Microsoft Pushes Back Next Dynamics NAV Release

In a Sunday Weblog entry, Darren Laybourn, leader of the Dynamics research and development group in Microsoft Business Solutions, described the delay as "very disappointing," but said the inconvenience would be offset by several major improvements Microsoft is making to the software.

"Nobody ever wants to miss a commitment that they make, and with the move of our delivery date from H1 to H2 of 2008, that is the situation we as a Dynamics NAV R&D team find ourselves in right now," Laybourn wrote.

Microsoft is also changing the code name of the next Dynamics NAV from 5.1 to 6.0, to convey the magnitude of the many improvements it's making to the product, according to Laybourn.

Dynamics NAV, one of Microsoft's four enterprise resource planning application sets, works with Microsoft Office applications and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services to improve the speed and efficiency of business processes. The latest version, Dynamics NAV 5.0, launched in March and includes features like sales and purchase document approval, prepayment, inventory costing, and item tracking.

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In addition to moving Dynamics NAV from a two-tier to a three-tier architecture, Microsoft plans to add Web services support and also move its runtime execution engine from an interpreted environment to a compiled environment running on.NET, wrote Laybourn

Deeper integration with Office SharePoint Services, and a "major upgrade" to the user experience will also be part of the 6.0 release, Laybourn wrote.

In the interim, Microsoft will offer a service pack for Dynamics NAV 5.0 that includes Dynamics Mobile support, to enable partners to create mobile solutions that are integrated with Dynamics NAV.

To obtain feedback on Dynamics NAV 6.0, Microsoft next month will release a preview of the software to a select group of testers, with updates being made available to the broader partner community during the first half of next year.

Since purchasing Navision in 2002, Microsoft has revamped support and licensing plans, discontinued fee-based extended lifecycle support, and published a five year commitment to support each product release, said Ritsema.

"This support, direction and consistency are noticeable in the product and its acceptance in the marketplace," he said.