Navision boosted by support plans

Accountancy software developer Navision received a shot in the arm last week when Mitsubishi Electric announced plans to build a systems implementation division around the Danish company’s products.

The division aims to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for companies looking for enterprise-wide business systems, explained Peter Horne, president of Mitsubishi’s PC business. Sitting alongside the software division in Horne’s company is an Internet services wing which can be brought in to support electronic commerce projects, he added.

Mitsubishi’s diversification into systems integration in the UK, France and Germany is in response to falling profit margins in the mainstream hardware market, Horne explained. While large companies are served by the likes of SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft, and supported by Big Five consultancies, Mitsubishi had spotted a gap in the market.

Many medium-sized companies in the #5m to #200m turnover range do not need the ‘bloatware’ offered by enterprise resource planning vendors, said Horne. They cannot afford either the cost or disruption of top-end ERP, but still want to their integrate business applications.

Navision fitted the bill for Mitsubishi, explained Ian Cowan, manager of the new software division. ‘Navision is a flexible, adaptable product that fits our skills really well,’ he said. ‘We think we can use it to install systems faster and make users more productive.’ As well as financials, Navision now includes fixed assets, job costing, human resources and bill of materials modules. Manufacturing, logistics and distribution modules would be available by the end of the year, along with a ‘Web store’ link to Microsoft’s Commerce Server.

Horne said his observations of ERP software were drawn from the company’s own experience of installing and using SAP. ‘The maintenance costs alone for SAP mean we could probably buy three Navision systems a year,’ he added.

‘In the PC industry, something can come racing up from below and take over as the top product,’ said Horne. ‘The situation is right for something like Navision to do that.’

Navision UK managing director Yash Nagpal said the division would not compete with existing sales outlets. ‘A company the size of Mitsubishi can bring unlimited resources to the party. Where our usual solution centres are growing at 20% a year, partnerships with companies like Mitsubishi can help us reach our target of 200% growth this year.’

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