Microsoft has launched Dynamics AX 2009, its latest ERP system, which has been designed to appeal not just to the company's traditional SME market but also to users in the largest companies.
Dynamics AX 2009 is intended as a product that will appeal to users in large companies by offering features such as direct connection to online services such as eBay and PayPal, as well as courier and logistical services like DHL and UPS, alongside traditional ERP features.
"There are a lot of ERP products out there that were not born in the era of constant email, the web, mobile phones and everything else, and I think we are seeing a more demanding set of requirements from customers now," said Gary Turner, Microsoft UK product manager for Dynamics. "Whether you are at home or on the road and communicating with your office using smartphone clients, we can deal with that," he said.
Dynamics AX 2009 is the fourth product in Microsoft's range of ERP offerings. New versions of the other products, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL, are also scheduled for this year or early next. According to Turner, these releases are all intended to bring the products more closely in line, making it easier for users to move from one to another.
Key to Dynamics AX 2009 is the new Role Center, Turner said, which gives access to business-intelligence (BI) tools based on over 30 different roles that users may occupy within a company.
"This is different from the way in which ERP systems have worked in the past, where everyone has one 'vanilla' front end," Turner said. "A chief executive will look at the information differently from someone in marketing or whatever. Your needs and requirements will be different."