Lux, a beta tester of GP 10, said the feature that thrills him the most is the softwares role-based capabilities; he will use the new features to customize the suite for various roles, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, order entry, credit and purchase order inventory. Eventually he will customize GP 10 for every role in the company, a plan thats music to Microsofts ears. A guiding tenant of Wave 1, Microsoft has been working for several years to enable users to customize their Dynamics applications by role.Another big hit with SL 7 is the fact that its the first suite in the Dynamics pantheon to be rewritten in .Net. "We cheated a little bit. It was in Visual Basic, so using Microsoft tools we moved from Visual Basic to Visual Basic .Net," said Jon Pratt, senior director of Microsofts Dynamics GP, Dynamics SL and Dynamics Retail Management System. The .Net rationale is that it "extremely improves the enhancement of the developer environment," said Pratt. It also paves the way for much easier on-demand development by providing a multitier architecture thats native, according to Pratt. (Microsoft will release an on-demand version of its customer relationship management suite, code-named Titan, later this year. The company has declined to comment on whether it will build on-demand versions of its ERP suites.) Read more here about Microsofts efforts to compete more intensely with SAP, Oracle and Salesforce.com with the Dynamics product line. Wave 2 will bring more of the same, providing .Net wrappers for NAV and potentially the other Dynamics suites, according to Pratt. "The big thing were doing is continuing to work on business intelligence, a contextual user experience, and integrate with the SharePoint and Office experience," said Pratt. "That will continue over the next several releases with .Net as well, allowing partners and customers to extend [applications where the] wrapper is .Net." ChemPoint.coms Lux is happy to see less reliance on GPs native Dexterity C programming language. When he suggested one of his programmers learn Dexterity, Lux said the response was, "If I am going to learn a dead language I might as well learn Latin. Ill get about the same value." Lux said there are "triggers" in GP 10 that Microsoft is moving to a .Net internal structure. "I cant help believe that they would do that across the board," he said. "Im not sure how they would do that in AX, but I am not going to comment about that." Regardless of the end resulta unified code base around .Net, or several languages converged on a single Microsoft platformthe second wave of the Dynamics evolution is going to be a long time coming. "It takes a long time to move these big apps, but you can see the blurring of applications as we move toward common components: CRM, search, BI, new client for Office, new UI of Office," said Pratt. "Were delivering against Wave 2 with a closely aligned tool set. It will take a long, long time." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Moeller Design & Development Controller Brooke Davis is likewise taken with the roles customization and Office user interface in SL 7. "A lot of our users havent used anything more robust than QuickBooks, so for them modular systems are overwhelming," said Davis, in Seattle. "For them the Office UI and roles customization are huge. It really takes away the anxiety."