What is NAV, Part 2: A Brief History of Microsoft Dynamics NAV

What is NAV, Part 2: A Brief History of Microsoft Dynamics NAV

In this 2-part blog, ArcherPoint’s Dara Daly provides some background on Microsoft Dynamics NAV for others who might be new to NAV or just curious about its history—and the evolution of the name. Click here to read Part 1.

Did you know Microsoft Dynamics NAV was originally called Navision and was invented in Denmark? And did you know that several of ArcherPoint’s employees were among those involved in bringing Navision to the U.S.? Since the latest version of Dynamics NAV was just recently released, we took a moment to reflect on the history of NAV… 

  • Torbin Wind, Peter Bang, and Jesper Balser, colleagues at the Technical University in Copenhagen, started developing Navision as a school project. Once they realized there was a commercial need for the product, they made Navision a reality.
  • Although it was originally known as Navision in Denmark, different countries had other names for the product. For example, in the U.S. it was originally called Avista.
  • IBM was the original distributor of Navision in Denmark and Scandinavia.
  • Navision started spreading throughout Europe and beyond in the 1980s; in fact, nearly every country in Europe had its own version.
  • In 1991, Peachtree Software launched the Navision “arm” of the company in Atlanta, Georgia, with the intention of releasing a U.S. version of the product.
  • With the imminent release of Windows 95, which would revolutionize Windows, the company made the decision to jump directly to a version for Windows 95 rather than developing a version just for Windows.
  • At Comdex in 1995, Navision Financials was launched, which was the first ERP ready for Windows 95.
  • Over the next few years, the company made the decision to release separate products: Navision Financials, Navision Manufacturing, and Navision Distribution. Eventually, the products were rolled back into a single product—Navision.  
  • In the late 1990’s, Damgaard (a major competitor in Europe and creators of Axapta, or what is now known as Microsoft Dynamics AX) and Navision merged, although the two companies were kept separate: Navision Software and Damgaard Software.
  • Remember the software world freaking out over Y2K? The makers of Navision weren’t scared! They had been using four digit date code since the beginning, which helped sail the product into the 2000’s and helped spread its popularity.
  • On July 11, 2001, Microsoft bought Navision and eventually changed the name to Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
  • Skip forward through various product releases, and that brings us to today with the latest release of Dynamics NAV 2015.

Although the history is filled with different transitions and names, the product has always stuck to its core. When we look back on the history, we not only see a great past, but a show of evolution and commitment to always advancing the product for its users. Have you been using the product for a long period of time? Tell us when you started with Navision. We’d love to hear your story!

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