Microsoft releases new software to Zim

Roadwin Chirara

REAFFIRMING its strategy to make cost-effective and functionally-rich business and financial software solutions available to companies across Africa, Microsoft has released Navision 4,0 to th

e Zimbabwean market.


The solution represents the first major product release since the global software developer acquired Navision just over two years ago. And it responds to customer demand for greater simplicity, deeper insight into mission-critical business information, more control over financials and general operational improvements.


“We have developed this latest version to meet the specific needs of companies and government departments that would rather focus on growing and improving their businesses than worrying about software,” explains Alexandre Babakoff, the small & medium solutions and partner manager for Microsoft in the West, East and Central African (Weca) region.


“The latest release is ideal for them as it provides an out-of-the-box solution that can be implemented rapidly, customised and maintained with minimal disruption to the business. It integrates critical financial, manufacturing, distribution, customer management, supply chain, analytics and e-commerce data into one streamlined solution.”


Developed in 39 languages for 41 localised versions, the Navision product suite is already used by more than 45 000 organisations around the world. The Microsoft Business Solutions unit under which Navision falls is looking to grow that user base. To that end, its development strategy focuses on five key pillars of “integrated innovation” — and the enhancements to Navision 4,0 adhere to those pillars:


l Empowered users: the products enhanced user interface is modelled on Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and gives users a familiar working environment, as well as the capability to design their own personalised menu structure. Users will be able to connect easily to resources outside of the programme;


l Insightful: key performance indicators and analysis tools have been enhanced to give users a graphical view of business analytics. They can also drill down into information that is critical to strategic business management;


l Connected: Building on Microsoft SQL Server Notification Services and deep integration with Microsoft’s broader technology solutions, the new software features “business notification”. This helps businesses connect with customers, employees and suppliers. Microsoft Navision 4,0 also includes an extensible markup language (XML) port to facilitate communication with other solutions, customers, vendors and business partners;


l Total cost of ownership: templates are included which allow Microsoft partners to reduce the time it takes to implement the solution. Examples of industries for which a template has been developed include furniture, manufacturing and electronics engineering; and


l Adaptive processes: For organisations that rely on manual planning and straightforward production processes, Microsoft Navision 4,0 includes a manufacturing foundation. This offers deep visibility into work in progress and support for order-by-order planning workflow, enabling businesses to efficiently manage production orders, bills of material, manual planning processes and exceptions — all without added complexity.


The new solution also benefits Microsoft’s network of business partners as it allows add-ons and vertical market tools to be developed and integrated seamlessly. It includes improved upgrade tools that reduce the investment needed to bring these solutions onto the Microsoft Navision 4,0 platform. And the XML port eases the process of customising Microsoft Navision 4,0 and improving the overall performance of the solution when handling document exchange.


Microsoft Navision 4,0 is available through Microsoft Business Solutions partners across Zimbabwe.

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