Microsoft makes IP swoop to fortify ERP offering

Posted on 23 Sep 2009 by The Manufacturer

Microsoft Dynamics has made an intellectual property coup d’etat by acquiring four IP solutions in one hit to further its support of five focus industries, including manufacturing.

The acquisitions are of the IP of existing Microsoft media partners, not the companies themselves.

Fullscope is a process manufacturing solution which will build upon Microsoft AX capabilities in ERP. AX was primarily designed for the made-to-order market for applications like discrete manufacturing. Fullscope provides an extra layer of functionality to allow AX to be better suited to the requirements of process manufacturing.

New York-based CGS is a resource management tool that provides MS Dynamics with more service-oriented capability. “In the service industry particularly, software is configured in specialised vertical layers,” says Phill Battersby, director, ERP Field Product Marketing & Management, MS Dynamics. “Customers today do not always want a single fit, off-the-shelf product but want more customisation. These IP solutions bolt-on to the core ERP layer, Dynamics, and provide modular customisation.”

The third and fourth IP solutions expand Dynamics’ capability in retail. Retail Chain Manager provides store management, point of sales and merchandising functions and is acquired from To-Increase of Denmark, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia. LS Retail is a retail management package that was acquired to integrate with RCM and Dynamics to provide a single end-to-end ERP solution, from planning and manufacturing to retail to the end customer.

“When looking at full ERP solutions the market can look forward to unprecedented levels of innovation in the coming years,” says Battersby. “Microsoft is not just buying up IP and companies to swell its size, it is investing heavily in ERP solutions and intends to deliver fast capabilities to companies of all sizes. Manufacturers are doing very many different things today so they are greater need for a single, integrated ERP,” he adds, stressing the Dynamics’ open architecture means it can still talk to other third party legacy ERP systems.

Dynamics’ core market is of mid-sized companies of 50 to a few thousand employees. Battersby says one advantage with Dynamics as ERP is it has a Windows-based architecture which is familiar to many people through experience with widespread MS products like Word.

Analysts and the trade publication IDC have recently valued the global ERP market to be worth in excess of $20bn.