RealTime IT News

Microsoft's Dynamics ERP to Gain New Services

Microsoft said it is readying two new online services, and one updated online service, for its Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package -- all to debut next year.

The company also said that its ERP hosting business has more than doubled in the past year as it moves more of its software and services business into its emerging Azure services cloud.

Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) timing is good. Its Azure cloud services platform is scheduled to exit beta testing in early 2010 as well. "Our customers increasingly appreciate the option of moving certain applications and services into the cloud while maintaining an on-premise option for their ERP solution," Crispin Read, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics ERP, said in a statement.

Microsoft's moves come at a time when it is increasingly targeting ERP rivals like SAP, Oracle, and Salesforce.com with its evolving cloud services play.

The new services include Sites Service, which is built on the Windows Azure platform, as well as Commerce Service. Meanwhile, Microsoft is also working on an expansion of its Payment Service.

ERP systems have evolved over the past 30 or more years into collections of functions and add-ons that can be custom integrated into business-wide systems that cover the whole gambit of corporate information processing needs.

That includes connecting point of sale systems, online e-commerce applications, and other sales mechanisms to supply chain systems, customer relationship management (CRM), order processing, warehousing, accounting, decision support, and other corporate functions.

The new Sites Service for Dynamics ERP will enable developers to create and manage Web sites from within the ERP application, according to Microsoft's statement.

"For example, people can easily create landing pages for marketing campaigns, dedicated request for quote sites to get quotes from business partners, sites for product registration information and customer feedback, human resources sites for job recruiting, and sites on anything that the customers would want to reach out to their community on," the statement said.

The new Commerce service will enable developers to build multi-channel commerce systems, linking ERP products with various e-commerce technologies. These include "business-to-consumer e-commerce marketplaces, dedicated e-commerce storefronts, or built-in shopping cart functionality."

Meantime, Microsoft has just signed agreements with CyberSource and Pensio to add their payment processing services to those already supported by the Payment service, which will let users process sales transactions across multiple channels. The company had previously signed up First Data Merchant Services Corporation, for processing major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal.

More such agreements will also be concluded in the near term, the company said.

As for doubling its business, Microsoft said it has now recruited more than 150 partners to deliver subscription-based Dynamics ERP solutions worldwide.

The new payment service providers are slated to come online during the first quarter of 2010 while the Sites and Commerce services will go live sometime during the first half of next year, the company said.