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Microsoft Launches CRM Connector for Dynamics AX

Microsoft has released a new connector to link its Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning solution with its customer relationship management (CRM) solution.

The connector, made available last week, allows for "out-of-the-box interoperability" with either Microsoft's on-premises Dynamics CRM products or with the on-demand version, which is currently available as Microsoft Dynamics 2011 Online. The middleware solution provides new opportunities for Microsoft partners that are building out Dynamics solutions.

Microsoft has previously released CRM connectors for Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV. The company is planning a connector for Dynamics SL, with expected release happening sometime in the second half of this year.

Microsoft also announced last week that it has rolled out a wizard-based tool called the "Oracle to Microsoft SQL Server Data Migration Assistant for Microsoft Dynamics AX." The tool helps customers wanting to make the switch, but Microsoft offered another reason -- it is abandoning support for Oracle's database management system on Dynamics AX. Microsoft announced on Wednesday that future Dynamics AX versions will "exclusively use Microsoft SQL Server." That restriction also applies to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, which is expected to appear on the market sometime in the third quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's partners have been developing solutions using Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail R2, which was released in August. Microsoft's partner Avanade Inc. used the ERP system to customize a Next Generation Retail solution that includes mobile devices in a retail campaign.

Avanade's system uses a smartphone application to detect when a customer enters a store. It then automatically opens a shopping application on the customer's device. The phone can guide a customer through a store and allow a shopping list to be printed. According to Microsoft's announcement, store management gets data from this system to help gauge the effectiveness of sales promos or the store's layout on the shopping experience.

About the Author

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