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Convergence Europe: Dynamics CRM Online Arriving January

Microsoft today announced a few developments in its Dynamics product lines as it kicked off Convergence 2010 Europe, starting in London.

The event is being showcased by Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president at Microsoft Business Solutions. He's on a three-city tour that will also hit Prague and The Hague. Tatarinov emphasized the high-level cloud integration plane for the Dynamics line, which includes four products offering enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

"The innovations delivered through our Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions either in the cloud or on-premises provide people with relevant business insight, enabling them to make more-informed decisions and become more productive," Tatarinov said in a released statement.

Other airy cloud integration views came from Mike Ehrenberg, a Microsoft technical fellow and chief software architect for Microsoft Dynamics. In a Microsoft-produced interview, Ehrenberg promised "time to value" with Dynamics cloud integration, suggesting that it would enable quick provisioning and ease-of-use for end users. He also suggested that Microsoft would be able to tap the Windows Azure cloud computing platform with cloud-based Dynamics solutions, although he wasn't specific about what that might entail.

The Convergence 2010 Europe event delivered a few bits of news, mostly expanding on earlier Dynamics announcements made this year. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online both will have launch events sometime in January next year, the company announced. The beta of Dynamics CRM 2011 is currently available, having been released in September.

In addition, Microsoft announced a new promotional price for Dynamics CRM Online of $34 (31 Euros) per user per month for the first year of service. This deal, which will be available to new customers, will start when Dynamics CRM Online is launched in January. The offer will end on June 30, 2011.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail will be available in 22 new markets on Feb. 1, 2011, according to Microsoft's announcement issued today. This ERP solution for retailers was launched in August in new markets in Asia, Europe and South Africa. The expanded markets planned for next year include "Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungry, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey," Microsoft indicated. All told, Microsoft will have reached 38 markets by the February expansion date.

Microsoft plans to roll out new features for developers working with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2, which was unveiled in May. Microsoft's announcement wasn't specific, but it explained that the new development features would help Microsoft's partners "develop, set up, configure and customize vertical solutions for customers." The new capabilities will be rolled out in December of this year.

Microsoft also announced the general availability of its two-tier connector that lets Microsoft Dynamics AX work with the SAP Business Suite. The connector was first unveiled in May. According to this two-tier connector concept, an organization's headquarters might use SAP's ERP solution while its branch subsidiaries might use Dynamics AX. This architecture leads to cost savings for organizations and simplicity for end users, according to Microsoft.

Finally, one of Microsoft's products got a nod of approval from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI produces a framework that organizations can use to measure their "economic, environmental, and social performance," according to GRI's Web site. The GRI certified that the Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX is compliant with GRI's standards. This tool, which is currently available, estimates the carbon footprint of business processes.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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