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No more ‘electronic concrete’

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Earlier this week, Microsoft launched Dynamics AX 2012, a complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software package, which it says is simple, intuitive and powerful.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) ‚ or business software ‚ has traditionally been expensive, difficult to implement and not always delivered what it said it could. That’s all in the past, says Microsoft, which has taken the wraps off an ERP solution claimed to be its most complete business suite to date.

Launching Dynamics AX 2012 to the South African market, Guy Weismantel, who heads ERP marketing for Microsoft globally, said deploying enterprise applications has traditionally been like ‚pouring electronic concrete‚ ‚ and promises that AX 2012 will shake up the market by being simple, intuitive and powerful.

‚Companies are tired of feeling locked into costly, complex ERP systems. They’re looking for creative solutions that can help them break free,‚ said Weismantel. ‚Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is a new generation of business applications that puts companies in control of their business, helps them to be more agile, and simplifies their decision-making to succeed in any environment.‚

Richard Halton, the managing director of PWC technology arm Exordia, says Dynamics AX 2012 works like ‚ and with – familiar Microsoft software, helping companies be more agile and breaking down the barriers and limitations of outdated ERP solutions.

‚What Microsoft have done here is make ERP into Office, and that gives everyone in the business access to it,‚ said Halton. ‚It’s also Microsoft’s most complete business application yet: it’s completely web-ready, has everything any organisation would need, and is starting to make serious inroads into markets traditionally dominated by bigger players.‚

JSE-listed Adcorp Holdings was one of the first companies to commence with the implementation of the new AX 2012 in South Africa ‚ and CIO Kobus Pienaar says Adcorp’s ERP system ‚is the lifeblood of our business: It not only runs all the processes the whole company uses every day but enables the implementation of the operational strategy of the group.‚

‚Dynamics AX 2012 gives us the ability to easily integrate Web services, such as UPS and vendor invoicing. It automates manual tasks providing scalability and cost effective delivery whilst ensuring powerful industry-specific capabilities. It’s loaded with easy-to-use reporting and analytic tools, and built in BI that supports better insights and faster decision-making. The ability for quick deployment and minimal user training means Dynamics AX 2012 truly delivers rapid time to value,‚ said Pienaar.

Exordia’s Halton says a key selling point of Dynamics AX 2012 is that it is flexible: it lets people make quick and easy changes to processes and personal experiences to fulfill the shifting needs of their business, no matter how complex the organisation. ‚Role-tailored experiences give people across the company the information they need to do their job, access to the tools they use every day, and built-in, contextual business intelligence, empowering better decisions,‚ said Halton.

Weismantel says big businesses across the world are recognising the limitations of legacy ERP solutions in a fast-moving world. At the same time, large and midsize companies are looking for a safe haven from current ERP vendors that may not offer clear product road maps or commitment to long-term innovation.

Microsoft MEA Sales and Technology Director for Business Solutions Mark Foyster says ERP technology holds strong potential to help government achieve its service delivery priorities. He cites the example of the City of Redmond, which has ‚significantly improved‚ operations, user satisfaction and efficiency since implementing AX 2012. ‚City employees are now provided with transparent, relevant and rich information so that they can provide innovative services to their citizens,‚ said Foyster.

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