Navision A/S, a Danish e-business software company acquired by Microsoft Corp. last week, could become the latest component of a new .Net platform in its Business Solutions division.
That unit, home to the companys bCentral, Great Plains and now Navision software, is designing a new Web services platform called the .Net Business Framework, which, if adopted by vertical ISVs, will introduce a new set of .Net-specific modeling, object and financial tools into the business application market.
"[If youre going to build an application], there are a number of pieces that arent in .Net, and we needed to add that layer of platform for building a business app thats going to be deployed through a reseller channel and customized by partners," said Darren Laybourn, Microsofts vice president for the .Net Business Framework, in Redmond, Wash.
The .Net Business Framework includes an object-relational mapping layer to enable developers to work with objects rather than the database and a tool that developers can use to do the object-relational-to-relational mapping.
The other pieces in the framework include a component for a user interface "where we try to allow people to build a rich experience in a Web model and minimize the amount of glue code you have to have to get your user interface to work," Laybourn said.
The modeling capability is central to the framework, he said. Microsoft embedded Rational Software Corp.s XDE as the modeling tool.
The framework will be available by the end of the year. A version for demonstration will be available within three to six months.
The Navision acquisition is valued at about $1.3 billion in cash and stock. While Navision has similar software offerings for small and midsize businesses, as does Great Plains, Navision brings something else to the table: deep ties to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Navision also offers a channel approach in which partners can add local-industry-focused functions to a Navision kernel to create industry- and area-specific software for SMBs.
Paul ODonnell, a consultant with Brooks-PRI Automation Inc., in Chelmsford, Mass., uses Navision software for manufacturing and financials. "Navision is kind of like an undiscovered gem," ODonnell said. "Microsoft will put them on the map."
However, ODonnell said he hopes Microsoft doesnt change the Navision model of delivering products and support through its Solution Center network. "I presume Microsoft would keep the Solution Center concept," he said.