Although it'll be a while yet before the entire establishment of enterprise software comes tumbling down, the pace of decay is accelerating even faster than I expected. Hours after my posting yesterday in which I contrasted SAP's withdrawal of its SRM 6.0 release with SaaS rival Ketera's fast-paced release schedule, fellow ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley reveals that Microsoft "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 release Dynamics NAV 6.0." The release is being retrofitted to be .Net-based and adds Web services support for the first time, she notes — a feature that's already a default component of any SaaS alternative available today.
This marks a distinct slowing from the previous once-a-year release pace that the Dynamics product teams had been attempting to sustain. According to Mary Jo: "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." She also notes that Microsoft seems to have redefined the word 'shipping' to give it a little extra wiggle room:
"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 — Dynamics CRM Live shipped in 2007)."
I once described Microsoft's plans to update its on-demand products once every nine months as a "death twitch cycle." This latest news suggests its Dynamics products are now showing the first signs of rigor mortis.