After a whirlwind of changes that have been brought by the oncoming of Dynamics 365, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the “Dynamics NAV” brand. I’ve already taken a look back at the Dynamics NAV roadmaps. In this article – in the form of a timeline – I’m going to explain how this product’s naming convention has changed over its lifespan. I’ll also provide a little bit of commentary towards the present, as this is the period I’m most familiar with.
Known as: PCPlus
(For the first 20-or-so years of this timeline, I’m going to lean on an article from DynamicsUser.net) You can find lots more details on the NAV journey from this article.
The first version of Dynamics NAV was produced by a company in Denmark called PC&C. PCPlus was only accessible by one user.
Known as: Navigator
When PCPlus was developed enough that it could be accessed by multiple users, it was re-named Navigator.
Known as: Navision
Around 1990, the product – and company that developed it – first adopted the “Navision” brand. The product would continue to be known as “Navision” for 15 more years, though it went through a few permutations:
Known as: Navision Financials
Known as: Navision Solutions
Known as: Navision Attain
Known as: Microsoft Business Solutions Navision (Attain)
In mid-2002, Microsoft acquired the Navision product and added their brand to it.
Known as: Microsoft Business Solutions Navision
Known as: Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Microsoft also adopted “years” (i.e. 2009) as version numbers, rather than release numbers (i.e. 4.0) in 2007.
Known as: Dynamics 365 for Finance, Business Edition
Even though Dynamics NAV was still being updated at this point, its successor – Dynamics 365 for Finance, Business Edition – was launched in 2016. It was a stripped-down version of NAV, released on a “SaaS” platform. It had a very similar codebase and solution architecture, but didn’t quite offer the same level of functionality or customizability.
Known as: Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, Business Edition
The fact that the “Enterprise Edition” ERP product of Dynamics 365 was called “Dynamics 365 for Operations” and the “Business Edition” ERP product was called “Dynamics 365 for Finance” was really confusing. In 2017, Microsoft made things a little easier by positioning the products as a Business or Enterprise version of the same product.
The overall vision for Dynamics 365 modules at this time was that there would be a set of “Business Edition” modules, and a set of “Enterprise Edition” modules for the major functionality areas. We now had a set of released (or planned) versions for large and small businesses in the Marketing, Sales, and Finance/Operations categories. This nicely mirrored the Office 365 version naming: a set of “Enterprise” versions, and a set of “Business” versions.
Known as: ???
Microsoft recently announced that they were no longer going to position Dynamics across “Business” and “Enterprise”. They indicated that this was because they had a strong reason to believe that customers did not buy along these “company size” lines. This was probably for the best, as the Business Editions of the Sales and Marketing modules had not even been released yet. What was actually in market at the time for the Business Edition was a partly functional ERP product (Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, Business Edition), and not much else.
Instead, Microsoft is going to lead with just one product for each of the categories. There will be Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Customer Insights, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service, Finance & Operations, Retail, and Talent.
The Finance & Operations product they have committed to in this transition is the “Enterprise” edition – the “Enterprise” edition is to become the version offered through this new, “one version” positioning structure. But what are they going to do with the “Business” edition? There’s no way they’re going to throw out that product.
There’s only one thing we know for sure: Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition and Dynamics NAV are coming together. This is a natural transition, as Microsoft has just finished porting over all of the functionality from NAV to Dynamics 365; and is now rebranding that NAV functionality for good. How exactly they will choose to rebrand it is up in the air. They probably won’t call it “Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations”, because there’s already a version of that product out there. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
Update: On April 2, 2018 Business Central was launched in 14 countries around the world.
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