Atlantic Crossing Digital Consulting

Microsoft Dynamics NAV – the early revenue acceleration

After talking much about how companies may fail to achieve significant sales growth, we turn our attention to a case in which the success was evident.

Tiny accounting software developer PC&C had achieved a solid success with its single-user accounting software PC-Plus. The logical product line extension was a multi-user solution. Unusual for a small development company at the time, PC&C’s owners also decided to explore whether they could make giant commercial strides forward at the same time.

In an unusually fortuitous deal, the PC&C owners found that IBM in their native Denmark could see an opportunity to couple the upcoming client/server-based, multi-user software with their own PS/2 hardware line. And to employ the IBM PC-dealer channel to promote the offering. The multi-user solution was introduced as IBM-NAVIGATOR.

PC&C obviously owned their good fortune to hard work and careful planning, coming off the early success with PC-PLUS. But they also had a bit of luck. IBM Denmark at the time had one person employed, a person with an unusual skill set of deep technical understanding AND remarkable marketing savvy.

Those in the know will recognize this gifted person as René Stockner, later head of PC&C (by then renamed Navision) in the US, and still later VP of Sales & Marketing worldwide, both in Navision itself and later within the Microsoft organization.

Due to his extensive, technical background (he has a Ph.D. in Database Applications and Systems Science) Stockner immediately understood how the software’s architecture and functionality was different from the competition. And he then, uniquely, was able to translate that into concrete benefits for customers, the PC-dealer channel, and IBM itself.

IBM-NAVIGATOR almost immediately became a roaring success in the market. For the first time, customers could have a PC-based, multi-user solution that was robust and secure – something that was not lost upon potential mini-computer buyers (much to the dismay of their salespersons, such as this author).

And the rest, as they say, is history. IBM-NAVIGATOR became Navision outside tiny Denmark, reaching the shores of more than 20 countries before the company went public in 1999. In 2001 it acquired archrival Damgaard Data before it itself in 2002 was acquired by Microsoft in a deal worth some 12 billion Danish kroner (about US$ 2.25 billion using current exchange rates).

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