Innovating with Business Apps in the Cloud

Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner conference (WPC) is always an energizing event for us as it gives us an opportunity to broadly engage with our partner community, share innovations as well as learn from each other to better serve our customers.

This event comes on the heels of a significant announcement that introduced our next generation of business applications, Microsoft Dynamics 365.  I’m excited about this new offering as it delivers the best of productivity and business processes in the cloud. Dynamics 365 also introduces new common data model– a single platform for building new solutions across all your business apps (sales, service, operations, marketing, finance) giving people a unified view of their business data to figure out the right actions, maximize productivity and deliver amazing experiences for their customers – we are making this real and it is truly ground breaking.

Dynamics AX, Microsoft’s enterprise cloud ERP service built on and for Azure, powers the complete operations business process as Dynamics 365 for Operations – it is a core component of Dynamics 365 that will be available in the fall of this year.

The new Dynamics AX has seen a tremendous response from our customers and partners. The adoption of Dynamics AX in the cloud is the fastest we have ever seen for this product with customers such as AccuWeather, Hagler Systems, Umbra Group, Carglass, Renault Sport F1 Team and other leading organizations in nearly every region across the world deploying the new service to run their business.  For Canadian organizations we announced the availability of the service in preview from the Canadian datacenter regions.

Cloud computing is gaining momentum with 88% of organizations using the public cloud today[i]. To meet this growing need for cloud solutions we are committed to further strengthen the cloud capabilities of Dynamics AX.  One of the key requirements of our customers when it comes to ERP business applications is a need for a mixture of cloud and on-premises solutions – in fact, according to a IDC report more than 80% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud strategy by 2017[ii].

From an ERP perspective, the notion of a solution that is purely disconnected from the cloud in any way, shape or form is not a realistic view in today’s business environment. It is business continuity that is critical and a priority for organizations. This continuity is enabled by a “hybrid cloud” that gives our customers the ability to run business processes and store data across the cloud and their own data centers.

For example, a retail store can’t afford to be down for even a minute… they need to ensure that they’ll be able to run even if they lose connectivity for just a few seconds. Another example – customers with extensive analytics needs – can’t and shouldn’t just rely on data that resides in their own data centers for intelligence – the cloud is now a rich and necessary source of information and to get the best analytics, businesses need to leverage all available data sources.

A true hybrid cloud, is pragmatic and combines the best of cloud and on-premises environments. We are committed to delivering a solution that supports that hybrid cloud strategy; from customers that want a pure cloud ERP system to customers that want to run their ERP system in their own data centers complemented with cloud services.

To deliver on the promise of hybrid cloud, the key investments we are making in the new Dynamics AX include:

  • Giving the solution elastic scale so the largest customers can run their complete business in the cloud.
  • World-class privacy, security and compliance to give customers peace of mind that their information and data are safe.
  • Providing customers an unmatched service experience that enables their people to focus on what matters most to their business.
  • And of course, enabling hybrid cloud scenarios.

Stay tuned as we will share a lot more details about each of these areas in the upcoming weeks.

Last week, we also announced Microsoft AppSource, a new destination for business users to find and try out line-of-business SaaS apps developed by Microsoft and our partners. At launch Microsoft AppSource contains more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs, including 50+ solutions that are designed for the new Dynamics AX.

We are also continuing to invest in our current on-premises solution in the market, Dynamics AX 2012 R3. Earlier this month we released Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU11 update.  We are also extending mainstream support for Dynamics AX 2012 R3 an additional three years until October 2021 so customers can be confident that their investment in this solution is secure for years to come.

It’s never been a more exciting and opportune time to be in the business apps space and I look forward to the upcoming year and what we can do with our partners to help our customers achieve more.


You can view the full recording of my session at WPC, Driving Enterprise ERP Business, below.




[i] Cloud Computing Trends: 2015 State of the Cloud Survey; RightScale. Feb 2015

[ii] IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2016 Predictions — Mastering the Raw Material of Digital Transformation; IDC, Nov 2015