- Perhaps most notable was the fact that, worldwide, Dynamics NAV is in use at more companies than all three other Dynamics products combined. Dynamics NAV in the past year added 667 customers per month, adding up to 102,000 users worldwide, an 8.5% year over year jump. By comparison Dynamics AX added 83 a month, for a total of 19,000 and a 5.6% gain. Dynamics GP gained 333 customers, a 9.3% gain to a total of 47,000 worldwide. Dynamics SL figures were reported as flat (Microsoft has outsourced SL to another company).
- At the conference, NAV General Manager Erik Tiden committed to shipping yearly releases of NAV beginning with NAV 2015 (code named “Crete”). It will “run on multiple devices with an emphasis on power BI (business intelligence), document reporting, and the theme of ‘One Microsoft,'” that is, working with Office 365. It is expected to work on tablets then as well.
- NAV also committed to making it less expensive to upgrade. Upgrades are still cumbersome for those of us who have to do them, and our developers concur that the process could use some aid.
- Azure, Microsoft’s cloud environment, will continue to grow in importance, and the manager of Dynamics NAV product marketing noted that “NAV 2013 R2 is built for the cloud… with flexible authentication” – meaning users could sign in via their Facebook accounts (!). It will also have “elastic capacity” to add server capability on demand for seasonal or other spikes.
- NAV managers emphasized their commitment to the SMB (small to mid-size businesses). Tiden noted that “while competitors dumb down enterprise software for SMBs, we believe the passion, agility and value of SMBs is a challenge to us… The functional demands of SMBs are not less sophisticated than any other big guys.”
- One screen at Convergence made the point of noting that SMBs represent 90% of all businesses, 90% of all employees, and 65% of GDP. A major market to say the least.
- As Mark Brummel, a Dynamics specialist noted recently in a blog post, “Traditionally Dynamics NAV has a strong position in the high end SMB market. This is a segment where companies are small enough to be managed by traditionally one or more owners that had a unique view on their market requiring an ERP package that could support this. Being very easy to customize Dynamics NAV has a strong position in this part of the SMB market.”
Brummel notes the challenge this presents to Microsoft, whose interests tend to lie in more and faster license sales, rather than in the in-depth customization and fitting by resellers required to satisfy these sophisticated users. He points out that this could be the source of some friction for Microsoft, both inside and outside.