Navision Becoming More Visible

Navision Becoming More Visible
P.J. Jakovljevic - April 21st, 2000

Event Summary

In March Navision Software a/s, a Danish provider of financial and business management software solutions for the small-to-medium enterprises (SME) market, announced it has signed a global sales and distribution agreement with Microsoft Corporation Inc. that enables the company's partner network of more than 900 Navision Solution Centers to sell and distribute Microsoft BackOffice products integrated with Navision solutions.

"For many years now, we have worked closely with Microsoft to ensure that our offerings leverage the latest Microsoft technology," said Jesper Balser, CEO of Navision Software. "Navision Software has led the way in securing Microsoft logos and in delivering cutting-edge solutions. It is only natural that our partner network benefits even more from this close relationship. This is the first time Microsoft has granted a Denmark-based developer of enterprise business solutions permission to sell its BackOffice products in conjunction with other business software. Navision Software believes this agreement will benefit Navision Software, its more than 900 Navision Solution Centers and Microsoft worldwide."

"The success of Navision Financials featuring the Microsoft SQL Server option already proves that this is a winning combination. This new agreement will only add to our already impressive sales." said Ren Stockner, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Navision Software. "This agreement will give Navision Solution Centers even more selling power. This is just another step in Navision Software's continued effort towards integrating Microsoft technology and products with the company's enterprise business solutions. Today, nearly 39,000 mid-market customers in more than 89 countries around the world are running on a Navision solution. Navision Software's current product line, Navision Financials, includes fully-integrated application areas covering financials, distribution, manufacturing, e-commerce, project costing, time and billing, human resources and, in certain countries, payroll."

"Today's announcement is a strong example of how business customers will be served in the future," said Jeff Raikes, Group Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Support, Microsoft Corporation. "This greatly simplifies the buying and installation process. Now, Navision Solution Centers can act as the single point of contact for customers seeking advanced solutions from both Microsoft and Navision Software."

Earlier, on March 8, Navision Software announced that it expects to release the first enterprise business solution featuring complete Windows 2000 certification on March 31. Navision Financials 2.60 was awarded the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional certification earlier this year, and the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server certification completes the package. "We worked hard to earn both these certifications because we wanted our customers to benefit as much as possible from the new platform," said Ren Stockner, VP of Sales & Marketing for Navision Software. According to Stockner, the new platform can reduce system administration costs and improve IT security immediately.

The worldwide version of Navision Financials 2.60 will be released to the 23 local Navision Software companies around the world for localization.

Market Impact

The Danish company Navision Software has established strong branding and penetration within the Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SME) segment of the European and recently the U.S. ERP market, with a large customer base and a developed partner channel within the industry. It has developed the tightly integrated functionality breath of its product that matches the SMEs' needs.

Its flagship product, Navision Financials, offers the Web Storefront, HR/Payroll, warehouse management system (WMS), and innate OLAP and date warehouse (DW) functionality, in addition to traditional ERP modules. Furthermore, the Company was one of the first vendors to achieve Euro compliance and has also developed 23 localized, country-specific product versions. Navision is very competitive in speed of implementation, feasibility of customization, total cost of ownership (TCO), and price/performance ratio. The product architecture has been devised entirely from scratch in-house within the Microsoft context, which provides for flexibility and ongoing agility.

Navision has been committed to the Microsoft platform and has recently collected all of the new certifications associated with W2K, such as "Certified for Windows 2000 Server" and "Certified for Windows 2000 Professional". It has now taken its relationship with Microsoft one step further by signing a global sales and distribution agreement allowing its Solution Centers to sell BackOffice products with Navision systems. This will enable the delivery of complete single source solutions to smaller companies.

This idea of 'one-stop shop' is important to SMEs, as many of them do not have the in-house resources necessary to cope with integrating and managing multiple components from different vendors. Navision continues its march into the ERP mid-market and through this latest move, demonstrates that it understands the importance of total solutions in this space.

Users should however be aware of some of challenges that the company is facing. Its distribution and manufacturing modules are currently available only in 5 country-specific versions, and there is no functionality for service-related industries.

In addition to the above product functionality gap, Navision does not exhibit much of a vertical focus. Its distributors (NSCs) offer vertical solutions on an opportunity-by-opportunity basis only. Navision has long depended on its proprietary development (the Navision Server database and 4GL), which is a drawback for the following reasons: 1) a need for a special skill set (in spite of its user-friendliness) and 2) scalability and integration difficulties for the higher end of the mid-market. While its recently released MS SQL Server version of the product may mitigate the above concerns, it is likely to exhibit problems related to its product immaturity.

User Recommendations

We generally recommend including Navision Software in a long list of an enterprise application selection to lower-end of the mid-market companies (with $5M-$250M in revenue) and divisions of larger enterprises, which have limited IT budget and smaller community of users (less than 75), and have significant financial accounting, distribution, and discrete manufacturing requirements, while currently not needing complex CRM and B2B e-commerce functionality.

Global, centrally managed organizations that need a single-code product for all their international business units, enterprises in service-related industries, and companies looking for a broader functionality and a particular industry focus from a single vendor may benefit from evaluating other products at this stage.

Current and future users interested in running on the MS SQL Server database may want to inquire Navision's strategy regarding the product's business intelligence and data warehousing capabilities, bearing in mind that those are innate within the proprietary Navision Server database.

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