While almost every Microsoft division is seeking ways to pick up the pace and turn out new product releases more rapidly, the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) unit is preparing to do the opposite by slowing the rate at which it's rolling out new ERP releases.
For the past couple of years, MBS has been dropping new major Dynamics GP, SL and NAV releases on just about a yearly basis. Later this month, Microsoft will roll out the latest major Navision (NAV) release (5.0). In June 2007, MBS will deliver major new updates of its Great Plains (version 10.0) and its Solomon (release 7.0) products.
Dynamics GP 10.0 will include more than 100 new features, a new Office-2007-like interface and more than 200 new Excel reports. Dynamics SL 7.0 includes 120 enhancements, as well as Visual Studio 2005 compatibility.
After those latest big-bang ERP releases, the plan is to slow down a bit and let users digest, said Lynne Stockstad, general manager of Microsoft's Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL product lines.
"Now we're going to the same schedule as Office is on," Stockstad said during an interview in San Diego this week at the Microsoft Convergence conference for its ERP and CRM customers and partners. "We'll be looking at something along the lines of (a new release) every 24 months."
The next version of Office, code-named Office 14, is currently slated to ship in the first half of 2009. Dynamics GP 11.0 will ship around the same time, she said, as will Dynamics SL 8.0. (It's not 100 percent clear whether Dynamics NAV 6.0 will follow suit.)
In addition to giving its Dynamics users a little more breathing room, Microsoft's decision to sync up its ERP releases with its Office ones shows the extent to which Microsoft is linking its Office and Office SharePoint Server products with its ERP ones.
The $395 per user SKU of the just-introduced eMicrosoft's Dynamics Client for Office and SharePoint rlies on SharePoint Server for its information. And the user interfaces of Microsoft's next versions of its ERP releases all have a definite Office-Ribbon-like interface built in. Office is fast becoming one of the primary the business-intelligence layers for Microsoft's Dynamics deliverables.