Earlier this week, Microsoft Technical Fellow Mike Ehrenberg took the stage at Convergence 2014 Europe to demonstrate Microsoft’s approach to predictive analytics in Dynamics AX, including the use of Azure Machine Learning to drive decision making in AX ‘7′, the upcoming major release.
But there are a range of technical product advances at Microsoft that will also shape the future of Dynamics ERP and CRM. As the company reshapes itself under the renewed “One Microsoft” banner, this week’s event was an opportune time to hear about where, when, and how Dynamics is crossing paths with other products. I sat down with Mike Ehrenberg to learn more about three specific areas of investment: the evolution of Azure SQL, the future of predictive analytics, and the expansion of Lifecycle Services.
Azure SQL matures
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 running in Azure will be able to start using Azure SQL as a database almost immediately. Azure SQL support was a requirement for the new release, Ehrenberg said. Use of Azure SQL with NAV 2015 is further along in terms of high availability and disaster recovery. Dynamics AX has not made as much progress yet – Azure SQL will be supported with the next major release, AX ‘7′ in conjunction with Microsoft’s releases its public cloud version of the product.
As a product, Azure SQL has come a long way in the last two years, Ehrenberg says. So much so that he sees SQL innovation now originating in the cloud, and that will accelerate adoption by Dynamics ERP products.
“The [SQL] Team has really pivoted to doing innovation in the cloud product first. So whereas before the cloud product was catching up, now innovation is starting there. One thing we’re testing with an upcoming release will be to have SQL in-memory in Azure SQL. That’ s a huge difference maker for us being able to use it. Performance, scale, dedicated instances, as well as innovation are being done in the cloud first. In particular the in-memory piece is key.”
Internet of Things
The MBS vision for IoT and predictive analytics has gained some clarity this week, and Ehrenberg says the opportunity for relevant insights for Microsoft Dynamics will come from a combination of technology assets.
“For us there are different technologies from the sensor side that are out there. People talk about it in the context of IoT and people talk about it in regard to sensor devices. [We are thinking about how it in terms of] managing those populations of devices in Azure. All these devices are gathering data, they need security, tracking, and there are great management tools in Azure.
“When data comes in, we need to look at large sets of data streaming in, larger sets of data that are at rest, and what to do with that information. We have a data platform from StreamInsight and HD Insight, and the other tool that we’re doing work with is Azure ML. We’re looking at how to apply ML to provide real guidance to business users to predict the next best thing to do.
“The other core dimension for Microsoft is looking at this world with so much data, much of it belonging to the customers. We need to make sure customers have the right visibility of how…click here to read the rest of this article.