Microsoft continues to build up the stack for its Dynamics ERP line. This time it's bought what it calls core technology that will flow into Dynamics AX.
Specifically, it bought process manufacturing technology from Fullscope Inc., a professional services solution from Computer Generated Solutions Inc., and retail technology from both LS Retail EHF and To-Increase Denmark A/S. Terms were not disclosed.
At least one of these ISV partners, Fullscope, was part of Microsoft Business Solutions' Industry Builder initiative, which put partner-built solutions on the Microsoft price list as if they were home-grown products. Sources say that Industry Builder has been shuttered.
Dynamics AX, formerly known as Axapta, is one of four Microsoft Dynamics ERP lines and the one most that competes most directly with SAP's mid market ERP offerings. In that arena, customizing applications to meet end-user needs is critical and Microsoft executives positioned the technology buyout as a way to add features and functions to ease further customization.
The acquisition of third-party technology continues Microsoft's push add functionality to its core ERP lines, moving up into the "white space" where ISVs and VAR partners typically do customization. Many VAR partners do application customization work themselves and could view Microsoft's push up the stack as unhelpful to their own business.
Still, some VARs who were briefed on the news said the addition of these features and functions to AX is helpful.
"They've bought some key functionality for professional services and are putting it into the plumbing. That will let us extend our products more easily into various verticals," said Dan Fine, president of Fine Solutions, a Seattle-based Dynamics AX and GP partner. Things like time sheets and billing should all be in there, he added.
The alternative is to build out that functionality internally or to add other solutions, like [Compuware's] Changepoint, that can add cost to the end user solution, Fine said.
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