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Microsoft Dynamics AX: Feels So Good

Along with pretty much everybody else in the world, your editor got a live demo last week of Microsoft AX 2009, one of Redmond's Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning suites, which is generally available this week.

Other bloggers and commentators have mentioned how the latest version of AX looks like a showcase for the Microsoft technology stack (which it does indeed, Mary Jo Foley) and how AX might be moving Dynamics closer to SAP's market territory -- something we've suspected and written about for a while now.

But, if you'll allow us to gush for a minute, what struck us was how pretty AX's interface is. OK, so it's based on the Office 2007 "ribbon" look, which isn't actually our favorite. But it's still the simplest-looking, most easily navigable ERP interface we've ever seen. And, as we've said before, that's a major selling point for Dynamics partners.

After all, why do you think SAP was so interested in getting an Office front-end in the Duet product? Because Microsoft still does user interfaces better than most vendors and much better than most ERP vendors. And that might help users actually use AX rather than try to avoid it.

"You don't want to spend the IT budget in user training," Kees Hertogh, director of Dynamics AX product management at Microsoft, told RCPU during the demo. "The value of ERP is having all the departments connected to each other. The more people who use it, the higher the value."

It's the Microsoft party line, of course, but it makes sense; complexity is the enemy of ERP adoption, and Microsoft has made its interface simple and attractive. Now, maybe other vendors have something comparable, but they don't often come by and give us demos. So, SAP, Oracle and the others: If you think your products' look and feel can compare to that of AX 2009, bring it on. You know where to find us.

For a look at an AX 2009 demo, check out this link -- but be forewarned: It'll launch Windows Media Player.

Posted by Lee Pender on June 03, 2008 at 11:54 AM