NAV2018 and Dynamics365 – What We Do Know

An abridged, and slightly sanitised (!) version of a terrific piece by long-time NAV blogger “Waldo”.

Fact 1: The market around the product we know as “Dynamics NAV” will remain a partner model

Microsoft love their NAV partners because NAV partners keep delivering the goods. It’s the partners who have made such a success of NAV and helped Microsoft earn a serious amount of upfront licence revenues and ongoing support revenues from NAV. So, the partner model isn’t going away any time soon.

That’s great for customers who benefit from the partners’ knowledge of all things ERP and the capabilities of NAV to meet their needs. We’re not selling Word or Excel, we’re selling a business management solution.

Fact 2: NAV will be available in the cloud

In Spring, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will be available in the cloud and it will be based on NAV.

Of course! When you look at it technically, it makes all the sense in the world:

  • NAV is the best product to for the SMB market;
  • NAV has a great, new, state-of-the-art extensibility model (aka Extensions) something Dynamics AX )ostensibly NAV’s big brother product) doesn’t seem to have. Or at least, if they have they should start documenting it as, at this moment, there is already more to find about NAV extensions in beta, than anything about AX extensions; and
  • If Microsoft intends maintaining their targeting of Small to Medium sized business (that’s well over 100+ users by the way), then NAV is their best bet… still. So, Microsoft is being wise here by putting NAV in the cloud.

Fact 3: There is a roadmap beyond Spring 2018

Competitors like to jump on a road map which doesn’t extend beyond next year using it to sow FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) in the marketplace. But what we have a is a situation where the Microsoft Dynamics NAV team is fully “agile” i.e. quick to adapt to the changing marketplace and the impact of technologies. This is one of the reasons why putting up a long term roadmap has been a challenge. However, there is a limited term roadmap which was shown at DirectionsEMEA in October:

At DirectionsEMEA, Microsoft were asked to provide something longer term. The answer was along the lines of “OK, we’ll look at it but frankly the product is here for the long term, we’re investing billions of dollars in NAV/Dyn365 so why are you even concerned about this?”

Fact 4: On Premise is here to stay

As long as there is business for On Premise, we will be able to do it with NAV. Yes, Microsoft’s focus is on the  “Cloud”, but “On Premise” is here to stay for as long as customers want it. And frankly, if customers continue to buy the on premise solution, why would Microsoft remove that option?

Fact 5: Dynamics 365 will have full NAV capabilities

Naming it “Dynamics 365 for Financials” when it offered more than “just” Financials confused the market. Essentially, the message is very strong – whatever we can do in the cloud, we can do on premise and vice versa.

Whether it’s Manufacturing, Jobs, CRM, Service… in fact anything that the SMB market wants, it will be there! Cloud or no cloud.


The Technical Bit…

Fact 6: One Codebase

While the cloud user experience may differ from on-premise, it will be one codebase! Basically the design is somewhat different in Dynamics 365 (let’s call it the “Dynamics 365 Experience”), with some tuning around “application areas” and “properties” but the underlying codebase is the same.

Fact 7: Extensibility with Extensions

NAV has an extensibility model, aka “Extensions” or “Apps”. That is,  a decent, modern, VSCode-based development environment where the partner will be able to:

  • Create apps for Dynamics 365;
  • Create extensions for On Premise installations;
  • Create extensions, based on customised databases i.e. providing the unique requirements of the customer, something which has been a strength of NAV since, well, forever;
  • We can therefore continue to carry out customer developments but have the added benefit of simplifying upgrades (remember when AX used THAT argument against NAV?); and
  • Upgrade every NAV customer regularly and let them benefit from BREP!

Fact 8: Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 will be released on December 1st

Thanks to DirectionsNA and DirectionsEMEA (the biggest NAV partner events of all time!), and the feedback and the passion of the partners, Microsoft knows that it must make this happen. As previously noted, the team behind Microsoft Dynamics NAV is fully “agile” which is why they are able to make the decision to release “what they already have” on such a short timeframe.

Fact 9: Extension V2 will work on Dynamics NAV 2018

The latest and greatest development experience in VSCode WILL work on the NAV 2018 release of December 1st. And it will allow partners to create extensions on top of our own customisations ensuring that our customers have the best of both worlds – the latest NAV plus their own unique requirements addressed.

The Conclusion…

Fact 10: Conclusion

Customers have never had it so good. Choose on-premise, choose cloud, choose customisations, choose upgrades… and know that Microsoft, NAV and its partners are there for the long term.

View more posts


Post by Stephen Malloy

Stephen has now retired from the business in 2019 but continues to assist in an occasional advisory capacity.