What’s Been Happening with Project ‘Tenerife’?
The FINAL (well, there’s never really a final version but close) version of Dynamics 365 NAV ‘Tenerife’ edition should be out this spring. So, what is it and what will it bring us?
If you described it as NAV but available as a cloud only, subscription-based solution, on Azure and with no desktop option you’d be close. However, it’s not strictly true to say you can’t have it on your desktop as you can run it through a web browser.
And, for mobile usage, it’s very much designed to work effortlessly on smartphones and tablets. So, when we talk about sophisticated accounting solutions, we really can say there’s an app for that.
And it is sophisticated. It has to be if it wants to stand out from the many “software as a service” solutions that have established themselves in the accounting space.
Many of these are a little too well established for Microsoft’s liking. Hence, a near ‘one size fits all’ approach has been taken.
So, while the early releases have focussed rather narrowly on ‘ledgers’, this release will expand beyond to full financials, inventory, warehousing and options to include some manufacturing and service management functionality as well.
That also impacts on the likely customer size. You might be a single user site or a site with 10’s of users… in fact, the expectation is that recommended user numbers will be omitted from the Microsoft marketing spiel. Personally, I doubt that.
Microsoft could never be accused of not pushing an AX agenda. With their Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition, the policy continues irrespective of its suitability. So, while one could argue that functionality determines fit, that doesn’t seem to apply if, for example, you’re a household name and on the corporate target list.
So, where might we see problems? NAV stormed the market from its early Navision days because of the ability it gave NAV partners to quickly modify the system to suit the customer. Even small changes could make a huge difference for a customer and that ability was the killer feature when it came to customers choosing their solution.
Well, we’re now talking about a vanilla solution, sitting on an Azure server and being updated regularly. Changes have to be made in such a way that those updates can be applied without the customer’s changes, however minor, causing it to break.
Extensions i.e. writing those changes outside of core D365 and linking them back to it, is the route chosen. This opens up a market for those ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) who had written re-sellable code to package them up as extensions and sell them in large numbers.
And, they’ll have to be big numbers given that this is a subscription world so a few £s per user per month may be your best shot.
But, are we not missing the original benefit? Tweaks or major changes which are unique to the business. The things that give the business a competitive edge in the market or engender efficiencies with a value way beyond their cost.
How will they be implemented? We’re told a route for achieving this will be provided, so the jury remains out on that one.
Critics say that the delays and confusion around the rollout of Dynamics 365 ‘financials BE’ alongside Dynamics 365 financials ‘enterprise’ has hit normal NAV sales and there’s no doubt that competitors have enjoyed sowing stories of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Hopefully, Microsoft is about to put that firmly behind it.
What is encouraging though, and a good point to end on, is this.
If you did buy into the Dynamics 365 Financials Business Edition Tenerife version, Microsoft will help you upgrade/transition to this new ‘FINAL’ version. If you prefer to stay on-premise or are contemplating buying on-premise, then you can take comfort from knowing the underlying code base will be identical in both products. The best of both worlds as they say.