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Dynamics NAV 2009 Gets More User Friendly

Microsoft touted new capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, particularly customization features enabled by Service Pack 1.

SP1 became generally available on September 1, but Microsoft began describing some of the benefits this week. Dynamics NAV 2009 is aimed at midmarket organizations and is one of four enterprise resource planning (ERP) products offered by Microsoft and its partners.

The new capabilities are designed around supporting a "role-tailored user experience." SP1 brings new visualization and personalization capabilities, as well as a menu of enhanced features, to the Dynamics NAV 2009 suite, according to Microsoft.

The new features include data entry enhancements, filter improvements, keyboard shortcut changes and improved Internet resource connections. Partners can also customize the user experience using Microsoft's Silverlight multimedia framework.

The real differentiator in the package is the visualization process, according to R. "Ray" Wang, an enterprise strategy partner at Altimeter Group.

"Typically, specific visual configuration for micro-verticals takes place in the last mile," Wang explained in a telephone interview. "Prior to this release, smaller companies with 100 to 250 employees relied on partners to develop user interface enhancements. Now, they have a much simpler platform to begin that process."

Wang added that Microsoft's announcement shows its continued commitment to creating role-based personalized experiences critical for small-to-medium organizations.

Dynamics NAV addresses the needs of a number of vertical markets, according to Guy Weismantel, director of ERP marketing at Microsoft.

"We have a wide variety of vertical-specific partner solutions available for, but not limited to, customers in chemical manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, construction, food and beverage, high tech, industrial equipment manufacturing, public administration, specialty retail, and wholesale distribution," Weismantel explained via e-mail.

Wang said that each of the four Dynamics ERP lines addresses targeted vertical markets with a suite of applications. Microsoft is also moving closer to integrating social enterprise apps with its ERP products.

"As they use more of their internal tools such as Silverlight, SQL Server Reporting Services and Windows Workflow Foundation, they will be able to move towards more social, connected enterprise-class apps," Wang said. "Continued investment in dynamic user experiences, business process, and community connectedness will give Microsoft Dynamics a head start towards the development of more Social Enterprise Apps."

Wang estimates Microsoft's share of the enterprise software market to be about $1.1 billion. Microsoft holds eighth place in Wang's "Software Insider Index" of enterprise application vendors. SAP and Oracle top that list with shares of $14.6 billion and $8.4 billion, respectively.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media. You can contact Herb here.

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