I started working with Navision in 1990 and since then I've done almost everything in this industry.
In 1995 I started the Dynamics User Group, formerly Navision Online User Group and Microsoft Business Solutions User Group. Here on my blog I write mostly about the Dynamics Community, my experiences with Microsoft and especially the Dynamics NAV and Navision projects I'm working on, but also how it is to work as a self-employed Navision freelancer, Navision contractor or whatever you call it.
Just a few days ago I wrote that there would be no new version of Dynamics NAV this year. Instead a new Dynamics 365 "Tenerife" would be released in Spring 2018. Code name "Tenife" would become a "common platform" for both Dynamics NAV and what used to be known as Dynamics 365 for Financials/Finance and Operations, Business Edition. This was announced at the Dynamics partner conference Directions in Orlando on September 18th.
I primary work at end-users, so personally I did not see the big issue. There is nothing worse than buggy releases and I'd rather wait a little longer. But I was not personally in Orlando, so I only had some of the story. It was not so much a question about NAV 2018 being buggy, even if the new AL still is not quite where it needs to be. But that Microsoft seemed to change much more than just the release date of NAV 2018.
Already at the conference this had made a lot of the partners both very upset and confused. Upset because Microsoft not long ago had announced, at a closed partner conference, that there would be a release in Q4, as there had been since the release of NAV 2013. Thus a lot of partners had already lined up customers, ready to go-live as soon as it would be released. And confused because the announcements had been so unclear especially in regards to licensing and pricing.
So at closing session on the conference September 20th., Marko Perisic (General Manager for Dynamics SMB) said that they had heard the feedback. And that we would hear their "reply" soon. Soon, like in not 6 months.
Well it didn't take 6 months to get Microsoft's reply. Friday my fellow MVP Erik Hougaard were the first to spot that there is going be a NAV 2018 released this year.
This was announced by Alysa Taylor in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog. Alysa is General Manager of Global Marketing for the Cloud & Enterprise Business Applications and Industry division at Microsoft (happy I don't have to write that job title too many times ). So she's Marko's boss, as I understand the setup at Microsoft. In the blog post she starts by more or less confirming the announcements made in regards to Dynamics 365. But more importantly "For small businesses who prefer to install their business management solution on-premises, we will continue to offer Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, and Dynamics SL. Dynamics NAV 2018 and Dynamics GP 2018 will become generally available later this calendar year".
I'm a little impressed about how fast Microsoft was to come with a statement. Shows that partner and community feedback does matter. Microsoft really does listen. At least for now there is still going go a "traditional" on-premission Dynamics NAV AND a cloud Dynamics 365 for "something" which incorporates a full NAV and a new "ISV-provided/extended" platform. Which basically leaves us just as confused as before Directions.
But I'm also convinced that we have not heard it all yet. It's exciting times!
There will be no new version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV in 2017. That's according to the latest announcement from Microsoft, made at Directions in Orlando yesterday. Instead the next version of Dynamics NAV will be released in "Spring 2018". And it will share the name with what used to be known as Dynamics 365 for Financials.
So far it's common name is Dynamics 365 "Tenerife", but the "x" typically means that it so far only is the project name. Just as they used to call D365 for Financials for "Project Madeira".
You can read much more about the announcements made by Microsoft in waldo 's two blog post about Directions 2017 - Keynote about Dynamics 365 "Tenerife" and Directions 2017 - Keynote 2 about new client and release dates. If you're not at Directions you self, and you work with Microsoft Dynamics, then you should really take the time and read these two posts.
There are also a lot of other interesting updates from Directions. If you have been part of the TAP/ACE program regarding "Tenerife" or if you have checked out the Developer Preview of the new AL/Visual Studio Code development environment, then most of it may not be news to you. But it's the first time we see anything "on paper" - so to say.
When the new version is released, then Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for Financials will be one platform available both for on-premise (installed "locally") and in the cloud. On-premise will remain more or less "as-is", you can continue to host your own fully customized "NAV" locally or in a private cloud. Or you can leave it to Microsoft. You will even have the option of customizing it in the way you're used to. Microsoft still recommends Extensions and that you use the new development and design tools, which creates "customization's" almost in the way you're used to. Microsoft will also handle upgrades, so that you're always running on the newest version. You can even take your current customized NAV and bring it directly to Dynamics 365.
Whereas the previous D365 for Financials only had a subset of the functionality of NAV (no manufacturing, warehousing etc.), then the new version will have all the functionality.
The coming version is still code named "Tenerife", so my guess is that Navision/NAV as a name will history soon. I guess we have all expected this to happen at some point. I just hope that Microsoft is not going to rush into something, that we need to change in a couple of years again. Every name or branding change takes a long time to implement and primarily ends up confusing the customers, who often don't know what they have when they need support.
Personally I'm not at sad about the "delay" (the new version was expected in Q4 as the previous years). I have been part of the "preview programs" and updated my development environment on Azure about every other month. But the "new designer" and the new Visual Studio Code will take some time to get used to. There is a lot of new "stuff" to learn and only so little time. So it gives me (and you) more time to get ready to when it really is going to happen.
Even if you may be able to host your fully customized "NAV" in the cloud, then I believe that most changes going forward are better made as Extensions.
It will make the sessions at the many NAV conferences this fall even more important. You can find a list of the upcoming events here at DUG in our NAV Event Calendar. Or check out the many free webinars at NAV Skills.