Microsoft's effort to unite four disparate ERP suites--acquired through the 2001 acquisition of Great Plains and the 2002 acquisition of Navision--will occur in two phases.
In the first, which will extend through 2007, all four suites (the former Axapta, Great Plains, Navision, and Solomon applications) are being integrated with Microsoft Office using technology unveiled in February called Dynamic Snap. The recast apps are being given a look and feel similar to the Office desktop applications. They've been rebranded, too: Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, and SL, respectively.
The four packages are being integrated with Microsoft's SharePoint portal, to give them workflow and document management capabilities, and linked with business intelligence reporting services in Microsoft's SQL Server database. A Web services layer in Dynamics exposes functions as XML documents. Microsoft already has delivered new releases of Dynamics GP and AX with these changes, and versions of Dynamics SL and NAV are due in 2007.
In the second phase, beginning in 2008, Microsoft will make it easier to implement and customize the applications by making their business logic more model-driven and adding scenario-based workflow, says James Utzschneider, marketing general manager of Microsoft Business Solutions. Several years from now, the code for all four Dynamics suites will be converged into one supersuite. At least two more major releases of each suite are planned before then.
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