ERP releases are like wine, “MS Dynamics NAV2015 – ready to drink”

Microsoft will officially release NAV 2015 this October. An early release is already available to download for partners. Significant enhancements have been made towards the cloud and mobility. In this blog I want to talk in general about ERP new releases and upgrades rather than going into technical details.

When Microsoft announces a new major release of NAV it usually has both the marketing name, NAV 2015 and the technical name, version 8.0. Comically according to the marketing name we end up promoting either last years or next year´s product for one year.

Should you always go for the latest version?

Unfortunately, software releases do not always behave like most other products where newer is always better. With ERP releases, newer is sometimes better for some companies. A new release could involve a radical technical change, which ultimately will greatly enhance the product, but the early releases could have issues. So you could say that ERP software releases behave like fine wine. They need to age a bit but if you wait too long, they will turn.

The decision to wait or not to wait on purchasing or upgrading to the latest release, has to be intelligently made. It highly depends on the functionality being used and what is addressed in the new release.

As an example the upgrade from NAV 5.0 to NAV2009 and finally to NAV2013 (5.0 did not have a marketing name) was one of the largest jumps I have seen since we moved from character based systems to windows. It was more than revolutionary. But along with all the glory, came some major obstacles. It was obvious that while a great number of new doors were opened, some of the old tried and trusted doors were simply removed. In some cases it was similar to getting a new car that could fly but the speedometer was in the backseat! We at iNECTA built functionality on top of the versions in order to make the work well.  You could say we moved the speedometer.  In some cases we told our customers to wait on going all the way until the new version, like wine, had reached its optimal age.

The latest version, NAV2015, has been fine-tuned further and now instead of focusing on any of the shortfalls of the new technology, we are able to leverage all the new doors that have been opened. It is really a privilege to be backed by Microsoft. Microsoft has a vision and is willing to go through severe changes in order to get its product to the right technology path with an open future. It has the bandwidth and courage to support such a change.

As a consultant, you have to be very aware of the changes and how they affect your customers. We become the Sommelier of the ERP harvest, we advise the customer when to wait, when to discard and when to drink.

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