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Microsoft ports Dynamics ERP to Azure

30th Jul 2013
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Microsoft last month announced the launch of hosted versions of its Dynamics GP 2013 and Dynamics NAV 2013 business software.

The Windows developer has several enterprise resource planning (ERP) software families within its Dynamics portfolio and has been keen to emphasise in recent years that they are available as web-based applications running on its Windows Azure application platform.

Announcing that Microsoft Dynamics certified partners can now offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV and GP solutions in the cloud, Microsoft Dynamics ERP senior director Paul White explained, “This means your solution can now be hosted in a secure, private cloud on a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. End users can access the solution using Web or desktop clients, either from the office or on the go using mobile devices.”

But as recent articles on AccountingWEB have made found, Dynamics does not get much acknowledgement from either users or rival suppliers as a serious cloud contender. Sage, for example, has now adapted a version of Sage 200 for Azure - and can do so without the need for a private hosting network.

One common argument from rival cloud accounting developers is that the hosted approach still ties companies into Microsoft’s desktop infrastructure. At the same time, for many larger organisations this could be an advantage, as they now have the option to move existing client/server Dynamics installations to Azure to reap the benefits of cloud - easier deployment with no need for extra hardware, pay-as-you-go subscriptions rather than up-front licence fees, and anytime/anywhere access to data - without the disruption of a major system change.

Gary Turner, a former colleague of White's at Microsoft who is now UK managing director for cloud accounting rival Xero, commented: “It's a logical progression for Microsoft to host Dynamics applications on Azure, not least because they need a solid competitive position against NetSuite and because Sage's ERP partnership with Microsoft on Azure would make it seem odd if Microsoft's own apps sat outside that tent.

“And while our experience is that micro and small businesses instinctively tend to favour the pure, multi-tenant approach for cloud business apps, I imagine there are still a number of mid-sized firms that would prefer to host more complex ERP deployments on their own terms and IT real estate - so as a transition for Dynamics customers this makes sense. Ultimately the market will decide.”

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