Ballmer To Preview Refreshed ERP App For Midmarket

ERP software compliance communications

CEO Steve Ballmer and business solutions corporate vice president Kirill Tatarinov, in keynotes scheduled for Wednesday morning and afternoon, respectively, will also announce to the conference's estimated 10,000 customers and partners in Orlando an expanded relationship with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) that is adding Microsoft Dynamics CRM application to its global CRM practice, according to Michael Park, corporate vice president for Microsoft U.S. SMS&P (small and midsize solutions and partners) and Microsoft Dynamics.

Dynamics AX is one of Microsoft's four ERP application sets under the Dynamics banner that Microsoft targets toward midmarket customers. Last October Microsoft disclosed that the next major release of Dynamics NAV, originally scheduled for the first half of 2008, wouldn't ship until the second half of the year. Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL are Microsoft's other ERP suites.

The new release of Dynamics AX, also known as AX 5.0, will incorporate a compliance center feature where businesses can obtain information they need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations. The upgrade will offer enhanced global capabilities, such as support for multiple languages, sites and time zones, making it easier for companies to deploy over geographically broad areas.

Dynamics AX 2009 will also feature more than 30 "role centers," templates that provide information to mangers and workers based on their specific jobs. Two executive role centers, for example, will collect data that helps executives track key performance indicators against compliance requirements. Microsoft is expected to eventually expand what it calls "RoleTailored Design" to its other ERP and CRM applications.

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A new integrated workflow framework will make it easier for solution providers to adapt Dynamics AX to customer business processes. And integration with Microsoft's unified communications platform will add real-time communication and collaboration capabilities to the applications.

The deal with EDS, Plano, Tex., will help Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft expand sales of Dynamics CRM into larger companies. EDS will add the Microsoft application to its CRM practice, making Microsoft part of the EDS Agility Alliance, and provide consulting, implementation, integration, hosting, and contact center outsourcing services,

Ballmer is also expected to announce that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live, the on-demand version of the company's CRM software will be generally available this spring. That service is expected to compete head-to-head with software-as-a-service CRM applications from, NetSuite and others. The new on-demand application uses the same code base as Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, a major upgrade of the on-premise version of the CRM application that shipped in December.

Ballmer and Tatartinov will also debut online services for Dynamics ERP and CRM applications that businesses will use to integrate the applications with such Web sites as eBay, PayPal, and Chase Paymentech Solutions.

Microsoft will provide a timetable for developing Dynamics support for the recently unveiled Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. And the company will unveil a new set of tools to help customers migrate to Dynamics GP from Intuit QuickBooks.