On October 1, Microsoft announced general availability of its small/mid-size-business-targeted Dynamics NAV 2013 ERP release.
Dynamics NAV 2013, which is one of four ERP products offered by Microsoft, was slated to be the first of the four to be hosted on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud operating system. But it turns out NAV 2013 won't be hosted on Microsoft's cloud right out of the gate, after all.
Microsoft's new plan is to make NAV 2013 available on Azure some time in the first quarter of calendar 2013, a spokesperson confirmed. Once it is hosted on Azure, the product still will be sold through NAV 2013 partners, as per Microsoft's original plan, the spokesperson said. There's no date or official commitment as to when/whether Microsoft also might offer NAV 2013 hosted on Azure directly to customers itself, the spokesperson added.
Microsoft officials previously committed to making Dynamics GP 2013, which is slated to be generally available in December 2013, its second Azure-hosted ERP offering. It sounds as though Microsoft officials aren't 100 percent sure this will happen, but they are still saying, for now, that the plan is to enable partners to sell an Azure-hosted version of GP 2013 once it is available.
Microsoft officials are not sharing details as to what led to the Azure-hosting delay with NAV 2013. When I asked for more background on this, I received the following statement from the spokesperson:
“Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 is available to customers both on-premises and in the cloud via partner-hosted offerings. With the new version we have made significant investments in the 'hostability' of the product to ensure a great customer and partner experience deploying and using NAV in the cloud. We are currently fine-tuning deployment scenarios and creating prescriptive guidance for deploying NAV on Windows Azure and expect to make deployment of Microsoft Dynamics NAV on Windows Azure broadly available in Q1 of CY2013.“
Improvements to "hostability" is just one of a number of new features in the NAV 2013 release. The latest release also includes improvements to querying and charting; more granular role-tailored capabilities; increased general-ledger flexibility; integration with Microsoft's SharePoint and OneNote note-taking products; and expanded Web Client/broser support.
Microsoft's grand ERP plan is to follow the same model on the ERP side of the house that it's already pursuing on the CRM side of its Dynamics business. This year, Microsoft is rolling out simultaneously on-premises and in the cloud its NAV 2013 release. After this year, future Dynamics ERP releases will be cloud-first. As is the case with Dynamics CRM, Microsoft will be making two major updates a year to its ERP platforms once they're available both on-premises and in the cloud, officials have said.