Specifically targeting midsize and enterprise specialty retailers, Microsoft has announced an updated version of its Dynamics AX for Retail to be released in February 2011. Made generally available in August 2010, the initial release was available in 16 countries. AX for Retail R2 is offered in 38 countries.
Additionally, Microsoft is now partnering with JustEnough Software Corp., a provider of demand management solutions, to offer retailers a full suite of merchandising and allocation solutions combined with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Dynamics AX is now aligned with JustEnough Merchandise and Assortment Planning as well as Allocation and Replenishment.
Two retailers are the first to adopt the partner offering: Sally Beauty Supply, which operates more than 2,700 stores worldwide, and Icon Live, a jewelry retailer with outlets in more than 40 countries.
Touted as an end-to-end-retail solution, Dynamics AX is designed to centralize the management of POS terminals, optimize merchandising capabilities, enable multi-channel payment, and scale for global deployment.
A number of retailers from around the globe have selected Dynamics AX, including Swiss Farms, Bailey Banks & Biddle, J&R Electronics, Logitec, New Look, Carol’s Daughter and China Horizon.
Swiss Farms, a drive-through convenience store retailer, implemented Dynamics AX to help grow its franchise operation. “We needed to be able to scale more rapidly as we begin our franchising efforts, and it was important to be able to integrate our sales points with back-office financials,” said Swiss Farms President Paul Friel. Dynamics AX is enabling the retailer to track franchise sales, customer loyalty, inventory and web order, he noted. The retailer is expecting to add 100 franchises within by 2015.
Dynamics AX for Retail R2 offers the following enhancements:
- Retail Role Centers to more efficiently mine data
- Expanded loyalty scenarios
- New interfaces for assortment and item management
- Global expansion including new localizations and translations
Microsoft CRM 2011 For Business Users
For the first time outside North America, Microsoft has released a cloud version of a new software solution before it is offering the on-premises and partner-hosted versions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online became available globally on Monday, January 17, said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Dynamics CRM Online is available in 40 markets and 41 languages. The global release for the other versions is scheduled for February 28, 2011.
More than 11,500 customers and 2,000 partners have participated in beta-testing for CRM 2011, and qualified customers are receiving promotional pricing through June 30, 2011.
Several customers who participated in beta testing have offered testimonials for the product. “We needed a flexible solution that supported both our back-end technology requirements and the .NET skills of our IT department,” said Mike Shea, chief operations officer, Ceridian. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 gives Ceridian an extensible contact center application that we can rapidly deploy and extend across multiple business units using the existing .NET skills of our IT professionals.”
Using the tag line “The Power of Productivity,” Microsoft reported that the new product offers the following three key capabilities:
- Deeper integration with Microsoft Office tools
- Improved intelligence through new ways to visualize data and analyze details
- Comprehensive connectivity with people, processes and data from inside and outside the organization