Microsoft offers user-based ERP pricing

As it unrolls the next stage of its Dynamics strategy, Microsoft is moving away from server-based pricing

In a move that reflects a growing desire to move away from highly complex pricing strategies for corporate applications, Microsoft announced on Monday that it was introducing per-user pricing for its mainstream enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.

The Microsoft Dynamics portfolio is complex and based on four main lines of code: Microsoft Dynamics Nav; GP (originally Great Plains); AX; and SL.

The Business Ready Licensing model and the Business Ready Enhancement Plan introduced on Monday are intended, says Microsoft, to improve the "value of the licensing and maintenance programs".

Instead of being based on hundreds of modules, Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, Nav and SL pricing will be based on the number of concurrent users who use the software.

Microsoft says that its new approach is based on "three simple offerings": Microsoft Dynamics Business Essentials, Advanced Management and Advanced Management Enterprise.

The aim appears to be to lower the barrier of entry for smaller companies by reducing the price and complexity and only including functionality that will actually be used.

These "most common functions" will be bundled in the Business Essentials package which will have an "entry-level" price of about £1,110 per user, before volume discounts. Included will be general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, fixed assets and consolidations as well as "other core financial management and inventory functions", according to Gayle Hoshino, the general manager of Microsoft Business Solutions.

The mid-range Advanced Management edition will start at £2,160 per user, and will include more functionality in areas such as manufacturing, project management, and some integral CRM sales and marketing functions. Microsoft's own Dynamics CRM application is not included, though. 

Advanced Management Enterprise also has additional supply chain planning software and will continue to be priced per server. Overall price depends on the modules purchased, Microsoft said.