Occasionally we look at features of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, especially at new-release time, for the benefit of clients who run what many consider Microsoft’s “best” ERP system. Today we’ll take a look at a few of the newer integration points between NAV and other key Microsoft products
The new NAV 2013 R2 release features improved operability with Office 365, Microsoft’s “cloud” based version of its ubiquitous office suite (Word, Excel, etc.), including “Single sign-on” (sign into one application and you’re logged into the other). Additionally, users of the newest version will find improved deployment to Microsoft Sharepoint sites, as well as “multi-tenanting” on Microsoft’s new cloud platform, named Azure, and on partner-hosted deployments.
(Multi-tenancy is the idea that a single instance of software runs on a server that serves multiple client-organizations. It’s a key underpinning to most cloud strategies that allows many companies to run off the same software. The idea is to lower costs by hosting it in the cloud and letting many companies share the same software. While by definition it prohibits having your software customized to your needs – something we find most clients will want – still, it does provide basic, shared software functionality across many clients, if you can live with the drawbacks.)
But back to the new features… Here’s what Microsoft recently had to say about the new, improved interoperability in NAV 2013 R2:
“With this release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV it is now possible to access Microsoft Dynamics NAV data within SharePoint sites. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 allows Microsoft Dynamics NAV to be deployed as an application to one or more SharePoint sites – either on premise or online — and takes advantage of online authentication with support for LiveID, OrgID as well as Microsoft Dynamics NAV credentials. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2, you can open and run Microsoft Dynamics NAV from within Office 365. By clicking on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV icon in Office 365, users open Microsoft Dynamics NAV and can access and drill into charts, as well as share lists and Microsoft Dynamics NAV data and information with others.
With the release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 a Small Business owner can easily see how his business is doing through financial performance, key reports. He can access Microsoft Dynamics NAV within the Office 365 portal.”
Noted NAV expert Gary Winter, who pens a NAV blog from his home in Germany, made some very interesting comments at his blog recently about NAV and the Office 365 experience, and put in layman’s term what it means to users:
“Imagine you have a user interface which shows you a KPI in the form of a chart, a list of Office documents, and a list of … sales orders on one and the same page. When you click on one of the documents it opens in Word; when you click on one of the sales orders it opens in NAV. And the normal user doesn’t even need to know the difference any more. There are documents that open Word, documents that open Excel and “documents” that open NAV.
“The structured and the unstructured world sit side by side, having a chat and interacting. This is revolutionary. Or rather: evolutionary with a bang. …Now O365 comes with a new feature that includes editing item and customer information, generating a sales order from that and turning it into an invoice. Chart of accounts, VAT, all handled smoothly in the background. “
This merely continues the cascade of the new and the improved in the world of ERP software. Software, it seems, adheres to that principle first espoused by the comedian Steve Wright: “You learn something new every day. But BOY, you skip a day…”