Dynamics AX 7, launched early 2016, and now called Dynamics 365 for Operations, is Microsoft's latest ERP version, and is offered with a full cloud as well as a hybrid deployment model for select scenarios. Using Dynamics AX cloud, you can optimize operations, empower employees, and engage with customers in new and innovative ways. When this product rolled out in March, Microsoft Dynamics ERP Technical Fellow Mike Ehrenberg stated, “The new Dynamics ERP-as-a-service offering is at the forefront of everything being done on Azure," implying that the new AX release integrates and includes Azure SQL, Power BI, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online, and Azure's disaster-recovery capabilities.
Hyped Features Leading to the Launch:
Microsoft put the complete process in the cloud, where every click and modification can be monitored visually and easily. By using LifeCycle Services running in Azure, this solution was set to remove a huge amount of complexity – and eventually, time and cost. Some of the key exciting features which promised to make the solution as a service truly cloud-first include:
Improved cloud access and mobility
New browser-based interface
Next generation user experience
Has AX 7 Matched Expectations?
With a year under AX 7’s belt, we wanted to take a look at how the solution is performing and if it matches the claims Microsoft made prior to the launch. The best way to judge was by looking at companies who’ve implemented AX 7 and see their feedback and fulfilment of expectations. In the next section, we’ve analyzed three use cases of AX 7 and their experience with the solution.
In the retail and consumer goods domain, Pet Supplies Plus, a friendly neighborhood pet store had 300 stores across the United States and was looking for a strong technological backbone to support their aggressive expansion plans and replace their disparate ERP systems. They chose AX 7 and implemented it across their stores. In less than a year’s time, they’ve opened hundreds of new locations with the support of AX 7. The solution empowered employees to provide better service and the team is very pleased with the features and functionality of the application, as well as the future ability to evolve the POS application further. The solution plays a crucial role in standardizing data, streamlining workflows, and standardizing business processes, ultimately yielding efficiencies and improving their orders. The solution helps them provide a convenient option for their customers to purchase supplies, at a great value. “The solution is fulfilling our wish to have one system of record, one version of the truth, and a simplified applications portfolio, especially for the corporate office environment,” says Miles Tedder, COO.
UmbraGroup, a manufacturer of critical parts for airplanes and the energy sector needed a modern, innovative ERP solution for their ERP. With the cloud Dynamics AX 7 solution, they ensure their five facilities remain cohesive and up-to-date, irrespective of the location. The solution is set to make it much easier for internal sales personnel, external distributors, and the management team to track customer and sales activities and analyze KPI data. It was critical for them to gain additional insights, which, by using Microsoft Power BI, allows comprehensive visualizations of its most critical data by making it totally customizable and interactive. “Moving to the cloud is a major step for us to stay competitive, further concentrate on adding value, and continuously increase the quality of our products,” says Antonio Baldaccini, CEO.
AccuWeather helps 1.5 billion people around the world, by providing critical, lifesaving weather information content and delivering it in a reliable, fast way. Moving to the cloud with Dynamics AX 7 helped the company scale out globally and provide a better foundation for more business opportunities. AX 7 has transformed the company’s business environment by putting current customer and financial information at the fingertips of global analysts and sales teams. AX 7’s ability to modify workflows in real time and its plug-and-play capabilities helps the firm work with one central, hub-and-spoke system. It enables tracking the relationship between sales and weather events more efficiently and accurately. “Being able to look at sales data, revenue information, and bring in custom content gives us real-time guidance for business decisions, when before it was an extremely manual effort. Now, everything is in one spot, and it opens up the world to our remote sales force,” says Chris Patti, CTO.
Best of On-Premises and Cloud
These use cases reiterate that Microsoft has strengthened the cloud-capabilities of Dynamics 365 for Operations for organizations that want better connectivity including higher bandwidth and lower latency. The Dynamics AX cloud model is ideal and ensures fast, reliable, and private connections. With Dynamics AX, Microsoft is also enabling business continuity for organizations that require on-premises solutions. You can either run all your processes in the cloud, or run some on-premises and some on the cloud, leveraging the power of cloud for intelligence in business processes. No matter what the model, Dynamics AX enables business transformation across industries.
With the three major updates including predominance of Microsoft Azure, a new user experience, and the extended use of Microsoft Lifecycle Services, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations is set to truly become a Cloud-First, Mobile-First ERP platform of choice. As Takeshi Numoto, Vice President of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, rightly puts it, “When it comes to business process - and your business - AX 7 delivers the intelligence you need to transform, now, backed by decades of research and investment.”
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