Microsoft Adds Retail Management Apps To Dynamix AX Line

Microsoft unveiled the new application set Monday at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention & Expo in New York.

"Retailing is still recovering from the recent economic recession," noted Crispin Read, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics ERP. Facing tight budgets and the need to adjust to changing consumer behavior, retailers are seeking ways to reduce costs and IT complexity, Read said in an interview. One way the new retail applications will help meet those needs, for example, is by providing links between online retail systems and point-of-sale systems that run in "brick and mortar" stores, he said.

The application set includes technology assets Microsoft acquired last year from LS Retail EHF and To-Increase Denmark A/S, combined with the ERP applications that make up the Dynamics AX suite. Read said Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail will offer a broad range of capabilities including point-of-sale, store management, inventory management, distribution, supply chain management, online retail and online payment services.

The application suite is scheduled to be available starting in June 2010.

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Microsoft also said a number of the company's channel partners have been enlisted to resell the new retail application suite, including Avanade, Blue Horseshoe, Columbus IT, Junction Solutions, Ignify and Maginus.

Microsoft Dynamics DX will help Avanade go after contracts with major retailers. "We are really after a lot of the bigger names in retail with this solution," said Michael Merfeld, senior business development director at the IT consulting and systems integration company. "Better, faster, cheaper " that's what a lot of retailers are looking for today."

The new software will bring Microsoft into more direct competition with retail management applications from Oracle and SAP. Microsoft also will continue to sell Microsoft POS 2009, a retail application designed for single-store operations, Read said.

The Microsoft Dynamics AX announcement is in line with Microsoft's strategy to leverage Dynamics AX as a platform for developing comprehensive application suites for specific industries.