ERP systems, most commonly associated with very large organizations, are also used by many small to mid-size companies, a niche targeted by Microsoft's Dynamics GP, which was updated this week.
Released on Monday, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 R2 brings several significant updates, the most notable of which is deeper interoperability with Microsoft Azure.
Deploying Dynamics GP on Microsoft's Azure cloud service is now simpler, Microsoft said, thanks to new scripts and utilities designed to help Microsoft partners automate provisioning of Dynamics GP instances on Azure.
"This should better enable partners to compete with newer cloud-based ERP systems such as NetSuite, Intacct and FinancialForce," said analyst Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics.
Also included in the update are customer-requested features such as an all-in-one document viewer that displays all purchasing documents for a specific vendor on a single form, and enhancements to the product's SmartList Designer feature designed to simplify the creation of SmartLists and Microsoft Excel reports.
Visual indicators can now be used to identify customers that have exceeded their credit limit, meanwhile, and new native workflows have been added to manage Accounts Payable Transactions.
Finally, a new Microsoft Dynamics Time Management app enables users to manage and report their time off via a mobile application. The app will soon be released in the Windows, Android and Apple stores.
The global ERP software market is expected to reach $41.69 billion by 2020, according to Allied Market Research, representing a compound annual growth rate of 7.2 percent starting in 2014.
Roughly 47,000 companies worldwide use Dynamics GP, according to ERP Software Blog, a site for Microsoft Dynamics partners, making it Microsoft's second-most-popular ERP offering, behind only Dynamics NAV. By comparison, about 40,000 companies use Microsoft Dynamics CRM, according to the blog, which attributed the figures to a Microsoft official.
"It's good to see Microsoft making further enhancements to Dynamics GP," Scavo said. "There has been concern among customers and partners that Microsoft was giving more attention to Dynamics NAV, so these latest improvements will be welcome."