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Microsoft's 'Project Madeira' Sees Daylight in Public Preview

Microsoft's "Project Madeira," a new, cloud-based business application that's built on the company's Dynamics NAV platform, is now available as a public preview for U.S. organizations.

Expected to become generally available in the second half of 2016, Madeira is described by Microsoft as a multitenant, Software as a Service (SaaS) offering that runs out of the Azure public cloud.

Microsoft is aiming Madeira at small businesses who may not have the budget for a full-blown enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. For those companies, Madeira "offers a fully powered business management solution in the cloud, with capabilities spanning financials, dimensions, sales and purchase management, inventory, CRM (opportunity management), multi-currency, and business insight," wrote Marko Perisic, general manager for Dynamics SMB at Microsoft, in a blog Tuesday announcing the preview launch.

Though it's built on the Dynamics NAV platform, Madeira is not the next version of Dynamics NAV, which is also expected to become available in the second half of this year.

"It's a separate new offering that's aimed at customers with roughly 10 to 100 employees. That's a little bit of a different segment than what we're going after with Dynamics NAV, which continues on its own development path," explained Gordon Macdonald, director of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, in a phone call Tuesday. "Is there a lot shared between them? Absolutely."

Madeira integrates tightly with Office 365. One benefit of that is users performing business functions can reduce the time it takes them to jump back and forth from Office applications. For instance, Madeira "automatically identifies business context such as invoices and quote requests within Outlook, and presents the user with the tools and data needed to take immediate action -- all without leaving Outlook," wrote Perisic.

Users can access Madeira from Android, iOS and Windows devices, as well as from their Internet browsers.

A number of Microsoft's partners are also working on solutions for Madeira, Perisic said. "Microsoft's ecosystem of independent software vendors are building rich extensions for 'Project Madeira.' These extensions cover horizontal add-on functionality as well as full industry-specific vertical solutions. They will be available in a marketplace soon," he wrote. 

Those interested in testing out Madeira can sign up for the preview here. Microsoft plans to run the preview "over the next several months," with general availability expected in the second half of 2016.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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