Talking Dynamics

Is Dynamics AX Moving Too Slowly for Retail?

With the NRF Retail’s Big Show happening this week in NYC, we thought it was time to ask whether Dynamics AX for Retail – Microsoft’s retail-focussed ERP solution – is really living up to its name.

There has been a lot of buzz in recent months about Microsoft’s new, focussed and consolidated efforts to drag Dynamics AX into the 21st century. Even we were surprised by some of the ERP’s new features, which include Skype for Business conferencing with up to 10,000 live spectators.

Pretty impressive stuff. However, we felt it the right time to see whether Dynamics AX Retail is offering all it needs to be to satisfy the fast-moving retail industry.

New Focus on Dynamics AX for Retail

According to Microsoft General Manager of Dynamics Retail and Commerce Solutions, Ashvin Mathew: ‘With the new Dynamics AX Retail and Commerce solution, we’ve made it easier for retailers to deliver a seamless Unified Commerce experience across all customer touch points, channels and devices.”

This comment demonstrates a clear commitment to Microsoft’s own directives: to offer a ‘mobile-first, cloud-first’ solution that improves productivity for individuals and organisations.

Just some of the new features included in Dynamics AX Retail include:

  • Tying together multiple catalogues
  • Pricing and promotion management
  • Omni-channel shopping carts with secure payment processing
  • Integrated store environments
  • Wish lists
  • Order history
  • Loyalty programs
  • Recommendations based on Azure Machine Learning (now referred to as “Microsoft Cortana Analytics Machine Learning”)

Market Expectations

While the above list of features are probably music to the ears of retail industry leaders, is Microsoft going far enough to meet consumer demand, particularly given the changing nature of the retail environment.

  • In the UK, retail footfall is expected to decrease2% year-on-year
  • Retail parks are set to buck the trend with a predicted traffic level 3.9% increased on 2015
  • Consumer sentiment is strong, and will increase
  • Retail sales are set to increase by 1.6%

With consumer expectations at an all-time high, retail and e-commerce solutions need to be more innovative than ever. So are the above changes enough?

Good… But Not Enough

It’s clear that Microsoft has a clear direction for their Dynamics AX Retail solution. With new features like fast-action pricing and promotion and omni-channel shopping carts with secure payment processing, Microsoft is stepping up to the plate when it comes to customer expectations.

However, that Microsoft has to rely on so many external partners and VARs to deliver retail implementations suggests that Dynamics AX Retail could go further. Away from Dynamics, at the NRF Retail’s Big Show, Microsoft is busy showing off its other retail-targeted services like vending machine tech that runs on Azure, in-store phone app and near-field comms tech.

We think it would be better for Microsoft to integrate all of these technologies under the AX Retail banner and consolidate their offering. This sort of streamlining has been successful for Microsoft in the past, and we think it would work well for them here, too.

So, to summarise, Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail needs to consolidate more technologies to give it a chance of living up to consumers’ expectations.

If you’re a Dynamics AX professional and you’re looking to create amazing retail-focussed AX experiences, visit our Dynamics AX jobs search page at Conspicuous. You can also get in touch with our specialist consultants in the UK and the US on +44(0)1483 233 000 and +1 646 878 6426 respectively, or email us on admin@conspicuous.com.

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