Microsoft announced the availability later this year of its true SaaS (Software as a Service) offering, currently called Project Madeira. This is the first true ERP cloud offering from Microsoft, meaning it is multi-tenant, running on Azure. That in itself is exciting. But what is even more exciting is the integration with Microsoft Office, specifically Outlook, whether you are using the cloud version (Office 365) or the desktop version.
During a brief demonstration of Madeira, Microsoft showed us the ability to act on an email within Outlook to create a quote and respond to a prospect in less than a minute. Contacts can also be created easily from within Outlook. Interacting with suppliers can be accomplished by seeing “Vendor history” in the Madeira window within Outlook. Additionally, since Madeira is “contact sensitive”, when entering the email of a person already in Madeira, the information associated with that email will be surfaced in Outlook.
This is a game changer for productivity. No more logging into two systems, switching back and forth between Outlook and ERP to get your work done. Full business processes can be completed entirely in Outlook. More sophisticated tasks will be completed within the web client.
Microsoft is offering free access to Madeira before it is available for purchase. They would like feedback to incorporate into the solution before it is released. You can even import your data so you can see it in action with your company data!
Here are more details:
- Project Madeira is only a SaaS solution – All other Dynamics ERP solutions still have a place in the Microsoft ecosystem (not everyone is ready to move to a cloud solution for business management). This is a separate product line.
- Microsoft has already developed data migration tools for Excel and QuickBooks.
- The functionality includes more than GL/AP/AR (details forthcoming closer to release date).
- Project Madeira will be made generally available (GA) in the second half of calendar year 2016.
- The target market for Madeira are companies requiring 10-99 users. While Madeira will scale above and below; this is a market Microsoft sees as underserved by ERP providers.
- Madeira will be sold through Microsoft Cloud Service Partners (CSPs).
- Extensions will be built by partners, certified, and available through a marketplace.
- Pricing and licensing will be made available closer to release date.
This is a great opportunity for anyone considering moving from Excel, QuickBooks, or local accounting system to get a preview of Madeira and provide their feedback to Microsoft before the product is released.