Monday, November 14, 2011

AX 2012 for Retail history summary and how it got to where it is today

Microsoft had two primary Point of Sale (POS) solutions in their Dynamics software stack: Retail Management System (RMS) and POS 2009.  These solutions were great for cash and carry retail operations that had a few locations and could handle a fair amount of volume without a problem.  They handled all of their backoffice functionality in smaller accounting solutions like Quickbooks and PeachTree to name a few. 

For larger companies, Microsoft's Dynamics AX (Axapta) solution was the obvious choice for their backoffice applications as these smaller accounting solutions were not capabale of sustaining their operations. The issue with these POS products and larger corporations is that they were developed for smaller operations out of the box (OOTB).  The major selling point of large scale ERP's are their abilites to centralize managment of all operations into a single location.  These products had to be adapted for larger companies via third party integrations like ToIncrease's Retail Chain Management (RCM) or Blue Horseshoe's Retail Operations Bridge (ROB) interfaces (for example) in order to integrate RMS to the AX system.
There were two issues with this solution: 1) Not a OOTB integration with a lot of effort in upgrading  and 2) RMS was not a flexible application to allow major customizations like AX was able to.

As many in the AX industry know, AX is VERY customizable.  With this customization power comes great customization responsibility.  As an observation, the larger a corporation was, the more unique requirements their business contained.  This created an obvious limitation of using these solutions as they were not very customizable.  To note, they did not need to be and they did their job extremely well.

In order to bridge these two gaps, Microsoft purchased LS Retail POS and ToIncrease's RCM in order to develope their own, highly integrated, highly customizable POS end-to-end solution for their larger clients.  From this came AX 2009 for Retail.  This was a great product and everyone instantly saw that every implementation had customizations.  I have yet to hear of a single solution that was 100% OOTB.  This was by design as one size does not fit all.

Microsoft will soon release in the third quarter of 2012 (tentative), the AX 2012 for Retail feature pack.  This is currently in the TAP process at the moment.

This is obviously just a high level history of how AX for Retail came to be.  I left some stuff out and may have been too broad in some areas so please comment below if you can help add to this.  I'm always interested to learn the background of stuff...

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