Microsoft rolls out update to Dynamics ERP

The update to Dynamics GP aims to simplify processes for day-to-day tasks and is the first to integrate with Microsoft's CRM software

Microsoft has updated its Dynamics GP enterprise resource planning application for medium-sized businesses, adding features to streamline day-to-day tasks.

In addition, Dynamics GP 2010, introduced on Tuesday, is the first to include integration with Dynamics CRM, the company said.

A number of the new streamlining features allow processes to be set up more easily. For example, the software includes personalised 'role centres', which customise the product for different types of users. It also provides more than 400 built-in Microsoft SQL Server reporting services and Excel reports.

GP 2010 also includes built-in workflow processes such as forms for creating invoices through Microsoft Word, and other features for simplifying setup and IT administration processes, Microsoft said.

"By combining the power of business applications and productivity applications, we're able to support how people really work in their everyday jobs," said Crispin Read, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics ERP, in a statement.

Dynamics GP is based on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software from Great Plains, which Microsoft acquired in 2001. Microsoft has estimated that about 300,000 businesses use its Dynamics product line, which is sold through a network of about 10,000 reseller partners.

The update improves interoperability with Microsoft Office Unified Communications, as well as with SharePoint and the PowerPivot business intelligence (BI) tool for Excel 2010, the company said.

The update is scheduled for release on 1 May in most countries, including the UK, with French Canadian and Latin American Spanish versions coming in the second half of the year.

Microsoft said it will offer on-premises and subscription-based hosting models for GP, but said it has no plans to offer a multi-tenant hosted version of the product.

Under multi-tenancy, a single instance of the application is shared by several companies in order to cut costs, with the drawback that the product cannot be customised for individual customers. Microsoft said it will continue to sell the product through its reseller network, with resellers offering customisation services.

Last month Microsoft invited developers from 400 companies to participate in a community technical preview of the next version of Dynamics CRM, codenamed CRM5. The company said early in the development process that CRM5 would include advancements in solution management and better deployment of secure code on the server.

Dynamics CRM will also be offered in either on-premises or hosted editions.