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The History of Microsoft Dynamics NAV On Its Twenty-Fifth Birthday


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Yes, one of the top ERP software packages has now been on the planet for two and a half decades. Ironically, many of the people who use Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) today are younger than the software.

Today, NAV is still revolutionizing the business world, anticipating the “consumerization of enterprise” as business software starts to look more like Facebook, smartphone apps, and other tools used by the general public. Henning, from Partner Point International, wrote a great article about the history of what is now known as Dynamics NAV. And he can tell the story as somebody who's been a part of the team since two years after launch in 1987.

The Precursor

The story began in 1984  with three students at the Technical University of Denmark: Jesper Balser, Peter Bang, and Torben Wind. This was the year they released PC Plus. Word spread quickly as people realized how easy it was to use.

It tracked warehouse, finance, debit, and credit all in one place. Despite being a single user solution, it was so successful that some businesses still use it today, an incredible achievement.

The Birth of NAV

Not satiated, the three bright engineers who built PC Plus went on to release NAV in 1987. Working together with IBM, they launched IBM-NAVIGATOR which would later take on a plethora of names, ultimately becoming Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

NAV was groundbreaking because it was the first ERP software to take advantage of client-server technology. After several years, Navision started distribution independently of IBM. It was widely used in Denmark, but in heavy competition with Concorde (which would later become Microsoft Dynamics AX).

Before NAV, businesses had no choice but to save and track physical invoices. NAV, quite simply, made it easy to track whether your business was making money.

The Revolution of 1990

This was the first year NAV saw changes that would make it resemble what we use to day. They introduced an application language, AL, that would allow users to modify the software to arrive at custom solutions. This foundation was used to build over 1500 add-ons and vertical solutions available today.

NAV came to North America in 1994 as a DOS system named A/Vista.

By the late '90s NAV was in version 3.X, a huge breakthrough in North America because it introduced the ability to combine distribution, financials, and manufacturing databases into a single database. It also allowed Canadian and US databases to be combined. It also introduced an unlimited number of dimensions, dramatically altering its capabilities.

In 1995, NAV got a makeover as it became compliant with Windows 95. It was the first ERP software certified for the operating system.

1999 saw another dramatic option: the ability to use Microsoft's SQL database, rather than the Native database. The 2001 release brought in CRM, once again transforming its scope.

Finally, in 2002, Microsoft acquired NAV, and the rest is history. Read the full article for more details and future predictions.

SOURCE: NAV Turned 25 Years – Congratulations!

By ERP Software Blog Editors, Find a Microsoft Dynamics NAV partner.

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