Microsoft Dynamics AX is one of four products in Microsoft’s Dynamics family of business solutions. AX was originally developed and marketed in 1998 by Damgaard, a Danish software company. Damgaard merged with Navision Software A/S in 2000 and was called NavisionDamgaard then Navision A/S. The combined company was acquired by Microsoft in 2002. Before the merger, Axapta was initially released in March, 1998 in the Danish and US markets. Today, it is available and supported in forty-five languages in most of the world.
AX development and modification is done with a proprietary Integrated Development Environment (IDE) called MorphX. The Development language is X++ and is one of the few products based upon a true object oriented model.
As Microsoft’s flagship ERP product, AX is receiving a large share of R&D and channel development investment from Microsoft. The product is highly tailor-able, but is the most complex and costly to deploy of Microsoft’s Dynamics family. Microsoft views AX as the likely product to allow them to pursue the enterprise ERP market and is investing in the product to address that space. There has been a fairly strong push by Microsoft’s channel management organization to encourage the larger regional and super-regional partners in North America to develop AX sales and implementation capacity. This push has resulted in a large number of new entries into the space whose product knowledge is not as deep as it is in other products.
Because of the product’s European roots, several of the concepts use Euro-centric terminology that has caused some frustration to North American users. Also, as the most powerful of the Dynamics line, AX has developed a reputation for being the most expensive to implement. It is still usually less expensive than Oracle or SAP, but is more expensive than its mid-market competitors.
AX has developed a strong Industry Builder program that is fostering the development of many vertical industry-specific applications.
Dynamics AX is largely a horizontal accounting software system, however, has adapted the financial product for the below industries.
Apparel manufacturing and distribution;
Dynamics AX accounting software strengths include the following:
Strong international/localization capabilities and support;
Good multi-currency management support;
Strong role-based security and functionality;
Offers an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) software solution.
Dynamics AX accounting software weaknesses include the following:
Euro-centric terminology is awkward in North America;
Most expensive of the Dynamics accounting software lines.
Dynamics AX primary competitors include Sage MAS 90, MAS 200 and Epicor. Interestingly enough Dynamics AX also competes with other Microsoft Dynamics lines.
Other competitors include QuickBooks and Accpac as well as the on-demand ERP and accounting software products from NetSuite, Aplicor and Intacct.
Microsoft’s strategy for its Dynamics products has changed several times. Early on, the stated plan was to develop a common code base (called project Green) with each of the four product lines maintaining its user interface and vertical specialties. The scope and cost of that effort have proved daunting, and Microsoft has restated their commitment to each of the product lines with each missed milestone. Most analysts agree that it will not be cost effective to continue development in all four products and the discussion has turned to which products will survive.
Dynamics AX Software Evaluation
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