While the surprise Microsoft-Nokia deal continues to dominate headlines, Redmond's business software division keeps setting the stage for new releases.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2, the latest version of the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite, is set to arrive in October, the company announced at its Directions EMEA 2013 conference in Vienna. The update will bring with it new features aimed at helping small and midsize businesses (SMBs) gain better control and visibility over their business processes and workflows.
The impending launch overlaps with Microsoft's efforts to transition its business software offerings to the cloud while striving to achieve feature parity with their desktop versions. In June, the company announced that both Dynamics GP 2013 and Dynamics NAV 2013 were being made available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, courtesy of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
To assuage the concerns of its channel partners, Microsoft signaled that it had no intention of displacing the middleman. "It's important to note that there's no change in our partner model here, meaning that Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV continue to be available only through our partners, and not direct from Microsoft," Paul White, senior director of Microsoft Dynamics ERP, wrote in a June 18 blog post.
Now, the software maker is preparing to deliver more enhancements to both its cloud and on-premise customers.
"This release builds on the great momentum we've seen since launching Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 last year," White wrote in a Sept. 1 company post. He added that the software "further reinforces the value of Microsoft Dynamics NAV as a business solution from Microsoft that is quick to implement, easy to use and with the power to support your business ambitions."
On the cloud front, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 features multi-tenant support. In addition, it includes tools that enable "large-scale hosting of the Dynamics NAV application," while cutting costs and improving service levels, informed White.
Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 also features deeper integration with Microsoft's cloud-enabled Office 365 productivity suite. White noted that the software "can now be deployed as an application to on-premises and cloud-based SharePoint sites, with single sign-on and a consistent look and feel across the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Web client and Office 365."
Other enhancements include deeper data-integration capabilities that allow organizations to leverage SharePoint workflows and Web parts to extend Dynamics NAV business processes. Dynamics NAV data is now more easily accessible via Microsoft Excel and the Excel Web App.
The product's cash-management features have been similarly expanded. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 can handle automatic and manual payment processing and ships with bank reconciliation tools. Single European Payments Area (SEPA) direct debit and credit transfer support are also on tap.
Finally, both the desktop and Web client have a new, yet familiar look. "A restyled user experience aligned with Office 365 makes it even easier for people to access, view and edit business data and processes," White wrote.