Microsoft Readies Dynamics NAV 2009 Apps For Midmarket


Kirill Tatarinov, who as corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions manages the vendor's Dynamics application lines, made the announcement in a keynote speech this morning at the Convergence 2008 Copenhagen conference in Denmark.

Topping the list of enhancements in Dynamics NAV 2009 is a set of tools and data access capabilities called "personalized role centers" tailored toward workers and managers in 21 job functions such as finance, purchasing, sales and human resource management. Microsoft has been adding such capabilities to its other ERP application suites, including Dynamics AX that began shipping in June, and Dynamics CRM 4.0 that was released late last year.

One of the biggest challenges faced by customers using ERP systems is how to get started using the right functionality in the applications, said Scott Brennan, managing consultant with Sikich, an Aurora, Ill.-based solution provider and Dynamics NAV reseller. "With the release of NAV 2009 and its new role-tailored client, we finally have a great answer for that challenge," he said in an e-mail interview. Those capabilities allow users to focus on the 20 percent of the application's functionality that they need to do their job and push the rest into the background, he said.

For the first time, Dynamics NAV 2009 fully supports Microsoft's .Net Web services architecture, a move that will make it easier for partners to integrate the software with their own applications and install it into customer IT environments, said Chris Caren, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics marketing and product management.

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The software is fully integrated with Microsoft's SQL Server database, allowing users to use the built-in reporting and analysis capabilities to drill deeper into the data. It also works with Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server and Office Communications Server.

"One of the big topics in our industry these days is business intelligence," Brennan said. "Our customers want to be able to see certain business metrics without spending hours digging through a database or ERP system for those answers. NAV 2009 delivers on this concept and can incorporate those kinds of metrics into [their] daily ERP user experience."

Dynamics NAV is targeted at midsize businesses with between 50 and 1,000 employees and Caren said the vendor is particularly focusing on customers in retail, manufacturing, distribution, public sector and professional services markets. The applications compete with ERP software from Oracle, Sage and SAP.

Microsoft positions the software as a horizontal platform, leaving it to the approximately 2,000 resellers and solution providers that work with Dynamics NAV to customize it and develop applications for vertical markets. "We see a big demand for this new release, along with a big change in the user experience," Brennan said.