Microsoft Dynamics AX makes a strong showing in the visionary category of the 2015 edition of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for ERP
In the latest iteration of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Single-Instance ERP for Product-Centric Midmarket Companies we find Microsoft Dynamics AX once more among the visionaries, with a greater completeness of vision than all the other nine companies considered and approaching the top tier when it comes to ability to execute.
Magic Quadrant published shortly before a major Dynamics AX update
In introducing the Magic Quadrant, Gartner analysts provide a detailed explanation of their view of the field and selection criteria. According to them, product-centric companies such as manufacturers and distributors tend to have the largest sets of functional requirements for ERP systems. In the research for this Magic Quadrant, Gartner focused on the needs of companies that have multiple business units and do business in several countries. ERP, says Gartner, has entered a postmodern phase, in which operational and administrative business functions are automated and connected within an integration practice delivered by a vendor.
Gartner allows that the Magic Quadrant is based on a snapshot of Microsoft Dynamics AX that might soon be somewhat outdated, given that the release of AX 7 is planned for the first quarter of 2016.
Positive outcomes of technical and organizational changes
Gartner presents improvements in Dynamics AX as part of a consistent momentum that has gone on for four years. Dynamics AX is considered effective for the companies in its target industries, especially with Dynamics partners adding vertical functionality to the product. The Magic Quadrant authors feel strongly about the value of Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) because it provides customers with high levels of control and manageability, and will also help make Microsoft’s licensing more competitive.
Recent organizational changes at Microsoft contribute to the position of Dynamics AX in the Magic Quadrant. The ERP system is no longer handled through a separate entity, but falls within the same company structure as other divisions and their products, so it has better exposure and greater support. Along with that, Dynamics AX also has gained native integration with leading Microsoft products and technologies, including Office, SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which will make it a compelling solution for many companies.
Few cautions and vast enterprise potential for Dynamics AX
Cautions pointed out by the Magic Quadrant team are fewer than in 2014 and reiterate some of the same points. Microsoft and its partners find it challenging to meet global demand for Dynamics AX. Licensing has certain limitations when companies require read-only access but have to purchase a full license; however, this concern will be addressed in the upcoming release.
A third caution is really just pointing out that the next release of Dynamics AX will have a contemporary Windows interface, and companies upgrading to AX 2012 in preparation should do their due diligence in planning their environment.
Gartner coined the term “ERP” in 1990 and has been tracing the development of enterprise business software through a gradual evolution. Some larger To-Increase customers, such as HNTB, would probably fall outside the implementations Gartner has in mind for the Magic Quadrant, because they create and execute on their own integration strategy. Or, like Alfa Laval, they are performing multiple implementations of Dynamics AX, not the single one that is considered in the framework of the Magic Quadrant. It’s worthwhile to note that also outside of the confines of the Gartner Magic Quadrant there are more, and more varied, customer scenarios where Dynamics AX moves into ever-larger enterprises.
If you want to learn more about To-Increase support for Dynamics AX, especially the imminent new release, please get in touch with me or contact To-Increase.
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