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Navision accountancy software is getting its first big upgrade since it was bought by Microsoft two years ago.

Jon Hughes, director of Microsoft Business Solutions Partner Group, believes the mid-sized market, where Navision has most customers, is maturing: "A few years ago it used to be just finance packages but now mid-sized firms want more functionality."

Hughes said Navision 4.0 had three main areas of improvement. First, it has better ERP functions including the ability to set alerts into the system to warn you if inventory falls below a certain level. Secondly it has an improved user interface.

He told The Register: "It looks and feels more like Office. Outlook users will recognise the look and feel. Getting people to actually use these applications is key and I think this will help." The application is more closely integrated with BizTalk Server.

The new release includes more business intelligence functions: "Businesses need to look at the information they have as an asset not just a database," Hughes said. He added that early feedback suggested strong demand for the software.

Danish-based Navision forms part of Microsoft's Business Solutions Group along with Great Plains and Axapta, which provide similar enterprise applications to larger businesses. MS does not make public turnover figures but Hughes said the division was growing well and Navision is growing at between 20 per cent and 25 per cent year-on-year. ®

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