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Overview of the Top 10 ERP Systems

Overview of the Top 10 ERP Systems

Potential buyers of enterprise technologies have hundreds of ERP systems to choose from. In fact, we track the leading 250+ systems in our internal ERP vendor database to help our consulting teams provide data to our clients selecting and implementing new software.

The entire evaluation process can be daunting, which is why we have compiled our first annual Top 10 ERP System Rankings. These rankings – which are 100% independent and based on our quantitative research and experience with hundreds of enterprise and ERP software packages in the industry – are based on five key criteria: market share, time to implement, cost to implement, time to realize benefits and functional scoring from our clients.

You can download the full report here, but in the meantime, here are a few highlights of which ERP systems made the top three in each of the categories we evaluated:

ERP System Market Share

Although this may not determine the “best” systems in the market, it is a good indicator of level of industry adoption and the amount of resources that are spent on research and development. It should come as no surprise that the leading three vendors (SAP HANA, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics 365) fill out the top three.

ERP System Market Share
SAP HANA 20.3%
Oracle 13.9%
Microsoft Dynamics 365 9.4%


Time to Implement

Many organizations fear a long, drawn out implementation timeframe, so looking at what results companies are actually achieving can be a good benchmark. Although ERP implementations for larger organizations can often last years, the following three vendors had the shortest implementation durations: Oracle, Infor CloudSuite, and SAP HANA.


ERP System Implementation Time (months)
Oracle 25
Infor CloudSuite 30


Implementation Costs

ERP implementation costs can range from a few hundred thousand dollars for smaller organizations to tens of millions of dollars for larger, multi-national organizations. That wide discrepancy in numbers can be difficult to make sense of, so we’ve normalized implementation costs in our study to account for different company sizes. IQMS, NetSuite, and IFS are the leading ERP systems in terms of those that can be implemented with the least amount of total cost, as expressed as a percentage of the organization’s annual revenue. For example, a 5% figure would suggest that the average $100M company will spend a total of $5M on their ERP initiative.

ERP System Implementation Cost (% of revenue)
NetSuite 2.8%
IQMS 2.9%
IFS 4.0%


ERP System Functional Score 

Organizations typically purchase new ERP software because they are looking for specific functionality, and each solution in the market has its own strengths, weaknesses and tradeoffs. When we examine the functional scores that our own clients give various solutions in the market, we find that there are three that stand out above the rest. Keep in mind that these scores are average across all functional areas, so it is important to also examine how these systems compare across different business processes (contact us for more detailed functionality scores for all the leading ERP systems).


ERP System Average Functional Score (Scale of 5)
IFS 3.6
Oracle 3.33
Epicor 3.2



Time to Realize Business Benefits 

Finally, our in-depth study also looks at how long it takes companies to realize enough business benefits to justify a positive payback on their initial investment, which can range to a few months to a few years. As the data below illustrates, SAP HANA, Epicor, and NetSuite lead this category.


ERP System Time to Realize Payback (months)
Epicor 8.6
NetSuite 8.7


So what does this all mean to you? First, it means that there are plenty of enterprise systems to choose from in the market, and these just happen to be the ones that made our first top 10 list. Second, it means that while this is good information to start with during your ERP software selection process, it is just one of many data points you should use when considering new software. You ultimately need to decide what criteria are most important to you, then narrow down your potential options based on your unique criteria. This is something Panorama has helped hundreds of organizations across the globe accomplish.

Download the full Top 10 ERP System Rankings Report to see the entire top 10 list and to see how the various vendors compare to one another in each of the criteria used in the study.

Microsoft Delivers Enterprise-Class ERP to the Cloud

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced that its next-generation cloud ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX, built on and for Microsoft Azure, is now available in 137 markets in 40 languages. The enterprise-class business application brings the power, speed and intelligence of cloud computing to people and organizations to achieve more.

“Customers from around the world are using the cloud in incredible ways to accelerate and transform their business,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise. “Today’s release is an exciting milestone extending Microsoft’s business cloud offerings. It’s now possible for organizations to run their entire business in the cloud with Microsoft — from productivity with Office 365, to business analytics with Power BI and Cortana Analytics Suite, customer engagement with Dynamics CRM and business operations with Dynamics AX.”

Customers across the globe are already using Dynamics AX to run their business processes in the cloud — from single domains like human resources and manufacturing to end-to-end business. Companies already live in production includeHagler Systems, Haldex, Icon, Renault Sport Formula One Team, Priva, Smiles, Travel Alberta and Umbra Group.

The new Dynamics AX moves beyond traditional business solutions and brings ERP, business intelligence, infrastructure and database services together in a single offering, empowering organizations to run industry-specific and operational business processes that are extendable with specific solutions from partners. Wednesday, Microsoft announced more than 50 ISV solutions that are available on the Azure Marketplace. These Microsoft-curated, pre-configured industry and vertical solutions help customers discover and implement the solution they need quicker than ever before and, like Dynamics AX, enable fast consumption of updates and improvements. In addition to the 50-plus solutions already available, hundreds are in development today.

The new Dynamics AX takes the capabilities of Lifecycle Services (LCS) to the next level. Businesses will be able to combine the best practices for their mission-critical apps with the flexibility and simplicity of upgrade via the cloud. With LCS, Dynamics AX will formalize the concepts of development, test and production, making the ongoing upgrade quicker to implement and deploy and easier to manage.

“Lifecycle Services represents a shift in how companies manage the life cycle of an ERP system in a way that’s never really been done before,” said Josh Greenbaum, principal analyst, Enterprise Application Consulting. “The ability to test in the cloud and use the cloud’s natural elasticity and functionality to take the test, flip a switch and make it the actual production environment, that truly is magic.”

Harnessing the power of the Azure cloud, Dynamics AX provides enhanced security along with global availability and scale, enabling businesses and people to work more safely anywhere, anytime while respecting the data sovereignty requirements of global customers no matter where in the globe they operate.

“We do everything through Dynamics AX now; we manage virtually all of our operations,” said Thomas Mayer, chief operating office, Renault Sport Formula One Team. “Having what I need to run my business available anywhere in the world is invaluable.”

“We are bringing massive amounts of data into our business to help control building climates and horticulture environments. That is a huge business transformation, and the cloud was the only way forward for us to make that real,” said Paul Ossewold, vice president, Digital Operations, Priva. “To manage our company with 10 offices around the world, we need systems that are fast. That is what Dynamics AX in the cloud is giving us, and we couldn’t be more excited to be one of the first customers on board to take advantage of this new solution.”

Modern solution for modern businesses

Dynamics AX delivers a simple, beautiful, and modern user interface that is touch-enabled for the devices people use today. People can interact with the system with ease, as Dynamics AX works like other Microsoft applications that people are used to, increasing adoption and usage. The new intelligent user experience is also optimized to deliver value to organizations through the ability to make smarter decisions with increased speed.

“ERP is core to our business operations and critical to building and delivering products to our customers,” said Ben Hagler, co-founder, Hagler Systems. “We chose Dynamics AX because of its robustness. The UI is amazing and available anywhere. It makes us device-independent. We can get work done everywhere with increased speed.”

Dynamics AX delivers the proven business logic of a complete business suite, enhanced with new constructs such as Workspaces that provide a collaborative canvas unifying key performance indicators, business intelligence, views of critical data, processes and actions to power business user productivity. The Financial Period Close Workspace, for example, dramatically streamlines this critical, complex process.

Software vendors that partner with Microsoft have expressed their excitement over the potential this new solution offers the industry, representing a turning point in the ERP industry as cloud ERP solutions are adopted by customers to run their business-critical operations.

“This release is further proof that Microsoft is leading the charge with innovations not just in ERP but in cloud,” said CEO Peter ter Maaten from Microsoft partner HSO. “Dynamics AX will be a game changer for enterprise customers.”

Customers can sign up for the service today as the new release is available as a monthly subscription in three simple versions that include a self-serve user, a Task user and an Enterprise user. Businesses can get up and running quickly and match their business growth easily by adding business processes and users with this simple and transparent pay-as-you-go model.

To read full press release, click here.

Microsoft Announces Solutions to Help Businesses Modernize in the Digital World

Monday, at its annual Convergence EMEA conference, Microsoft Corp. introduced new innovations that will enable companies to succeed in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela detailed new capabilities in Microsoft Office 365, including meetings and voice services in Skype for Business; announced the worldwide availability of its customer engagement solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016; and introduced Microsoft PowerApps, a new enterprise service empowering employees to create the apps they need, connect to business systems in a secure way and easily share their apps with coworkers.

In a new commissioned study of European business and IT leaders, Forrester Consulting found widespread recognition of the importance of digital transformation in their organizations, and the need to dramatically reshape their business around customer outcomes and desires. The innovations Microsoft announced Monday are aimed at helping businesses achieve this by igniting entirely new ways to collaborate and intelligently engage with customers. Through comprehensive first-party solutions such as Office 365 and Dynamics CRM, along with innovations that empower businesses to rapidly create new business apps and easily share them on any device, organizations can control and drive their own transformation.

“As businesses strive to keep up with the pace of change, they are looking to technology to drive digital transformation,” Capossela said. “Microsoft can help businesses achieve their transformations by empowering individuals and organizations with innovative solutions that unleash the productivity and potential of their workforce, spur entirely new ways of collaborating, and infuse intelligence into their systems and processes.”

New Office 365 enterprise capabilities

Today marks the general availability of new capabilities in Office 365 that modernize the enterprise across meetings and voice, intelligence, and security and privacy. These new services represent the single most significant release of new enterprise value in the history of Office 365:

  • A complete meeting and voice solution. With Skype Meeting Broadcast, Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) Conferencing, PSTN Calling and Cloud Private Branch Exchange, Office 365 customers now have one platform for calling, conferencing, video and sharing integrated with the Office applications they use every day.
  • Analytics and data visualization. Delve Analytics empowers individuals by providing rich, interactive dashboards that surface insights into how they spend their time and who they spend it with, so they can focus on the tasks and people that matter most.
  • Advanced security and compliance. Customer Lockbox offers customers full control over access to their data in Office 365 by giving them ultimate approval rights in the rare instances when a Microsoft engineer must request access to the service. Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery brings machine learning and text analytics that reduce the costs and risks inherent in managing large quantities of data for e-discovery.

Starting today, these capabilities along with Power BI and Advanced Threat Protection are available to customers in a new premium enterprise suite, Office 365 E5.

“We need a strong voice and meetings solution that meets the evolving needs of our business and our employees,” said Andre Garcia, assistant vice president of Global Infrastructure Services in IT at ABM. “Office 365 with Skype for Business is a game changer. It will give us the ability to consolidate on a single platform for all our productivity and voice services, reducing our costs and complexity while giving employees the flexibility they need to get their jobs done no matter where they are or what device they are using.”

Dynamics CRM 2016 now generally available

Beginning today, Dynamics CRM 2016 will be generally available for online and on-premises deployments. The most comprehensive CRM release to date, Dynamics CRM 2016 includes advancements in intelligence, mobility and service, with significant productivity enhancements to help businesses and customer-facing employees achieve more.

Data and intelligence are critical components of next-generation customer engagement, and Dynamics CRM 2016 delivers intelligent capabilities that surface insights to enable sales, marketing and service professionals to make quicker decisions and take action. Powered by Azure Machine Learning models, Dynamics CRM 2016 previews capabilities such as intelligent product recommendations for sales reps to personalize up-selling and recommended knowledge articles to more effectively resolve customer service issues.

This version of Dynamics CRM will preview industry-leading, full offline capabilities for mobile professionals on phones and tablets and across all major platforms. Dynamics CRM 2016 also provides the ability to create task-centered mobile apps to streamline the completion of customer-facing activities, like meeting follow-ups, and Cortana integration that surfaces data to drive proactive interaction and voice-driven CRM.

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts is one such customer that knows the benefits firsthand. “To transform how you operate and to become a leader requires an internal transformation,” said Abdullatif Awadh, director of customer relationship marketing at Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts. “We found Microsoft Dynamics CRM had what we needed, and now we’re shifting our focus to ensure our campaigns are relevant to the guest, rather than the business, because it’s the guest who drives our business.”

Earlier this month Microsoft also announced the next version of its flagship ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Introduction of PowerApps

The way businesses work is changing, with employees more mobile than ever before. Consumer applications have evolved rapidly and employee expectations have followed suit. However, limited developer resources mean business apps haven’t kept pace with employee demand. In fact, Gartner predicts, “through 2017, the market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organization capacity to deliver them.”* To address this, today Microsoft introduced PowerApps, a new service that empowers employees to create the apps they need, connected to business systems in a secure way, and easily share their apps with coworkers. Available in preview, PowerApps helps businesses create employee-facing apps of all kinds, from the simplest app — like an employee survey — to long-lived, mission-critical apps that connect to line-of-business systems and cloud services and run on any device.

PowerApps benefits the entire organization:

  • Employees. Quickly create apps that work on any device, using the familiar Microsoft Office experience, with no coding required.
  • Professional developers. Expose data and services to empower employees to innovate on their own, and continue to create native Web and mobile apps and APIs with Azure App Service.
  • IT professionals. Manage organizational data and app sharing in a controlled and secure way.

PowerApps makes it easy to get an app up and running within minutes, with built-in data connections to SaaS services like Office 365, Dynamics, Salesforce, Dropbox and OneDrive in addition to on-premises business systems including SharePoint, SQL Server, Oracle databases, SAP and more. The service provides a familiar, Office-like experience for creating new business apps, templates to help get started quickly and a visual designer for automating workflows. These tools work in concert with enterprise-grade services for professional developers and IT professionals, so everyone can work together to unlock new business agility.

NetSuite Announces Cloud Alliance With Microsoft

Industry Leaders Embark on Joint Cloud Initiatives

NetSuite Inc., the industry’s leading provider of cloud-based financials / ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, today announced it has entered into a strategic cloud alliance with Microsoft to create new, innovative and future-proof solutions that connect NetSuite’s cloud ERP to Microsoft Office 365, Windows and Microsoft Azure, delivering high-impact value, productivity and simplicity for mutual markets and customers. NetSuite continues to make life easier for its customers by forging new and exciting partnerships to help companies deal with the ever-increasing rate of change and a multitude of disruptive factors impacting each and every industry.

“We’re at the ‘end of the beginning’ of the cloud, in that the cloud business model that NetSuite pioneered in 1998 is becoming the de facto standard for how fast-growth businesses are run,” said Zach Nelson, NetSuite CEO. “We’re thrilled to work with Microsoft to deliver a fluid cloud environment across the key NetSuite and Microsoft applications that companies and their employees rely on to continually improve their day-to-day operations and run their business better and more efficiently.”

“I’m excited about NetSuite’s support for Azure Active Directory for single sign-on, cloud-to-cloud integration and increasing our collaboration across mobile and cloud solutions,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of Developer Platform & Evangelism and Chief Evangelist for Microsoft. “Our joint vision is all about giving people the freedom to get more done through the broadening set of devices they interact with that in turn helps businesses innovate and grow.”

The collaboration pairs NetSuite’s cloud ERP suite with Microsoft cloud technology in both the near and short term.

  • Available immediately, an integration between NetSuite and Azure Active Directory that enables single sign-on (SSO) for customers using NetSuite together with Azure Active Directory, eliminating the need for users to manage and use multiple passwords. The integration also gives administrators centralized control of user authentication and password management while enabling organizations to strengthen role-based approaches to business management. Built using Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0, the integration reduces the security risks of user-managed passwords while providing additional protection against phishing and other threats.
  • In the coming months NetSuite and Microsoft will start cloud-to-cloud integration between NetSuite and Office 365, providing seamless access to both technologies from within a single interface and improving productivity and collaboration across a variety of roles, from financials to shipping, marketing, ecommerce, business analytics, retail store associates and more. Through integration with Microsoft Excel, customers will be able to connect NetSuite data to Excel and Power BI for Office 365 to visualize information and discover new insights into their business. Additionally, NetSuite will migrate its entire employee base to Office 365, realizing significant value in alignment between the world’s leading productivity system and NetSuite’s cloud business management suite.
  • By the end of 2015, NetSuite will migrate from AWS and on-premise deployments to leverage Azure as its preferred cloud infrastructure platform and take full advantage of the capabilities of Azure for testing and for developers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and customers to build new software applications and integrations that leverage NetSuite’s cloud business management suite and the powerful storage and compute capabilities of Azure offering businesses the significant advantages that are becoming synonymous with world-class cloud computing — efficiency and flexibility, large productivity gains and dramatic IT cost reduction.

To learn more or read the press release, visit:

Government Agencies Democratize Data With Microsoft Technology

Complying with ever-shifting regulations, efficiently managing a productive agency and maintaining that ever-important transparency is a tall order for federal agencies. And in this rapidly changing digital age, making the most of data is paramount. Implementing the right systems can ease this burden by helping agencies use data to streamline processes, reduce costs and boost productivity while remaining nimble.

With Convergence 2015 in full swing in Atlanta, many of Microsoft’s federal customers, including AgFirst Farm Credit Bank and Centers for Disease Control come together as a community. They come to Convergence to learn from their peers and share how they are using Microsoft solutions to better achieve their missions. They come to network, talk about industry and technology trends, and further explore new offerings such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Government. The stories below are just a few examples of how government organizations are achieving great things through technology.

Tailoring systems for better customer service

As a member of the Farm Credit System, AgFirst Farm Credit Bank provides funding and back-office services to agricultural associations, which in turn provide financing to more than 80,000 farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses across 15 states and Puerto Rico.

AgFirst needed an adaptable CRM platform to support its services, and its affiliated associations needed to improve their customer relationships. The company’s managers formed a CRM selection committee to consider several solutions, including Oracle/PeopleSoft CRM and Pivotal CRM.

After an in-depth comparison, they chose to go with a Microsoft solution to meet all their selection criteria: an economical and robust solution that could also be tailored to meet the needs of its associations. It also seamlessly interoperates with existing Microsoft technologies, making the transition easy for employees.

“Not only did Microsoft Dynamics CRM give us the ability to define our core application, it also gave our affiliate associations the ability to configure the solution to match their own ways of doing business,” said Mike Craft, CRM product manager at AgFirst Farm Credit Bank. “It was ideal for our business because we didn’t have to pick winners or losers. Everyone could adapt it as they saw fit.”

AgFirst implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM as its core CRM solution. The company then offered it as a hosted service to member associations, which could tailor it to their business needs.

As a result, two associations, AgChoice Farm Credit and MidAtlantic Farm Credit, collectively saved more than $2 million by using AgFirst’s hosted CRM solution instead of building their own.

Employees now maintain and nurture close relationships with their customers, even though the number of customers has increased substantially. Enterprise-wide access to customer data liberated salespeople to spend more time with customers and prospects.

Increasing accountability while remaining flexible

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) provides insurance to help preserve the economic stability of America’s farmers and ranchers. The organization sets premium rates and authorizes the insurance products of 16 independent companies. One of its priorities is to more efficiently manage the interactions between staff, private insurance companies and its more than 1 million policyholders.

RMA was using myriad different CRM systems, which slowed access to case management information and restricted performance analysis. Because the information was stored in separate databases, employees found it difficult to efficiently research issues and manage cases.

“Everyone at RMA understands the importance of accountability in carrying out our mission,” said Cornell Webb, manager of Analysis and Reporting for RMA. “We’re constantly innovating to find new ways to increase efficiency and improve operations while maximizing transparency.”

To boost efficiency and increase transparency, RMA needed to simplify performance evaluation and regulatory reporting. The organization selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM based on its ease of use and flexibility, built-in workflow and reporting tools, and interoperation with Microsoft Office.

Now, with a comprehensive view of each participant in its agricultural insurance program and role-tailored dashboards, RMA has reduced the amount of time required to create key reports by 80 percent. In addition, the organization has gained visibility into its operations and is better equipped to evaluate performance across its many locations.

This has helped improve regulatory compliance by enabling RMA to rapidly implement changes in accord with shifting federal legislation.

“Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives us maximum flexibility so we can provide the highest levels of service while adapting to changing government regulations,” Webb said. “Our employees love the fact that all the information they need is available in one place. We think of it as a data concierge — it’s always ready to serve up whatever information we need, when we need it.”

For more on how agencies like AgFirst and USDA are embracing data, and to find out how you can take your organization further, check out the Convergence 2015 website. For more information on how solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics,Windows and Microsoft Surface can benefit your business, head to the Convergence Micro Site.

Microsoft Announces US General Availability of Microsoft Azure Government

Tuesday, at Microsoft Corp.’s Government Cloud Summit in Washington, D.C., the company announced the U.S. general availability of Microsoft Azure Government and upcoming availability of Dynamics CRM Online for Government. These offerings together with Office 365 Government provide the most complete cloud for U.S. government customers.

With the importance of enabling citizen services at all levels of government while keeping costs contained, the Microsoft Cloud for Government services meet or exceed public sector security, privacy and compliance standards. In fact, Microsoft’s government cloud services have been designed from the ground up to help government agencies integrate disparate on-premises, cloud and data systems and enable seamless communication and collaboration to operate in this new cloud-first world.

“The Microsoft Cloud for Government is the most complete cloud for any government organization aiming to be more productive, agile and efficient in today’s mobile-first and cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “We are proud to offer Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online to the growing number of government agencies that are ready to deploy leading-edge cloud computing solutions.”

Microsoft Azure Government

Now generally available in the United States, Azure Government is Microsoft’s government community cloud platform for U.S. state, local and federal government agencies. Integrated services such as compute resources, storage, data, networking and applications are hosted in Microsoft datacenters located within the U.S. and managed by cleared U.S. personnel. Unlike any other cloud service provider, Azure Government provides hybrid, hyperscale, enterprise-grade solutions that enable government agencies to run the operating systems, languages and application of choice in Microsoft’s government cloud, public cloud or their own datacenter with a consistent platform and the flexibility and capacity to scale up or down on demand.

Azure Government also includes safeguards such as administrative and physical security measures as part of efforts to join Microsoft Azure in receiving Provisional Authority to Operate by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Joint Authorization Board. Furthermore, other industry bodies and experts recognize Microsoft as a leader in the cloud market.

Microsoft is currently the only vendor to be positioned as a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Server Virtualization, Application Platform as a Service and Cloud Storage Services, and we believe this validates Microsoft’s strategy to enable the power of choice as we deliver industry-leading infrastructure services, platform services and hybrid solutions.

Dynamics CRM Online for Government

Dynamics CRM Online for Government will be generally available in January and is based on the Microsoft Dynamics’ public cloud offering, designed for FedRAMP compliance and operated by cleared U.S. personnel. Dynamics customers will be able to use existing on- premises investments and benefit from integration with Azure and Office 365 government community clouds to help ensure anytime, anywhere access to public sector applications and workflows in a secure environment.

Government customers benefit from the cloud

Customers in the public sector are already seeing the benefits from the Microsoft Cloud for Government:

  • The state of Texas recently deployed over 110,000 seats of Office 365 Government as part of an effort to modernize email, communications and collaboration platforms across its many agencies and departments. This has allowed increase in efficiencies and decreases in costs all while meeting complex regulatory requirements. In addition, Texas is planning a number of initiatives with Azure Government. As such, Texas and Microsoft have expanded their Criminal Justice Information Security (CJIS) Addendum to include Azure Government to ensure that law enforcement agencies, which require CJIS agreements, can participate in the move to the Microsoft Cloud for Government.
  • The state of Alabama is deploying Office 365 Government and a hybrid cloud initiative involving Azure Government to host and manage Alabama Medicaid’s entire Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Alabama’s CARES system for multiprogram eligibility and enrollment.
  • The U.S. Navy is deploying Office 365 to a first wave of 8,000 Navy reservists, providing them with new mobility options and access to the collaboration and communication tools needed to do their job. The plan is to deploy to 40,000 plus Navy reservists, enabling them to complete training, administrative and operational tasks regardless of where they are located, rather than having to be in a Navy office.
  • King County, Wash., is migrating a number of citizen service solutions and correspondence tracking workloads to Dynamics CRM Online for Government.

More about the Microsoft Cloud for Government can be found at

More about the art of achieving compliance in the cloud can be found in an illustration.

Microsoft and SAP Announce New Cloud, Data and Mobile Experiences

Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG have expanded their global partnership to deliver new solutions that are intended to help improve employee productivity, enhance workforce mobility and drive increased business value for customers and partners.

Monday’s announcement aims to extend the companies’ long-term partnership in three critical areas: enterprise cloud computing with business-critical SAP applications certification for Microsoft Azure; improved interoperability between data from SAP applications and Microsoft Office, including general availability of connectivity between SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions and Microsoft’s Power BI offering; and mobile productivity with expanded development and support for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1.

“Microsoft and SAP have a great history together, and we are committed to meeting the diverse needs of our enterprise customers,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud & Enterprise, Microsoft. “Our expanded partnership with SAP demonstrates our continued commitment to deliver the applications and services our customers need — in their private clouds, service provider clouds, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office.”

“This has been an exciting year for one of the leading strategic partnerships in our industry,” said Steve Lucas, president, Platform Solutions, SAP. “For our customers, SAP and Microsoft are among the top strategic vendors relied upon to drive their business’ success. We are proud of how we listened to our customers and together developed — and will continue to develop — innovative new programs focused on the cloud, mobility, analytics and interoperability that we expect will provide unparalleled value for our customers.”

SAP applications on Microsoft Azure

It is anticipated that by the end of Q2 2014, Microsoft and SAP will support SAP Business Suite software, SAP Business All-In-One solutions, SAP Mobile Platform, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE) and the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform on Azure. In addition, Microsoft and SAP expect that customers and developers will be able to deploy and provision a number of preconfigured SAP solutions, within minutes, directly to Azure using the SAP Cloud Appliance Library tool.

New and existing SAP customers will be able to take advantage of the “pay per use” model in Azure to reduce infrastructure costs and total cost of ownership. Customers will be able to take advantage of the compute resources in Azure to support SAP solutions and quickly scale capacity as computing requirements change, paying only for the resources used.

Improved data access and interoperability

Monday, Microsoft and SAP made Excel connectivity to SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions through Microsoft’s Power BI offering generally available. Microsoft and SAP also announced plans to deepen interoperability between applications and platforms with a new version of the SAP Gateway for Microsoft, which is expected to help customers automate business processes and access SAP applications and data through Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. Customers can get started today with the current SAP Gateway for Microsoft and upgrade to the new version when it becomes available in the second half of 2014. More information is available at SAP Gateway for Microsoft.

Increased mobile collaboration

Microsoft and SAP plan to help customers conduct business anywhere and anytime by developing and co-marketing SAP mobile apps for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. These new applications will be managed and secured by the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio or Windows Intune. Examples of prospective offerings resulting from this increased collaboration will be showcased at SAPPHIRE NOW, being held June 3–5, 2014, in Orlando, Florida. More information can be found here.

Monday’s announcements bring exciting new capabilities to customers and opportunities for partners and developers through the combined strengths of Microsoft and SAP applications and platforms. You can learn more here.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft Acquires Parature to add Leading Customer Self-service Suite to Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Acquisition to Accelerate Microsoft Dynamics’ Vision to Help Organizations Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences.

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Parature, a leading provider of cloud-based customer engagement solutions. The acquisition will add world-class customer self-service capabilities to further accelerate the Microsoft Dynamics vision of helping organizations deliver amazing customer experiences.

“Customers are more connected and better informed than ever before. Organizations are looking for business solutions that can strengthen their ability to connect with customers on their own terms, using whatever device and whatever channel they prefer,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Parature is a perfect fit for every business and will enable us to offer customers one of the best cloud-based solutions for customer self-service. This is a compelling combination for organizations committed to delivering the best service experience that consistently exceeds their customers’ expectations.”

As a provider of cloud-based customer service software to midsize and enterprise organizations, Parature has a well-earned reputation for outstanding customer service with 70 million users worldwide and more than 500 well-known brands, including, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, IBM, Saba Software Inc., Tagged Inc. and Threadless. The company also received the 2013 Frost & Sullivan Customer Value Enhancement Award for using social media to help organizations deliver outstanding customer service.

Parature’s approach to its solutions enables organizations to take advantage of an extendable knowledge base available through self-service portals on the Web and Facebook, support ticketing, mobile customer care on virtually any device the customer chooses to use, social customer support, and chat for both traditional customer service scenarios and proactive sales engagement to create new, revenue-generating opportunities for the business. These capabilities complement the existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer-care solution with core strengths in workflow, extensibility and process-driven user experiences that allow contact center agents to do their best work.

Microsoft will continue to offer Parature solutions and support all new and existing customers as the company works to further enhance these offerings.

The terms of the agreement are not being disclosed. More information on this announcement, including product integration plans and timeline, will be shared at Parafest 2014 (Feb. 24–25) in Las Vegas and Convergence 2014 (March 4–7) in Atlanta. A blog by Bob Stutz speaking about this announcement Tuesday can be found at

More information about Parature is available at, and more on Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be found at


Lessons Learned From Panorama’s ERP Vendor Showdown: Microsoft Dynamics AX

Last month, we hosted a series of webinars featuring live demos from four top ERP vendors. Our ERP Vendor Showdown provided attendees with a high level overview of some of the ERP software available for the manufacturing and distribution industry. Each vendor presented their system’s user interface, dashboards and role centers, workflow toolsets and manufacturing and distribution functionality.

Day two of the Vendor Showdown featured Microsoft Dynamics AX. The demo revealed an easy-to-understand user interface and screens that can be modified to fit user preference. The dashboards and homepages are configurable for different roles and can be easily personalized for each user. Using AX’s drill-capability, users can quickly get the information they need with multiple levels of detail available.

AX’s workflow toolset provides great capability for automating business processes. The graphical interface makes it simple to quickly construct and test workflow configurations. One of Microsoft’s main goals with the 2012 version was to make customers more self-sustainable by turning a very technical application to a user-friendly interface. The AX workflow toolset also reduces the cost of implementation and future automation projects.

In terms of manufacturing capabilities, AX supports bill-of-materials configuration, routing, planning/scheduling and shop floor control. The graphical planning toolset is very strong and the planning board is configured in a way that is intuitive for end-users. Users can quickly adjust schedules to see repercussions of a machine breakdown or ‘hot shot’ order for a highly important customer. Scores from Panorama clients and demo attendees position the AX planning board as one of the top products available.

On the distribution side, AX’s capabilities are fairly deep, including receiving, put away, pick/pack and shipping. The out-of-the-box functionality is strong compared to some ERP systems that rely heavily on third-party products for warehouse management requirements. Typically, most companies implement standard functionality first and then address additional or advanced functionality if truly needed.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is a deeply functional ERP system that plays well in the Tier I and Tier II marketplace. Because of its scalability and price structures, AX is has much success in the Tier I marketplace and is often used by start-up companies with high growth rates.

When looking at any ERP system one of the key factors to consider is how well ERP vendors know their ERP system and, most importantly, how they show functionality that is relevant to the end-user.

To learn more, watch our free, on-demand webinars of our ERP Vendor Showdown. If you would like to attend a live Infor demo, Panorama will also be hosting an in-person Vendor Showdown as part of our 2014 ERP Boot Camp

Written by Chris Devault, Manager of Vendor Relations at Panorama Consulting Solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics Enables Businesses to Reimagine Customer Experiences

Company Announces Broad Availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Introduces Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3, Emphasizes Impact of Technology on Helping Businesses Connect With Their Customers

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday highlighted how businesses are differentiating themselves in the market with Microsoft Dynamics technology in the opening keynote of the company’s sold-out Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 EMEA conference. The keynote address, delivered by Microsoft Business Solutions Executive Vice President Kirill Tatarinov and Microsoft International President Jean-Philippe Courtois, focused on how people and businesses can reimagine the way they engage with customers, build brand relevance, and collaborate to stay ahead of the ever-changing market and business environments.

“This is truly the era of the customer where people are more informed and better connected than ever. Businesses urgently need solutions to unite and empower their people so they can best serve and nurture their customers,” Tatarinov said. “Microsoft is positioned to deliver agile, integrated business solutions that will help organizations in this new era by delivering amazing customer experiences.”

Delivering customer-centric business solutions

Following the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Global Premiere Event, which was broadcast live from Barcelona to more than 70,000 attendees and featured customers Metro Bank, Pandora, and Servcorp, the company announced a set of 18 new predefined and configurable process templates that include sports management, healthcare, government and nonprofit, as well as some specialized areas such as prison offender management. These templates are available for customers to download at no charge from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketplace.

Delivering on the promise of giving customers access to their CRM information on any device, Microsoft confirmed the availability of new touch-optimized experiences on Windows Phones, iPhones and Android phones that give customers powerful functionality and analytics on the go, without a separate license fee.* These apps are available today in their respective online stores.

To make it easy for businesses to buy Microsoft Dynamics CRM to use with Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft is also introducing a new global pricing promotion that lets eligible existing and new Microsoft Office 365 customers purchase professional licenses of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and get up to a 40 percent discount on the price of the CRM license, giving them immediate and significant value for their technology investment. This promotion runs through March 31, 2014, and is available in 42 markets where the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service is offered. Specific details as well as terms and conditions can be found at

Metro Bank, Great Britain’s first new high street bank in more than a century and an early adopter of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, is using the new solution as the foundation of its customer-first strategy.

“Metro Bank is driving a revolution in banking. We aim to create fans, not customers, and we have a culture that is all about surprise and delight,” said Paul Marriott-Clarke, commercial director, Metro Bank. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM is our platform to engage with customers and along with Yammer, SharePoint, Office 365 and Lync is helping us to deliver our promise to offer customers the very best in service and convenience.”

Designed to help businesses run an agile operation that exceeds their customers’ needs, engages with them on their terms and helps fuel growth, Microsoft today introduced new capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3, the next update for its flagship ERP solution. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 delivers new warehouse and transportation management capabilities to provide customers with real-time end-to-end insights into supply-chain execution. New Lifecycle Services available with this release help organizations improve the predictability of Microsoft Dynamics AX implementations by simplifying and standardizing processes, and bringing innovative and integrated experiences for serviceability and support.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 introduces support for deployment on Windows Azure via infrastructure as a service (IaaS), bringing customers true choice and portability between on-premises and private cloud deployments, along with all the benefits and security features that come with the world-class Windows Azure service. With the availability of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 expected in April 2014, the company also shared that it remains on track to deliver the next major version of Microsoft Dynamics AX on-premises and as a public cloud service offering.

Following the delivery of Expense management and reconciliation, Timesheets and Approvals apps for Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft announced an update to the Microsoft Dynamics Business Analyzer app that enables people to accelerate their business by giving them actionable and engaging business insights whether they are in the office or on the go. These apps, designed to be personal, social and immersive, provide a more relevant experience based on people’s roles and devices, helps them connect with their social networks, and provides an engaging and actionable experience. They are currently available in the Windows Marketplace.

As part of the event, Microsoft shared that Microsoft Dynamics NAV is closing in on 100,000 customers worldwide, a significant milestone for this product. It also reinforced the availability of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2, which was released in October 2013. This release adds great new capabilities to the product such as single sign-on with Office 365 and SharePoint Online, a new user interface for the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Web client and the Windows client, a new foundation for cash management, a new Help Server, and powerful provisioning and administration tools.

Passion for Life (PFL) Healthcare, a United Kingdom-based manufacturer and distributor of medical products with an annual turnover of 2.5 million pounds ($4 million), is benefitting from a hosted version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics CRM today. As Will Web, commercial director, PFL Healthcare noted, “We aim to grow the business by 20 percent next year, and Microsoft Dynamics will help us do that. It was the right decision for us.”

More information

More information about Microsoft’s Dynamic Business vision can be found at More information and news from Convergence 2013 EMEA is available at The opening keynote presentation and general session keynote speeches are available on the new virtual event platform for Convergence 2013 EMEA at Those who want to follow and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics Twitter community can do so at @MSFTDynamics and @MSFTConvergence using #Conv13EMEA. Partners interested in starting a Microsoft Dynamics CRM practice can get more information by contacting [email protected].

New Microsoft Dynamics CRM Release Adds Social Capabilities

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Now Available Worldwide; Microsoft Announces Strategic Alliance With Insideview, Delivers New Industry Process Templates.

With the new release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM now available worldwide, Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced a strategic alliance with InsideView Inc. that brings new Social Insights to the cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service. Microsoft on Monday also announced the availability at the end of the month of a new set of industry-focused business process templates as part of the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM release, delivering customers step-by-step process guidelines designed to improve performance in specific industries.

The new solution, which is now available online in 42 global markets, will be available for on-premises and partner-hosted deployments on Oct. 31. It is designed to offer customers an enhanced user experience that promotes end-user productivity and demonstrates the better together value of Microsoft technologies. This includes interoperability with Yammer, Lync and Skype — delivering sales, service, marketing and industry professionals a seamless and customizable experience.

“CRM today should be an enabler that detects trends, facilitates decisions and suggests actions that lead to successful outcomes and relationships,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “This major new release delivers on this promise of customer centricity by bringing together Microsoft technologies in a way that helps businesses and organizations better engage and nurture their customers.”

New social insights

The first phase of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM alliance with InsideView, a leading social intelligence provider, is the introduction of Social Insights capabilities embedded into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Social Insights puts real-time company and contact information from 30,000 sources into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, helping marketing, sales and account management professionals engage more effectively with prospects to win more deals as a result of less time spent researching and more time selling. Social Insights will be available at no additional cost to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers in the United States with Professional licenses on Oct. 30, 2013, with broader global rollout coming later in 2014.

New industry templates

The new Microsoft Dynamics CRM release offers customers pre-defined and configurable processes where each stage of a process is clearly outlined, identifying the recommended steps to completion. Building on this design element, Microsoft is introducing new templates for a number of specific industries, such as professional services, manufacturing and financial services, as well as processes for event management and solution selling. These completely configurable business processes incorporate best practices from industry experts and give customers a starting point to build a solution to fulfill their specific industry requirements. In addition, these templates flow onto all mobile devices supported by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, meaning customers can get the benefits of these processes on their favorite supported mobile device. These templates will be available for customers to download at no charge by the end of October 2013.

Designed to help customers match, engage and nurture customer relationships

In addition, the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM features new capabilities to enable sales, marketing and customer care professionals to match customers and prospects to the products and services they want, engage customers at the right moment, and nurture customer relationships.

These personal experiences are delivered through the following:

• A beautiful, new people-first design that offers a simple and immersive layout where all customer information is on one screen, helping people easily see everything they need to know about their customer interactions in one place.

• A new outcome-driven user experience featuring guided processes that help customers reach their desired outcomes. These processes can be tailored to accommodate particular business requirements that enable people to deliver an experience that matches their customers’ expectations. The benefits to organizations include shorter sales cycles, increased win rates and less ramp-up time for new hires.

• The ability to stay pervasively connected to customers and resources by putting social tools in the context of what people are doing. With Yammer, customers can quickly comment on posts or start contextual conversations from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises and online. Yammer extends across an organization, bringing everyone into the conversation, including nonlicensed CRM customers from within Yammer.

With the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM release, customers get access to new mobile client applications on Windows 8 tablets and iPads, as well as touch-enabled experiences on Windows Phones, iPhones and Android phones coming within the next month, giving customers powerful functionality and analytics on the go, without a separate license fee. These new tablet experiences keep people connected to their data, their team members and, most important, their customers, allowing subject-matter experts to be a click away.*

Over the past few months, Microsoft partners from 48 countries participated in the most highly subscribed-to release preview program to date for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and provided feedback on the new release. Select participants and their stories will be featured in a Global Premiere Event scheduled for Nov. 4, which will stream live at More about the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM release can be found at

Microsoft Dynamics Partners Go Global With GISV Program

At the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) This Week, Microsoft Announced New Partner Agreements With Four Leading Global Independent Software Vendors (GISVS). Microsoft’s R&D and Worldwide Reach Help GISVS Stay Ahead of the Curve and Achieve New Economies of Scale.

When it comes to business software, there really is no better winning strategy than having deeply relevant industry solutions that differ from country to country and adapt to local regulations and requirements.

That’s why Microsoft has long partnered with a network of global independent software vendors (GISVs) to get the job done. The GISV program offers special partner agreements between select solution providers and Microsoft that help companies with deep industry expertise tailor software solutions and offer exactly the right fit for customers. This also provides customers with specialized industry software built on a platform that has a proven success record in different industries.

At the annual Worldwide Partner Conference this week in Houston, Microsoft is connecting with its partner community to provide insights into new solutions and upcoming technologies and to discuss the company’s continued efforts to support the global partners that ultimately implement these technologies. Neil Holloway, corporate vice president, Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) Sales and Operations, says the continued evolution of technology is creating as much opportunity for solution providers as ever before.

“As technology marches on and business needs evolve, the demand for software with specialized functionality is an ever-growing industry,” Holloway says. “We’re here this week to show how Microsoft is investing in its partners, how focused we are on helping deliver the best experiences to enterprise customers, and how the biggest, best opportunities for ISVs still lie ahead.”

Against that backdrop, the Microsoft Dynamics group announced today that it would bring aboard four new GISVs, which have signed deals to participate in the exclusive program: distribution and manufacturing provider I.B.I.S. Inc., automotive software maker Incadea, food supply-chain consultancy Anglia Business Solutions, and retail automation vendor Escher Group.

Going global with the “last mile of functionality”

I.B.I.S. CEO Andy Vabulas says becoming a Microsoft GISV is a game changer that allowed the company to build direct relationships within Microsoft and throughout its network of more than 600,000 partner companies worldwide — greatly expanding I.B.I.S.’s reach and creating opportunities for new business that would not otherwise be possible.

“It’s probably the best business opportunity that we’ve ever been presented from any partner, including Microsoft,” Vabulas says. “I can see where we will double or triple our business over the next five years.”

With a long heritage in both Microsoft Dynamics and the distribution/manufacturing world, Georgia-based I.B.I.S. spent the past few years specializing in the challenges specific to industrial distribution. Since that market has not been heavily addressed on the Microsoft platform, Vabulas says there is a huge opportunity to bring the power of Microsoft’s unified technology stack to an industry that lacks diverse offerings.

“There are 6,500-plus distributors in the industrial distribution market in the U.S. alone that will need to change ERP systems in the next five years,” Vabulas says. “With Microsoft Dynamics AX providing a modern and powerful ERP system, we felt if we did some work in revenue management, order management, inventory and procurement, we could really tailor AX to fit the sophisticated needs of those companies.”

To tackle that challenge, I.B.I.S. developed a software layer on top of Microsoft Dynamics AX that handles complex issues facing distributors such as advanced pricing, commissions, optimized order-entry, lost sales tracking, consignment and vendor managed inventory, all wrapped with industry specific key performance indicators.

Though I.B.I.S. has enjoyed a close relationship with Microsoft for more than a decade, Vabulas says the opportunity to enter into a GISV relationship adds a deeper dimension that will benefit both companies. For I.B.I.S., it means getting global business exposure and the chance to work directly with Microsoft’s R&D teams. The I.B.I.S. solution allows Microsoft Dynamics to better serve the manufacturing and distribution industries, bringing modern business applications to compete with legacy technologies such as SAP and Oracle.

“Advanced Distribution Software is the missing link in Dynamics AX distribution functionality,” Vabulas says. “We’ve got that last mile of functionality that is so key to the needs of these clients. We’re helping distributors increase their margins with a real, provable return on their investment.”

Hotline to R&D helps GISVs focus on business

In the technology world, companies need to continually move forward, and the close relationships developed through the GISV program help partners stay abreast of new advances and functionality. With GISVs serving a wide range of vertical industries such as automotive, retail, manufacturing, finance, public sector and professional services, Holloway says using that knowledge to benefit customers provides the kind of advantage that is key to staying ahead over the long run.

“Since GISV partners are able to dial in to Microsoft’s internal development groups, they know far in advance what’s coming and the opportunities that might be available,” Holloway says. “That kind of advantage is only possible by building these close relationships with vendors.”

Microsoft Dynamics AX empowers smart utilities worldwide

Ferranti Computer Systems, a GISV that has served the utilities (electricity, gas, water and thermal) market since 1976, and a GISV program member for more than two years, has worked with Microsoft to align product development and certification for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. In the age of big data, Ferranti has used its relationships in Microsoft’s R&D department to optimize their MECOMS solution using Microsoft SQL Server as a data engine, aiming to tame the huge volumes of data generated by massive utilities and turn it into a useful business asset.

“We are really spearheading the movement toward a big data solution and handling that sort of volume, so the alignment with Microsoft in terms of R&D is important for us,” says Dirk Michiels, CEO of Ferranti. “Given Microsoft’s huge effort toward development every year, when we make or own investments in R&D, we don’t have to focus on the technology anymore — we focus on the business value.”

Ferranti joined the Microsoft Dynamics GISV program in 2011 and has experienced significant success as a result of the partnership. The company connected with partners such as Avanade, Accenture and CGI, greatly strengthening its global deployment muscle. Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Ferranti now has staff members in Canada, the U.K., the Middle East, India, Singapore and Japan, and is planning to enter the Australia market.

“Since becoming a GISV, we’ve grown dramatically in terms of execution,” Michiels says. “There is real value in our relationship with Microsoft — it helped us form our footprint in the market and develop a powerful solution that is making a difference. We deliver solutions that can change with the requirements of governments, cultures and geographies, and do so in a very cost-effective way.”

To learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics is working to serve the specific needs of industry worldwide, visit

To learn more about Ferranti’s MECOMS solution, visit

Guest Blog: Six Strategic Ways Mobile CRM Will Impact Your Business

Eighty-nine percent of executives say that mobile devices will be very important for their company’s success within the next three years. But is mobile CRM more than just a convenience? Can it really make a difference to the bottom line of your business?

The answer is yes. The world has gone mobile. The days of having limited access to methods of long distance communication are over. Most people, even children, have immediate access to mobile wireless networks everywhere they go. They are calling, texting, emailing and interacting via social media for many hours every day.

Many employees are bringing their phones, tablets and laptops to work and businesses are adopting “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” policies that save the company money and give employees the freedom to take their work with them everywhere.

There are numerous advantages to having mobile devices in general, and there are even more advantages when it comes to business applications, especially customer relationship management (CRM) software. The CRM Software Blog has released a new infographic that highlights some of those advantages. The infographic, “Six Strategic Advantages of Mobile CRM”, uses colorful, easy-to-follow illustrations to concisely describe how going mobile with CRM can boost your sales, increase productivity, accelerate cash flow and provide many other benefits.

CRM Mobile Infographic

The infographic is a brief overview of the more detailed information found in the CRM Software Blog’s white paper, “Why Go Mobile?  Six Strategic Objectives You Can Conquer With Mobile CRM”. With these tools, you can get a jump start on the competition and start reaping the benefits of mobile CRM today. You can download the infographic at

Note: The inclusion of guest posts on the Panorama website does not imply endorsement of any specific product or service. Panorama is, and always will remain, completely independent and vendor-neutral. If you are interested in guest blogging opportunities, click to read more about our submission guidelines.

Microsoft Dynamics Reimagines and Unites the Worlds of Business and IT

Company Highlights Innovations to Help Businesses Unite Their Organizations, Connect With Their Customers and Get the Most Value From Their Information Technology Investments.

Microsoft Corp. today opened a sold-out Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 with a keynote address from Microsoft Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov featuring Microsoft Dynamics customers Chobani Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Revlon Inc., Shock Doctor Inc. and Weight Watchers International Inc. Microsoft Dynamics is a line of simple to learn and easy to use ERP software and CRM solutions for the small to mid-market sector.

Speaking to more than 11,000 attendees, the largest in conference history, Tatarinov addressed how business leaders can reimagine the way they engage with customers, build brand relevance and collaborate with employees to stay ahead of the changing roles across all levels in business. Observing the increased influence of marketing and other areas of business over a company’s technology investments and the value of collaboration, Tatarinov reinforced the idea that business functions can work more effectively when they unite with their IT counterparts. Tatarinov noted that Microsoft Dynamics is uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst for unity, and he announced new advancements in integrated marketing, embedded social capabilities, and new cloud and mobile scenarios enabled through Microsoft Dynamics solutions that will help businesses unite with their customers, unite their organizations, and unite their people and technology.

“To realize the promises and possibilities of a world ahead, organizations must be united” Tatarinov said. “Microsoft Dynamics solutions reimagine what’s possible for businesses, helping them unite to unlock innovation and creativity in people and to enable more meaningful experiences for their customers. When a business is truly united, great things happen.”

Revlon, one of the strongest consumer brand franchises in the world and a Microsoft Dynamics customer, brings the concept of unifying IT and business to life. The company is transforming the way people work and collaborate, starting by replacing 21 disparate business systems and 531 point systems with Microsoft Dynamics AX.

“The speed of beauty and glamour is unforgiving,” said David Giambruno, chief information officer of Revlon. “We are in a hypercompetitive market, and Microsoft Dynamics provides our employees with real-time information to access business-critical information virtually anywhere, anytime on almost any device, helping unite them with each other so they can innovate in a collaborative way across product development, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Unite With Customers

Strengthening relationships by successfully engaging with customers is vital to business growth. Marketing, sales and customer service are essential to effective customer engagement, and the right ERP solution can unite these various functions. In addition, integrated marketing management has emerged as a critical strategy for companies that want to reach and engage with new customers while differentiating their brands, driving market excellence and making the most of their investments.

To help businesses achieve true integrated marketing, Microsoft announced a new version of the recently acquired MarketingPilot, which features a simplified user experience, a familiar look and feel, and seamlessly works with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Through MarketingPilot, marketers get access to a complete marketing automation solution with rich business intelligence, enabling them to successfully plan, track and optimize customer interactions across digital, social and traditional channels. This capability, when combined with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, fulfills the Holy Grail of marketing: omnichannel marketing that enables top-line revenue growth while managing costs and measuring return on marketing investment. The new version of MarketingPilot will be available to customers in the United States in March 2013. Microsoft plans to make MarketingPilot available to additional international markets later this year. More information is available at

“Marketing is changing and evolving rapidly, and we need business solutions that help us grow top-line revenue while managing costs. Our marketing needs require us to engage and interact with our customers, while providing technical solutions to efficiently distribute the appropriate information to our dealers to complement and enhance the sales process,” said John Johnston, director, Digital Marketing at Volvo. “We’ve been using Microsoft Dynamics to better align our marketing and sales processes and are constantly developing our solutions to increase our sales potential and personalize our customer interactions.”

Microsoft’s vision is to deliver social monitoring and analytics features as an integral part of the user experience and provide these capabilities to all roles and functions in an organization. To help businesses analyze and act on market intelligence from social conversations, including measuring sentiment across a wide array of social channels, Microsoft today announced an initiative to seamlessly embed social monitoring capabilities across Microsoft Dynamics CRM offerings. This effort has been accelerated with the acquisition of Netbreeze GmbH, which delivers cutting-edge native language analytics combined with data mining, transactional and text analysis capabilities. More information is available at

Chobani, maker of America’s No. 1-selling yogurt brand, uses a wide range of Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Dynamics AX and CRM to keep pace with its aggressive plans for future global growth. The company uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to communicate and connect with its consumers around the clock.

“As our company grew, so did the volume of messages from consumers across the world. We receive hundreds of contact messages and phone calls daily,” said Maureen Hurley, vice president of information technology at Chobani. “Microsoft Dynamics solutions have enabled us to make that feedback actionable, better track and understand what our customers want, and continue to provide best-in-class service. This has helped us build deeper, more immediate connections with our fans and continue our growth.”

Chobani also recently opened a new domestic manufacturing facility in Twin Falls, Idaho — considered the world’s largest of its kind — and was able to bring it online with Microsoft Dynamics AX in just 27 days.

Unite With Technology

Microsoft today announced a set of new applications for phones and tablets, which will be available with the next update to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Designed to be personal, social and immersive, these mobile applications will provide a more relevant experience based on people’s roles and devices, help them connect with their social networks, and provide an engaging and actionable experience. In addition to the Business Analyzer application, which is currently available in the Windows Marketplace, the company unveiled a new set of application capabilities for mobile usage, targeting the following:

• Expense management. Helps workers both capture and reconcile expenses while traveling, cutting down time and effort — meaning getting money back more quickly; helps organizations implement expense policies more seamlessly

• Time. Captures time on projects “on the go,” simplifying this administrative burden while providing businesses with the opportunity to improve working capital through decreased billing cycle times

• Approvals. Enables managers to approve business requests such as budget requests, time sheets, submitted expense reports and purchase requisition to cut down on administrative task and time spend

These applications will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, Windows Phone 8, Android phones, and iOS phone devices.To ensure extensibility and encourage innovation, Microsoft is also releasing documentation for its mobile APIs to help customers and partners build their own mobile applications. Learn more about these new applications at

In addition, Microsoft will deliver a mobile CRM sales application with the next Microsoft Dynamics CRM release in the second half of 2013. Optimized for tablets, this application will help people manage an opportunity from lead to close and easily connect with customers and colleagues, regardless of location. The application brings guided selling to Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets as well as the iPad. Businesses can configure this application, enabling them to tailor the experience to fit their sales processes and approaches.

Microsoft today announced the availability of the Community Technical Preview of the new Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services helping IT professionals simplify the application lifecycle experience. These services help organizations improve predictability of Microsoft Dynamics AX implementations by simplifying and standardizing implementation processes. They also allow them to proactively manage the application and reduce downtime. As an online service, Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services helps minimize an organization’s IT burden. Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 were released in Q4 2012 and were received positively by customers and partners. Enabled for the cloud, these solutions offer customers a complete choice of deployment both in the cloud and on-premises. In addition, these products will be available through partners to customers hosted on Windows Azure in June 2013.

Reaffirming the road map for Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft expects to release updates to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in the second half of 2013. In addition to new mobile scenarios for phone and tablet devices, this release will also include capabilities such as warehouse management and transportation management, giving customers a real-time global view of supply chain operations. The company also reaffirmed availability of the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics AX in the cloud on Windows Azure and on-premises with early adoption programs commencing in 2014.

Microsoft Dynamics Momentum

Microsoft announced the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM adoption numbers, with more than 3 million users and more than 39,000 customers. Microsoft Dynamics AX continues on a strong growth path with more than 18,000 customers and an increase of more than 50 percent license growth in North America in the last Microsoft fiscal quarter. Microsoft Dynamics also announced a number of global independent software vendor (ISV) partners supporting Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including Acorn Systems Inc., Bull, Flintfox International Ltd., Dominion, Hitachi Solutions Ltd., Hubwoo and XAPT Corp. These partners join Microsoft’s broad portfolio of other leading global ISVs, which view Microsoft Dynamics as a critical component in helping propel customers become Dynamic Businesses.

Guest Blog: Don’t Forget to Budget for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Hardware Requirements

Most organizations realize that the cost of implementing ERP software is more than just the licensing fees. There are the annual maintenance fees, implementation services costs and of course, hardware costs.

Many companies carefully budget for the costs of the software, the services, and everything in-between, but they forget to factor in the cost of the hardware required to make it all run. Forgetting this cost can be a painful stab to your budget.

Of course, now you have the option to eliminate the hardware costs altogether by deploying ERP software “in the cloud” and paying a predictable monthly fee, but cloud ERP is not for everyone and comes with considerations of its own.

If your organization deploys an on-premise solution instead of a cloud solution, the hardware costs generally include the server and the SQL operating system. Most ERP vendors will strongly recommend that you have a dedicated server. Servers come in all price ranges – from the Honda Civic” to the “Rolls Royce” versions – so you will need to rely on a trusted IT advisor. In most cases, you need a SQL server operating system (which might be included with your new server purchase or you may need to purchase it separately).

Also, your organization should check the system requirements for the ERP system you choose. It may turn out that other existing software/hardware needs to be upgraded as well. For example, many of our clients are finding that they need to make other infrastructure investments in order to be compatible with the new release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013.

If you are running any of the following, they will not be compatible with a new Dynamics GP 2013 system:

  • Windows server 2003 (or earlier)
  • SQL Server 2005 (or earlier)
  • Windows XP (or earlier)
  • Office 2007 (or earlier)

When talking about IT purchases there are so many different options available to you. Following is some information you may need to help you decide as well as some sample costs:

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Infrastructure Compatibility Highlights:


Windows Server:

  • No longer supported: Windows server 2003 (or earlier)
  • Options:
    • Basic: Windows Server 2008R2 (approximately $6,000 for Dell or HP)
    • Progressive: Windows Server 2012 (same)

Database server:

  • No longer supported: SQL Server 2005 (or earlier)
  • Options:
    • Basic: SQL Server 2008 R2 ($1,000-2,000 depending on number of users)
    • Progressive: SQL Server 2012 (same)


Operating System Software:

  • No longer supported: Windows XP (or earlier)
  • Options:
    • Basic: Windows 7 (if an upgrade from XP, purchasing new PC is best bet)
    • Progressive: Windows 8 (same)

Microsoft Office Software:

  • No longer supported: Office 2007 (or earlier)
  • Options:
    • Basic:  Office 2010 ($200 – $500 based on type of license purchased)
    • Progressive: Office 2013 (same)

Minimum Workstation Space Requirements:


2GB Hard disk space

32-bit ODBC DSN is required

Note: SharePoint Services 3.0 and MS Office SharePoint Server 2007 no longer supported.

If you are planning to install Microsoft Dynamics GP and need to make infrastructure upgrades, now is a perfect time to evaluate your entire IT strategy.  Do you want to move to the cloud, virtualize or upgrade your workstations? Do you have enough storage space? Do you have a backup plan? What about remote access, web servers and security? These are all great questions to ask your IT provider.

You can easily get a ballpark estimate of the cost of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 licenses, maintenance fees and implementation costs. (In fact we offer this with our Dynamics GP Quick Quote Price Tool). Then you can review the system requirements list with your internal IT team or outsourced IT expert to make sure there are no other hidden costs to factor into your budget.

Note: The inclusion of guest posts on the Panorama website does not imply endorsement of any specific product or service. Panorama is, and always will remain, completely independent and vendor-neutral. If you are interested in guest blogging opportunities, click to read more about our submission guidelines.

Guest Blog: Ten Brilliant Ways to Outsmart Your Competition With ERP Software

Being the best at what you do requires making the most of every resource that you have. That’s what growing organizations do. They squeeze every drop of productivity from their ERP systems to help their people do a better job – better than the competition.

Some companies feel like implementing an ERP software system is just advantageous for the finance department. But in fact, the right ERP solution can deliver the data, efficiencies and opportunities for collaboration necessary to increase competitive advantage across the entire company.

This infographic gives a quick summary of some of the key ways companies use ERP software (and Microsoft Dynamics in particular) to outsmart their competition and increase profitability:

ERP Infographic

The ERP Software Blog compiled 25 real life ways organizations are using Microsoft Dynamics to beat their competition. This engaging, simple to read white paper offers a comprehensive set of examples describing how businesses are approaching their ERP strategies. Each story is followed by the way it provided a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

I encourage you to download the white paper, 25 Brilliant Ideas to Outsmart Your Competition with Microsoft Dynamics.

Too busy to read? Download the audio MP3 file to play at your desk or from your favorite mobile device.

Note: The inclusion of guest posts on the Panorama website does not imply endorsement of any specific product or service. Panorama is, and always will remain, completely independent and vendor-neutral. If you are interested in guest blogging opportunities, click to read more about our submission guidelines.

RoseASP Announces Strategic Microsoft Cloud Dynamics ERP Software Solutions

RoseASP, one of Southern California’s largest providers of hosted Microsoft Dynamics solutions, today announced myERPcloud would offer Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP software solutions for Project Costing, Supply-Chain Distribution and eCommerce. Through partnerships with Olympic Project Cost, Sales Pad and Azox, myERPcloud will make preconfigured on-demand cloud ERP solutions available to help trial users evaluate software solutions for project cost, supply-chain management and eCommerce.

MyERPcloud will highlight Olympic Project Cost in a demo instance dedicated for Dynamics GP Project Accounting. Olympic Project Cost is full featured project costing and cost accounting solutions for Microsoft Dynamics GP. It meets all contract accounting requirements for Government Contractors as specified by the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS) and implemented by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA).

MyERPcloud will highlight Sales Pad Solutions in a demo instance, which delivers easy to use tools to enhance your Microsoft Dynamics GP experience. Sales Pad makes sales and customer service teams more effective with quick order entry, complete inventory visibility, easy access to customer information, configurable workflow, built-in credit card processing and more.

To complete the distribution solution, Sales Pad Solutions also offers Data Collection – easy to use mobile bar-code data collection, and Ship to – simple, inexpensive integration to UPS World Ship and FedEx Ship Manager.

To round out a total ERP software experience, myERPcloud will also highlight Azox in a demo instance dedicated for eCommerce. Azox is a recognized leader in providing e-commerce solutions for the Microsoft Dynamics market. Azox develops and delivers fully integrated e-commerce solutions, credit card processing, and distribution modules to businesses around the world. Dynamically connect pricing, payments, inventory, customers, orders and more from your back office ERP system and front-end website with Azox e-commerce solutions for Microsoft Dynamics GP.

“By providing Microsoft on-demand ERP trials with preconfigured ISV Partner solutions in the cloud, we anticipate businesses can experience rich featured applications to solve today’s business challenges with technology,” said, CEO of “Both partners and solution providers are excited about having these ERP solutions available to finance and accounting professionals to trial and experience the power of Microsoft Dynamics solutions.”

RoseASP, a division of Rose Business Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Competency Partner and Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Excellence Partner of the Year Finalist – 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Partner of the Year – 2011, has developed the myERPcloud service.

About RoseASP

RoseASP is a leading provider of hosted Microsoft Dynamics ERP, Cloud Dynamics and CRM applications. Since 2000, it has hosted systems for small and mid-sized companies and a growing number of Microsoft Partners around the world. With a highly skilled and experienced team of experts in hosting financial and accounting systems, related modules, and other third-party systems leveraging knowledge for customer success, RoseASP is committed to customer service. For more information about RoseASP, visit

Microsoft Introduces New Version of Dynamics AX for ERP

Dynamics AX 2012 Release 2, Announced at a Microsoft AX Conference in Bellevue, Wash., Provides Enterprise Resource Planning Software for Large Organizations With Global Operations.

Microsoft is going to make the latest version of its Dynamics AX 2012 enterprise resource planning (ERP) product available Dec. 1 for managing large-scale global companies.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Release 2 offers multiple new ERP software features for companies in four key sectors, including manufacturing, retail, the public sector and professional services.

“These very different organizations share a common theme. Each is committed to delivering exceptional results but faces the complexity of global operations,” wrote Christian Pedersen, general manager Microsoft Dynamics Product Marketing Group, in a blog post announcing the update. “Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 simplifies global operations by enabling organizations to use their ERP solution globally via a single instance.”

The news was also made public at the Dynamics AX Tech Conference that Microsoft hosted in Bellevue, Wash.

Microsoft announced the acquisition of MarketingPilot Oct. 17, a company that provides integrated marketing applications and will be incorporated into the Microsoft Dynamics line of CRM software.

AX 2012 R2 localizes the ERP applications for 36 country localizations by including specific regulatory requirements in various countries and localities. The update adds 11 new localizations for large countries such as Japan, India, Brazil, Russia and China, but also smaller countries such as the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Also new in AX 2012 R2 is a talent management system for matching the skills of job candidates to open positions within an organization. Microsoft added that customers in the U.S. can also now bring payroll processing in house where they can exercise better control of this sensitive data than with a third-party payroll processing company.

Besides specific new features for different industry silos, R2 also adds tools to gauge business performance using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other benchmarking capabilities for deeper analysis to deliver actionable business insights, wrote Kees Hertogh, director of Microsoft Dynamics ERP, in another blog post.

Hertogh also linked to a McKinsey & Co. research report released this month that shows that the largest companies based in developed economies currently derive only 17 percent of their revenue from emerging markets, even though these markets represent 36 percent of global GDP. Despite advantages in scale, technology and access to capital, multinationals often lose out to more nimble local competitors in those markets.

“There are huge opportunities still untapped—significant growth predicted [with] GDP expanding from $12 trillion to $30 trillion by 2025–and 2 billion new consumers to enter the world market,” he noted, adding that Microsoft Dynamics AX could help global companies tap into those markets.

Newest ActiveBatch Workload Automation Version Offers Support For Microsoft Dynamics AX

New Extension to ActiveBatch Job Scheduler Allows Single Point of Automation Control for Business Process Automation

Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. (ASCI), maker of ActiveBatch Workload Automation and Job Scheduling Software, today announced the upcoming availability of the ActiveBatch Extension for Microsoft Dynamics AX.  The Extension for Dynamics AX will further extend the all-in-one business process automation capabilities for the most advanced workload automation product on the market. The new version will be released in the 4th quarter of 2012.

As IT departments operate in increasingly distributed environments that include multiple application types, the need to better support the business requires the ability to integrate and automate processes across these various application and platform types. ActiveBatch will address this by extending its support of application process automation to provide IT organizations with a single business process automation solution. Businesses leveraging Microsoft Dynamics AX can now use ActiveBatch to more easily automate Dynamics AX ERP software processes and integrate them throughout the enterprise. This new extension will add to an already robust list of additional ERP solutions that ActiveBatch supports, including PeopleSoft, Oracle E-Business Suite, SAP and others.

The ActiveBatch Extension for Microsoft Dynamics AX will provide the following benefits:

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX—Provides a single point of control for scheduling and automating processes within Microsoft’s ERP system and be able to pass data and manage dependencies between Dynamics AX and other applications and systems. Improves Dynamics AX scheduling by allowing users and developers to add ActiveBatch’s more advanced scheduling, event automation and monitoring capabilities to the automation of Dynamics AX processes.

“Given the diverse, highly complex and often distributed mix of applications, databases, networks, production demands and business requirements in large IT operations, simplifying job scheduling and automation is vitally important. Advanced Systems Concepts is helping application architects and developers ease their workload while increasing their command and control,” said Jim Manias, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. “The new extension provides a single-point management interface, replacing the one-off schedulers in individual applications with a complete and comprehensive scheduling solution.”

“Gartner inquiries have continued to reflect that 70% of the business processes within organizations are near real-time or batch. Workload automation tools have continued to evolve to support this environment, as the IT application and platform landscape evolves toward providing a foundation for accelerating business change in on-premise and cloud environments,” says Milind Govekar and Biswajeet Mahapatra in the Magic Quadrant for Workload Automation, February 2012. “These tools are on the way toward providing an automation platform that supplies services to heterogeneous environments and unifies island of automation across the IT environment.”

Booth 1024, Gartner ITxpo ActiveBatch Extensions are separately licensed; for more information about ActiveBatch V9 or the new Service Pack 1, visit Advanced Systems Concepts at its exhibit, Booth #1024, at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 21-25, 2012 at the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan Resort, or log on to

About Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. Headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. offers many software products and options for users of Windows, UNIX, Linux, HP OpenVMS and NSK systems as well as IBM z/OS, AIX, i5OS and SCO UNIX. These products provide answers to software developers and system managers with improved system efficiency and utilization. Advanced Systems Concepts has a worldwide base of customers in over 43 countries around the world. Advanced Systems Concepts is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Technology Partner, a Microsoft Silver Certified Partner and a member of the Microsoft System Center Alliance.

e2b teknologies Integrates Anytime Collect with Microsoft Dynamics GP

Today, e2b teknologies announced the integration of its flagship Anytime Collect software with Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains), a leading ERP business application. Anytime Collect accounts receivable and credit collections management software streamlines a company’s credit and collections activities, simplifies the process, and helps companies get paid faster.

“Anytime Collect and Microsoft Dynamics GP is a winning combination for businesses seeking a simple and efficient ERP solution for financial management,” said Errol Schoenfish, Microsoft Director of ERP Product Marketing.  “We are working with e2b teknologies on several projects including leveraging new platforms such as Windows 8 and integrating with other Microsoft technologies. Anytime Collect offers our customers a choice in ERP solutions to manage their accounts receivable and credit and collections activities extending our applications to support even the most sophisticated business requirements.”

Anytime Collect centralizes accounts receivable information from multiple companies in the Microsoft Dynamics GP database making it easier for companies to manage their accounts receivable portfolio across their various businesses.

“Last year, Microsoft invited us to join their high potential partner program. This year, we’ve already grown into their managed account program which is comprised of a small group of software developers aligned with their cloud business strategies,” said e2b teknologies President Lynne Henslee. “Microsoft was instrumental in helping us launch this integration with one of their salient ERP solutions.”

Anytime Collect integrates to any ERP accounting systems, either through a direct integration or a synced flat-file integration. It is available on premise or as a true software as a service (SaaS) cloud offering and may be purchased or licensed through a low monthly subscription starting at just $89 per month – less expensive than most cell phone bills.

About e2b teknologies:

e2b teknologies provides cloud-based business software applications and business services to progressive businesses worldwide. e2b enterprise develops custom cloud-based business applications and resells leading ERP accounting software, CRM, HRMS, and other enterprise business software applications from Sage Software, Epicor, Intacct, Sugar CRM, and other publishers. e2b anytime apps is the publisher of Anytime Collect, Anytime Assets, Anytime 500, and related Anytime brand products. e2b calibration is an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited calibration laboratory.

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