Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer wasted little time during his keynote speech before expounding on how the company is committed to delivering all of its Dynamics ERP products in the cloud, yet did not share many details on exactly how or what products would get there in any specific time frame.
Ballmer enthusiastically greeted the crowd of over 9,000 Dynamics partners and customers from around the world at the Microsoft Convergence 2011 conference in Atlanta, recounting the company’s recent ad campaign of being “all in” with the cloud. He recognized that there is significant business demand for cloud-based business applications, along with competitors already delivering applications, and vowed that all of Microsoft’s ERP products would—eventually—follow the path of Dynamics CRM.
“Every one of our products will be engineered to take advantage of the full benefits of the cloud,” said Ballmer. “Our mission is to transform complexity into simplicity and give you agile solutions so you can be dynamic. A key part of delivering this commitment is to deliver our solutions in the cloud. I think the fact we launched the latest version of our online CRM product before the on-premise version should show our commitment to the cloud.”
Ballmer noted that Microsoft’s approach to releasing cloud ERP will be somewhat staggered to meet individual business needs. He expects that some companies will want full Software-as-a-Service, while some will want a hybrid of on-premise and hosted products, and some will remain with on-premise software.
Talk of the cloud also centered around other Microsoft products outside the Dynamics line, specifically upcoming releases of Office 360 and Windows Azure — the next-generation, cloud-based Windows platform.
Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, reiterated Ballmer’s views on the cloud, stating it is a core part of future product releases.
“The question often comes up about putting core ERP in the cloud, when and how,” said Tatarinov. “Business applications to us are not just a tool, not just a product -- it’s the entire ecosystem. Whatever we do, we bring the ecosystem with us as it relates to ERP, and it is important for us to take the entire ERP ecosystem into the cloud.”
The keynote speech ended with the announcement and demonstration of a beta version of Dynamics AX 2012, which, while not cloud-based, is designed to be a highly customizable Dynamics product without the need for writing any code.
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