In a different post Daniel asked a very interesting question after Microsoft's announcement that Dynamics NAV 5.1 (now NAV 6.0 or NAV 2008) will not be released until the first half year of 2008, which I think deserves an answer.
"I don't know what you all think, but this puts me in a very difficult position. How can I allow my customers to invest significant money into a solution that keeps on being postponed? How can I, with a clear conscience, tell my customers about what will be included in the next release, or how much effort it will be to go to Navision 5.1/Navision 6.0?"
Well for me as a customer I would say that with the fact that "6.0" has now been postponed has actually made my business case for a Navision 5.0 upgrade even stronger. Before the announcement the only "excuse" for not doing this investment was that we would "have to" upgrade again after a short period. Additionally we would have to invest another big amount in even more user training for all the users moving from Navision 4.0.
Now I feel that my investment is actually a little more secure.
And I think, lets face it, when they do release Microsoft Dynamics NAV 6.0/2009, then it will most likely be at least as buggy as all their other major releases, so one should wait at least for the first service pack release.
Good news on Convergence was also the fact that they have now announced the service pack for Dynamics NAV 5.0 to released, topped with the news that they do now offer a 10 years "guarantee" on the product.
This was quoted from a private discussion amongst MVP's, without the context in which it was said. I can't explain in full what I meant by that due to the NDA, but let me give it a try...
The NAV 5.0 released came with a very string and convincing message from MS that customers that are thinking about moving to 5.1/6.0/2008 should upgrade to 5.0 now. They really drilled the point home saying with conviction "there will be no new functionality in 5.1". An upgrade to 5.1/6.0/2008 should be approached as a two step upgrade, with 5.0 being the object upgrade phase, and the move to the new architecture the technical upgrade phase, with maybe some minimal form transformation. In other words, the official message from Microsoft positioned all upgrades to 5.0 within the context of going to 5.1/6.0/2008. This made perfect sense at the time, because 5.0 was only released because they were having some technical issues with the new client. The 5.1 version was to be "identical" to 5.0, except for some minor form transformation, certainly "there will be no new functionality".
Effectively though, now with a SP to 5.0 (will this be only one SP or will there be more?), and the postponement of the new version, who is to say that there will be no new functionality? What started out as a 6 month lag between 5.0 and 5.1 has now turned into more than a year!
I can't and won't repeat the rest of the context of my post, but suffice to say that I feel that the credibility of the NAV release schedule has taken a hit, and by implication, by having spread the official MS message, so has mine.
Upgrading to 5.0 is a legitimate move, but in my opinion should now not be evaluated within the context of going to 5.1/6.0/2008, but as a separate upgrade altogether. Moving to 5.0 will make the upgrade to the new version easier for sure, but it is a separate upgrade nonetheless.
I'm sorry for having quoted you without having asked your permission first - yes it was taken out of context. And actually that I thought made it interesting for a much wider audience.
Back in context the question is a lot deeper and difficult to answer.
The fact that MS are delaying 5.1/6.0/2008 of cause is never good news. To me it feels like they are digging a hole, but they don't really know how deep it's going to get, and at the same time water keeps coming in from the top. It's going to be a muddy mess!
Every time we hear a new official announcement (or even an unofficial rumor) then it sounds more and more muddy!
I would wish that Microsoft would just play with open hands. As a customer this "show" is not nice to look at it either, even though we normally are pretty good to get the information we need. But I think that the problem is that Microsoft just recently have figured out that the NAV hole is just getting deeper and deeper. And instead of stopping the digging and make the wall's better, then they just continue and making every even more muddy.
The picture right now is very unclear and I would love if MS could clarify it.
No worries my friend, it makes for a good discussion :). I like your "muddy" metaphore.
I think the mistake was to position 5.0 as the stepping stone for the new architecture, it should have been treated as a separate release all along. If they had clearly said "the new technology is not ready yet, so we are taking that back into R&D for a future release, and here's the new functionality we had planned", then there would not have been such a problem.
I liked the thought about the old 5.0 - new architecture - new gui - new functionality - all in one. The problem with a architecture/gui only release is that it's difficult for a customer like me to make a good business case. When I can show that the upgrade is a lot of added functionality (and specially when the functionality is something my company really needs) then I have a good business case.
I would just have wished that Microsoft (and the guys and girls in Vedbæk) would have know better with all the years they have been making software. I think that's simply not good enough!
I can totally agree with EPE's statement that MS are do not seem to "play with open hands".
After over 10 years of workign with Navision both as a customer and for several NSC's this is the first time where I feel this has overtly been done by MS.
All the technical issues aside, all the marketing issues to do with AX/NAV aside; MS have shot themselves in the foot - both of them !!
At least the delay will hopefully give the Nav community a better more fully featured product.
Unless of course it's delayed again.
Delayed again! Yes that would maybe be why they are still talking about code name "6.0" and not about NAV2008!
Hmm odd that you mention 2008, since the only name I ever heard mentioned by Microsoft Staff at Convergence, was "Dynamics NAV 2009".
I think even it its ready late in 2008 they will still call it 2009.
Well NAV 2008 was the name mentioned in one of the keynotes, together with AX 2008, GP 2009 and SL 2009. See my blog post here:
Ah yes at the official presentations, but when ever they were just talking at booths etc, they only ever said 2009
Nav 2009, I think we will probably upgrade to Nav 2009 sometime around 2012, will probably use it till around 2018 at which time will will probably be ready to upgrade to Nav 2015, as that will be the most stable version out.
Hehe! And you really think a NAV product will be available in 2018?
Yes exactly what I heard. It would be a bit silly to release a product with a name that only lasts 1 month