Microsoft Details Dynamics CRM, ERP Progress

The software giant updates its Dynamics business software ecosystem with more cloud options, new templates and mobile enhancements.


During the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 EMEA conference in Barcelona, Spain, the company unveiled new features and enhancements for its customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suites.

Eighteen new configurable process templates from the company have been added to the Dynamics CRM Marketplace. The free templates cover a number of industries, including health care, government and nonprofit and sports management, and even niches like prison offender management. On the mobile front, Microsoft has released new apps for iPhones, Windows Phone and Android phones that deliver "touch-optimized experiences," including analytics capabilities.

To sweeten the deal for Office 365 customers, Microsoft is running a promotion that cuts the cost of the company's cloud-based Dynamics CRM Online offering. Through March 31, 2014, the software maker is offering up to a 40 percent discount on the price of Dynamics CRM Online professional licenses in 42 markets.

Microsoft also previewed added functionality that the company is working on for the April 2014 release of its flagship ERP product, Dynamics AX 2012 R3. Updates include "new warehouse and transportation management capabilities" for real-time insights into supply-chain processes and new Lifecycle Services that streamline and standardize processes, helping "improve the predictability of Microsoft Dynamics AX implementations," according to the company.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 will also be cloud-enabled. The software can be deployed on Windows Azure on an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) basis, allowing for "true choice and portability between on-premises and private cloud deployments," boasted Microsoft in a statement. Microsoft also reasserted that the next version of Dynamics AX will be offered in both on-premise and public cloud versions.

Rounding out the improvements is an updated Microsoft Dynamics Business Analyzer app. Available in the Windows Marketplace, the app delivers business insights to mobile users and helps them connect to their social networks.

Microsoft's SMB-flavored ERP solution, Dynamics NAV, is nearing a big milestone, revealed the company. "Microsoft Dynamics NAV is closing in on 100,000 customers worldwide, a significant milestone for this product," said the company in a statement. Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 was released on October, bringing with it a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version, new user interfaces for both the Web and Windows client, and cash-management tools.

The improvements are aimed at helping businesses better engage with today's informed customers and tackle the challenge of ever-changing market conditions with built-in intelligence and collaboration features. In a keynote address, Kirill Tatarinov, executive vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, was quoted as saying that "people are more informed and better connected than ever."

"Businesses urgently need solutions to unite and empower their people so they can best serve and nurture their customers. Microsoft is positioned to deliver agile, integrated business solutions that will help organizations in this new era by delivering amazing customer experiences," added Tatarinov.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...