Microsoft Unveils Another Incentive Program at Dynamics AX 2012 Launch Event

A month after releasing its Dynamics AX 2012 ERP software, Microsoft on Thursday held a formal launch of the product in a virtual event headlined by CEO Steve Ballmer and Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov. Hoping to pick up some share, the company also announced incentives for customers and partners of Lawson ERP to switch to Dynamics AX 2012.

The move comes just over a week after Microsoft offered customers $150 per seat to switch to Dynamics CRM Online from competitive CRM systems from the likes of Oracle, SAP and

The promotions underscore Microsoft's push to gain more share in its Dynamics CRM and ERP businesses. Microsoft singled out Lawson ERP customers, saying it frequently runs into Lawson in competitive bids, particularly in the midmarket segment. Microsoft also sees Lawson partners and customers as ripe for the picking after Lawson was acquired by ERP vendor Infor and Golden Gate Capital in July.

"What we've heard from their customers, because of the acquisition [by] Infor, is that there's some doubt and some lack of confidence about their long-term roadmap," said Fred Studer, general manager of Microsoft's ERP product line. "In looking at the marketplace, we just thought that was a very good fit and that we could offer something very valuable and impactful to the Lawson customer base."

For partners, Microsoft is offering $10,000 worth of credits to each consultant who obtains a Dynamics AX 2012 certification. The credit goes toward the consultant's first Dynamics AX 2012 deployment. For customers, the company is offering users of Lawson's S3 and M3 software a 50 percent discount off the license fee to make the switch.

Meanwhile, Microsoft used Thursday's launch event to position Dynamics AX 2012 as a more flexible and agile version of the ERP package. It features a model-driven layered architecture that allows for greater customization by developers and partners, while reducing the amount of code they need to write.

"One of the biggest complaints that most people, both in IT and business users of ERP applications, is its lack of agility and its lack of flexibility," Studer said. "What we did with AX 2012 was really break that mold and allow for a much more flexible and agile infrastructure that really enables both business people and IT people to change processes however they see fit."

Microsoft is also touting its support for role-based configuration based on the roles of 40 different types of people within an organization. Dynamics AX 2012 is also designed to offer support for vertical industry solutions, including support for the public sector. Microsoft counts the city of Redmond, Wash. as one of the early adopters of Dynamics AX 2012 (see "City of Redmond To Adopt Dynamics AX 2012 in July").

While Microsoft won't have a cloud-based version of Dynamics AX 2012 until the next release, the company is offering some capabilities that use its Windows Azure cloud service. Among them are the RapidStart, Sites, Payment and Commerce services.

Dynamics AX 2012 has ties to Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2, and works with Visual Studio 2010. It is available in 25 countries and 23 languages.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.


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