Microsoft Launches Dynamics NAV 2009 ERP

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Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, the latest generation of one of the company's midmarket ERP products, will be generally available Dec. 1 in 14 countries, the company said Wednesday at its Convergence conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The release features a "role tailored" design that fine-tunes the system for a given employee's needs and job responsibilities. NAV 2009 also includes a range of BI (business intelligence) features employees can use to analyze data as well as .NET Web Services, for connecting Dynamics with other applications and functionality, such as a credit check system.

Also Wednesday, Microsoft plans to announce:

-- eService Accelerator, a new feature for Dynamics CRM 4.0 that will be available by the end of the year. It enables companies to provide Web-based, self-service features for customers, cutting down on call center costs. The accelerator is compatible with a customer's existing Web portal or a prebuilt one from Microsoft.

-- New peer networking features for the Microsoft Dynamics Community Web site. Members of the site will be able to search the community according to factors like industry and location.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 will be generally available on Dec. 1 in the following countries: U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada (in English and French), Denmark, France, Germany, India (in English), Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Spain. Microsoft plans to announce availability in 28 more markets over time.

"It's a major release for the NAV customers," said Forrester Research analyst Ray Wang. The combination of the role-tailored user design -- which is already featured in Microsoft's Dynamics AX ERP product -- along with the new BI capabilities, "is really where applications are moving," he added.

But Microsoft is still not ready to embrace another major trend of late -- on-demand enterprise software -- for its ERP lineup, although it did launch an on-demand CRM product earlier this year.

"Running an on-demand business is a lot different than running an on-premises software business," said Chris Caren, general manager of product management and marketing for Microsoft Dynamics, in a recent interview. "We feel good about the [ERP] business model. We have a great partner channel to help us sell to market and deploy the software. ERP is a lot harder than CRM to host. With CRM, one application can serve much broader needs."

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