Most of us were surprised when Microsoft decided to only sell Microsoft Dynamics AX, newly named Microsoft Dynamics 365 Operations to the cloud, and not offer sales of the on-premise version. However, we are hearing that the on-premise version may be available again soon.
With respect to Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we are hearing that Microsoft is working very diligently to offer NAV in the cloud with most of the functional capabilities of the on-premise version. Dan Oughton, CTO at IndustryBuilt (makers of JustFood and BuildFood), a Canadian ISV of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, said that Microsoft is working diligently to “Saasify” the product.
Power to the User
Today there is no difference in the underlying core technology. Microsoft has hidden layers of the product, because Microsoft wants to expose these pieces as they “Saasify” them. We as end users expect different capabilities from SaaS products.
Some of which are context sensitive help, online tutorials and self-led training and implementation. The SaaS Cloud model’s expectation is to minimize the use of external consultants, to put more in the hands of the user.
One of the issues that ISV products like JustFood face is that the new model of event driven development (Dynamics kernel plus extensions) limits some development of intellectual property, as extension development is required to happen “outside” of the core application. In talking with Dan, he said it is more work, but they will be there with Microsoft at some point in the future with their JustFood product.
The SaaS Model
What was eye opening is how quickly good products are accepted in the online SaaS cloud community. BuildFood’s Recipe Management is the second highest app offered (not owned by Microsoft) for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials. With the top ISV app being in retail (a big segment for NAV). The app is free, and offers IndustryBuilt the ability to reach out to these customers to upgrade to JustFood application. The next step is to stand up a solution embed app in the cloud, which allows for a deeper level of extensibility that the normal apps do not have – targeting fuller features for food manufacturers and distributors.
As of the NAV 2017 version, each client in a multi-tenant framework can have its own extensions – making the platform a true multi-tenant cloud enabled solution. JustFood expects to have this architecture implemented, within a year. Microsoft continues to improve on this platform, and the current beta, codenamed “Tenerife” is in flight with some new improvements for highly scalable cloud architectures.
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