What’s new in MS Dynamics AX as compared to other ERP technology?

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Oct
25
2016
  • Author:
  • Nayab Naseer

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The tech space is continuously evolving; with new technologies unlocking new possibilities by the day. Enterprises who wish to remain relevant have no choice but to overhaul their products and processes, and offer cutting edge solutions that leverage new possibilities. While ERP has delivered significant advantages for enterprises, chunky interfaces, long learning curve, and serious gaps in functionality have held it back from realizing its potential as the next big thing. However, MS Dynamics AX, the next-gen version of Microsoft’s flagship ERP system, promises to remove such shortcomings and be in-sync with market demands.

The Dynamics line is on a trajectory of continuous innovation ever since Microsoft acquired the software almost two decades ago. Microsoft Dynamics AX makes its intent of representing an evolutionary step in ERP by adopting a radically different naming convention, with the names not reflecting release date or versions, as in the past. However, the change runs deep beyond such cosmetic tinkering, and caters to the latest technology trends and customer preferences.

Dynamics AX’s multi-layered architecture makes it user-friendly and easily adaptable to change by offering cloud deployment and browser-based HTML5 user interface. It caters to executives who are always-on-the-move, and needs to make instant decisions. The cloud deployment, with immediate provisioning, ensures anytime-anywhere availability through mobile devices. It also makes it easy to provide on-going service and management, for the suite to adapt to the needs of the business better.

Today’s enterprise users prefer things easy and seamless as they are pressed for time. Dynamics AX builds on its cloud strength by ensuring simple signup and an intuitive user experience, closely resembling the looks, interface, and experience of Microsoft Office.

As an in-house Microsoft product, it seamlessly integrates and shares information with other Microsoft products such as Office 365 and Power BI, and taps into several established Microsoft resources as well. The multi-language and multi-currency compatibility allows it to gel well across geographical regions. The integration with other Microsoft products also runs deep, making things easier for users. For instance, integration with Cortana infuses the ERP with voice-based assistance.

In an age where there is a real risk of drowning in data, any insight is worth its bytes in gold. The embedded Power BI and Azure Machine Learning, powers Dynamics AX with real-time analytics and predictive capabilities. Users gain the power to visualize data, and in the process not just get the information they require, but also gain the ability to offer value-added services such as product recommendations for their users.

Customization is a hot buzzword in enterprise circles today. With the need to remain focused in a highly competitive environment, enterprise users do not fancy being bothered with things not relevant to them. The new Dynamics AX caters to the need of increased customization by introducing Workspaces, a new feature, which enable users to obtain customized, role-specific views of data, tasks and activities. This feature, when used optimally, allows a finance manager to have application views relevant to him, and the head of warehousing to have another set of application views. The prevailing one-view-fit all approach satisfied none and put off everybody.

Enterprise users value anything that improves their productivity. Task Guides, another new feature, offer on-screen guidance to users. A recorder in the user interface captures business processes, and stores it in a library as an XML file, for future reference. Users who need to invoke rarely used processes can pull out the Task Guide and let the system guide them. This feature, while increasing productivity manifold, also offers a residual benefit of cutting down on training requirements and costs.

The Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services, the Azure-based service that facilitates automated setup of Dynamics AX on the Azure platform, gets a flexible architecture, making incremental implementation, updates, and changes possible.

The need for ease of use is invariably accompanied by the need for speed, and automation of regular and routine processes is the key to speed. True to form, the Azure Marketplace offers several pre-built, industry-specific solutions that allow users to maximize the platform’s innovative benefits. For instance, specific apps streamline and standardize processes across multiple legal entities, allowing users to create, manage and execute batch jobs. Another set of apps simplifies period-end closing process, allowing users to view, open and close period ledgers for different entities, without logging into each company separately. Other apps simplify and quicken supply chain solutions such as warehouse management, transportation system, and more. Similarly, EDI compliance can be a nightmare using the conventional tools available, but not for Dynamics AX users.

The success of any offering today depends not on the basket list of features on offer, but the extent to which the solution facilitates business requirements. Dynamic AX is available both as cloud deployment, and as on-premises version, offering customers the benefit of hybrid deployments. Some customers still prefer running hypersensitive applications, such as financials on-premises, and opt for the new cloud version for other areas, such as human capital management, thereby leveraging the best of both worlds.

The new Dynamics AX extends its convenience to pricing as well, with a simple and transparent pricing model, making another major break from the past. The suite offers elastic capacity to add resources, but users need to pay only when actually using such resources.

Traditional shortcomings that have held back ERP systems is the rigidity and complexity associated with it. Many employees consider an ERP system as disruptive rather than facilitative. Dynamics AX seems to break-free from such shortcomings, and offer solutions that enhance rather than disrupt business processes and operations. The new release delivers value to enterprises, by enabling them to make better and faster decisions.

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