Microsoft Adds Dynamics Suite for Retailers

New Dynamics suite targets retail industry.

Microsoft has rolled out a turnkey solution that ties front-end customer relationship management (CRM) functions with back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management systems.

The company used the National Retail Federation show in New York last month, historically the largest gathering of technology professionals in the retail and consumer packaged goods industry, to showcase its Microsoft Dynamics for Retail solution.

The suite ties together Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, which provides a front-end interface for business operations including CRM, financials supply chain, business intelligence and other operational functions; the Dynamics Retail Management System, a point of sale platform with both in-store and headquarters components; and Retail Chain Manager for Dynamics AX, which includes modules to support pricing, inventory, campaign and store management, as well as various reporting functions.

Microsoft Dynamics for Retail is targeted at a large swath of retailers, though not the big-box stores such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. Inc. Instead, Dynamics for Retail is intended for chains that have large numbers of smaller stores such as jewelers, record stores, clothiers and wineries, says Michael Griffiths, Microsoft's group product manager for the Dynamics suite.

Better Decisions and Customization
Retailers using the combined system will have access to real-time data that will allow lines of business to make better pricing, merchandising and promotional decisions, according to Microsoft.

Developers can customize the solution using the Dynamics SDKs, which allow them to expose APIs that support standardized Web services to create calls that can change the characteristics of transaction business logic, payment processing or, say, characteristics of customers and suppliers.

In conjunction with the rollout, Microsoft showcased the first customer of the new solution, the Dallas Cowboys, which has its own specialty retail stores with 29 separate operations ranging from apparel to oil and real estate, according to Griffiths.

"They've been able to consolidate all of those into a single platform," he says. "Now they have a consistent look and feel."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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