Project “Madeira” Public Preview

As of today, Project “Madeira” is in public preview. Question is .. What is Project “Madeira”? In short: It’s a new offering in the cloud, in fact “NAV-in-the-cloud”, strongly integrated with Office 365. But the focus of Project “Madeira” isn’t really “NAV” – it would never say “NAV-in-the-cloud” – but it’s a “Business Solution” in the cloud :-). But now you know: it’s based on NAV :p.

But then again – what do I know. :-). This is all just very new (announced today), and I think – at this point – it’s better for me to give you some info to get you more informed, instead of giving my personal view, opinion and feel on it.

And I think the best link of an overview of what Project “Madeira” really is, is this blogpost from Marko Perisic, the General Manager for Dynamics SMB. Marko talks about four pillars:

  • A new level of productivity
  • Cloud first
  • Mobile first
  • Built for growth

As I have a development-oriented background (and blog) – let me try to put it in my own words – as far as a developer is able to understand the Marketing Fluff ;-):

  • It is strongly integrated with cloud, like a strong integration with Office 365 Outlook. The software recognizes customer, showing customer data, or quotes and such, and without switching between applications.. . Or like Marko says: “If you know how to use Office, then you know how to use Project “Madeira””. I wasn’t able to see this just yet .. but will make new attemps in the near future ;-).
  • It’s NAV on azure, with O365, hosted by Microsoft, sold by Partners – at least, when it gets released (and how I understand). All benefits that comes with cloud – comes with project “Madeira”: pricing, scalability, quickly up-and-running, .. .
  • With any client, you can work with project “Madeira”, on a web browser, or an app on Windows, iOS or Android.
  • Microsoft focuses on companies with 10-100 employees, where project “Madeira” offers a fully powered business management solution in the cloud.
  • These are the functionalities it covers:
    • Financials
    • Dimensions
    • sales and purchase management
    • Inventory
    • CRM (opportunity management)
    • multi-currency
    • business insight
  • And last but not least – interesting for us – developers – we can customize it. We – as “independent software vendors” (aka ISVs) can build rich extensions to make available on a Marketplace (how I understand it: an app-store for project “Madeira” customers).

Interested? Well – if you’re a US company, you can sign up for preview here:

(yep, only US :( )

And get more info here http://aka.ms/MadeiraFAQ – though, when I tried this link, lots of sub-links didn’t seem to work – I guess this will be fixed soon.

One last thing I should mention: attend Directions to get first-hand info. One might expect that around the time of these conventions, the final release of project “Madeira” takes place (though, that’s only my expectation, no release date known just yet …). You can find more information on Directions here:

Some screenshots

Signing up was not easy for me as this thing is only available in the US – and I’m from beautiful Belgium (yes, Trump, Belgium is still beautiful, and you’re still an idiot :p). At about all my mail addresses I got the message: not available for your country. But hey .. Apparently, I have enough of them, so here are the first screenshots of Project “Madeira” public preview.

Getting excited during setup :-):

(this screen took a long time … MUCH more than “less than a minute” – but that’s ok. Probably I just started this thing before the preview was actually available in the first place :-) ).

Anyway, let’s look a some things that I noticed during my first walk around:

Project “Madeira” seems to be available like an app in Office365:

First time you open the client, you get a very familiar screen – but clearly tailored to (let’s quote Erik Hougaard) a “Cloud first, Mobile first” world :-).

Let’s have a look at the “Extension Management”. Here you see which Extensions are available, and if they are installed. I can only imagine that in a later release, you can “buy” new extensions from ISV’s in a yet-to-be-released market place.

Also cool on this list are display buttons: it’s seems to become possible to display a list in different ways, like “normal list, pictures (like above) and bricks”.

In the Role Center, you’ll find an “Assisted Setup & Tasks” action, which I really like.

Basically, it guides you through the setup of your new system, with wizards and statuses and all, like this list (in Bricks this time – just to show you):

And a wizard-setup, like in this case, for setting up Email:

When I opened the Item list, this is what it looked like :-):

I wasn’t able (yet) to set up the Office 365 integration, as my Office365 is a Belgian one – and I couldn’t start project “Madeira” for it – but I’ll find a way in the near future :-).

To conclude, I spent some time in looking up some resources (some other blogs / articles) for you to read up:

Seems that I was late with my blog :-) .. but hey, it was Champions League night .. and glad I watched because Kevin scored! :-)

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