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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2011 is here, and the Clouds are still forming!

Last year, I wrote this article, to kick off 2010.: The Year of the Cloud: How Coming Microsoft Products Will Make Dynamics AX the Basis of New Solutions


In this article from the start of last year, I declared 2010 to be the year of the cloud. After years of talking and Microsoft as well as Google having 2009 filled with beta's and some releases, 2010 can for sure be marked, at least for Microsoft, the Year of the Cloud.

This can also be said, for other companies as well, as for the Microsoft 'All In' marketing tag line, I can bet more partners and customers of Microsoft learned about 'The Cloud' than in any other previous year.

Ending the year, Microsoft taclked the consumer end of the cloud, with commericals showing off Windows Live services and Windows 7 working together.

Also at the end of the year, there was this article wrote, that questions Microsoft's 'All in - bu Dynamics'. The arctile can be found here.:
Microsoft is “All In” for the Cloud, but What About Dynamics?


Also at the end of the year, there was an article by Richard Hunter, who writes at the following location.: A Buyer's Guide to Accounting Software - Online Accounting Software. The article questions Microsoft's 'All in - but Dynamics'. It can be found here.:
Microsoft is “All In” for the Cloud, but What About Dynamics?

In his article, Richard actually does a good job at taking and laying out why Dynamics ERP is not a true cloud solution yet. Such solutions, when looking at ERP, are smaller ones. Lower end ERP solutions, that don't have the deep product level that products like Dynamics AX has.

Also, for example, cloud based solutions like NetSuite, and others, are very scary solutions. What happens if NetSuite, and their *cough* single point of failure goes belly up? They don't pay their bills? Where do you think that customer data will be?

Getting taking out of the leased Datacenter space, and sold! Scary if you ask me for sure!

Beyond that however, and going back to the fact, that those who are demanding cloud based only ERP solutions are smaller shops. So when hunter points to this fact.:

""Most Importantly, if Microsoft did commit to moving Dynamics to the cloud, would the market be ready?""

He goes on, and I agree, to answer with a sure No! And this is the truth. Sure some companies are, but the fact still remains that trust is an issue with the cloud.

Taking to the point of Hunters post, he asked what is our take? Being involved deeply with the Dynamics Community, and have been writing about cloud computing for nearly 5 years now as it relates to AX, I have the following thoughts.:

Microsoft Dynamics ERP will be 100% cloud only, or on premise - and a hybrid mix of those offerings by choice of module.

Attending Convergence 2010 last April, Hal Howard, and Mike E., both stated in the Future on ERP, that Microsoft Dynamics ERP will be developed actually for the Cloud First. Just as Dynamics CRM is now.

What will run on Azure, and therefore take on the benefits of scale, will also run on-premise, or in a hybrid mode.

And that last peice, the hybrid clouds, where some things are on-premise while others are in the cloud, will be the normal selection for most companies that use the cloud and ERP, for the next 2-3 major release cycles of Dynamics.

Within the next 2-3 major releases, I am predicting that you will see a formal plan for Dynamics ERP.

That is a single source code, development, workflow, that takes and offers - depending on size and needs, the best of breed from all the current Dynamics offerings.

I believe deep now as well, that Dynamics AX, being the flagship of the Dynamics ERP brands, will be what Dynamics ERP mostly looks like, when that 2019-2021 release of Dynamics ERP takes place.

So yes, I am putting a year out there.: 2019-2021 Is when I believe that Dynamics ERP will exist.

By this time, what we know of cloud computing will be changed in a dramatic way. What we view the cloud today, is like viewing the internet now, compared to the dial-up days of the 90's.

In this area and realm, we will see were is truely does not matter to the end customer if it's on-premise or not.

Now take a step back and look towards Dynamics AX '6.0' and what we have been publicly told on this blog and other resources by Microsoft Dynamics Team. SOA within Dynamics AX. That means the ability to split out modules, which is a step to take and this module and that module on-premise or not.

The move for the kernel in AX '6.0' to be wrote in IL, or MSIL, which is to say .Net based kernel. This means, running on Azure, or services possibly running on Azure.

Now I am not saying AX 6, is the cloud version of Dynamics AX. That's never been said by anyone I have interview at Microsoft, and I doubt very seriously that will be the case.

Instead, we are seeing a move, along with the some rate of customer or Market readiness, that allows the creation of services in the cloud, that can be used with a Dynamics AX investment. As these Hybrid clouds build out, and the years go on, more and more can live in the cloud, vs. on-premise...

Still, and most important to understand, a choice will exists. Because even when Cloud Computing of the future, in that 2019-2021 time frame arrives, still then there will be plenty of companies that will not use the cloud as much as others.

Even with it's ability to scale, the cloud, like all ways of creating, consuming and serving software and services - has it's pros and cons.

We also must look at a product like Dynamics AX, which sits on the top of the Microsoft stack, and see that it must lag behind Microsoft's move into the cloud. Technologies must be developed, frameworks must exists and be tested, so that when released, a business system, or system of record like Dynamics AX, is released and it works!

When it comes to the CEO, the Product Manager, the Buyer, the CFO. Technology is great, but it better work. If it does not work, or is not trusted... it can be the best, but it will only be the best peice of crap that company will never use.

To finalize, Richard has a timely post, and one that I hope makes everyone question and think. However I do believe we know how this is playing out for Dynamics, and that Microsoft is doing this correctly. Building this out, as the rate the market is ready for it.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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1 Comments:

Blogger Evgeny said...

Dear George,

nothing can interest an ERP consultant less than that. Sitting in a dirty corner at a plant in Eastern Europe with no stable Internet connection and trying to find a way of bringing a barcode label under a wrapping foil onto a dusty pallet, I can only laugh. A cloud cannot help me with a bulky label printer either, such a shame.

Kind regards,
Evgeny

12:03 PM  

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