Microsoft Dynamics ERP software now available on the Azure cloud
Dynamics NAV and GP can be deployed to the cloud service through Microsoft partners
IDG News Service - Microsoft is upping the stakes in the growing market for cloud-based ERP, with its Dynamics GP 2013 and NAV 2013 products now available for deployment on its Azure service.
The launch, announced Tuesday, gives customers another option for cloud-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) services besides NetSuite, SAP Business ByDesign and others. It's a bit late in coming, as Microsoft originally said availability would be toward the end of last year.
Microsoft was apparently intent on making sure the Dynamics applications ran well on Azure before scaling up the business.
"Over the past several months we've been working closely with our first 'go-live' customers and partners, as well as with the Windows Azure team, to develop guidance and tooling to ensure a great experience deploying on Azure," wrote Paul White, senior director of Dynamics, in a blog post. "That work is now complete."
Given that ERP applications serve as the backbone of a company's business, Microsoft was no doubt wise to ensure Azure could stably deliver Dynamics.
But Microsoft hasn't quite pulled a NetSuite, in that it's not directly selling Dynamics GP and NAV as SaaS (software as a service). Dynamics has always been sold through Microsoft partners around the world, who tweak and extend the product for customers in various industries. That will remain the case with Azure deployments.
Microsoft is loath to alienate its Dynamics partners and also at a disadvantage going it alone, given the effort and expense of building out a separate global consulting practice for Dynamics.
But it also sees Azure as a way to give partners who offer both Dynamics consulting and hosting a chance to get out of the latter business and move their operations to Azure.
Dynamics GP and NAV customers who choose the Azure option will be hosted in a "secure, virtual private cloud on a Windows Azure Virtual Machine," with desktop, Web and mobile client access, White wrote.
One Microsoft partner that has worked on early Azure-based Dynamics projects praised the service in another blog post, which was posted on Microsoft's website.
"Over the last few months, our experience in hosting has shown some very positive results," wrote Kenneth Kryger Gram, CEO of Abakion. "From a sales perspective, we have been able to reduce the sales cycle from months to days."
Abakion can now build demo environments and customize them much more quickly than before, Gram wrote. It is also able to get a customer instance up and running within an hour, he said.
Early Abakion customers have said they are saving between 30 percent and 70 percent on their operational costs, and Abakion expects the Azure option will help the company boost its own revenues as well, according to Gram.
Pricing for Azure-based deployments will be worked out entirely between partners and customers, according to a Microsoft representative.
"The move to Azure really means more to partners than it does to end-user customers," said analyst Frank Scavo, president of IT consulting firm Strativa, via email. That said, "there will probably be some economic benefit" to customers through the Azure option, he added.
"In addition, it gives partners a more global reach, as Microsoft has Azure data centers around the world," Scavo said. "Long term, the move is strategic for Microsoft. But in the short term, I don't expect to see a mad rush to Azure by either partners or customers."
Microsoft has two other Dynamics products, SL and AX. The first is used by project-based businesses, while the latter is Microsoft's high-end offering for larger companies. The next major release of AX will also get the Azure treatment, with early adoption programs beginning next year, Microsoft has said. No plans have been announced for SL on Azure.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com
- How Four Citrix Customers Solved the Enterprise Mobility Challenge Managing mobile devices, data and all types of apps-Windows, datacenter, web and native mobile- through a single solution.
- 8 Steps to Fill the Mobile Enterprise Application Gap Traveling executives and Millennials alike expect to communicate, collaborate and access their important work applications and data from anywhere on whatever device they...
- Seattle Children's Accelerates Citrix Login Times by 500% with Cross-Tier Insight Seattle Children's is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. With ExtraHop, the IT team at Seattle Children's...
- McKesson Makes Application Hosting for Hospitals Faster, More Efficient With ExtraHop, McKesson identified the root cause of slow Citrix XenApp application launches and adopted a more intelligent, proactive IT operations model that...
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt.
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts