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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dynamics AX in the Cloud. When & why?

Recently over at MSDynamicsWorld.com an article was posted by one of my peers, Jeff Onesto. The article is: What Is the Future of Microsoft Dynamics AX in the Cloud? Being Upfront About the Obstacles

He brings up good points, of how this is looked at from an OpEx point of view, for controllers and also risk that are involved with this, that are not being addressed, including security.

I think the following two sentences sum up the article well, though I recommend a full read of it.:

"Unfortunately, when it comes to mission critical business applications such as ERP, the model appears to be bit immature for many customers, and with too many questions left unanswered regarding security, control, regulation and speed."


"Until many of the other issues I have discussed are resolved, though, I don't forecast the demand for enterprise business applications in the cloud will change and without demand I don't anticipate Microsoft offering Dynamics AX on-demand."

And to Jeff's points in the article I agree that total AX in the cloud is not something that will be in demand, and actually just does not make sense really at this point. May in the very distant future, or to some level like ERPLive.com will possibly offer to smaller instances.

I have wrote a good bit actually about the Cloud, and Microsoft's platform, Azure. The following are some of those post.:

There are more post, but these post actually show and talk about what Jeff points out. We see already AX consuming services and can consume cloud based services. We also CRM / XRM already in action with the same thing, and offering up as being hosted in the cloud if desired.

What must be stressed, just with anything else, is common sense. The post I did in 2007, the very first post was my vision for what I thought the cloud would mean for AX and the enterprise. It would be a Hybrid approach, to where some services and possible LOB applications will / would exist in the cloud while others remain on-premise.

What functionality makes sense to live in the cloud? This is determined by a lot of factors at times, and technology is actually most of the time least, unless the technology is limiting.

Functional ends should drive the means for what exist in the cloud. So it makes sense to have restful data stores in the cloud, that is common shared data among partners and customers. Like Jeff points out EDI for example, and credit card applications / consumptions and processing.

Look at MRP though for example... Master Scheduling. That does not make sense to live in the cloud. When would it make sense? Maybe never. Could be that feeds come into MRP that are cloud based services, but the actual execution, and processing of the outputs from MRP would live on-premise.

Plus adding the cloud, adds actually extra layer of abstraction, and though in cases that makes great sense, sometimes the extra complexity does not.

In the end, Jeff did a great write up, and I think that it's a timely one. It helps bring together what we have been talking about here, over the past two years. The cloud is for sure here, and here to stay. However, like other utilities and toolsets, when and how it is used for ERP should always be driven by the functional ends desired.

Don't get me wrong, being a technically focused consultant I love working with the latest technology. That however does not mean that the latest technology or possibly offering of technology makes sense to address problems at hand.

Thanks Jeff for the great write up, and check back soon here. More Lean coming with two interviews, one from Andrew Rummey the Org. Architect of the Microsoft Lean AX module, from eBECS and also from Dr. Scott Hamilton about is new Lean and AX book.

See you soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Anonymous Dilip said...

Very good informative read. Thanks and keep posting!

12:22 PM  

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