OnWindows Issue 5: Winter 2015

Microsoft Dynamics AX is helping to redefine the enterprise resource planning space for manufacturers

Today, manufacturers have more comprehensive offerings available to them than ever before. Connectivity options enabled by the internet of things (IoT), 3D printing adoption, and the emergence of powerful business applications are allowing manufacturers to be closer to the marketplace and build better products more effectively. However in certain cases, being faster, better, and cheaper is simply not enough. Manufacturers still need to delight customers while satisfying the needs of their internal employees and business partners. This is where Microsoft Dynamics AX comes in.

“Manufacturers will now have a modern application that brings the speed, scale, and flexibility of the Microsoft cloud to life”

In November 2015, Microsoft announced the next release of Microsoft Dynamics AX, which will be available in the first quarter of 2016. This is far more than just another new product announcement, it’s the result of years of effort from the Microsoft resource and development (R&D) team to build a transformative enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that addresses the needs of customers and Microsoft partners.

The next release of Dynamics AX is a significant first step in Microsoft’s redefinition of the ERP space for manufacturers. No longer will their ability to respond to customer requirements and market changes be limited by their software solution. Manufacturers will now have a modern application – built and architected on Azure – that brings the speed, scale, and flexibility of the Microsoft cloud to life.

For businesses in every sector, the importance of speed, connectivity, business insight, and operating intelligently cannot be overemphasized. But in the manufacturing space, there is an additional need for more connected operations. Whether they need to accelerate new product introductions, agilely execute on the shop floor, or effectively and intelligently fulfill orders, manufacturers using Microsoft Dynamic AX will have more options and power than ever before.

It all starts with having a system that empowers users to work the way they want to work. As Microsoft technical fellow Mike Ehrenberg explains in his blog, there’s an expectation that for a tool to be effective it must be able to address ‘the right scenarios with the right experiences on the device of the user’s choice.’

When user expectations are fulfilled by a solution like this, improvements happen across the board. There is visibility throughout the organization. Business productivity and process optimization become the norm. Key insights are gained through enhanced analytics. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The simple fact is this: with Microsoft Dynamics AX, manufacturers will prosper.

Microsoft Dynamics is an enabler of the next generation of businesses. We’ve validated our research with customers and partners to get direct feedback into our R&D process. Manufacturing customers told us they wanted more powerful analytical capabilities and recommendations, and they now have the ability to analyze their supply chain and make predictive determinations to ensure they have the right product, in the right quantity, arriving in the right place at the right time. This is not just the power to view or have access to data, but now having the ability to take this information and turn it into action.

It’s an exciting time, and manufacturers are smack in the middle of the convergence of many technologies like IoT, business and operational intelligence, predictive analytics and advanced production capabilities. With an ERP solution such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, manufacturers can take advantage of these technologies to make them industry leaders. It’s real, it’s happening now and it’s enabled by a Microsoft solution built on Dynamics AX and the cloud.

Bill Moffett is the global industry senior product marketing manager for manufacturing at Microsoft

Microsoft has responded to the customer demand for more powerful analytical capabilities