Convergence: Tatarinov Talks Usability
Microsoft gets it. One of the main roadblocks -- probably the main roadblock
-- to a successful ERP implementation is usability, or, more specifically, users
simply refusing to navigate the eye-glazing, brain-scrambling screens in front
Knowing that, Microsoft is hammering the message at Convergence that Dynamics
applications are easy on the eyes, and, by extension, on the brain. In his keynote
today, Microsoft corporate vice president and still new Dynamics honcho Kirill
Tatarinov spent the bulk of his stage time showing screen shots and getting
into the nuts and bolts of how easy Dynamics is to use. His speech was short-ish
on talking about new functionality and very long on waxing about the apps' user-friendliness.
And that's as it should be. Sure, ERP and CRM applications have to be useful,
providing all the requisite functionality that companies need and what not,
but they're fairly useless if, well, nobody uses them. Nobody in the ERP market
understands that quite like Microsoft, what with Redmond's many years of experience
in designing and selling broad-use applications such as Microsoft Office.
"What we're delivering here is a very rich visualization technology that
allows you to view very complex data," Tatarinov said in his speech. "Just
like people love their Zune, they love their smart phone, we want people to
say, 'I love Dynamics!'"
Hmm. (Pause for laughter -- well, your editor laughed, anyway.) Uh, Kirill,
are you sure that you wanted to use the Zune as an example of something people
love? Well, anyway, we understand what he means: Enterprise software should
be something that's pleasurable -- or at least not torturous, as we doubt that
too many people actually enjoy using ERP applications -- to use. It's a strong
message for Microsoft and one that should continue to carry Dynamics into more
and more companies.
Tatarinov also talked about Microsoft Connect, the portal through which users
can suggest changes to Dynamics interfaces and vote on favorite or least-favorite
features. Further to the theme of connecting with users, Tatarinov reinforced
that Microsoft is now publishing the "direction" of forthcoming Dynamics
suites -- as in, what they're going to do -- 12 to 18 months before the suites'
The Dynamics dynamo also went over the roadmap for the years to come. He said
that AX 2009 would be available by the end of the year -- although Microsoft
has also told us first half 2008. (A PowerPoint slide also listed the date as
Q2 2008, so we're guessing that Kirill made a small mistake in his speech.)
Beyond that, expect this release schedule:
AX 2009, Q2 2008
NAV 2009, second half of 2008
POS (Point of Sale) 2009
Not to be forgotten, Tatarinov also mentioned that all Dynamics suites now
include support for Windows Essential Business Server, the version of Windows
Server 2008 for midsize businesses.
Posted by Lee Pender on 03/12/2008 at 1:21 PM