After running through a number of live customer success stories with organizations like the Lotus F1 Track Team, Ashley Furniture HomeStores, New Belgium Brewing, and Australasian outdoor retailer Kathmandu in Microsoft Convergence’s Dynamics AX general session, General Manager Christian Pederson revealed that Dynamics AX 2012 R3 will make its official entry into the software market on May 1. Microsoft will hold a larger online event to introduce the product on April 10.
Based on Pederson’s descriptions, explanations, and examples, R3 will be an extremely customer-focused release that introduces Azure support for partner-supported cloud deployments.
Various new companion applications will be rolling out to support R3 – including an interactive routing and scheduling app, a pair of Google Glass-like spectacles, new online storefront capabilities, and other operational tools. They all use the cloud as the “connective tissue to tie back into AX,” says Hal Howard, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics ERP Research and Development.
“With R3, customers won’t need all of the expensive extranets and they won’t have to do all of the work they used to have to,” says Howard. “The mobile apps will all communicate with AX over the cloud. And with R3, Howard says Microsoft will certify AX for hosting on Azure so that customers can run their entire environments in the cloud. “You’ll be able to literally spin up a new AX environment in about 15 minutes,” he says.
At the recent 2014 AX Technical Conference, Microsoft highlighted the improved support for Azure-based integration with AX via the Azure Service Bus, which standardizes integration to AX via third party apps.
Microsoft Partner Director Sri Srinivasan spoke to the audience about application lifecycle management and discussed how, with the power of the cloud, “AX metadata allows us to now do things we couldn’t have imagined even a year ago.” Introduced a year ago, Lifecycle Services (LCS) has already been updated 3-4 times a month and Microsoft “plans to continue the cadence of continuous innovation to it,” Srinivasan says, adding that all AX 2012 customers will gain the benefit of lifecycle services and the cloud.
During his presentation, Pederson demonstrated a number of R3’s newest features. With Mark Todd, Kathmandu’s executive director, for example, Pederson showed the simplicity of placing an order online, having different items shipped to different addresses (or, picked up in store), and automatically routing orders to the shop floor – where a 3-D printer was standing by, waiting to manufacturer a pair of multimedia speakers.
Using a production environment that was set up on stage, Pederson showed off AX’s new “shop floor control app,” which promises to close the gap between the planning/development department and the activity that’s taking place on the shop floor.
For the management team at New Belgium Brewing, Pederson demonstrated interactive eyeglasses and discussed their use for cycle counting, inventory control, and other functions both in the warehouse and out in the field. These and other functionalities tie into AX’s growing movement into the warehouse management and transportation management spaces, he said, both of which are playing critical roles in the smooth-running of today’s global supply chains.
By Bridget McCrea, Contributing Writer. Published March 4, 2014
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