If you’re going to blog as infrequently as I have, it’s a good policy to make sure that when you do, you focus on very important subjects. Since this is my first post since last fall’s “Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 Ships!” entry, I’m happy to say I’m following my own policy. Today, we are releasing Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 to customers and partners, and my enthusiasm for what we’ve done for you, with you, is just as immense as it was when we shipped Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009. Of course this time, I’m excited about different things.
Let’s rewind for a moment to set the stage: Last November, we released what I called a landmark release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009. We transformed the user experience, revolutionizing and modernizing the rich client with a RoleTailored approach to design. We also significantly refactored the product’s architecture introducing three tiers, Web services, a .NET runtime, and RDL reports for SQL. It was a mountain of a release, and we hit the summit.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 was a release of courage. We made big bets. We wanted nothing short of transformation. And we accomplished our goal, shipping what is arguably the most significant release in Microsoft Dynamics NAV history.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1, by contrast, is a release of precision. We listened and collaborated with you, our partners and customers. We refined. We executed predictably. And, less than 12 months after the release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, we are giving you a service pack that extends the value of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 and meets our joint goal of making Microsoft Dynamics NAV simply the most productive middle-market ERP product on the planet. In this way, it is as just as big as the release it is built upon.
Here’s how we did it and what we’re giving you.
When Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 shipped, we had a number of customers in our Technical Adoption Program (TAP) already live on the product. These customers and the partners providing them solutions together gave us a tremendous amount of feedback on the product. Much of this feedback influenced what we shipped in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009. But we couldn’t respond to all of the feedback in our timeline for shipping. In addition, we wanted to add productivity improvements for both customers and partners, and features that took advantage of our new client architecture. So we decided to release this service pack and invest a fair bit in it.
The features we have added to increase customer productivity follow the six dimensions of productivity I discussed originally in my Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 blog – usability, familiarity, flexibility, transactional efficiency, business insight, and collaboration. For example, the new Search box will be instantly familiar to users of Internet Explorer and will reduce the time it takes to find list places not already available in one’s Role Center. In addition, users can now persist filtered views of list places, filter-as-you-type columns, and the default number of lines in a document page grid. We have provided transactional efficiency increases with some refactored matrix forms, a large increase in keyboard enablement, and the addition of many Classic client keyboard combinations. Reporting drill-down enhancements further improve business insight, and the Online Connect part gives users access to communities, knowledge base articles, and learning directly from the Role Center, and promotes collaboration with the Microsoft Dynamics NAV community.
The features we have added to increase partner productivity are equally extensive. We improved the efficiency of page design by adding a page wizard and providing edit-and-run capabilities for pages directly from within the C/SIDE environment. We added data zoom (About This Page) to pages, which provides helpful page information and is similar to how partners have historically worked with forms. We added fixed IDs to page transformation, which should help ISVs manage their implementations better. Finally, we increased our documentation for partners, for example, adding walkthroughs for installation.
But probably the most intriguing feature we have added for partners is client extensibility. We have exposed the client API and provided a very simple model for adding managed code controls to pages from C/SIDE, so that partners can now develop custom user experience parts that take advantage of powerful Microsoft technologies like Microsoft Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and Windows Forms. The opportunity for partners to differentiate their solutions from the competition through user experience innovation is limitless, and builds on the thought leadership we’ve provided in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009. We’re looking forward to an explosion of creativity!
None of this would have been possible without the unmatched support we’ve received from our partners and customers, especially through (but certainly not limited to) our TAP and ISV Beta Access Program (BAP).Whether through surveys, group meetings, informal e-mails, or short conversations at events, we’ve received a tremendous amount of feedback on Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009.We’ve taken this feedback, incorporated it, worked with our TAP customers and partners to evaluate the results of this service pack, and now we’re shipping it. Thanks many times over for your incredible support, devotion, and passion for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Together, we’ve made a great product even greater.
Before I finish this blog post, I want to mention something I ended my Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 Ships blog entry with: quality. At that time, I said, “Perhaps the thing I’m most proud about in this release is that we’ve substantially improved quality.” That’s true again with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1.We’ve continued to increase the bar on quality. In our customer satisfaction surveys, the reliability of Microsoft Dynamics NAV has always received high marks. And we’re making it better and better. I simply can’t emphasize enough how important quality is to us. And we know it’s important to you.
I hope you’re as excited about Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 as I am. Download a copy from CustomerSource or PartnerSource, or try out the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 VPC and let us know what you think!
P.S. A final thought: For those of you who are intrigued by Microsoft codenames, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 was once called Corsica. Indeed, the mountains of Corsica are tall, and the highest summit is Monte Cinto at 2700 meters, or just shy of 9000 feet. The view from this summit is unique because the mountain’s island location in the Mediterranean gives it a wide panorama and views of other mountains that are quite distant. As we said when we released Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, “The view from the top rocks!”