Microsoft showcases new ERP app for retailers

Dynamics AX for Retail will debut mid-year

Continuing its quest for more ERP (enterprise resource planning) market share, Microsoft on Monday announced a new application aimed at mid-sized speciality retail chains.

Dynamics AX for Retail consists of core AX ERP functionality, along with technology Microsoft acquired earlier this year. Redmond's key selling point is tight integration across components, from point of sale to the supply chain and financials. It also integrates with other Microsoft products, such as Office and SharePoint.

The application will support Microsoft's payment processing service as well as the upcoming Commerce Service, which ties ERP applications to multiple e-commerce systems.

"The greatest challenge in retail is the changing nature of consumer behavior. People are becoming less brand-focused and more cost-conscious," said Crispin Read, general manager of Dynamics ERP. "Retailers will need to provide a completely connected experience to consumers."

Microsoft partners have traditionally played a key role in its ERP strategy, providing customizations and additional features on top of the core ERP application. This won't change with AX for Retail, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft will release the application mid-year, beginning with 16 countries. Pricing information wasn't available Monday.

The new offering will go up against a range of competitors in the retail ERP arena, from pureplays such as Celerant and Tomax, to offerings from broader ERP vendors like Epicor and Oracle.

SaaS (software as a service) vendor NetSuite has also entered the fray, announcing a product called Multi-Channel Retail Management Suite earlier this year.

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