, including two-tier and vertical/industry scenarios.

"Primary customers for Microsoft Dynamics AX are core and upper midmarket organizations as well as departments, subsidiaries and divisions of enterprise organizations in manufacturing, distribution, services, the public sector and retail," he said. "These organizations mostly have multiple sites and are present in more than one country."

Christian Hestermann, an analyst at Gartner, sees it as more of a midmarket product. Which is it? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. Microsoft has been moving itself up the enterprise application food chain since the 1990s and AX is where it is placing its faith to create a competitor that can stand against enterprise ERP giants like Oracle and SAP.

"Microsoft Dynamics AX offers broad and robust functionality and delivers low TCO through integration with other Microsoft products and technologies," said Hestermann. "AX allows support of multiple sites or business units in one single instance, including those that operate in different countries. Lean manufacturing principles are one examples of advanced manufacturing-oriented functionality."

Last month saw the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. New features include making it purpose-built for five industries (manufacturing, distribution, retail, public sector and professional services). In addition, it has a model-driven layered architecture, graphical workflow editor, budgetary control, a touch-screen user interface, visualizations, enterprise search and enhanced interoperability with Visual Studio.

Weismantel said Dynamics AX 2012 development can be done in either X++ or in .NET managed code.

At the same time as its release, the company announced an aggressive campaign targeting businesses running Lawson ERP software and seeking to tempt users and Lawson consultants and VARs to switch to AX.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV, SL and GP

While AX seems to be gaining the lion's share of Microsoft R&D dollars, the company continues to invest in its other ERP properties. Weismantel identifies them all as SMB products, which Microsoft seems to define as 50 to 500 employees.

Read the rest about Microsoft ERP solutions at Enterprise Apps Today.

Tags: Microsoft, ERP, enterprise resource planning, ERP software

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