News Analysis: Microsoft Dynamics AX Acquires IP For Four Industry Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics Demonstrates Continued Industry Solution Investment

Today's announcement focuses on the Microsoft Dynamics AX product line.  Key facts include:

  • IP acquisition only. Microsoft acquires the intellectual property (IP) for three four industry solutions.  These solutions build on the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform.  Microsoft has not acquired the companies or personnel.   Fullscope, Inc.; Computer Generated Solutions, Inc.; LS Retail, and To-Increase (Columbus IT) remain fully independent and partners within the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem.

    :  Unlike other mergers and acquisitions, Microsoft embeds proven and market tested solutions into the core code base.  IP acquisitions provide immediate value without the typical hassles of post-merger integration.  Placing the IP into the main Microsoft Dynamics AX code line ensures consistency.
  • Commitment to upper mid-market requirements. Mid-market sized businesses require deeper levels of vertical and industry functionality.  Today's announcement demonstrates a commitment to expanding manufacturing, service industries, and retail capabilities.
    Last mile solutions make or break upper-mid-market organizations.  Creating a broader set of common industry capabilities that sit on top of core Microsoft Dynamics AX accelerates both Microsoft and its partners ability to extend vertical capabilities.  Theses solutions come from partners with proven records in delivering to customers.

Acquisition Focuses On Industry IP From Proven Partners
Partner IP selected for acquisition represents the most successful and recognized solutions within the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem.  Customers can immediately access professional services and process manufacturing capabilities.  Retail solutions will be shortly announced.  Key details for the three industries include:

  • Process manufacturing from Fullscope, Inc. The process manufacturing solution encompasses the entire process manufacturing life cycle and addresses engineer to build.  Key verticals supported include chemicals, food & beverage, life sciences & pharmaceuticals, pulp & paper, and primary metals.  Fullscope garners many Microsoft awards including Partner of the Year for 2007 to 2009.
  • Professional services from Computer Generated Solutions, Inc. The professional services solution provides project based solution (PBS) capabilities that track time and expense, improve project profitability, and optimize resource utilization.  Key verticals supported include advertising & marketing, architecture & engineering, government contracting, legal services, and management & IT consulting services.  CGS was recognized as a 2007 Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle member.
  • Retail solutions from LS Retail EHF and To-Increase (Columbus IT)*. The LS Retail  solutions focus on delivering end to end retail and POS integration to Microsoft Dynamics AX.  Key features include 6-level item hierarchies, auto item creation, pricing management, purchasing, distribution, loyalty programs, concession management, and hand held support.  The solution is optimized for fashion retailers though other verticals have successfully deployed this product.
    To-Increase A/S,
    the software development arm of Columbus IT,
    provides Retail Chain Management solutions.  Key features include both front office (CRM) and back office integration.  The solution includes features such as centralized campaign management, pricing management, inter-company trade, integrated return management, credit risk management, multi-currency, and online Axapta POS integration.  Columbus IT has seen succes in key industries such as Furniture, Gas Stations, Groceries, Healthcare & Cosmetic, and Sports and Fashion.

The Bottom Line - Microsoft Dynamics AX Users And Partners Can Expect More IP Acquisitions
Building off the experiences from Industry Builders Initiative (IBI) and Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD), the latest strategy by the Microsoft Dynamics team to accelerate industry vertical innovation for customers and partners provides a pragmatic approach.  Customers expect Microsoft to take the lead in orchestrating common industry capabilities while also providing a stable platform for core Microsoft Dynamics AX capabilities.  Acquiring the IP of proven solutions in the market plays to Microsoft's strengths by leveraging the ecosystem for innovation while embedding key common business processes.  The result - a more predictable roadmap and a single architecture for customers and partners to expand on.  Pending the success of these IP acquisitions, one can expect more to come as this becomes the model to most efficiently deliver on industry vertical innovation.
Your POV
As an SMB, do you feel Microsoft has the right level of depth in its industry offerings?  Are you in the midst of an SMB ERP vendor selection and are confused by all the choices?  As a partner, do you feel this approach is fair to your investments?  Look forward to your comments or hearing from you.  Post your comments or send a direct email to r at altimetergroup dot com or r at softwareinsider dot org.
* (added 9:23 am GMT-8:00)

Copyright © 2009 R Wang. All rights reserved.