Making complex things simple will be rewarded..

Last week we received another ‘accolade’ for our Microsoft Dynamics AX product strategy by analyst firm Forrester. In ‘The Forrester Wave™: Order Management Hubs, Q3 2010 (August 2010)’ , Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 was recognized as a Leader in the ERP market. 

In a recent blog post I shared our focus on delivering “business process integrity” of key business processes in one common ERP solution for multiple Industries. In this study Forrester provides a good perspective on some of the underlying drivers that set requirements on the ability of ERP applications to support end-to-end order management. In an environment where:

  • Customers expect a consistent end-to-end ‘ordering interaction’ experience, regardless the channel they interact with;
  • Many organizations are combining products as well as services as part of their customer offerings. Organizations used to focus on one or the other, now they need to be able to combine the two;
  • Globalization and outsourcing the fulfillment process will be executed across multiple sites, requiring increased multisite visibility and coordination capabilities.

These ‘drivers’ seem to be common across many different industries, however Retail & Distribution, Telecommunication, Manufacturing and Media & Entertainment were found to have the biggest impact on the requirements for advances in order management software. 

Four out of Five of these industries are strategic focus areas for our product roadmap. I recently talked about our new offerings for Retail organizations and AX historically has a strong presence amongst Distributors and Manufacturing (process and discrete) organizations. In April of this year we launched our solution for production and distribution of (digital) Media together with Ascent Media at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Los Angles CA, showcasing our progress in meeting that industry’s requirements.

The classic pitfall for a ‘one solution’ approach is the danger of complexity or disparate software often accompanied with a horrendous cost of ownership experiences. However, there are some things we fundamentally do different then our competitors:

  • We have a continued focus on something what we often to refer to internally as “innovation from within.” Due to the unique transparent architecture of Microsoft Dynamics AX, we’re able to make fundamental changes or improvements in the application without sacrificing on upgradeability or maintainability. However, you’ll find applications out there which build a lot of redundancy in their data models because they’ve grown over time and the new functionality was literally bolted on.
  • We extensively use the application platform capabilities built in the Microsoft application platform and closely work with these teams to continue to improve these offerings for ERP scenarios. Some examples: the Microsoft server OS offers a built-in workflow engine (the Windows Workflow Foundation). Competitors offer their own workflow/BPM stackcapabilities that ride on top an OS, adding to integration complexity and cost. Microsoft SQL Server offers great BI and Reporting technology built in to the database, which means there’s no need to attach a separate BI environment to your transactional ERP system. 
  • Balance on what should be covered in core AX and what should be available in a vertical solution, is determined by us together with our partnersand customers. Through different forums like industry advisory boards, we’re continuously working with our partners and customers to ensure we find the right balance between providing ‘business processes integrity’ across common processes, industries and vertical specific features that service unique needs.

“Making complex things simple“ for our customers and partners is hard work… and incredibly rewarding. We are honored by this recognition from Forrester.