Microsoft Revamps Acquired ERP SuitesMicrosoft Revamps Acquired ERP Suites
New versions of Dynamics ERP software give all four of the company's ERP lines a common look and feel.
June 22, 2007
Microsoft released two new versions of its Dynamics ERP software--those formerly known as Great Plains and Solomon--thus completing an initiative to give all four of Microsoft's ERP suites a common look and feel.
The releases of Dynamics GP 10.0 and SL 7.0 include new clients with a look and feel that matches that of Office 2007, including Office's new "ribbon" interface that replaces drop-down menus. The new clients are .Net-based, to simplify the development environment--SL was formerly based on Visual Basic, GP on something called "Dexterity"--and bring in possibilities for a much richer interface. Microsoft's other ERP suites are those formerly known as Navision and Axapta.
The products also share a common portal based on SharePoint that will run on SharePoint Server or on SharePoint Services, which is bundled with Windows Server, giving companies a portal option without having to buy SharePoint.
Microsoft's ERP products increasingly are tailored to a person's role. For example, previously a warehouse employee would have had to open a new window to pick an item in the warehouse, then another to pack it, and another to ship; now there's one screen for the process. GP 10.0 is also more contextualized, so if finance employees look into a customer list and select a customer, Dynamics shows options to drill into account, delete, view inventory, and back orders; if they select a group of customers, the interface will change to print reports or get a listing of all open invoices.
Microsoft's ERP suites are used mostly by small businesses, but the company makes the case that these releases scale for much larger uses. More than 1,000 GP customers have licenses for more than 1,000 employees, Microsoft says.
Dynamics SL 7.0 is aimed at companies doing a lot of project management, such as construction, professional services, and advertising. The most significant upgrade for SL 7.0 is the ability to set up new projects and add or change project elements such as orders and budgets. In the past, project managers could view these project items but not use Dynamics to tweak them.
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