Directions 2012 | Start of a new era

Just got back from Directions USA. Phoenix this time. After Atlanta (2006), Orlando (2007), Austin (2009), San Diego (2010) and Orlando (2011) my 6th, only missing the first and the one where my daughter Saskia was born.

Since 2006 something was happening at directions each year. I still remember being amazed in 2006 that the few Microsoft people who were there were yelled at since people were afraid that they would let Navision die. This was before Microsoft started to be a big sponsor of the event, or like some people phrase, high jacked the event. To me the yelling was surprising since I just got from TechEd where I was impressed by the Role Tailored Client that then was not yet called that.

After that we had the event where someone (of Microsoft) boldly stated that using the RTC, a single change to the database required a full recompile. Also bullshit, but a message that confused people.

Then the RTC was released with NAV2009. A great release and many people started investing in new technology. Many, but not all. Others were unimpressed and complaining about complexity.

Last year Microsoft introduced what we now know as Dynamics NAV 2013. We learned about Queries, RDLC 2010 and the new functionality. Oh yeah, and the cloud. But under NDA since we were a year from the release date.

So what about this year.

This year was all about the big release of Dynamics NAV 2013. This is a release that we will remember for a while. Everything is perfectly balanced, technology vs. functionality. Kind of like with Navision 2.60, but way, way more enhanced.

So this was what we were living towards since all the events since 2006, yet, I did not feel any real vibes.

Why is this? Its celebration time isn’t it?

Yes it is! But not for everyone.

With Dynamics NAV’s flexibility we always had the add-on program. Vertical or Horizontal solutions that made it easier to use NAV in a certain industry or filling requirement gaps with proven applications.

Even though this program is very successful, it’s not successful enough. The reason for this in my opinion is that a.) many NAV partners still sell many large development projects and b.) many NAV partners use their own ISV solutions for this projects rather than looking for ready-made solutions.

Off course there are exceptions. These exceptions are now used as examples and partners are made aware of these possibilities. This awareness is emphasized by a change in the licensing policy.

The add-on program allowed partners to purchase the objects they need for their solutions with discount or even for free if it’s CfMD. In short it is no longer possible to use add-ons for one-off projects. Instead add-ons have a minimum sales quote within a certain period.

Off-course doing these large implementations is still possible, but not using “add-on” solutions that are only used for this of few projects.

At directions, this message was talk of the day. Together with all the new technology that not everyone has adopted to me gave the feeling that people were outside of their comfort zone.

All people? Now, definitely not. Microsoft has been messaging the ISV story for over a decade and for over 5 years we know that the .net version (my own invented name for everything that has to be done with 3-tier technology) was coming. I’ve been talking to many people who are very enthusiastic about this release and the vertical possibilities.

The industry solution that I use in my daily projects and started development over 10 years ago is CfMD for 2013. One of the first five!

It’s very clear that this release is the start of a new era in the Dynamics NAV community.

The community that has changed.

So you ask, what about the sessions? Being involved in NAV2013 since the kickoff meeting in Vedbaek and seeing sessions last year and at NavTechDays I’ve not attended many. The ones I did were mostly chalk talks, a session from Per Mogensen and our own PRS session.

Per did a great session with tips about how to upgrade your ISV solution to NAV 2013. Waldo led a two hour! chalk talk about tools where we discussed versioning using for example TFS. Soren Klemmensen showed how they use this at his work. Very impressive.

I always attend the performance chalk talk, just for personal interest of the subject and to hear what partners are struggling with. What I remember from this session is that the G/L Locking improvements is a confusing statement towards many NAV partners. Maybe I’ll blog about this later. Another thing that was discussed is whether or not Microsoft should and could support technical upgrades with the RTC.

Our session was fun to do as always and we had great feedback. Gary introduced the ever growing urge of designing repeatable software, something we have been evangelizing for more than a year now. Eric introduced a great example on how to develop facade interfaces in Dynamics NAV allowing flexible and extendable solutions. Lastly I did a deep dive into the redesign of Dimensions in NAV 2013 as explained in the blog series (that has yet to be completed).

Key Takeaway

Dynamics NAV 2013 is by far the best Navision version ever! But no longer to be implemented like we did with previous versions.

High volume repeatable deals is what Microsoft wants from us now and in the future. They’ve given us all we need for this. Now let’s move some ass and start materializing this.


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