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Monday, January 10, 2011

Official Details about Dynamics AX '6' released, including comments from Microsofts Kees Hertogh

Here we are, kicking off 2011 with a bang for Microsoft Dynamics AX! Next week in the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2011 Technical Conference, in which the primary focus in on Microsoft Dynamics AX '6'.

To kick things off, Microsoft today did a press release, in which official details about the Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' product was released. A direct link to the Press Release can be found here.: Microsoft Previews Next-Generation ERP

This press release was well covered by both MSDynamicsWorld.com, here: Microsoft Confirms Details of Upcoming Dynamics AX "6" Version, as well as MaryJo Over at ZDNet, on her 'All About Microsoft' blog, found here.: 2011 to be a big year for Microsoft in ERP


In reading the press release, and extra coverage, I had to many questions that I wanted to get more details about, for the AX '6' news that was released today. So Kees Hertogh, Director, Product Management, Microsoft Dynamics AX agreed to do a phone interview with me.

Below is the result of that interview.:



Q: Kees, one of the highlighted features of AX '6' is the unique model-driven, layered architecture. However this already exists in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. Can you share more details about how Dynamics AX '6' improves this area?

Kees: It is true that the layered concept already exists in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. However there have been a lot of improvements in this area for AX '6'.

One of the biggest improvements, is around enabling ISV solutions to be installed into the same layer, without issue. Before, even with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, one would have to manually compare the code from two ISV solutions, then import, 'fixing' the objects so they could work together in the same layer. Now with Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' that is no longer a need.

The model-driven development aspect somewhat exist in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, however we have really improved on this, as you and I have talked before. (see: Interview with Microsoft's Kees Hertogh)

With moving the application code, and meta-data of the objects to a SQL Server Database, this opens a whole new world for developers and customers with Dynamics AX '6' around model driven development.

For example, now with a single click, web forms can be generated from rich client forms, with no extra coding needed. This, along with other things will be shown during the keynote of next weeks Dynamics AX 2011 Technical Conference.


Q: Kees, the second listed bullet in the press release, focuses around Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' Pre-built interoperability with products like Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 & Visual 2010. This too though, actually exists 'technically' with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. Can you shed some light on how Dynamics AX '6' improves or offers more in this area?


Kees: For us this is a big area of improvement actually. It is true, that at the server level, and some at the client level, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 has interoperability with the above mentioned products. However, not at the level you are going to see next week at the Dynamics AX 2011 Technical Conference.

You see a lot of our compotiers, for example, need middleware to ineract with products like Microsoft Office 2010. This is true at the server and client level. What we have done with Microsoft Dynamics AX '6', is get rid of the need for any such middleware, ineractions through COM, etc.

So for the client interop, we are blurring the lines between Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' client, and Office 2010. By this, I mean for the user experience level. Making the UI's more similar, having functionality within Office, that can more natively interact with Dynamics AX '6' out of the box. This does not mean that Office 2010 can replace the Rich Client of Dynamics AX '6'. However it does mean, that for the user, that loves to Excel - which happens to be the most widely used piece of software in the world - then that seemless experience will now exists, with having to do nothing more than install Dynamics AX '6' and Office 2010.

For developers, a lot of time is typically spent on getting the right hooks, and defined interactions to take place, in order to have this kind of interop we will now be offering with Dynamics AX '6' and Microsoft Office 2010. These kinds of efforts will save developers a lot of time, when customizing and developing solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' that include Office 2010 and the other Microsoft product stack offerings.

There are also big improvements, for example around Dynamcis AX and SSRS. For more native development, and features that come as part of SSRS, to work more natively, with less headache and setup issues that we have seen before.

These are just two examples, that you will see, along with others at the Tech Conference next week. It's important to note, that this is how we look at interoperability. Both Server and Client. As well as End User and Developer.


Q: Kees, you have mentioned several times in the interview about next weeks Tech Conference, and I know I have been talking about it since last Sept. What do you see as the 'big picture' take away for next week?


Kees: Next weeks Technical Conference should not be seen as a goal, or an end point. It should not be a conference you go to, and then just walk away. It just be viewed as a jump start to you and your companies ramp up plan for Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' release in Q3.

There will be a lot of coverage, with all kinds of great sessions, topics, etc. However, one should walk away and have viewed the conference as the starting point to build their own ramp up for AX '6' with.

This goes for the developer, the implementer and the customer. It's very important that everyone who attends, and is serious about Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' do their homework, and walk away from the conference with a sense of direction for creating their own plans for training, and knowledge sharing within their own companies.


Well once again, I would like to thank Microsoft, and Kees for taking the time to allow me to virtually sit down and pick his brain. I will be attending next weeks, conference - as long as the 7 inches of ice and snow melts away that is currently around me. (Yes that much in Alabama! Roll Ice Roll I guess?)

We have a lot to look forward too next week, and I will be covering the event from my twitter account and this blog.

That's all for now, check back soon as I have a new guest blogger, with his first column appearing at the end of this week. See you then!

Also, for those who are not familiar with Kees Hertogh, below is his bio.:
Kees Hertogh is a director for Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS). He leads the Microsoft Dynamics AX Global Product Management team. In his current role, Hertogh is responsible for developing and driving global product strategy for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

In 1999, Hertogh joined Navision a/s, which was later acquired by Microsoft Corp. Before leading the product management for Microsoft Dynamics AX, he worked in the Microsoft Business Solutions marketing strategy group as director of the group’s competitive strategy, and before that he was a group product manager on Project Green. Before joining Microsoft, he held the position of product director on the MBS management team at Microsoft Netherlands, and was responsible for local product strategy and the local product management and development teams.

Hertogh has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on management accounting from Haarlem Business School in the Netherlands. He also achieved Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) status from the Association for Operations Management (APICS).


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