Comparing MS Axapta with SAP Business All-in-One
It is easy to compare MS Dynamics AX (Axapta) side-to-side with a SAP Business All-in-One Solution (BAiO) when looking at:
- The technology foundation
- ERP & CRM functionality
- Business Intelligence
- Implementation templates
Let us a look at the build-up of a typical SAP BAiO solution:
Each horizontal section has a corresponding section in a typical MS Dynamics AX solution:
SAP provides one common integrated business process platform – SAP NetWeaver. In contrast, Microsoft attempts to combine three distinct technologies:
- AX Foundation – technology foundation required to run MS Dynamics AX (ERP). The product was initially developed by Damgaard/Navision and acquired by Microsoft in 2002. It is based on a proprietary development environment (MorphX) and a proprietary programming language (X++)
- CRM Foundation – technology foundation required to run MS Dynamics CRM. The product was developed by Microsoft from scratch
- .NET Framework – set of low-level tools and technologies used to develop software applications. It is a part of MS Dynamics CRM and slowly becoming a part of MS Dynamics AX
ERP and CRM Functionality:
SAP ERP and SAP CRM are natively integrated. In contrast, Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM cannot natively communicate with each other. Customers will require an integration component (e.g., a partner add-on) to replicate information (e.g., customer data) between the two systems. Business process continuity can only be achieved by implementing a full-blown middleware, such as Microsoft BizTalk, which is expensive in terms of license fees and implementation project costs. Additionally, since Microsoft products are not very robust functionality-wise, it is generally necessary to deploy multiple partner add-ons, which in turn can make IT landscape more complex and future upgrades more painful.
SAP products rely on one set of proven BI tools for insights and all kinds of analytical capabilities. In contrast, Microsoft’s BI is in transition. Microsoft very much relied on the native BI capabilities and FRx in the past. Right now, these reporting engines are gradually being discontinued and replaced by MS SQL Server Analysis and Reporting Services. The trade-off on the customer side is that older reporting engines are delivered with a complete set of reports, whereas SQL Server-based tools require customers to develop many reports from scratch.
SAP delivers both proven industry-specific and cross-industry implementation templates via pre-configured business processes (so called Best Practices). In contrast, Microsoft delivers no implementation templates. As a result, each implementation of Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM is different and customers cannot leverage proven business processes and best practices defined by their peers over many years of implementing the system.