Microsoft Unveils Plans To Adapt Its ERP Applications For Cloud Computing

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Microsoft will develop cloud-computing versions of its Microsoft Dynamics ERP applications and the company is promising to bring its partner ecosystem along as those applications are rolled out over the next several years.

Microsoft unveiled the roadmap for its cloud ERP applications before some 9,000 attendees at its Convergence 2011 conference in Atlanta Monday. But executives acknowledged that a lot of details remain to be worked out given the different development approaches the individual Dynamics AX, GP, NAV and SL products will require.

"For now we thought that it was appropriate for use to articulate the vision and the roadmap, the directional statement," said Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president for Microsoft Business Solutions, in a press conference following his keynote speech.

Currently Microsoft provides a Software-as-a-Service version of its CRM application, Dynamics CRM Online, along with the on-premise release. Dynamics CRM Online has been available in the U.S. for three years and just went global in February.

But until now Microsoft has offered only on-premise versions of its Dynamics ERP applications. Microsoft channel partners have had the right to host those applications themselves for their customers under a service provider license agreement (SPLA).

The next major releases of Dynamics AX, GP, NAV and SL will be developed to run on Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud development platform that's been available for a year, Tatarinov said, beginning with the next version of Dynamics NAV that's due in 2012. The applications will support multi-tenancy, he said.

"Make no mistake, when it comes to the cloud, Microsoft's all in," said CEO Steve Ballmer, using his keynote to highlight the range of cloud computing products Microsoft now offers or is developing, including Windows Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365.

"Every one of our products will be engineered to deliver the full benefits of the cloud. Every one of the whole Dynamics set, for example," he said. "As I see it the cloud is probably the most important technological generation going forward for the next 10 years."

At some point Microsoft will also adapt Dynamics CRM Online, which preceded Windows Azure, to run on that platform, according to Tatarinov.

Next: The Role Of The Channel In Microsoft's Cloud Plans

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