Microsoft plans to merge its financial, customer relationship and supply chain management offerings in a bid to enhance its appeal to small and medium-sized firms.
The firm has created the Microsoft Dynamics brand which it will use to market these currently standalone business applications.
The brand will replace Microsoft Business Solutions and, according to the Redmond giant, help it align products with its research and development roadmap, formerly referred to as Project Green.
Under the rebranding initiative Microsoft CRM becomes Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Great Plains becomes Dynamics GP, Axapta becomes Dynamics AX, Navision becomes Dynamics NAV, and Solomon becomes Dynamics SL.
Redmond said that the first wave of major releases under Microsoft Dynamics will share common client technology that focuses on a role-based user experience with integration to Microsoft Office.
Future versions of Microsoft Dynamics products will focus on common server technology, including a common process model.
Tami Reller, corporate vice president at Microsoft Business Solutions Group, said: "While Microsoft will continue to use Business Solutions as the name of one of its seven divisions internally, we have decided to rebrand our business solutions products.
"Our strategy is to converge our product lines, and this product naming strategy is a commitment towards our goal. Our branding and product naming strategy is the next logical step in our evolution."
Reller added that the firm's existing business management offerings, including Axapta, CRM, Great Plains, Navision and Solomon, will continue as standalone Microsoft Dynamics products through the first wave of releases.
However, she explained that the "best of" features and functionality of these products will be combined in the second release wave of Microsoft Dynamics delivered in 2008.
Only Microsoft CRM will continue as part of the Microsoft Dynamics business management suite and will continue to be sold as a standalone offering.
According to Reller, customers of any of these standalone products will not be cut adrift when the products merge.
"When the second release wave of Microsoft Dynamics is released, customers will be able to receive like functionality (as available) at no additional licence cost, which is made possible with Transformational Assurance," she explained.
"The Transformational Assurance benefit of the Enhancement Program is that when customers license Microsoft Business Solutions, including the Standard editions, as well as Microsoft CRM, and stay current on the Microsoft Business Solutions Enhancement Programme, they will be able to move to the future business application suite without having to reacquire the functionality they already license.
"This means that customers can move to Microsoft Dynamics on their own timeline."
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