Microsoft gives enterprise apps the Windows feel with Dynamics

Microsoft has launched the first of its Dynamics enterprise software products, which aim to give companies greater control over business processes using familiar Windows user interfaces.

Microsoft has launched the first of its Dynamics enterprise software products, which aim to give companies greater control over business processes using familiar Windows user interfaces.

Dynamics provides enterprise software with the look and feel of Microsoft Office products. Last year Microsoft tied up with SAP on a project called Medocino to develop tight links between Office and MySAP enterprise resource planning software.

At the time, Bruce Richardson, chief research officer at AMR Research, predicted that the next 24 months would see further co-operation between the suppliers, but also competition. "It is easy to envision the two battling over CRM, portals, business intelligence and web services," he said.

The Microsoft Dynamics applications cover financial, customer relationship management and supply chain management systems. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialised services, the products integrate with other Microsoft software to streamline processes across the business.

The first wave of Dynamics products focus on delivering a "roles-based user experience" with "deep integration" with the Office and SQL Server platforms, said Microsoft.

The next wave will build on the user-centric design with the addition of a model-driven development and customisation environ- ment for increased business process flexibility and support for collaborative working, said the company.

"Dynamics is focused on the business needs of customers with solutions that are familiar to Microsoft users, helping fuel their productivity and enabling confident decision making," said Jeff Raikes, business division president at Microsoft.

"By researching and then aligning the software development to the way individuals work, we have the opportunity to completely transform the workplace."

Among the products launched last week was Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0, which delivers 21 role-based desktops. It includes new Business Analysis Cubes for Excel, expanded reach and functionality around Windows Sharepoint Services and integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0.

Dynamics CRM 3.0 provides a complete suite of marketing, sales and service capabilities, with an  interface based on Microsoft Office and Outlook. It also delivers event-driven workflow, reporting and analytics capabilities based on Excel and SQL Server Reporting Services to provide real-time visibility of business processes and customer interactions.

Products due for release later this year include Dynamics AX 4.0 and Dynamics SL 6.5.

Dynamics AX 4.0 is a multi-language, multi-currency enterprise resource planning product particularly suited for manufacturing, supply chain management and the wholesale and services industries.

Dynamics SL 6.5 is designed to enable project-, service- and distribution-driven organisations to simplify the user experience while receiving the benefits of a complete business management system, said Microsoft.

The product includes expanded Windows Sharepoint Services-based support for user-specific scheduling of reports and processes within the application server, new Bank Reconciliation and Purchase Requisition modules, and enhancements for project-driven organisations.

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