Microsoft is refreshing major components of its Dynamics line of applications, shipping an upgrade for its Dynamics AX application set and preparing to launch new releases of the Dynamics GP and Dynamics CRM applications.
The moves wrap up a year in which Microsoft has set aggressive development plans for its Dynamics ERP and CRM applications, including developing cloud versions of its Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV software.
"This wave of new Microsoft Dynamics' capabilities, together with Microsoft's innovative social, mobile, collaboration, productivity and analytics resources, inspires people to do their best work and transform their businesses," said Kirill Tatarinov, president of Microsoft Business Solutions, in a statement.
Available now is Dynamics AX 2012 R2, an update for the set of ERP applications that Microsoft targets toward mid-size to large businesses and that competes most directly with ERP applications from Oracle and SAP. Microsoft said Dynamics AX licenses sales grew more than 50 percent in Microsoft's fiscal 2012.
Dynamics AX 2012 R2 can run multiple languages and legislations within a single instance, an addition Microsoft said would make it easier to globally deploy the software. Semantic Group, a U.K.-based manufacturer of elevator components, for example, is using a single instance of the software to coordinate its operations in the U.K., Italy and China, according to Microsoft.
The software also incorporates new business intelligence features based on Microsoft's SQL Server database.
On Dec. 19 Microsoft will ship Dynamics GP 2013, a new release of the SMB-focused ERP application set that's especially popular among channel partners.
This week Microsoft described Dynamics GP 2013 as providing "improved hostability." At Microsoft's Convergence show in March, Microsoft executives had said the 2013 release of Dynamics GP would be cloud-based. The new release can be deployed using a new Web client, along with the traditional "rich" client, and it provides a new hosting management console that helps IT managers better deploy and manage the application set in the cloud.
Microsoft channel partners can host Dynamics GP for their customers or utilize hosting infrastructure provided by other companies, according to Microsoft. Sometime in the second half of 2013, partners will be able to host the applications on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform.
Also new in Dynamics GP 2013 is a set of RapidStart tools for configuring the applications for specific users. The applications also are more tightly integrated with Microsoft Office, Office 365 and other Microsoft products.
In mid-December Microsoft will begin rolling out the December 2012 service update for Dynamics CRM, a process that will continue into January, according to Microsoft.
The new release uses a more visual approach to guide users through business processes rather than the traditional data-centric approach, the vendor said. Also new are deeper connections to Yammer, the social networking software Microsoft bought in June for $1.2 billion, and Skype, the voice-over-IP service Microsoft acquired last year for $8.5 billion.
PUBLISHED DEC. 5, 2012