Executive Summary

  • This is the Brightwork Research & Analysis software rating series.
  • We rate both the software and estimate the risk of implementing each application.

MUFI Rating & Risk for Microsoft Dynamics AX

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Microsoft (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

Microsoft has several ERP systems Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP with Microsoft Dynamics AX being the largest. Microsoft Dynamics AX is the premium version of Microsoft’s ERP suite.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is a composite of some acquisitions – including most prominently Great Plains Software. Microsoft has been one of the fastest growing ERP systems in the past few years. A major boost to Microsoft has been its strategy of allowing customers just to buy and pay for components. This is the opposite strategy followed by tier 1 ERP vendors that require the purchase of the entire suite. In fact, this is also quite beneficial for customers as contrary to popular belief; not all companies have implemented ERP. Many ERP proponents have proposed that any company that has not implemented ERP systems needs to – however, we believe that to be untrue. Furthermore, many companies that have ERP systems have implemented only certain modules, and within these modules only certain functionality. Microsoft Dynamics AX has an abysmal user satisfaction level.

Application Detail

Like NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics AX is a faux ERP system. However, unlike NetSuite, its strength is not its financial system. All ERP systems have their strengths and weaknesses, but Microsoft Dynamics AX has been stitched together from whatever applications Microsoft was able to acquire. Because of this, it is the most uneven application we have ever tested. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics is weak in many supply chain functions even though it is not a “finance heavy” ERP system. On the other hand is curiously strong in service parts management. This is simply a consequence of whom Microsoft acquired. Microsoft Dynamics AX is marketed as an ERP system, but it has very weak supply chain functionality.

This is not as negative as it might appear, as in our view it is better not to have the functionality – if it is merely mediocre because then one can purchase a best of breed application and connect it to the “ERP,” system. However, the problem is that many companies that purchase Microsoft Dynamics AX think that this functionality is at least somewhat capable. In our view, it makes much more sense to buy a stand-alone financial system, and then connect best of breed applications to it, rather than to buy an ERP system which is missing so many components of what makes up and ERP.

MS Dynamcis AX SCMSomething, which should be a concern to anyone thinking of the application, is that Microsoft has not done very much with Dynamics AX aside from cobbling together its acquisitions. This brings up the question of whether they will add very much to the application in the future. We think its unlikely that they will. 

Our overall observation is that it is difficult to see how Microsoft Dynamics AX would be anywhere near as popular as it is if it was not associated with Microsoft. Microsoft Dynamics AX has lived off of its integration with other Microsoft products and the fact its account managers can pitch the product to most Microsoft accounts. However, as usual, Microsoft has a lagging product. Microsoft Dynamics AX is also because of its unevenness a confusing product. If your company works in service parts, AX may be a desirable purchased because this functionality is strong. However it is unlikely improvements in AX will come from internal development, but rather from future software acquisitions. However, it’s not clear to us that an ERP system that makes sense can be composed of software acquisitions.

Of course, purchasing Microsoft Dynamics AX also means dealing with the Microsoft “monster” (even though their Microsoft Dynamics website looks so soft and fuzzy) while accessing an application with limited upside.

Dynamcis Website-1

Microsoft’s Dynamics website was so soft and filled with such soft figures, we – for a moment forgot how Microsoft frequently employs brass knuckle tactics with its customers and competitors.

AX has positive buzz because it has been growing well – however, this growth in sales does not appear to be driven by the quality of the product, but instead is due to a change in marketing and sales strategy where Microsoft sales reps are empowered to sell the usage of just portions of the software.

As AX is not a complete ERP solution or offers uneven coverage, it is likely that many of AX’s sales are destined to be at clients that intend to bring up just a small portion of the functionality. We would recommend against the purchase of Microsoft Dynamics AX. It is the weakest of the “new” ERP systems, its user and buyer satisfaction is as bad as it gets, and the fact it is produced by Microsoft does not even provide the illusion of integration that comes when products are purchased from a major vendor.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is one of the few ERP applications that provide a trial.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

MUFI Scores

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • Ma. = Maintainability
  • Us. = Usability
  • Fu. = Functionality
  • Im. = Implementability
AppMa.Us.Ft.Im.Cat.
Average Score for Big ERP5.14.85.25.4Big ERP
Average Score for CRM6.26.25.15.9CRM
Average Score for Small and Medium ERP8.386.78.5Small and Medium ERP
Average Score for Finance8.88.888.8Finance
Average Score for Demand Planning7.67.277.1Demand Planning
Average Score for Supply Planning6.76.976.8Supply Planning
Average Score for Production Planning6.86.976.9Production Planning
Average Score for BI Heavy5.55.36.95.3BI Heavy
Average Score for PLM77.26.87.3PLM
Average Score for BI Light7.78.798.3BI Light
Arena Solutions Arena PLM10101010PLM
AspenTech AspenOne48107Production Planning
Birst88.5108BI Light
ERPNext10107.510Small and Medium ERP
Delfoi Planner866.57Production Planning
Demand Works Smoothie SP910710Supply Planning
Hamilton Grant RM1098.59PLM
IBM Cognos2.731.53BI Heavy
Infor Epiphany7865CRM
Infor Lawson8767Big ERP
Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions9959Finance
JDA DM97.588Demand Planning
Microsoft Dynamics CRM2322CRM
NetSuite CRM6433CRM
Netsuite OneWorld7788Big ERP
OpenERP788.587
Oracle BI4436BI Heavy
Oracle CRM On Demand4535CRM
Oracle Demantra533.54.5Demand Planning
Oracle JD Edwards World4136Big ERP
Oracle RightNow6745CRM
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS10101010Production Planning
Preactor8737Production Planning
QlikTech QlikView99109BI Light
Rootstock9899Small and Medium ERP
Sage X38878Big ERP
Salesforce Enterprise88.597.5CRM
SAP APO DP3432Demand Planning
SAP APO PP/DS2243Production Planning
SAP APO SNP3484Supply Planning
SAP BI/BW1.5242BI Heavy
SAP Business Objects32.573BI Heavy
SAP CRM4364CRM
SAP ECC336.53Big ERP
SAP PLM12.523PLM
SAP SmartOps4475.5Supply Planning
SAS BI6.5796BI Heavy
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting7897Demand Planning
Tableau (BI)9101010BI Light
Tableau (Forecasting)10859Demand Planning
Teradata86.39.76BI Heavy
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)7897Demand Planning
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)56107Supply Planning

Vendor and Application Risk

Microsoft Dynamics AX is one of the simpler ERP implementations. Microsoft has created straightforward configuration screens, a reasonably good user interface and its shortage of functionality means there are far fewer options and alternatives to present to a client than with many other ERP applications.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Likelihood of Application Implementation Success and Failure

Estimates are for a typical project. A specific implementation requires details from the project to make a project-specific estimate.

Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
ApplicationProb of Implementation SuccessProb of Implementation Failure
Actuate0.770.23
SAP Smartops0.390.61
NetSuite CRM0.460.54
Sugar CRM0.620.48
Base CRM0.910.09
SAP CRM0.350.65
Salesforce Enterprise0.720.28
QlikTech QlikView0.820.18
Tableau (BI)0.980.02
SAP Crystal Reports0.460.54
Brist0.830.17
MicroStrategy0.70.3
SAS BI0.760.24
Oracle BI0.350.65
IBM Cognos0.230.77
Infor Epiphany0.580.42
Microsoft Dynamics CRM0.260.74
Oracle RightNow CRM0.410.59
Oracle CRM On Demand0.360.64
Teradata0.760.24
SAP Business Objects0.320.68
SAP BI/BW0.250.75
SAP PLM0.290.71
Hamilton Grant RM0.890.11
Arena Solutions0.960.04
Delfoi Planner0.70.3
Preactor0.640.36
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS0.960.04
AspenTech AspenOne0.550.45
SAP APO PP/DS0.270.73
Demand Works Smoothie SP0.930.07
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)0.820.18
Demand Works Smoothie0.960.04
Tableau (Forecasting)0.90.1
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting0.820.18
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)0.860.14
JDA DM0.570.43
Oracle Demantra0.330.67
SAP APO DP0.280.72
FinancialForce0.920.08
Intacct0.980.02
Intuit QB Enterprise0.80.2
ERPNext0.90.1
OpenERP0.780.22
Rootstock0.910.09
ProcessPro0.930.07
Microsoft Dynamics AX0.40.6
SAP Business One0.490.51
Sage X30.620.38
Infor Lawson0.580.42
Epicor ERP0.40.6
Oracle JD Edwards World0.310.69
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne0.360.64
SAP ERP ECC/R/30.320.68
NetSuite OneWorld0.650.35

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

Two significant issues stick out concerning Microsoft Dynamics AX implementations – one is the limited functionality that Microsoft Dynamics AX has to offer, along with the low quality of information provided by Microsoft regarding their applications. This can put the implementation on the high-risk pathway if expectations are not brought down to what Microsoft Dynamics AX is capable of on an implementation after the sales process is complete.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Small and Medium ERP software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

References