Microsoft dynamics AX was merged with Microsoft along with NAV with the merger of Denmark based company Navision A/S. This software was officially released as Microsoft product in March 2006. This version differed from previous versions in terms of connectivity with other Microsoft application, a .NET connector was provided, CLR interoperability was introduced, data exchanges through XML through application integration framework was incorporated and new service management module was introduced too.
Version AX 2009 is the latest release of Microsoft dynamics AX with additional features and to make it operable for large organizations with many divisions and medium sized companies. The architecture of Microsoft dynamics AX comprises of four major components, database server, file serve, application object server and client interface. Application object server is the place where all Axapta operations take place. This ERP from Microsoft come with core Axapta modules and extended modules, it also provide external components for additional features such as an enterprise portal built on share point services, Microsoft SQL reporting services, project server integration and Microsoft dynamics mobile development tools.
Dynamics AX serves manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries mainly, it has provisions for lean, discrete and process manufacturing. For distribution and wholesale apart from normal features, multiple bin inventory, available to promise, improved features for better supply chain management and CRM integration with application are available. The traditional core features of Microsoft dynamics AX are not completely sufficient to support retail industry but with Axapta's extended features mid-size companies, retail chains or companies working at enterprise level can handle their activities with this ERP. Axapta is also used by management, accounting and financial services companies along with companies providing professional services. Project management module of Axapta helps in managing projects as well as financial transactions, billing and matching resources with the assignments.
Microsoft dynamics AX comes with true object oriented model with MorphX as its proprietary integrated development environment. The language used for development is X++. This makes it highly customizable software which can suffice the needs of different industries and sectors. But the need of customization has made it the most costly software in the Microsoft dynamics family and it faces stiff competition from other products like SAGE and Aplicor.
Microsoft dynamics AX may not be suitable for all types of industries with its core modules, it needs lot of customization for fulfilling demands of various industries which makes it costlier and also stretches implementation process longer to reduce ROI. Even the core software is the costliest amongst all Microsoft dynamics ERP solutions. Lean manufacturing support is also criticized by the user for some flaws in value streaming which works against the ERP's credibility. Though scalability and customization is easy but too much customization disturbs the ease of working and increases dependency on the vendor or IT professionals.
Microsoft AX has come up with good solutions like partner hosted software as a service model and e-payment, connect services and commercial services for retail industry, but even these options are available with enhanced business model, it requires a balance between its core product and extended product to make it a more viable option.