In past posts I have talked about the overall movement to the cloud for ERP solutions, and the current options available for the Microsoft Dynamics solutions. Well recently, the overall direction has become clearer – especially for the
Microsoft recently announced their plans for cloud related technology that will be included in their next major release of GP – currently dubbed Dynamics GP 12. This solution promises a variety of strong enhancements around the themes of simplicity, productivity, easier deployments, and likely the beginnings of what will eventually be a tight integration with Microsoft’s overall, well-planned cloud strategy.
First and foremost, Dynamics GP 12 will include a web client. This represents a key component towards a more complete migration to the cloud. And in itself, it provides much greater flexibility in deployment methods, simplifying the time required to get new users access to the GP application. To deliver on this requires tremendous redesign of the underlying components, taking advantage of newer Microsoft web technology such as Silverlight and .Net C#. Taking a deeper dive into the technology behind this transition is beyond the scope of this post. But for those technology aficionados that want to understand more of how this will be delivered, I highly recommend the three part blog series by Mariano Gomez. These posts can be found at:
Also included in this next major release of GP will be multi-tenant functionality. This too is a major step to simplifying hosting deployments, allowing hosting companies to host multiple customer organizations in a single SQL Server instance – a current limitation today. This will certainly make this hosted option less expensive for hosting companies, which should trickle down to the price the end customer pays – making this a more viable and cost effective alternative. And it has advantages as well to those companies deploying on-premise.
But the real value of Microsoft’s cloud strategy is when you step back and look at the big picture. Microsoft’s real progress in cloud computing to date has been in other non-Dynamics areas. Microsoft’s CRM Online solution continues to be one of the strongest, most flexible and most tightly integrated solutions with the Microsoft stack (Office, Exchange, etc). Recently Microsoft announced the availability of Office 365 – their hosted solution that includes Office, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync (presence, instant messaging, audio/video calling and rich online meetings). CRM will become an optional part of this platform in the future. Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype adds another interesting component of their cloud portfolio. So with those pieces getting in place, I feel you can bet your last dollar that GP will also be able to leverage the other cloud components such as Office 365. This is where Microsoft is uniquely positioned to deliver the most complete, comprehensive and integrated cloud solution of any company.
You may argue that Microsoft does not quite yet have the ERP cloud solution. But you cannot argue with their overall vision and where they are heading. When they said they were “all in” with cloud computing, they meant it - and they are uniquely positioned to deliver on it. What they will be able to deliver in the future as a fully integrated, collaborative ERP solution will be unmatched by any other option.