Microsoft and IBM are working on new IT products that will meld the enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities of Microsoft's Dynamics AX 2012 R3 with IBM's systems for the retailers.
During the National Retail Federation (NRF) Conference in New York City, the companies revealed "an expanded relationship" that will usher in retail-focused IT systems based on Microsoft's software. Dynamics AX 2012 R3, the latest version of Microsoft's flagship ERP offering, is expected to launch in 2014.
Microsoft previewed Dynamics AX 2012 R3 during the Dynamics Convergence 2013 EMEA conference in May. Available in both cloud-based and on-premise implementations, the software will feature real-time insights into supply-chain processes, courtesy of "new warehouse and transportation management components," according to Microsoft.
Dynamics AX 2012 R3 will also help usher in a new social era for the software. "New social channels integration and e-commerce new features in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 let teams work together to serve customers in new ways, including support for customer-specific pricing, wish lists and unassisted sales," Pepijn Richter, director of ERP Product Marketing at Microsoft, wrote in a Nov. 5 blog post.
"Get support for loyalty programs across legal-entities and tiering of customers as well as enhanced gift card functionality. Even incorporate Facebook and Twitter into campaigns right out of the box," wrote Richter.
The collaboration with IBM will combine Dynamics AX 2012 R3's enhanced functionality "with IBM's proven global leadership in delivering integrated, enterprise retail solutions," Microsoft said in a statement. It is also expected to spawn new IP.
"The relationship also includes plans for IBM to develop and deploy differentiated intellectual property to offer unique, enhanced value to customers around world," added Microsoft. Brian Minnix, partner, Worldwide Retail Competency Center Lead, IBM, said that the partnership "will deliver innovative technology solutions that will help retailers seamlessly connect to their customers while delivering an exceptional brand experience."
Microsoft also used the event to announce alliances with payment-processing specialist Vantiv and customer experience management software provider Sitecore.
Vantiv's technology will enable Microsoft Dynamics for Retail to "deliver a new range of solutions for mobile point-of-sale (POS) and cloud-connected payments that can help businesses maximize their customer reach at any scale, end-to-end," boasted the software giant in a statement. Elizabeth Rector, senior vice president of e-commerce and mobile at Vantiv, asserted that the team-up will "enable an entirely new scale of mobile payment solutions, delivering a true 360-degree experience to midmarket and enterprise merchants across any vertical."
Sitecore's software will help bolster Micrsoft's pursuit for all-encompassing, omni-channel commerce ambitions. "The integration of Sitecore's best-in-class experience platform with Microsoft’s powerful, proven commerce solution will allow organizations to harness the power of real-time data insights to personalize and deliver compelling, consistent brand experiences—online, in-store and across any channel," said Darren Guarnaccia, chief strategy officer for Sitecore.