Enterprise System Spectator blog: ERP and enterprise system vendor evaluation, selection, and implementation.

The Enterprise System Spectator

Thursday, October 03, 2002

First look at Microsoft's Axapta ERP system

Yesterday, we got a quick demo of the Axapta product, courtesy of mcaConnect, a new nationwide Axapta distributor. Microsoft obtained Axapta through its acquisition of Norwegian vendor Navision earlier this year. Axapta has not had very much market presence to this point in the US, with few people even having heard of it prior to 2001, when Navision obtained it through its acquisition of Damgaard in the Netherlands. However, Axapta has a fairly strong presence in Europe, where it is positioned toward mid-tier manufacturing firms. In the US, Microsoft Business Solutions is targeting Axapta at mid-tier manufacturing firms of $50-800M in annual sales. Based on what we saw, however, we think Microsoft would do best to aim at the lower end of that range, because the product is a mixed bag in terms of features and functions. It appears to have strong functionality in certain areas, such as a rule-based dimensional product configurator, a knowledge management module (including balanced scorecard), customer/supplier/employee survey instruments, an integrated project management module, and a Web self-service capability. On the other hand, the product is weak on multi-plant operations. For example, although it supports multiple warehouses for inventory control, it does not allow multiple facilities for planning and scheduling (i.e. multi-plant MPS and MRP). That last point alone could disqualify Axapta from many upper mid-market deals.

From a technology perspective, the Axapta product is built using its own development environment called Morphx, that generates a language called X++ (a blend of C++ and Java). I would speculate that, at some point, Microsoft may want to rewrite Axapta using its own development toolset (Visual Studio). But for the short term, Microsoft will probably be content just to run the X++ code through its .NET SDK so that it can operate within Microsoft's .NET framework. It is interesting to note that, because of their use of MS Visual Studio, other mid-market ERP vendors such as Frontstep (formerly Symix) and Made2Manage, are actually "more Microsoft than Microsoft" when compared to Axapta. And I would be surprised to see this change any time soon. It is not a trivial exercise to rewrite an entire ERP system in a new development tool set. Microsoft is more likely to devote new Axapta development efforts to address any gaps in functionality that will be required for it to compete in the US against more established players and to provide integration to Microsoft's new CRM solution. So, my advice to prospective buyers is this: if having Microsoft standing behind your ERP system is important to you, consider Axapta. But if a Microsoft-standard development environment is what you are looking for, look elsewhere for now.

Which brings us to the bottom line: the strongest point in favor of Axapta, of course, is that Microsoft is behind it. When considering the financial viability of many of the other mid-market ERP vendors, many buyers will find this a strong plus. Another strong point in Axapta's favor is its distributor network. There are reportedly 50 resellers in the US with rights to sell the product, of which about 20 are actively building Axapta sales and service groups. Many of these are former distributors of competing ERP Tier II or III products that have fallen on hard times. These resellers are experienced in selling and servicing the mid-market, and they are hungry. We have only seen Axapta in one deal so far in southern California (which it won), but we expect to see it more often as these distributors gain traction.

by Frank Scavo, 10/03/2002 03:27:00 PM | permalink | e-mail this!


Links to this post:


Powered by Blogger

(c) 2002-2016, Frank Scavo.

Independent analysis of issues and trends in enterprise applications software and the strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and disadvantages of the vendors that provide them.

About the Enterprise System Spectator.

Frank Scavo Send tips, rumors, gossip, and feedback to Frank Scavo, at .

I'm interested in hearing about best practices, lessons learned, horror stories, and case studies of success or failure.

Selecting a new enterprise system can be a difficult decision. My consulting firm, Strativa, offers assistance that is independent and unbiased. For information on how we can help your organization make and carry out these decisions, write to me.

My IT research firm, Computer Economics provides metrics for IT management, such as IT spending and staffing benchmarks, ROI/TCO studies, outsourcing statistics, and more.

Go to latest postings

Search the Spectator!
Join over 1,700 subscribers on the Spectator email list!
Max. 1-2 times/month.
Easy one-click to unsubscribe anytime.

Follow me on Twitter
My RSS feed RSS News Feed

Computer Economics
ERP Support Staffing Ratios
Outsourcing Statistics
IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks
IT Staffing Ratios
IT Management Best Practices
Worldwide Technology Trends
IT Salary Report

Get these headlines on your site, free!


2014 Best Independent ERP Blog - Winner

2013 Best ERP Writer - Winner

Alltop. We're kind of a big deal.
Constant Contact 2010 All Star Technobabble Top 100 Analyst Blogs

Key References
Strativa: Business strategy consulting, strategic planning
Strativa: IT strategy consulting
Strativa: Business process improvement, process mapping, consultants
Strativa: IT due diligence
Strativa: ERP software selection consulting and vendor evaluation
Strativa: CRM software selection consulting and vendor evaluation
Strativa: Project management consulting, change management
StreetWolf: Digital creative studio specializing in web, mobile and social applications
Enterprise IT News: diginomica

Spectator Archives
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
February 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
Latest postings