As I was browsing through my Twitter feed yesterday, I saw a tweet from Johannes Gudmundsson (@nav_viking) with a screenshot from an old version of Navision. The date on the screenshot in Johannes’ tweet reads 02/17/2007, although I’m sure the version is much older – from the character based days of DOS. Seeing that date took me back in time on a trip down memory lane. Because you see, my journey with Navision began just one day before the date on the screenshot, on February 16, 2007.
Screenshots Above: Navision (NAV), then and now.
In February 2007, I was a senior in college working towards a business degree and focused on two things: finding a career and graduating. I’d had a few different part time jobs and internships by that point, but I couldn’t see a future in any of them. Without a lot of expectations, I engaged with my university’s Career and Experiential Learning office and got set up for three internship interviews. Little did I know that the second interview would be the one that changed my life.
The interview was with a company in the ERP business, and I was very intrigued by that. I’d paid attention in my Information Technology classes and even had some hands on time with SAP R/3. And my brother had been working with IFS, another popular Swedish ERP solution, for almost a decade. I practically had ERP-blood running through my veins! And I knew what ERP stood for. That alone should make me the most qualified candidate for the internship, I thought to myself.It was all good until I found out which ERP solution this company sold and implemented.. something called Nuvision. Or Newvision maybe? Whatever it was called, I’d never read about it in my Management Information System textbooks nor had I ever heard about it. Hmmm, I wonder how many people even use this product? Next day on campus, I went to see my MIS professor and asked him if he’d ever heard of the product. He thought about it a little and said it sounded familiar but didn’t seem too sure. Not exactly confidence-inspiring. PS: in case you’re wondering, over 100,000 organizations over the world use NAV; far more than the number of organizations using Microsoft Dynamics GP, AX, or SL. Still, I needed a job, they were willing to offer me a Marketing internship, and unlike the other two companies I interviewed with, this company was in the technology business. I may have been a business major, but I always had techie-mojo. So, on February 16, 2007, I accepted their internship offer and thus began my journey with NAV. As the year passed, the internship was extended for another semester, I was working near full time hours, and upon graduating in December 2007, I was offered a salaried full time position. Along the way that year, I was presented with an opportunity to begin training to become a NAV consultant alongside my marketing responsibilities. And I am so glad I took that opportunity and ran with it! When I started, NAV was on version 4, Service Pack 3. I had barely come to terms with some Financial Management and Trade functionality when NAV 5 came out with more new things for me to learn: Kitting and Document Approvals to name a couple. And apparently some major changes to Jobs. But thankfully I hadn’t learnt (or understood much about) Jobs in NAV 4 so there was no “unlearning” to worry about. Oh, and right around that time, there was talk of relief that Project Green was dead.. or not going to happen for the foreseeable future.. or not in the way it was originally understood to be. I didn’t know much about it then, but I concluded that its demise was a good thing since that was the overwhelming consensus at the company I worked for, and among our partners. I find it amusing that in the year 2014, every once in a while, we still have a client or prospect ask us if Microsoft is still moving forward with Project Green and how they will be affected when that happens. When the RoleTailored Client was released with NAV 2009, it wasn’t an uphill climb for me to transition because I didn’t have too many years with the “Classic” client. That meant I was spared the “who moved my cheese” feeling that my veteran NAV peers and clients experienced as they came to terms with the RTC. In the years that passed, we’ve had a new version released almost every single year. The longest we went without a release was between NAV 2009 R2 in late ’10 and NAV 2013 that came out in the fall of ’12. It sure felt like a lot longer though, because we were still selling a product with “2009” in its name in the year 2012. The Present When Microsoft promised in 2012 that we’d have a new release of NAV every year, I doubt I was the only one who wondered if they could truly deliver on that promise – on time, with meaningful updates. But here were are, heading into the fall of 2014 and for the third year in a row, as promised, we’re expecting a new version of NAV to be announced at Directions, the annual NAV partner conference. I’m encouraged that we’ve not only had year-on-year releases as promised, but each release has had a wow-factor to it. There have been new features big and small, an out-of-the-box Web Client, interface improvements, better integration with other products in the Microsoft stack like Office, and more. The Road Ahead Last month at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), the NAV product team confirmed that the new version, formerly codenamed Crete, will be released this fall as NAV 2015. And a few teasers were shared with the crowd in attendance, which we will discuss here on Let’s Talk NAV soon. But going back to 2007, little did I know when I accepted that marketing internship that almost 8 years later, not only would I be happy and well-settled in my career in the ERP industry, but that I would become an evangelist for a product I couldn’t even spell and knew absolutely nothing about. It goes without that saying that I have a lot of gratitude for all the people who have helped me along the way and continue to do so, giving me opportunities to learn and grow, teaching and encouraging me. And I am grateful that my work is actually something I enjoy doing. In the spirit of nostalgia, here are some informative and fun links on the history and evolution of Navision:
- The history of Dynamics NAV / Navision – by Erik P. Ernst (Dynamics User Group)
- History of Microsoft Dynamics NAV – by Vjekoslav Babic (Navigate into Success)
- Navision to NAV – What’s in a Name? – TVision Technology Ltd.
- Microsoft Product Lifecycle page for NAV (with exact lifecycle start and end dates for all versions from NAV 4.0)