The business solutions division of Microsoft Corp. has released its fourth iteration of Navision—the software suites first major upgrade since Microsoft acquired the company two years ago.
This latest version of Navision, geared toward SMBs (small and midsized businesses), has a new user interface that is modeled, not surprisingly, on the companys widely disseminated Outlook 2003 e-mail package. The new UI has been added to provide users with a more familiar environment to work in.
The 4.0 version of Navision also includes new process management and partner implementation tools. Additional upgrades include enhancements to the suites KPIs [key performance indicators], which now have better graphics to help users more easily navigate down into business information.
To help companies that rely on manual planning and straightforward production processes become more adaptive with those processes, Navision 4.0 adds a simplified manufacturing foundation, officials said. Functionality includes visibility into work in progress and support for order-by-order planning workflow.
For easier partner implementation, Microsoft has added Business Notification, a tool that builds on Microsoft SQL Server Notification Services to help users stay more connected with partners, customers and employees. At the same time, an XML port tool has been added to ease the whole process of customizing the suite.
New implementation templates, developed for specific industries, have been added to the suite to help partners more quickly install Navision. Templates for the furniture, manufacturing and electronics engineering industries are now available.
Navision, originally the product of a small, Denmark-based ERP [enterprise resource planning] software company, is one of four such product suites in the MBS division. While Navisions offerings are similar to those of Great Plains, Solomon and Axapta, Microsofts additional ERP suites, it has brought something else to the table: the ability for Microsoft to reach the notoriously fragmented European market with deep ties into Europe, the Middle East and Asia through a network of 2,000 partners.
The Denmark company also introduced an interesting channel approach to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, whereby partners add local, industry-focused functionality to a Navision kernel for industry- and area-specific functionality.
The 4.0 version of Navision is available now in various countries including Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.