Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013-Out and About (on the Cloud)

Those folks who might have been led to believe that Microsoft Dynamics has lately been focusing solely on one or two particular products (with a global enterprise appeal) at the expense of the others (that are more local and niche) will have been disabused of their notions in early October 2012. Specifically, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 in 15 markets. With deep investments in significant new capabilities and improvements across the product, this launch was hailed as the most significant release yet of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. This new release will offer customers a familiar user experience, advanced business intelligence (BI) capabilities, and a new level of choice—choice about which client, device, or browser people can use to connect with the system as well as how they deploy it, on-premises or in the cloud (although through a hosting partner at this stage).

And the Azure Cloud Race Winner Is…?

Microsoft also made significant investments in the “hostability” of the product to ensure a great customer and partner experience deploying and using NAV in the cloud. Benefitting from this work, partners such as NovaVision, TRIMIT, and Sikich, today are offering a hosted version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV in the cloud. Microsoft Dynamics is currently fine-tuning deployment scenarios and developing prescriptive guidance for deploying NAV on Windows Azure. The vendor expects to make deployment of NAV on Windows Azure broadly available in Q1 of calendar 2013 (which is a bit behnd the company's initial schedule).

It is interesting to note that the next version of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 is slated for release in December 2012. The product just went into beta in mid-September, so at this point no one, including the ultimate Microsoft insider Mary Jo Foley, can confirm the final feature set or whether it will be cloud enabled for Windows Azure at its launch.

In any case, the feedback from early adopter customers and partners has been reportedly positive, and Microsoft claims to have seen many great outcomes from customers already using the new product. For example, Flemming Warrer Jensen, Managing Director of Dixie, a fashion accessory company in Denmark, reports:
With Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 all in all, our inventory management has become 20 percent more effective. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 has been optimal in helping us to streamline processes– and using the time gained on customers.

As expected, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which has long had its proprietary tools and idiosyncrasies, has been gradually made more Microsoft technology–centric (which remains both a blessing and a curse). Some of the new key features in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 include the following (check out the Microsoft Dynamics NAV product page for more information):

  • Application Functionality: Functionality such as Cash Flow Forecast, Cost Accounting, Timeline Visualization, and Excel Integration to Query enable greater accounting efficiency for customers while offering partners the ability to develop customized solutions.

  • More Access, More Answers: The new Microsoft Dynamics NAV Web Client allows users to access NAV from virtually any device. The new NAV Portal Framework assists in building web portals with Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Improved query and charting capabilities offer compelling ways to analyze and display data for more users.

  • Faster Time to Value: Improvements to the migration tool, partner development tools, and increased interoperability with Microsoft technologies mean less time is needed for partners to customize and deploy solutions, and they are easier for customers to learn and have impact.

  • Improved Partner Productivity and New Business Opportunities: Specifically useful for partners, Dynamics NAV 2013 enables easier deployment, configuration and installation through the RoleTailored developer experience. New Microsoft .NET Framework enhancements enable partners to build high-performing add-ons, extend, and integrate their existing Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions, and share data more easily.

TEC blog series (Apr 2009): The (NA)Vision of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009
TEC product overview: Microsoft Dyanamics NAV
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