Microsoft has significantly delayed the introduction of the next version of its Dynamics NAV ERP product, company officials acknowledged this week.
Microsoft says it has delayed the product formerly codenamed Dynamics NAV 5.1 from the first half of 2008 to the second half of 2008. It also has renamed that released "Dynamics NAV 6.0, officials said via the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog.
But the German publication IS Report -- which first reported the push-back in schedule -- said the Dynamics NAV delay is actually a year-long one, given that the 5.1 version of the Navision product line was due to ship originally by the end of calendar 2007.
Darren Laybourn, a General Manager in the Dynamics business unit, said that Microsoft plans on making some of the features that were supposed to be held until version 6.0 available as part of the first service pack (SP) for 5.0. He did not provide a timeframe for delivery of that service pack.
Version 6.0 of NAV will be the first to add Web-services support, Microsoft has said. The release will be retrofitted to be .Net-based, and it will make use of SQL Server Reporting Services, according to Microsoft.
Laybourn committed to the following new schedule for the renumbered Dynamics NAV 6 update:
- In November 2007, Microsoft will deliver a preview version of the product to 50 ISV’s who are part of its early adopter program.
- In Q1 and Q2 of 2008, Microsoft will release updated previews to the entire partner community. "These will be early availability drops and will need to be treated as such; our intent is to gather feedback on quality, performance, and any transition process issues that partners can identify," Laybourn said.
- In Q3 of 2008, the final beta will go to the early adopter customers "to take them live on the product."
Hmmm. That last bullet point has me wondering whether Microsoft is starting a new trend with its Dynamics products. It seems like delivery to "early adopter" customers -- rather than broad availability -- is the new measure of "shipping." This is also the case with Dynamics CRM Live. Both the professional and enterprise versions of Microsoft's CRM service won't be available in final form for all users until some time in the first half of 2008 (in spite of Microsoft's claim that -- because the professional version went to early adopters this year -- that Dynamics CRM Live shipped in 2007).
Earlier this year, the Softies said they planned to slow the once-a-year release pace which they had been sticking to for their Dynamics products. You could argue that this Dynamics NAV delay was the manifestation of that plan... But in hindsight, that doesn't seem too likely.
Update: Microsoft is now saying its plan of record is to release new versions of its Dynamics apps every two years, with a service pack in between. And in order to support users who aren't ready to upgrade, even with a slower roll-out pace, Microsoft has added to its support offerings an additional five years of paid support for its Dynamics wares.