The EightiesNavision was originally founded in 1983 by Jesper Balser, Peter Bang and Torben Wind in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1984 the product was launch as PCPlus in Denmark and Norway. This was a character-based accounting solution targeted towards the SOHO (small office/home office) market. In 1984 Beauty of Simplicity was adopted as the first company slogan. In 1987 the company changed its name to Navision and the product was renamed to Navigator.
In 1990 the company launched Navision 3.0, and expanded the market beyond Scandinavia into Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. In 1992, the company also reached an agreement with Peachtree Software President, Bill Goodhue, who acquired the rights to distribute Navision in the United States. In 1993 Navision initiated a major development effort to create a new generation of Navision solutions based on the Microsoft Windows 32-bit client/server platform.
To Americanize Navision, modifications included better printing capabilities and changing the terminology of the systems. For example in Europe you book an entry and in the United States we post it. Europeans sell product while Americans sell inventory. For the most part, Navision’s underlying business rules were completely compatible with the business rules used here in the United States. Therefore the Americanizing of Navision was more a matter of cosmetics than redesign.
This product designed for the Windows 95 version and Windows NT platforms, was launched in the US market in 1995. Initially called AVISTA Software, the name was quickly changed to Navision Financials in order to better leverage Navision’s name recognition. The company continued to enhance the product by adding contact management functionality in 1997, manufacturing capabilities in 1998, and advanced distribution in 1999.
2000 was a stellar year for Navision. In 2000 Navision Financials received Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Certification and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Certification. The company launched the Navision Commerce Gateway world’s first solution based on Microsoft’s BizTalk Server. The company also launched the Navision User Portal the world’s first solution based on Microsoft’s Digital Dashboard. In an industry shaking move, Navision Software merged with their long-time Danish rival Damgaard Software. (Both products were developed in Denmark and both products maintained US operations in Atlanta, Georgia. As a result, the management of both companies frequently sat next to one another in First Class when traveling between Denmark and Atlanta. This merger literally emerged on Delta airplanes). In 2001 the company made many enhancements including:
- Re-branded Navision Financials as Navision Attain and Damgaard Axapta as Navision Axapta.
- Integrated the e-commerce applications, Commerce Gateway, Commerce Portal into both products.
- Introduced User Portal, browser-based access to both products.
- Introduced supply chain collaboration functionality, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, and new financial management functionality.
- Navision received the Designed for Microsoft XP logo.
In 2002 Microsoft acquired Navision for $1.4 billion the largest acquisition ever made by Microsoft. (This was a very high acquisition price considering that ACCPAC International was acquired the following year by Best Software for just $120 million; even though ACCPAC had more products and far more customers (41,000 to 1.2 million) than did Navision.) Today Navision has been the fastest growing accounting system solution offered by Microsoft. Consider that in 2001, Navision’s growth rate was an astounding 32%, even though the rest of the accounting software industry had been slumping and recoiling from the impact of the Y2K bug. Since then, the Navision software product line has grown steadily and today has approximately 35,000 customers worldwide, and more than 400,000 individual users. The Navision product’s strength and future outlook has never looked stronger.