I have followed the development of the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics AX for more than a year, with a bit of curiosity. I think more people than myself feel relieved, when we see that the business processes in AX7 are more or less one-to-one with currently on premise offering of AX2012 R3 CU10.
The RD-team in Microsoft have gone a long way of protecting the investments in Microsoft Dynamics AX2012, and kept the configuration and main business from Microsoft Dynamics AX2012 with the new Microsoft Dynamics AX version. The core design of Microsoft Dynamics AX7 makes it easier for many customers to make the transition from Microsoft Dynamics AX2012 to Microsoft Dynamics AX7 in the future, when upgrading scripts and data migrations tools becomes available. The biggest investment has gone into delivering Microsoft Dynamics AX7 as a true PAAS solution, with a HTLM5 based interface.
You could argue that Microsoft has poured old wine on a new bottle and wrapped it up in cellophane called HTML5. However, the trained eye sees, that the it’s not just a technical upgrade of a well-known platform, I believe it is a new way of implementing ERP.
Switching the technology from a bespoke X++ development environment to a true .net based application, will make it much easier for ISV and partners to develop small plugin’s for Microsoft Dynamics AX7 deployed to the customer environment delivered through a Microsoft app store.
Standardizing deployment of ERP, partner modules, and business processes has a huge impact of lowing cost of ownership, when investing the Microsoft Dynamics AX7, but it also raises the bar for the partner community to change implementation approach.
How should customers approach PAAS and Microsoft Dynamics AX7?
In the recent year, I have spoken to many clients about their legacy ERP platform and challenges they have. Many of these ERP implementations contains huge amount of undocumented custom code, due to the fact, that every business process required a piece code to tailor the ERP to fit the business requirement.
These customers are now facing huge challenges adapting the disruptive modern age, putting on pressure for a more integrated customer experience across multiple platforms.
I still meet customers with only 2nd or 3rd ERP implementation. They believe that the right approach is the traditional way through RFI and RFP to an implementation.
PAAS AX 7 is NOT – What the SYSTEM can do for you?
PASS AX 7 is ALL About – What YOU can do with the system!
Implementing a PAAS solution has a bit of the same concept as downloading an application to your phone, testing it before you use it. Microsoft Life Circle services and Microsoft Dynamics AX7 make it easy to deploy a test application in the cloud, and provide the opportunity to review the platform and standard processes against your company needs.
The game changer with PAAS is finding the right partner; with the required industry knowledge, whom is able to facilitate the transition of business processes into a standard ERP package delivered from the cloud.
The key goal of this process is to minimize expensive modifications, and model Microsoft Dynamics AX7 to fit the industry and transform the organization into the new way of working. It’s not an easy task for many people and organizations to change behavior, but business transformation into standard processes is crucial to be successful with a true platform as a service solution like Microsoft Dynamics AX7.
OPEX versus CAPEX
Investing in a Microsoft Dynamics AX7 as a PAAS solution is not only about replacing your capital investments (CAPEX), with an operational cost (OPEX) including everything from application and infrastructure to run it on. Microsoft actually changed the pricing structure of Microsoft Dynamics AX7 to an all-inclusive price per user and this makes it much easier for companies to scale their business, as they will know all the running cost of the ERP.
However, the true ROI lies in the concept of having a standard platform, with regular updates and new features released on a regular basis. Then you don’t have to re-implement the one-off ERP solution every 5-8 years based on new demands.
What I like about the new platform
My specialty for the last 16 years is Retail on Microsoft Dynamics AX, and I have faced many discussions with IT, on solution architecture and scalability of the ERP platform. The simple web-interface of the ERP solution (in AX7) will appeal to many IT-organizations of not having to, size a Citrix or a remote server farm to handle desktop clients.
The web-based POS is also very appealing for many retailers in the “low volume, high value sectors” like furniture and luxury goods retails, but it’s also suited for pop-up stores, where retailers sell merchandize at tradeshows, sports events or at market places.
The simple and a bit more intuitive interface, will life much easier in the future when implementing the solution for instore processes within a retail organization.
Microsoft Dynamics AX7 will change the way retailers can do business in the future, and the flexibility of the platform will empower the retails to envision new ways of doing business in the disruptive modern age.