For more than a year, Microsoft officials have been talking up the notion of "Office-centric" and "role-based" interfaces as the next big thing for its ERP and CRM wares. At the Convergence conference for its Dynamics customers and partners in San Diego this week, Microsoft showed off working examples and prototypes of what these kinds of interfaces might look like.
Check out this gallery of Microsoft business-app user-interface futures (left) for examples of what Microsoft is showing the 8,500 attendees of the Convergence show this week.
There are kinds of client "experiences" the Microsoft's Dynamics team is targeting in its development: Role-tailored experiences; immersive, Office-centric experiences; and "made for me" customized experiences, according to company officials.
At Convergence, Microsoft announced a new "ERP light" client, known as Microsoft Dynamics Client for Microsoft Office and SharePoint, that will make available ERP data to individuals who don't spend their entire days working inside ERP applications. The new Dynamics client is part of Microsoft's Office for Business Applications (OBA) push.
Currently, Outlook is the Office element that Microsoft is highlighting as the interface in which many ERP and CRM users would prefer to work. But later this year, watch for Microsoft to begin offering Excel as another choice for ERP/CRM users who are interested in using a familiar interface to get at their ERP/CRM data, said Microsoft Business Solutions Corporate Vice President Satya Nadella.
Microsoft will make available an Excel front end for budgeting and forecasting applications that are part of its various ERP suites. Excel, used with Microsoft's PerformancePoint scorecarding application, also will be able to act as a front-end to Dynamics ERP/CRM data in the not-too-distant future, officials said at the conference here.