Microsoft's Dynamics CRM/ERP team has been at the forefront of showing that line-of-business (LOB) apps can work on Windows 8.
The team plans to reinforce that message during the kick-off keynote of Microsoft's Convergence 2014 conference on March 4 by introducing another Windows Store/Metro-Style app -- one for shop-floor control. The new app, a screen shot of which is above, allows shop floor operators to report on production jobs and will be available on May 1, 2014.
But Microsoft's Dynamics ERP team plans to go one better and is making its own application-development framework available to other developers. The framework will allow customers and partners to build Windows Store/Metro-Style apps that work with Dynamics AX, which is Microsoft's flagship ERP solution. (Dynamics AX is one of four different ERP offerings from Microsoft.)
The new Dynamics AX framework will connect through Windows Azure and be free. Microsoft will show an in-house (not third-party, as I reported originally) developed app built using the framework during the Convergence keynote. (The Dynamics framework is not the same as the Project Siena app/framework, which is currently in beta and is designed for business experts who want to build custom apps.)
Dynamics AX 2012 R3 is going to be generally available on May 1, officials said. That's the same time that the new services framework for building Metro-Style apps and mobile devices will also be available. As Microsoft officials have said previously, Dynamics AX 2012 R3 also adds support for deployment on Windows Azure via Microsoft partners. Microsoft already offers two of its other ERP products -- Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV -- the same way (hosted on Windows Server running on Windows Azure).
Microsoft execs made a few more ERP and CRM announcements on Day 1 of Convergence.
The next update of Microsoft Dynamics GP is due in the second quarter of 2014, they said, and will include new identity management and workflow capabilities. There will also be new, complementary new self-service companion apps coming later this year. (I'd expect these will also be Windows Store/Metro-Style apps).
Microsoft execs also are introducing a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise license, which will be priced at $200 per user per month. This new license will include all the functionality in the current CRM Online Professional license, plus access to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and the new Unified Service Desk. There will not be an on-premises version of this license offered.