2011 to be a big year for Microsoft in ERP

Microsoft officials said on January 10 to expect a new version of its Dynamics AX ERP product (codenamed AX 6) to ship in the third calendar quarter of 2011. This means if Microsoft holds to its current plans, the company could end up releasing new versions of all four of its ERP products this year.

Microsoft officials said on January 10 to expect a new version of its Dynamics AX ERP product (codenamed AX 6) to ship in the third calendar quarter of 2011.

This means if Microsoft holds to its current plans, the company could end up releasing new versions of all four of its ERP products this year.

Microsoft is expected to roll out the next version of its Dynamics GP offering -- known officially as Dynamics GP 2010 R2 -- in the first half of 2011. It is readying a new version of the Dynamics SL product -- expected to be named Dynamics SL 2011 when it ships -- for a second quarter 2011 delivery. Dynamics NAV 7, which was originally due in the 2010/2011 timeframe, may end up slipping into 2012, but there's still a chance it could hit this year.

Microsoft isn't sharing many details so far about specific features planned for its four ERP offerings. At the National Retail Federation (NRF) conference in New York City today, company officials said Microsoft is planning to deliver a Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of Dynamics AX 6 in February of this year. More than 100 independent software vendors (ISVs) already have been working with early builds of Dynamics AX 6 via early adopter programs over the past six months, company execs said.

Update: Next week, there's a technical conference in Redmond about Dynamics AX, where the new version is sure to be on the agenda.

Officials said at NRF that Dynamics AX 6 will be based on a "unique model-driven, layered architecture," requiring less coding and easier maintenance and upgradability. The product will be compatible with SQL Server 2008R2, Visual Studio 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 from the get-go.

Last year, Microsoft execs told me to expect the next releases of the Dynamics ERP products to incorporate the same underlying payments and commerce infrastructure as BPOS/Office 365. These payment and commerce components will be built on top of Windows Azure and Azure’s service bus (the AppFabric).

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