Questions remain over Microsoft-Navision deal

While the deal has still to be officially finished, it looks a dead cert as Navision’s board has unanimously decided to recommend the offer. But many questions will remain unanswered for some time.

These include, the future of its product lines, levels of service to its end-users, not to mention possible job cuts and branding issues.

But what is for sure is that Microsoft firmly believes in what the deal will mean to all interested parties including shareholders.

‘For our customers and partners, it means value added to their investments in Navision solutions or Navision Solution Centers. Integrated in a strong Microsoft entity focusing on the needs of mid-market businesses, we can offer technology and enhanced functionality faster than before,’ says Flemming Beisner, managing director of Navision UK.

For Navision, joining forces with Microsoft is a potentially great move in the company’s strategy to help small and medium-sized companies grow – it will enjoy the unlimited resources and considerable benefits of the Microsoft brand.

But it is one thing to acquire a business, and quite another to make it work. Only time will tell, but if Microsoft ultimately streamlines to one universal product, this should prove to be a great move.

The danger comes if it attempts to keep all of its products. This could be confusing, and it will also be competing against itself. What does seem to have happened is Microsoft discovering its Great Plains’ Dynamics application range is not the vehicle it needs to drive forward enterprise solutions based around the.NET platform.

What may also prove interesting for mid-range developers is the relationship they now enjoy with Microsoft. A number have become close to the company, but are now competing against it.

Another aspect it will have to get to the heart of is whether Navision had completed its integration with Damgaard, after their merger just 18 months ago. It is highly unlikely the finer details had been fully ironed out.

Navision and Microsoft Great Plains partner, Eclipse managing director, Gary Waylett, said: ‘From Microsoft’s point of view this is a great move. They now have coverage in Europe (Navision) and the US (Great Plains). If they are looking for worldwide coverage, then that leaves a company with a strong presence in Asia as the next target,’ he adds.

Basda chief executive, Dennis Keeling, adds: ‘The mid-range market has been highly fragmented. This deal may give corporate organisations one package for use throughout the world. Microsoft now has three different product lines – with Axapta being the jewel in the crown as it fits in with its .Net strategy. Navision uses old technology and Great Plains does not fit with this strategy.’

Access Accounting FD, Ian Little, added: ‘This move is potentially exciting as it will impact the market from a new technology point of view. It will raise awareness in technology vendors who are not up to speed that they may find themselves in trouble.’

Let’s just hope in all this change, clients of Navision and Great Plains does not suffer.

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