A few days ago, Microsoft announced the upcoming release of its new business management offering called “Project Madeira”. The cloud-based solution will be released on the US market first, in the fall of 2016, and can be tested as a free preview up until then.
“Project Madeira” is an ERP service for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with up to 100 employees that interacts with Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure and Office 365. The product serves to execute business processes and is characterized by its high usability and simplicity, which are already appreciable during the systems very easy setup.
“Project Madeira” is based on Microsoft’s established ERP system Dynamics NAV, but limits itself to the most important base functionalities, what makes it especially comfortable to use. That means the solution focusses primarily on companies that have already outgrown their basic finance and accounting tools but are not ready to invest in an expensive, customized ERP system yet.
Due to the simplified and reduced scope of functions, users of “Project Madeira” will have to pass on many of the more complex features. So you can easily create, post, print and dispatch offers, orders and invoices but, for example, can only offer items (not ledger accounts, resources, surcharges or discounts etc.). Despite its simple structure, the solution – like Dynamics NAV – can represent many processes in finance and accounting, sales and even purchasing. “Project Madeira” also permits extensions, of which three are already available and installable in the preview version (PayPal, QuickBooks Import and US Bankimport Envestnet Yoodlee). In future, third-party developers (“independent software vendors”) will be able to develop new extensions and sell them to customers.
While the solution is functionally limited in many areas, it also offers other new functions that the current version of Dynamics NAV does not. “Project Madeira” features, for example, completely revised online help, integrated tooltips on table fields and actions, as well as a role center for the CRM module within Dynamics NAV and new “ready-to-use” permission sets. Another highlight is the ability to display items from an item list as large pictures.
The most impressive new feature, however, is the strong integration into Outlook or the Outlook Web App (OWA) combined with Office 365, which shows context-sensitive data about the sender from the ERP system. This way, users can create orders directly and send a corresponding e-mail with a PDF attachment without ever leaving Outlook/OWA.
With “Project Madeira”, Microsoft reveals the efforts they are currently making towards the logical continuation of NAV. The preview version of “Project Madeira” will remain available for testing until fall of 2016, afterwards the solution will be officially released on the US market first and then in other countries.
Keep checking here as we continue to post more about functions that will also affect the new Dynamics NAV release.