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Microsoft Dynamics NAV: Full focus on the Cloud

18 September, 2017
Microsoft Dynamics NAV: Full focus on the Cloud

After months of waiting, it’s finally official! Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s full transition to Software as a Service (SaaS) has been announced at Directions North America conference in Orlando.

Codenamed “Microsoft Dynamics 365 Tenerife” the project brings the same fully functional business software enjoyed by over 100,000 companies worldwide for on premise and the Cloud. What an exciting time to be part of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV community!

As many will know, Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s branding for the business solutions delivered as SaaS on the Microsoft Azure platform, but since the original announcement months ago, the cloud transition roadmap for NAV was less clear.

The evolution of Dynamics 365

Over the last few years, we have seen the enterprise solution (Dynamics AX / Axapta) move to ‘D365 Financials & Operations: Enterprise’ and the launch of an entry-level finance solution for smaller businesses (D365 Financials). The long awaited launch of full NAV capability is expected to be branded as either ‘D365 Financials & Operations: Business’ or ‘D365 NAV’, although this isn’t yet confirmed.

The naming is likely to cause confusion, so here is the summary:

  • NAV will be available as traditional perpetual licence (one off cost). This can still be deployed in the cloud or as an on premise solution.
  • The same rich functionality will be available as a fully hosted SaaS solution.

Cloud vs on premise

Currently the market is split between those whose needs demand an on premise solution (as confidence in cloud computing has grown, this is now typically where there are connectivity issues) and those who want the low maintenance offered by SaaS.

Microsoft have stated absolute commitment to meeting the needs of all customers; this means delivering a true SaaS offering to the mid-market, as well as supporting users who are on premise.

Microsoft are surpassing the competition

It has been suggested that Microsoft is playing catch up to Netsuite, Oracle’s mid-market SaaS product, but with the release of full NAV functionality, Netsuite have been well and truly overtaken.

 Here’s a summary of the functionality that NAV will include:

  • Full ERP functionality (finance, inventory, manufacturing, job / projects etc)
  • Office 365 integration: it should be unsurprising that NAV’s O365 integration is absolutely tight. We love the ease that an email into Outlook can be converted into a NAV transaction (e.g. the request from a customer producing a quote following the predefined workflow rather than human interaction)
  • “Appsource”: Microsoft certified extensions (NB: the vast NAV partner community has already been reworking their offerings in line with the launch)
  • API suite, launching with some 44 pre-built APIs to hook into third party solutions (we love the Facebook API to take customer bookings into NAV)
  • Common Data Services (CDS): supporting the evolution to normalising data across all platforms.

It’s full steam ahead

The clear message is that Microsoft is “all in with the cloud”. To no surprise, Microsoft deem there to be more demand in the market for the cloud, and Dynamics 365 “Tenerife” is both the next version of NAV and the next iteration of Dynamics 365 to take customers through this journey to the cloud.

What also remains the case is that full ERP is available for SMBs however they need to deploy (cloud or on premise). What could life for your business be like in the cloud?