Business Productivity Reinvented with Announcement of Project Madeira

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Project Madeira brings the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV to companies ready for more functionality than entry-level systems such as QuickBooks

When you hear the world “Madeira”, you probably don’t immediately think of Microsoft and that is about to change. Maderia is an exciting new system from Microsoft that they say will “completely reinvent” business productivity.

Project Madeira from Microsoft connects business processes typically found in their mid-market Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems with the productivity tools in Office 365. The offering is targeted at small to medium-sized businesses with roughly 10 to 100 employees. These are customers who need more than just an entry-level accounting system, but are not ready to move forward with a major investment for an ERP system.

Madeira was designed from the ground up to be a true multi-tenant public cloud service running on Azure. One of its major attractions is the ability to get the system up and running quickly, reliably manage costs, and take advantage of enterprise-class data centers operated by major players in the market, such as Microsoft. For those unfamiliar with the term, “multi-tenant” allows Microsoft to maintain one set of code on their Azure servers for all customers. Periodic updates will ensure the code base stays current while the need for individual solutions is handled through extensions, which compile directly on top of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV on start-up of the system by the user. These extensions will allow for additional horizontal functionality and vertical solutions, all of which will eventually be available through one or more marketplaces.

It is also built for a mobile workforce, offering a consistent user interface across virtually all devices or form factors. The system can be accessed through a web browser or through apps for Windows, IOS or Android.



Users spend far too much time switching back and forth between business applications and office productivity tools such as email. Madeira is capable of identifying business communications within Outlook such as invoices and quote requests. It then presents the users with the ability to deal with the request or transaction, all without leaving Outlook.

One of the biggest attractions of Madeira is that it has been built on the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, the most popular mid-market ERP and accounting system in the world with over 138,000 customers. As a result, smaller organizations can start up with Madeira and transition to a full Dynamics NAV ERP implementation in the future, instead of starting with an entry level system such as QuickBooks and having to change systems later. The system, in fact, actually comes with import capabilities from both QuickBooks and Excel, two common tools for start-up organizations. The system offers excellent options for dashboards and reporting.

Whereas Dynamics NAV 2015 and 2016 mid-size and larger customers with on-premises solutions could already connect to an Azure Active Directory and Office 365, Madeira takes all of that one step further for smaller organizations. For now Madeira is only available in the US, with a preview mode available to the market. Full release of Madeira is expected to be the last half of the 2016 calendar year.

In the past, business users have tended to limit their thinking to apps for mobile platforms. Microsoft has been pushing the concept of using add-in’s for Outlook and Office 365 as the next application platform. Project Madeira is their showcase piece in this initiative and will help prove out the concept.

You can now sign up for a demonstration account where you can view sample data and create your own sales documents and carry out a few other functions. Your data can be imported into the preview system by using the import tools.

It will be exciting to see how this new initiative from Microsoft will shape how companies chose to deploy their Enterprise Resource Planning systems.

By Malcolm Roach, President of Open Door Technology

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