In this 4th of a 5 part series, we identify yet another member of the family of ERP products collectively called “Microsoft Dynamics.” The previous 3 posts covered Dynamics in general here, then Dynamics SL here, and Dynamics GP here.
Dynamics AX became a part of the Microsoft family via its acquisition of Navision which had just earlier merged with Damgaard, creators of Axapta (now AX). Both products were developed and headquartered in Denmark, and a merger seemed reasonable in 2000, when both products were gaining wide accolades for their power, functionality, advanced platforms, global view, modifiability and, simply put, their ability to “wow” prospective customers.
Axapta has always been praised for its power and deep set of features. It boasts a full suite of accounting functionality, and far beyond, with strong capabilities in supply chain and manufacturing environments. In industry surveys, Axapta (now AX) has rated higher in functionality than any other ERP product, including SAP and JD Edwards.
That being said, with that power comes a level of depth and complexity that causes deployments to be measured not in weeks, but in months or years. The costs to do so, as can be imagined, reflect this. When we first looked at the product over ten years ago from a reseller’s perspective, we passed because a typical system would start, at the low end, at maybe half a million dollars. While prices have declined since then, the same is not true of installation complexity, and the consulting, training and services costs associated with AX are still very high today.
AX is a highly customizable product, and therein lies much of its appeal. For larger companies with complex needs and the budget and timeline to match, it’s as good an ERP product as you will find. Just don’t expect to be up and running either cheaply or quickly – despite what sales promises may hint at.
AX is a global product, featuring multiple languages, multi-currency support, and wide area capabilities. The product is written in a language derivative of C++, a very modern development environment, and uses Microsoft SQL as its database repository. Like Navision (now NAV), the AX development team is headquartered still in Copenhagen.
AX is really built for the larger company, or at least the upper end of the SMB marketplace. It can be tailored to support the exact needs of businesses ranging from pure service providers to full-fledged manufacturers. And it integrates very well with a wide range of Microsoft products, as is to be expected.
As a truly global, customizable product, AX is a solid, well-regarded and established ERP offering. But it’s not for the faint of heart, and to this day, implementations in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, all services considered, are common. While the software pricing itself is temptingly modest, the implementation is daunting, and priced accordingly. If you want the best, and can afford it, look no further. Just go in with open eyes – and checkbook.