The wide scale, worldwide  implementation of smart meters is revealing tremendous opportunities for utilities to manage their entire business differently, and more effectively. They are using the data influx to refine their mechanics for billing and along the way improving their meter-to-cash cycles, asset management and customer service metrics.

That’s why we’re particularly excited about the announcement on Monday, with our new Global ISV (Independent Solution Vendor) partner Ferranti, of our signing a global collaboration agreement for taking these opportunities to the next level. Ultimately, the agreement will allow us to increase our companies’ collaborative efforts to further develop the solutions that will help utility companiesmecoms2 around the world cope with and/or capitalize on the fast-changing market conditions that are the hallmark of today’s business environment.

We’re not starting from scratch, for sure. The agreement builds on Ferranti’s flagship MECOMS 2012, a business support system that is based on Microsoft Dynamics AX, our powerful enterprise resource planning solution. It is already an incredibly powerful ERP solution that is in broad use around the world. Due to the international success of MECOMS, we decided to enter this multi-year Global ISV Agreement, positioning Ferranti as an official Microsoft priority global alliance partner in the utilities space. We mentioned Ferranti’s growing global significance in the utilities vertical in a blog earlier this year, and this new ISV relationship is certain to further enhance their growth.

Our announcement with Ferranti coincides with our launch last week of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, a single solution that helps our customers quickly capitalize on new business opportunities that appear within their industries, with purpose-built capabilities for all companies that are engaged in manufacturing, distribution, government sector, retail and services. Dynamics AX is an incredibly flexible business solution that drives user involvement and innovation across the organization, helping the organization realize additional efficiencies. Put another way, the right hand knows what the left hand is doing and can work together without the dysfunction that comes with operational silos.

Microsoft is incredibly committed to the success of Dynamicsdynamics through enhanced relationships with our partners because of the success our clients are already experiencing for their financial, human resources and operations management. You can see how Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced this hallmark announcement about Dynamics AX 2012 by registering here and spending a few minutes watching his video, along with those of Christian Pedersen, the Dynamics AX General Manager, and Mike Bailey, the Director of Finance and Information Services for the city of Richmond. They will give you true sense of the capabilities of Dynamics AX.

And congratulations to Ferranti! That’s a hard working group over there. – Jon C. Arnold