Microsoft to Reshuffle Its ERP Deck?

Microsoft has pushed back the 4.0 release of its high-end ERP offering to 2006 and is hinting it will soon move some its ERP wares into "maintenance mode."

Microsoft Corp.s ERP strategy is morphing.

Axapta, one of Microsofts four enterprise resource planning products, has fallen victim to Microsofts slip-date curse. Meanwhile, it sounds as if Microsoft has started to take measures to streamline its stable of four different ERP lines.

Last summer, Microsoft Business Solutions officials said Axapta 4.0 would ship some time in 2005. But a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft quietly decided to redraw the Axapta roadmap. Now the 4.0 release is due to go to beta testers in October 2005. The final release will hit some time in the first half of 2006.

Microsoft officials decided to delay Axapta in order to open up the APIs and add a software development kit to the product, according to an MBS spokesperson.

The Axapta team also is planning to add more electronic collaboration capabilities for linking trading partners; support new business processes and new document types (like purchase orders); and step up integration with BizTalk Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server and Microsoft Message Queue technologies, according to sources claiming familiarity with Microsofts product plans.

Microsoft also is working to add a variety of supply chain management, CRM (customer relationship management), human resources management and financial management features to the 4.0 release, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Microsoft is still planning to add RFID (radio-frequency identification) support to Axapta 4.0, as it said it would last year, the product sources said.

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