On this snow-white saturday morning, I decided to install and start to test drive NAV2009R2. This test drive will be done in several parts because it’s just too much work to cover all changes in one blogpost at once. I will share with you my thoughts about the new technologies used and the changes in strategy Microsoft has made.
Yesterday I downloaded my copy from this link, as announced by @msdyncom on Twitter. You need a Windows Live login associated to a MS Dynamics account to grab the DVD from the internet.
Extract all files from Dynamics.NAV60R2.NL.1097330.DVD.zip (in my case this was the filename for the Dutch version) in a different folder and doubleclick on the autorun executable. The window on the right will be displayed. Choose to install Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Always read the manual before installing is what I say, however I haven’t done this myself… Because not reading the installation manual (remember what RTFM means?:-)) I was warned by the installer that installation failed due to the fact that I did not delete the previous 6.0 demo database with SQL Server Management Studio.
Well… I expected the new demo database to have a name like Demo Database NAV (6-2), but the same database name was used, causing this error, my mistake… After changing the existing database name and filenames, installation went smoothly in my virtual W7 environment running on a MacbookPro:-)
Only disadvantage running NAV on a Mac is that your function buttons might not work properly. However, if you attach a standard Windows keyboard to the Mac, all standard NAV shortcuts will work like a charm again:-) Great plus is that all your virtual machines will be backed-up by timemachine. Well, enough about my strange Mac addiction, back to the installation…
The installer will also install a demo licence so you will be able to open this demo company and test drive Navision.
Upgrade strategy & technology
The demo installation I opted for, installs all 3 different clients:
- Classic: the non-RTC client with the C/Side native database option (2-tier technology)
- Classic with Microsoft SQL Server: the non-RTC client with the SQL server option (2-tier technology)
- Standard: the new RTC client (3-tier technology) which is Microsoft’s new standard for the future.
NAV2009R2 will be the last release to support the two first clients. After this release (next release is NAV7) the RTC client in combination with the SQL database will be the one and only option. In my test drive I will use option 3, the RTC client.
My two cents…
From my point of view this new architecture opens doors to further integration of Dynamics NAV with (for instance) supplemental Microsoft products like Office, Sharepoint and Dynamics CRM. Through webservices parts of Navision can be integrated seamlessly into apps for mobile devices or websites. This will forever change the way Dynamics NAV looks and feels and brings up in my mind new questions about, for instance, guidelines for GUI design/user experience and managing of permissions to view and change company data in the cloud and by third party apps.
Upgrade or reimplementation?
This technology & strategy change means that all customers, sooner or later, will have to upgrade to the RTC client. A lot of companies are still using a native C/Side database. NAV2009R2 will be the last release to support this database. So upgrading to RTC also means a mandatory move from the native database to SQL Server.
What new functionality does a customer win (and will actually use) in case of an upgrade to NAV2009R2? The answer to that question heavily depends on the current version the customer is using and the business/market demands of the customer.
If the gap between the version of the customer and the latest release is to wide (long & expensive technical upgrade path), and/or custom made functionality can be replaced by new standard functionality, reimplementation of NAV could also be a good option. A ‘Fit for Upgrade’ check by a technical consultant is recommended if you think your customer should move (based on the determined ‘wins’) to this release.
Go ahead and click on ‘Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2’. After a message (click OK) that you are using the demo company you will be introduced to your very own ‘role center’ in the Role Tailored Client. NAV assumes you are working at the sales department, more on that later:-) Start exploring the user interface to get yourself acquainted with it:
In my next blogposts I will only refer to the latest changes of this release, compared with the previous release. Keep tuned to my blog by subscribing to my RSS feed or follow me on Twitter. I expect to release the next parts of this post in the coming weeks.