News

City of Redmond To Adopt Dynamics AX 2012 in July

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 won't become available until August, but the city of Redmond, Wash. -- coincidentally home to Microsoft's headquarters -- will begin implementing the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in July.

City officials in Redmond worked with Dallas-based and Microsoft Gold Certified partner Tyler Technologies, as well as Microsoft, for about two years, contributing to the development of Dynamics AX 2012, which was unveiled in January.

The city of Redmond is a new ERP customer for Microsoft, although the city early on joined Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program (TAP) as a participant, explained Charlie Johnson, global industry product director for the public sector for Microsoft Dynamics.

"Part of the process and distillation over the two years [under the TAP participation] is that we expose them to what we're developing [and] our specifications, and seek their input," Johnson said in a phone interview. "There are several things that the city of Redmond has provided back to us as far as how we can improve the product and make it better. So that before the product goes out for general release, we've in essence gone through the processes with the city of Redmond [and] incorporated their comments and improvements...to make it better for all of our public-sector customers."

The city currently is using a 5-year-old JD Edwards solution for its budgetary control, procurement and financial reporting. The move to Dynamics AX 2012 was prompted, in part, by the mayor's initiative to update the city's technology to provide services to the community. That refresh effort was part of what Mike Bailey, director of finance and information services for the city of Redmond, focused on when he joined the city about three years ago. Bailey previously served with the city of Renton, Wash., which had long worked with Tyler Technologies on ERP needs.

"One of the top projects and needs on the [mayor's] project plan list was a refresh of the financial system functionality," Bailey said in a phone interview. "At that time, we didn't know what path that would take." He added that the city wanted to put better technology into the hands of its departmental branches. The ERP system is not just for use by Bailey's personnel but it's meant for others to use and designed to more efficiently share information.

"We don't want to make accountants out of a parks manager, a fire battalion chief, or a road transportation manager," Bailey said. "But we want to give them the sort of tools to do their jobs well." He added that it's a two-way street, as the city will expect accountability from the departments using the new system. The city also wants to make it easier for interested citizens in the community to track the city's compliance. The JD Edwards system was a less flexible tool, being "very locked down, very inaccessible," Bailey said.

The switch to a new ERP system represents a big transition for the city because all of the data structures are different, Bailey explained.

"We are going to displace all of the functionality that we currently are getting from the JD Edwards solution with the Dynamics solution and/or we're going to use Tyler's payroll [system] in the interim," Bailey said. "In this day and age, everything's in SQL databases anyway, and we can pretty much map a lot of the master files that we want to port over and not have to reenter [data]."

In addition to replacing its current ERP system with Dynamics AX 2012, the city plans to go live with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 upgrades in the same July timeframe, according to a Microsoft blog.

The city is paying $150,000 for the Dynamics AX 2012 upgrade, which was budgeted by Redmond's City Council. Bailey said that ERP implementations of such a size can range between $5 million and $10 million, according to some estimates. Johnson said that part of the reason for the discount was the city's input given to Microsoft over the past two years.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

Featured

  • Image of a futuristic maze

    The 2024 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    Everything Microsoft partners and IT pros need to know about major Microsoft product milestones this year.

  • Microsoft Sets September Launch for Purview Data Governance

    Microsoft's AI-powered Purview solution to address governance and security challenges is set to become generally available on Sept. 1.

  • An image of planes flying around a globe

    2024 Microsoft Conference Calendar: For Partners, IT Pros and Developers

    Here's your guide to all the IT training sessions, partner meet-ups and annual Microsoft conferences you won't want to miss.

  • End of the Road for Kaspersky in the United States

    Kaspersky on Monday said it is shuttering its U.S. operations, just days before a nationwide ban on sales of its security software was set to take effect.