Microsoft (Quote) officials said they are shipping today, as planned, major new versions of two of the company’s Dynamics business management packages.
The two are members of the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) family – Dynamics GP 10.0 and Dynamics SL 7. The updates were first announced at Microsoft’s Convergence 2007 conference in mid-March in San Diego.
Both packages now sport updated user interfaces that will be familiar to users of Microsoft’s 2007 Office System, as well as extended support for SharePoint technologies and SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.
GP 10.0, for instance, features “action panes,” which Microsoft describes as role-tailored command bars that provide context-sensitive menus similar to Office 2007’s “ribbon.”
“[With these releases], we’re starting to bridge the gap between the productivity world of Office and the transactional world of the Dynamics suite,” Eric de Jager, director of Dynamics SL, told internetnews.com.
In addition, both products also now provide access and menus based on the user’s job role, making accounts easier to configure, secure, and administer.
Dynamics GP 10.0, which Microsoft characterizes as an “out-of-the-box business management solution,” adds more than 100 new features, including a new workflow engine that can be tailored to the customers’ needs, according to company statements.
“The workflow integration features [in GP 10.0] are key,” Ray Wang, principal analyst at Forrester Research, told internetnews.com. He also cited SharePoint support as important additions to both products. “These are significant releases,” Wang added.
ChemPoint.com, a chemicals distributor with offices in Bellevue, Wash. and Maastricht, Netherlands, is hoping to roll out GP 10.0 by September. The company is currently running on GP 8.5 but has GP 10.0 running in its development environment.
ChemPoint.com already has deployed Office 2007, but that’s not the main reason for moving to GP 10.0.
“The first feature we’re looking forward to is SharePoint [support],” Edward Lux, vice president of technology for ChemPoint.com, told internetnews.com. “[And] the next piece is the workflow functionality,” he added. The company plans to build individually-customized pages for employees.
“Our goal is to have a page that has all the information that you need,” Lux said.
Meanwhile, Dynamics SL 7, which is meant for project-driven small and medium-sized businesses, adds Microsoft Outlook-like navigation.
Additionally, SL 7 also runs under Visual Studio 2005 as a native .NET application written in Visual Basic 2005.