Microsoft buys software to bolster its core ERP product

The move will allow it to add new functions to Dynamics AX ERP for users in certain industries

Microsoft is buying technology from four of its partners in order to bolster its Dynamics AX ERP (enterprise resource planning) product with commonly needed functions across various industries, according to a senior company executive.

Microsoft sells ERP products across five industries, and three of those categories, manufacturing, retail and professional services, will benefit from the purchase, said Crispin Read, general manager for Dynamics ERP.

"We hadn't provided sufficient industry capability," Read said.

Microsoft is buying additional functionality for manufacturing from Fullscope, a company that specializes in customizing Microsoft's Dynamics AX product, which is aimed at the upper midmarket, Read said.

The technology will add a capability for manufacturing processes that don't deal with discrete components, such as formulas for food and chemical products, he said.

The technology for retail comes from two companies, LSRetail and To-Increase Denmark.

It will add new features for retailers, but not functions tailored for a certain type of retailer, such as restaurant or fashion house, Read said. Some of those features cover store management, point-of-sale and merchandising.

The last bit of software for professional services comes from Computer Generated Solutions. It is a system for managing resources, executing financial transactions and billing customers.

Read said the new functions for manufacturing and professional services will be made available immediately in Dynamics AX, a product designed for companies in the 1,000-employee range with hundreds of ERP users.

Microsoft plans to publish a road map for when it will incorporate the new functions into the retail version, Read said, although that integration should take less than a year. The price for Dynamics AX should not change, he said.

Microsoft sells its Dynamics product to its partners, who then sell it to end users and customize it for their market, Read said.

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