Many people are surprised to hear that Microsoft Dynamics NAV is not far from reaching its 20th birthday here in the UK! To see just how far the product has come to its shiny new NAV2013 role-tailored look, consider the following early screenshot circa 1996!

At Turnkey, we have been selling Navision since 1996 when the first ‘proper’ Windows version appeared in the UK. A small team of people in Borehamwood led by Yash Nagpal, and supported by the likes of Sandy Giddings and Hynek Muhlbacher, had believed enough in the product to take on the established UK players from a zero customer base.


Things were a little erratic at the time. VAT didn’t really work properly. You didn’t ask for remittance advices (not needed in Denmark apparently) and all of the training material featured Danish Kroner and was delivered by European trainers. There was a sense that we were all at the start of a rather exciting journey with an incredible new product.


But, always forward-thinking, Yash was determined that the NAV (UK) resellers would be fully trained with both sales and development skills, insisting that at least two of each discipline attended courses at Borehamwood. Three of the original accredited staff from Turnkey work with the company to this day.. a credit to the product and the company I like to think. (I did ‘sales’ by the way, not being a ‘techy’).


Microsoft weren’t the first to rename the product. For a brief, and largely unexplained period, we went from Navision ‘Financials’ to Navision ‘Attain’ then back again. The product by this stage had adopted its early ‘Windows’ guise. Sharp-eyed readers will spot this was also an early version of Turnkey’s NAV4PM agronomy solution for potato companies.

Sadly, some maintain (!), along the way Navision (UK) cashed in its chips with the Danish owners in what turned out to be the first stage of the process of the Microsoft acquisition.


Those of us who were lucky enough to be successfully selling the product at the time benefitted from the incredible generosity of UK MD Yash Nagpal who rewarded his loyal partner base with a fabulous trip to Thailand (regrettably work commitments prevented me attending so my wife gallantly went along instead).


But perhaps most lavish of all was a 10 day whirlwind trip around the best that India had to offer. The latter trip included visits to all of the major sites, participation in an elephant  polo match and an overnight cross desert camel ride. We even had our own doctor which proved a Godsend. I had to take my medicine, delivered with a large needle, half way across the desert on a midnight camel ride – no fun!


Screenshots of the product today show how much the product has changed but it’s a credit  to the original development team that so much of the underlying functionality remains. And, of course, the products great strength has always been its inbuilt development toolset. Who knows how many exceptional systems have been built over the years with that fantastic product.


Below is the most recent incarnation – the ‘Role Tailored Client’. This originally saw the light of day as NAV2009 and has been finessed into NAV2013, a version that really delivers the much awaited benefits of all of the user profiling carried out by Microsoft.


Sadly, Yash is no longer with us but many who knew him were pleased to hear that he was indulging in one of his passions, golf, at the time of his passing. I’d imagine he would be proud to see how far the product has come from its humble beginnings in Borehamwood all those years ago.

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Post by Stephen Malloy

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