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Continuing to cough up bits and pieces of its code to the masses, Microsoft has made broadly available the source code for software binding its Axapta and CRM applications to Office 2003.
The new Microsoft Dynamics Snap components include a Time Sheet Snap-in, a Vacation Management Snap-in, Business Data Lookup Snap-in for Dynamics AX 3.0 (Axapta), as well as a business Data Lookup Snap-in for Dynamics CRM 3.0.
All of the code is accessible from GotDotNet.com.
The vacation management applet lets people enter their vacation time into an Outlook form which is hot-wired to Axapta. "I wish we had that at Microsoft," said James Utzschneider, general manager of Dynamics marketing for Microsoft. "Now we have a separate time-sheet management application. This is now a tab in Outlook but also integrated with Axapta."
"These are downloadable by partners directly and the source code is available to partners," Utzschneider noted. Dynamics is the new umbrella brand name for all the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) financial applications.
"Microsoft released similar modules for Great Plains last fall, but they shipped as standard compiled code, there was no code gallery available. Today we're adding the flavor of the shared source community approach," Utzschneider told CRN.
This whole effort of tying its financial applications into Office 2003 mirrors the "Mendocino" effort Microsoft and SAP launched last year to link Office 2003 to SAP's market-leading ERP applications.
Clearly, Mendocino is a priority: Microsoft needs to be a good corporate citizen in large accounts that run SAP ERP applications, especially as both Microsoft and SAP must contend with a bigger Oracle in both databases and applications. But news of that effort irked some MBS insiders and partners who wondered why Microsoft played up Office links to external ERP when it fields its own financial software.
Early Mendocino code went to some 40 customers and 10 partners in December. Final code is due this summer, a spokeswoman said.
Microsoft's dominant Office desktop suite is clearly a good pull for its CRM and ERP applications, several partners said.
Since last summer, Microsoft has upped the effort to show integration between its own business back-office and Office applications.
Andy Vabulas, CEO of IBIS, a Microsoft Gold partner in Atlanta was bullish on the new snap-in modules. "I think it's awesome that Microsoft continues to integrate across its stack, and providing the source code means we can really get in there if we have to," he noted.