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Can anyone tell me about Microsoft Dynamics AX?

Joe Thielmann's Profile

I want to implement an Order Management system. We are primarily an engineering, creative, ID/PD company that manufactures overseas by outsourcing. We do not manufacturer. Many of our products are off the shelf or semi custom. Most of the things we do is procurement of finished goods in the US of goods that are manufactured by a facility overseas. Also a big part of what we do is engineering, design, order management and project management. Our back office system is Microsoft Great Plains. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you, Joe

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Why wouldn't you implement the Great Plains equivalent?

Axapta, the last time I look at it (several years ago - IBM owned it) was very well made.

Or is the question, we need to implement a new accounting system and our GAP Analysis shows our current system(s) is/are lacking in area X,Y and Z?

Check this resource out: https://www.proformative.com/resources/buying-accountingerpcrm-system

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

Dynamics AX is designed for customization. It competes well at a Tier-1 level - so if you are considering AX you need to be considering Tier-1 solutions.

If you think about software tiers there are a few ways to identify them. The simplest is:
1) Tier One - Fortune 2000. Basically you should be $300M to $500M minimum to seriously move to these systems. Yes you can move at a lower level - but you probably won't staff the system support to the level really required - and you won't be able to fully leverage these systems. In truth you won't really get the level of support you want from these suppliers either - unless you are spending the type of cash companies at a higher level receive. Oracle Financials, SAP, AX, maybe one or two others can play at this level.
2) Tier Two - Traditionally the mid market. These are solutions for companies from $10M to $500M - give or take a bit. Some products won't support the full range here - others will. This is where most of the solutions available on the market compete.
3) Tier Three - traditionally emerging or small market systems. This is where QuickBooks, Xero, and other entry level systems operate. These systems are usually easy to implement and low cost - but the trade-offs are less sophistication, control, and scalability.

You can find other ways to segment products by tier - and the expectations you should have for each tier. However it is very important to consider the real investment involved based on what the system is designed to provide.

Now you can find examples of systems used outside of these tiers. AX can fit in the mid-market at the upper levels. However I would beware of anyone telling you they can do a real AX implementation / roll-out at pricing similar to Dynamics GP.

Some specific responses to your question:
1) Dynamics GP is functional - if not the best looking ERP on the market. The sales order area is not it's strongest - so you could look at options to extend that functionality.
2) If you are looking for an option to move to something in the Dynamics family that is mid-market oriented (along with giving you value for what you have invested to date) you could take a look at Dynamics NAV.

Nigel Geary
Title: BI Thought Leader
Company: CFOdecision, LLC
(BI Thought Leader, CFOdecision, LLC) |

Excellent summary from Bob Scarborough @ Tensoft covering the Microsoft Dynamics family.

Since you don't manufacture but you do have international operations I would steer you towards Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) especially if you have under, say, 1,000 employees.

Here's why. AX is a fantastic product but is probably too sophisticated for you with the highest cost of ownership of the Dynamics ERP family. If you are in manufacturing or heavy retail, or think you are going to experience major growth, then AX is a good choice and costs a fraction of the cost of other enterprise/Tier 1 products like Oracle and SAP. Dynamics NAV/Navision, however, is not only more manageable and cost effective for a mid-market company but also has the largest choice of vertical market add-ons from thousands of partners around the world. On the other hand Dynamics GP/Great Plains is a book-keeping system (primarily) and is only supported in a few countries - the English speaking, US accounting-aligned countries.

If you ask a local Dynamics partner they will push the product in which they have most expertise. If you ask Microsoft they will only promote AX in the US (fact). So you would best be advised to decide which product, GP, NAV or AX, first and then see if there is a vertical add-on which works for your business - as this will dramatically reduce both time and costs for you to get up and running. Partners are happy to customize Dynamics but don't do it unless there is no other option - or at least keep customizations to a minimum so upgrade costs are minimized.

My parting advice is also to make sure you select a good business intelligence (BI) solution for whatever ERP you choose. This will double or treble the ROI on your ERP investment. An ERP system only sucks in data and automates business processes - very important to get right. But no ERP system in the world gives you your data back painlessly. Do not believe the sales presentations that say that the ERP comes with BI baked in - it's a myth. Also the CFO and Finance should choose the BI solution for ERP data which suites them, not IT. Go for a self-service BI solution which means little or no day-to-day IT or partner involvement. The same goes for planning/budgeting software which is closely linked to your ERP and BI platform. (If you want to talk to a Dynamics user in product design/marketing that outsources manufacturing to China drop me a line.)

Dr Nigel Geary
CFOdecision
Twitter @DrCube

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