REDMOND, Wash. – Sept. 6, 2005 – At its first ever Business Summit event for midsize companies, Microsoft is announcing Microsoft Dynamics™, the new brand of financial, customer relationship and supply-chain management solutions for small and midsize businesses, large organizations and divisions of global enterprises. The new brand will replace Microsoft Business Solutions going forward and represents Microsoft’s strategy to align its products with its research and development roadmap, formerly referred to as “Project Green,” which centers on a people and process-centric design approach to deliver breakthrough innovation in two significant release waves.
Microsoft Dynamics will be reflected in the following release cycles:
Microsoft CRM becomes Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains becomes Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Microsoft Business Solutions-Axapta® becomes Microsoft Dynamics AX.
Microsoft Business Solutions-Navision becomes Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Microsoft Business Solutions-Solomon becomes Microsoft Dynamics SL.
This first wave of major releases under Microsoft Dynamics will share common client technology that focuses on a role-based user experience with deep integration to Microsoft Office. Future waves of Microsoft Dynamics releases will focus on common server technology, including a common process model that combines the best business processes from each of the releases.
Tami Reller, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Group
This iterative approach for introducing Microsoft Dynamics into the installed base is what customers are looking for: a staged migration that preserves their existing investments while receiving the benefits from Microsoft’s significant investments in research and development.
To learn more about this branding strategy, its implications on customers and business partners, and the process of selecting Microsoft Dynamics, PressPass spoke with Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Business Solutions Group.
PressPass: Why did Microsoft decide to re-brand its business solutions products?
Tami Reller: While Microsoft will continue to use Business Solutions as the name of one of its seven divisions internally, we’ve decided to re-brand our business solutions products to make our customers’ purchasing decisions easier and to accurately reflect our innovation roadmap. We believe this makes it easier for customers to know that Microsoft has an offering for businesses that want financial management, supply chain management and customer relationship management solutions. Our strategy is to converge our product lines, and this product naming strategy is a commitment toward our goal. Our branding and product-naming strategy is the next logical step in our evolution.
PressPass: Why is Microsoft Dynamics a good name for “Project Green” and Microsoft Business Solutions?
Reller: We undertook and completed a significant research project that was amongst the most extensive naming research projects Microsoft has ever done. We conducted hundreds of interviews with business decision makers and IT decision makers in the U.S. and international markets. These interviews yielded a number of findings, including that our customers and partners strongly prefer a brand that is suggestive rather than merely descriptive or fanciful. Participants responded positively to Microsoft Dynamics because it suggests the energy and motion that helps move a business forward. Additionally, it suggests the idea of flexibility and adaptability of the product because something that is dynamic is always changing and reflects the environment they are asked to perform in. Lastly, Microsoft Dynamics is consistent and aligns with Microsoft’s naming convention, thus strengthening the entire portfolio of Microsoft brands.
PressPass: How will the new name be implemented?
Reller: The transition will occur over time as “Project Green” technology enters the market in our different products. You will start to see Microsoft Dynamics and corresponding product names appear in marketing materials in line with the release cycles of our products. Between now and the end of 2006, we are making major releases across our core product lines. You will see the name appear in the product lines in conjunction with these releases.
Other products developed by the business group such as Microsoft Point of Sale, Microsoft Retail Management System, Microsoft FRx or Microsoft C5 will remain branded as they currently are and not incorporate Microsoft Dynamics.
PressPass: Why now?
Reller: This is a natural next step as we move to a converged product line and it’s consistent with what we have been saying about our roadmap. We are doing this to make our customers’ purchasing decisions easier when Dynamics ships.
PressPass: While you’re moving toward a converged product line, don’t separate products still exist today?
Reller: Yes. Multiple business management solutions exist today including Microsoft Axapta, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Great Plains, Microsoft Navision and Microsoft Solomon. These will continue as versions of Microsoft Dynamics through the wave 1 releases. These products will embrace more of the same look and feel, with elements such as contextual business intelligence, a more similar and intuitive user interface and user experience, and a greater emphasis on portals, with an increased integration with Web services. The “best of” features and functionality of Microsoft Axapta, Microsoft Great Plains, Microsoft Navision and Microsoft Solomon will show up in the second release wave of Microsoft Dynamics, which will be delivered in 2008. Microsoft CRM will continue as part of the Microsoft Dynamics business management suite and will continue to be sold standalone.
PressPass: So, suppose you have a business that relies on what’s currently called Microsoft Business Solutions—Axapta. This business upgrades over the next few years to more current releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX. And then, one day, there’s Microsoft Dynamics. What does that customer do then?
Reller: The huge benefit to customers is that they can run their businesses more effectively with the most modern business applications suite in the industry. Additionally, all product lines go forward. We have a program in place called Transformational Assurance, so that our customers’ investments are secure. When the second release wave of Microsoft Dynamics is released, customers will be able to receive like functionality (as available) at no additional license cost, which is made possible with Transformational Assurance. The Transformational Assurance benefit of the Enhancement Program is that when customers license Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta, Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains, Microsoft Business Solutions–Navision, Microsoft Business Solutions–Solomon, including the Standard editions, as well as Microsoft CRM, and stay current on the Microsoft Business Solutions Enhancement Program, they will be able to move to the future business application suite without having to reacquire the functionality they already license. That means customers can move to Microsoft Dynamics on their own timeline.
PressPass: What does the switch to Microsoft Dynamics mean for your customers?
Reller: I think it means a new level of opportunity. We’re focused on developing and enhancing our solutions so that they more deeply work like and with all the other great technology offered by Microsoft. Beneath all of that, we can provide our customers with a couple of core differentiators, which are affordability and adaptability, both of which are critical to the success of our customers.
PressPass: What has been the reaction of industry partners to Microsoft Dynamics?
Reller: The partners have been working with us in defining the feature set for Project Green and are pleased to see the fruits of their collaboration finally shipping as Dynamics. Partners we’ve talked with are very enthusiastic about our commitment to bringing together the best of today’s business application for a very powerful, unified solution in the future. Unveiling Microsoft Dynamics is a significant step in the process of moving in this direction, and they’re confident that the Microsoft Dynamics brand will resonate strongly with their existing and future customers. They are also pleased to see that all of our marketing efforts will accrue towards one brand increasing the awareness of Microsoft offerings.
PressPass: How have customers responded to Microsoft Dynamics?
Reller: Very well. Customers were a key part of our decision making. We conducted hundreds of interviews with business decision makers and IT decision makers domestically and internationally to solicit feedback and input. Our research shows that customers responded well globally to the new name because it reflects the needs of businesses like theirs.
PressPass: When will we see Microsoft Dynamics appear more broadly?
Reller: We will begin to see Microsoft Dynamics in the next major releases of the products. We will also see it in public places like the Web and in other marketing materials. It will be dominant in a new global advertising campaign that we’ll launch in 2006. In the next few months to the next year we will have major releases of all of our flagship product lines. You will begin to see the new brand in the product and in our marketing materials. To assist our partners throughout this process, we’re developing the Partner Implementation Guideline, which identifies key dates associated with executing the new brand in all collateral.