Microsoft plans to integrate cloud versions of its Dynamics CRM and ERP applications with its Business Productivity Online Suite of messaging and collaboration services, all of which will run on its Azure platform.
According to a blog by Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley on tech website ZDNet, the vendor’s initial aim is to move both its CRM applications and BPOS services to the same underlying infrastructure, which will run on top of the Azure cloud development platform.
Into the longer-term, the goal is also to add CRM functionality to the BPOS bundle, although it has currently not been decided whether this will be fully integrated or take the form of an optional add-on.
While Michael Park, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Business Solutions team, declined to provide Foley with a clear time-table for the move, the implication was that it would take place over the next 12 to 24 months.
The software giant also intends to base the next ERP releases of its Dynamics GP (formerly known as Great Plains), NAV (formerly known as Navision) and AX (formerly known as Axapta) applications on the same payments and commerce software as BPOS. Again into the longer-term, the aim is to integrate certain cloud-based ERP workloads with the services offering.
Moreover, the BPOS brand name is soon to be changed to ‘Union’, according to Paul DeGroot, a researcher with Directions on Microsoft, although the vendor itself claimed the suggestion was only "rumours and speculation".
Microsoft is currently in the process of upgrading BPOS with much of the functionality that it recently added to the on-premise versions of Exchange Server (messaging) and Sharepoint 2010 (collaboration) - and before the end of the year, LyncServer 2010 (unified communications). It is also expected to enhance security by adding support for two-phase authentication, Foley said.