Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 RoleTailored Client
(North American edition)
|Stable release||7.0 (2013)|
|Operating system||Windows Server 2008/2012 (Application server), Windows 7 and later (Clients)|
|Type||Enterprise resource planning|
|Website||Microsoft Dynamics NAV|
The product is part of the Microsoft Dynamics family, and intended to assist with finance, manufacturing, customer relationship management, supply chains, analytics and electronic commerce for small and medium-sized enterprises. Value-added resellers (VAR)s can have full access to the business logic source code, and it has a reputation as being easy to customize.
For modifications of the system, the proprietary programming language C/AL is used.
The company was founded in 1983 in Denmark as PC&C A/S (Personal Computing and Consulting). In 1984 they released their first accounting package called PCPlus. It was for its time a very user-friendly single user package with all the basic accounting functionality. In 1987 the first version of Navision was released. This was also their first client/server based package allowing multiple users to access the system simultaneous.
Until 1990 the system was primary sold in Denmark, Iceland and Germany. But with the release of Navision version 3 (of the character-based system) a heavy international expansion was initiated and distributors and localized versions became available in many other countries.
In 1995 their first Microsoft Windows 95 based version was released.
In 2000, Navision Software A/S merged with fellow Danish firm Damgaard A/S (founded 1983) to form NavisionDamgard A/S. Later the name was changed to Navision A/S.
On July 11, 2002 Microsoft bought Navision A/S to go with its previous acquisition of Great Plains. The new division in Microsoft was named Microsoft Business Solutions and also included Microsoft CRM.
In 2003 Microsoft announced their plans to develop an entirely new ERP system (Project green). But later it was decided to continue development of all ERP systems (Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL). All four ERP systems will be launched with the same new role based user interface, SQL based reporting and analysis, SharePoint based portal, Pocket PC based mobile clients and integration with Microsoft Office.
The product itself has gone through several name changes over the time. Initially Navigator was used in Denmark, although most Danes knew it as IBM-Navigator, as IBM was the distributor. Internationally it was sold as Navision, except for the US where it was called Avista. The names "Navision Financials", "Navision Solutions", "Navision Attain", "Microsoft Business Solutions - Navision Edition", and the current "Microsoft Dynamics NAV" (pronounced N-A-V) have all been used to refer to this product.
Windows based Navision versions from 1.00 onwards were:
- Navision Financials 1.00: 1.00, 1.00A, 1.00B, 1.10, 1.10A, 1.20, 1.30
- Navision Financials 2.00: 2.00, 2.00A, 2.00B, 2.00C, 2.01, 2.01A, 2.01B
- Navision Financials 2.50: 2.50
- Navision Financials 2.60: 2.60, 2.60A, 2.60B, 2.60C, 2.60D, 2.60E
- Navision Solutions 3.00: 3.00
- Navision Attain 3.01: 3.01, 3.01A, 3.01B
- Navision Attain 3.10: 3.10, 3.10A, 3.10B
- Navision Attain 3.60: 3.60, 3.60A
- Microsoft Business Solutions Navision 3.70: 3.70, 3.70A, 3.70B
- Microsoft Business Solutions NAV 4.00: 4.00, 4.00 SP1, 4.00 SP2, 4.00 SP3
- Dynamics NAV 5.00: 5.00, 5.00 SP1
- Dynamics NAV 2009: ("6.00") 2009, 2009 SP1, 2009 R2
- Dynamics NAV 2013: ("7.00") 2013
Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives administrators the option of using either a Native database server or Microsoft SQL Server, as the DBMS. SQL Server is better able to cope with large database sizes, but requires more maintenance than the classic database. The original database server is often referred to as 'C/SIDE' which refers to Client/Server Integrated Development Environment.
With NAV 2009, Microsoft introduced a completely new client interface which was named the RoleTailored Client (abbreviated RTC). Instead of a common experience for all users, the RTC improves efficiency by tailoring the NAV experience so users see only information pertinent to their role and day-to-day activities. Other notable improvements include several visual improvements such as support for charts, colorful reports, and adoption of a Microsoft Office style ribbon.
The NAV client interface previously available in versions 5 and older was retained in NAV 2009, but renamed the Classic Client.
While the Classic Client supports both Native and SQL databases, the RoleTailored Client requires a SQL database. Additionally, SQL database logins are not supported with the RoleTailored Client.
In October 2012, Microsoft released NAV 2013, which discontinued support for the Classic Client. The RoleTailored Client has been renamed the Windows Client. Additionally, a built-in Web Client and SharePoint Client were added. The Web Client does not require any special add-ins and works on computers and mobile devices alike.
Relative to Microsoft's other 3 ERP products, Dynamics NAV's sector is distribution and manufacturing companies that want more than "out of the box" functionality. The solution has a standard feature set, but it can also be thought of as an "ERP System construction set". The Pascal-like development language is easily accessible to appropriate developers and is designed for rapidly customizing the software. There is no need for complex server side Transact-SQL stored procedures as the one language manages the application and database.
As per July 2012 Dynamics NAV is being used by 92,500 companies globally. The number of end users is estimated approx. two millions throughout the world.
As a native International ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV is proposed with 43 official localizations  and several unofficial ones (provided by local partners).
These localizations ensure the full compliance of NAV with the local legal and fiscal rules.
The NAV solution is also compliant with IAS/IFRS.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV delivers integrated functionality to provide support for:
- Financial management
- Supply chain management
- Customer relationship management
- Sales and marketing
- Service management
- Human resource management
The Microsoft Dynamics NAV software is composed of three major components:
- The Database Server, a database that stores the Microsoft Dynamics NAV data (as of NAV 2013 only Microsoft SQL Server)
- The Application Server (starting from NAV 2009 RTC), a service that controls all aspects of Microsoft Dynamics NAV's operation
- The Client(s), the actual user interface into Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Licensing Model 
Microsoft Dynamics NAV uses a concurrent user licensing model.
In 2006, Microsoft introduced the "Business Ready License" (BRL) model. The customer purchases user sessions, which have access to certain parts of the system included. There are two types of user - Business Essentials (BE) and Advanced Management (AM); AM provides access to more functionality than BE. Under the previous licensing model, "Module Based License" (MBL), users came with no functionality - this all had to be bought separately. Microsoft offers a path for customers to transition from MBL to BRL licensing.
With the arrival of NAV 2013, Microsoft introduced a new licensing model called "Perpetual Licensing", which considerably simplifies the pricing structure.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV Add-ons are software products supplementing NAV functionality. Add-on solutions are developed and distributed by Microsoft Partners worldwide network as granules or modules to improve functionality of NAV system or make it applicable in some business spheres. Microsoft Dynamics Solution Finder is an online tool to search for solutions within vertical markets, with an up-to-date overview and identifying solutions that are Certified for Microsoft dynamics.
There are vertical and horizontal add-on solutions. Horizontal add-on solutions supplement one of the NAV functions or add new function (e.g. financial management, human resources management etc.). Vertical (or industry-specific oriented) add-ons expand NAV functionality to support some industry (e.g. health care, brewery, financial services etc.) The majority of add-on solutions are multilingual with most supporting English.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV utilities are small software modules for Microsoft Dynamics NAV improving programmers and database administrators work convenience and effectiveness. Also it makes program development and implementation processes faster and their cost lower. Eventually utilities will be developed by the NAV developers/implementers for their own needs and will then be distributed as a commercial software product.
Software configuration management can be a time-consuming manual task, because Microsoft Dynamics NAV does not integrate with any revision control system and stores code in a database. Also, integration with .NET Framework code can be difficult, because Dynamics NAV C/AL programming language is not object-oriented.
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