Microsoft Dynamics AX in the cloud - Today and Tomorrow
With the release of Microsofts Dynamics AX 2012, one of the more interesting topics that is whirling around, centers on AX in the cloud. One of my most earliest blog post, about this topic comes to us way back in 2007 with, ERP Live? "Software plus Services"?
It's always interesting to revisit past writings, that opine about the future. That take a stab at what might be, and compare to what is. This same interest drives me to talk about what my thoughts were then for AX 6.0 / 7.0, and what we might see with ERP, or AX in the Cloud.
With all of this said, I've posted a really decent guide, back in April of this year, that really still holds true today. It covers the basics of what is AX in the cloud, and what are some of the things we know will be AX in the cloud for tomorrow. You can read that post here.: A Guide to Microsft Dynamics Cloud ERP - Dynamics AX.
From my 2007 post, ERP Live? "Software plus Services"?
"As most everyone should have seen at Convergence this year , a big part of Microsoft's furutre plan is CRM and ERP Live."
Well this was a dead on prediction. CRM Online is a huge focus for Microsoft, and Dynamics ERP Online is just getting started.
From the post:
"Well if we look at the future, as laid out by the Microsoft Crystal Ball [aka: Road Maps] we will see how all of these convergence of technologies, etc. are being shaped towards the future of the information worker. Let's start with the future front end, for a given information worker. In the not to distant future, most information workers will complete their job on a SharePoint Portal Mashup page, made up of web parts and weblets. These web parts will draw from Dynamics AX, CRM, and other places, and make use of Word Documents, an Excel spreadsheets as web parts."
Here again, we see this as the truth. Microsoft, with AX 2012, is Blurring the lines between Office, AX and SharePoint. The vision that Microsoft laid out, in which I talked to in AX 2012, has become a reality, here with AX 2012.
From the post:
"his means the same underlying technologies, that will provide role based user interfaces, will exists for role based, or better process based work flows of data and executed business logic. See with the S+S mashup, the entire cloud is not one single giant service, but rather services interconnecting multiple softwares, to offer up a single sign on, and single user interface"
Single user interface has not happened yet, but I fully expected that in AX 7.0. However, if you take what I said then, with the role based focus, better process work flows, and a hybrid cloud experience, then here again we see the vision that Microsoft was putting together then, is coming true.
From the post:
"There will be for some time, and even after the Live versions, customers / companies that host their own clouds that make up their solution, and that they control."
This is also very true. There will be companies, that when even AX 8 comes to exists, will not have much of their solution living in the cloud, than what is required. This is from the sheer fact of reality, and how some companies work. Scale it the gain, and showing that scale to larger corporations can sometimes be lost in the technical how to, and how come. Bottom line, Choice is key, when it comes to AX in the cloud, and that will remain for many, many years to come.
From the post:
"[Most I see will be a hybrid of half / half.] That means that after Dynamics AX 6.0 or 7.0 [Same version for CRM] that will we start to really see the different flavors of Dynamics, ie: AX, GP, SL, etc., come together in this ERP / CRM Live vision and become one product, with different levels of implementation for operation, functionality, and size."
I still hold to this belief. That beyond AX 7.0, is where we see the lines merge between AX, GP, NAV & SL. I'm not saying that the other products that are not AX, don't exists in so form. What I believe will happen is Microsoft with Dynamics ERP, and depending on the size, and desired flavor, what is delivered in the Dynamics ERP offering, will be a blended beast of breed from the family of Dynamics ERP offerings that exist today. If I'm right or wrong, time will tell.
From the post:
"To Not go on to much about this, what I would like to wrap up here with is that ERP and CRM Live are the future of the products we Dynamics AX and CRM professionals support and focus on. This means that we must start to shape our current skill sets to the following:
- AJAX, RIA, SiverLight [And still Flash]
- Office and it's full compliment of products
- Web services
- .Net 3.0, 4.0 and beyond"
Now I was dead on about these technologies, and what we as Dynamics Professionals need to understand now. What I did not mention, and can replace some of the SilverLight and Flash, is HTML5 UI. However beyond that point, all of the technologies that I talked about four and a half years ago, are exactly the skills needed to be successful with an AX 2012 (v 6.0) implementation today.
Obvious there are a lot other skills that will make one a success, but for sure the above listed technical disciplines are needed.
The bottom line for this entry post, is that the paradigm that is cloud computing is here, and here to stay. It will forever change how we look at computing resources, and how we solve business domain issues. You can either embrace this fact, or shun from it, and become something of a relic.
On-Prim will continue to play a vital role in the successful implementation of the total solution that makes up an AX project. However, the doors are open, and within a few short years, in some form or fashion, every single AX project will have some form of cloud computing involved with it's implementation. Dont believe me, look to RapidStart Services. If your implementing AX within the next 4 years, You will use this service, or you will not be implementing AX. This service alone, makes every AX project, impacted by the technology that represents cloud computing. To that end, every AX project from AX 2012, going forward, will have some facet of it, relating, depending, extending, and adding value through what we call cloud computing, as of today.
That's all for now, but check back soon, as a whole lot more to come. Till next time!