This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com and can be found here.
As my agency transitioned from a traditional online marketing services provider to a performance-based agency, we started to work with much larger corporate clients -- we require a minimum daily digital ad spend of $10,000. I encountered several different ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software solutions being used over the past several months.
This software allows a company to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate several back office functions related to technology, services and human resources. It integrates all angles of an operation -- product planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing -- in a single database and user interface.
ERP software is very slick, and very expensive -- some companies spend five-figures and some spend millions of dollars. Along the way, Microsoft Dynamics AX has stood out as a superior ERP solution, and here are six reasons why this could-first option is a winner.
1. Convenience of cloud-first software.
Working in the cloud has many convenience benefits, including automatic updates. No more having to update software -- that’s all handled in the background automatically.
The full cloud environment installation takes no more than 60 to 90 minutes to complete. The disaster recovery and development testing is a breeze, and many companies love the simplification of production environments and reduction of backup servers needed when working with a cloud-first piece of software.
This also enables scaling based on need, meaning you don’t pay for what you’re not using and adding or removing users is simple and immediate.
2. Smart intelligence.
It’s possible to make decisions that are both more accurate and actionable by leveraging the insights and data that you are able to pull through integrations with popular CRMs and Office 365.
Users can connect their Microsoft Dynamics AX to PowerBI.com in order to incorporate the data, reports and metrics that have been pre-configured by the user. This transforms the data into rich visuals, which is much easier to digest and analyze than raw data.
3. LCS (Lifecycle Services) equals fast deployment.
Microsoft has put a lot of emphasis on Lifecycle Services (LCS), which features tools that enhance the efficiency and shorten the time with their system guided procedures and controls. It’s highly scalable, making it easier to manage the entire lifecycle of the software, from conference room pilot, through go-live, and on to post-implementation support.
4. Use of Visual Studio and .NET Framework.
The development environment has deep integration with the Dynamics AX7 Application Object Tree (AOT), even though it’s been moved to Visual Studio. The native X++ language is still the primary development language for AX7 but is now considered the same as any other .Net language such as VB and C#.
X++ is now considered a “first class citizen” .Net language by Microsoft and developers still need extensive knowledge of X++ to customize any of AX7’s base features.
5. Personalized workspaces result in more productivity.
For current Microsoft Dynamics AX users, role centers are now replaced with workspaces. Workspaces are mini applications that help users focus on the most important aspects of their tasks required for the job. It allows them to view and act on what they need from this single task window. All the supporting actions are the same screen -- this provides a custom user experience and improved productivity.
6. Superior UX (User Experience).
Most ERP software solutions have outdated designs and poor user experiences. Microsoft Dynamics AX combines Windows 8 and HTML5 to create a light, modern experience that makes it simple for teams to collaborate and share on.
Cloud-first means that it’s accessed through a web browser, eliminating installs on your equipment and additional servers to handle storage and backups, which is something every IT department loves.