Company looking at omni-channel retailers
Expects AX 'as a service' to be launched in 2015
SOFTWARE giant Microsoft Corp expects demand for its newly-launched Dynamics AX 2012 R3 enterprise resources planning (ERP) solution to remain strong over the near- to medium-term, with new capabilities that the company said would address new market needs.
"Momentum has been very strong, and we expect it to be even stronger with the AX 2012 R3," Microsoft director of product marketing Ricky Gangsted-Rasmussen told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on April 30.
"It's fuelling a lot of new interest, and we are seeing a lot of opportunities and deals opening up for us which previously we would not have being able to serve," he added,without disclosing actual figures.
One feature includes the fact that AX 2012 R3 will now be available on the cloud via Microsoft's Windows Azure Platform-as-a-Service .
Other new features include fully-integrated transportation and warehouse management systems, including modules for inbound/ outbound planning, multi-shipment loads, shipment consolidation, split order planning, freight reconciliation, purchase order receiving, inventory blocking and unblocking, cycle counting process, mobile device users and menus, and more.
Dynamics AX 2012 R3 also comes with new features suitable for the retail sector, especially omni-channel retailers, including modules for mobile POS (point of sales), cloud-connected payments, and more.
But the one thing that Gangsted-Rasmussen expects to fuel even more momentum is the fact that some time in 2015, "Microsoft will be delivering AX as a service,” he said.
“This means, we will take responsibility for managing, maintaining and making the solution available as a service, whereas what happens starting May 1, 2014 is that we will support AX being deployed on Azure,” he said.
Early days for cloud ERP
Gangsted-Rasmussen believes that the market for cloud-based ERP is still in its early phase, saying that most companies still prefer to have a “hands on experience” and have their solutions on-premise.
“Will the explosion of demand come? Absolutely, but we also believe it is not something that will happen overnight,” he said. “There’s still some nervousness when comes to putting information on the cloud, but I think it is going to go away.”
Although large enterprises are seen as early adopters of cloud services, Gangsted-Rasmussen believes that they will not be turning off their on-premise solutions and move everything to the cloud for the foreseeable future.
He also believes that some enterprises may use AX on the front end, while using existing ERP solutions like SAP and Oracle on the backend.
“In this two-tier type of scenario, we will handle some of the ... business processing that requires agility, and the customer experience; while they continue to run their financials or administrative functions at the back-end using their existing solutions.”
He said that Microsoft is seeing a lot of interest from customers on deploying AX on Azure, as the customers believe that it is easier to maintain over the long run.
Nevertheless, companies wanting to make the transition may see some bumpy roads when moving their ERP to the cloud, Gangsted-Rasmussen acknowledged.
"When you move to the cloud, there are certain points you need to take into consideration. These include the availability of a network, making sure you have a stable connection.
“We are making a number of investments in deployment and maintenance to really make it as easy as possible to migrate ERP from on-premise to the cloud. This is where we are unique in the sense that if you are already an AX customer and just want to move to the cloud, you will already be familiar with the technology," he added.
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