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Archive for the ‘Dynamics NAV’ Category

A good post by a west coast NAV blogger provides steps for integrating your Dynamics NAV (in this case, 2018, though it should work basically the same for other versions) with Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet.  The end result is a new, separate “Dynamics NAV” tab in the ribbon of your Excel application that links directly to NAV.

[Disclaimer: While some users may be able to handle this one on their own, feel free to contact us or your authorized NAV partner to installation assistance if it will make you feel safer.  Also note that this is specifically for NAV (in particular, though not exclusively, the 2018 version), and presumably not for the new Business Central.]

Step 1: Locate your installation file (that’s your NAV ‘setup’ file). The file location may vary depending on how and where your NAV is installed (you might be able to get help from your IT folks, or call us).

Step2:  Double-click the file name (setup.exe) and when asked “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?” click the “Yes” box.

Step 3: From the Maintenance setup wizard, click “Add or remove components” which will open a box listing a lot of application parts under the heading “Customize the Installation.”

Step 4: From the listing, click the down arrow in the little box associated with “Microsoft Excel Add-In.”

Step 5: When the little down-arrow box opens, click “Run from my computer” and then click “Next.”

Step 6: You will see a screen of specified parameters and, assuming these are correct, click “Apply.”

Step 7: NAV will then run the function to enable the add-in and you should see a Microsoft Dynamics NAV information screen that says: “The modification of Microsoft Dynamics NAV has completed successfully.”

 

Again, while it’s pretty simple, we always suggest you have a knowledgeable NAV/tech support person available to you whenever making changes to your system.  Assuming all goes well, you’ll end up with a Dynamics NAV tab in the ribbon of your Excel for fast NAV access!

Our thanks to Encore Business blogger Eunice Gan who posted this tip/article, with screen shots here, originally.

 

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In a recent report compilation the editors at Panorama Consulting Solutions listed what they considered to be four of the top manufacturing software solutions, as well as their prescription for the “ideal” manufacturing software system, from among the now over 200 solutions from which companies today have to choose.  Those top four included SAP, Oracle, Infor and Microsoft Dynamics.

Of the Dynamics 365 solution, Panorama writes…

Microsoft Dynamics solutions have a familiar user interface and suit organizations of all sizes. Microsoft Dynamics D365 Enterprise enables data and resource integration across various departments and locations. The solution has been redeveloped as a pure SaaS model, but also can be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud. In terms of field service functionality, Microsoft Dynamics employs IoT technology to improve response times and operational efficiency.

This October, Dynamics 365 for Sales will be enabled with artificial intelligence, which will give manufacturers better visibility into their supply chain. Dynamics D365 continues its reliance on a partner ecosystem to develop niche functionality. Partners are currently in the process of understanding niche IP development for the new version of Microsoft Dynamics.

As to that “ideal” manufacturing system?  Here’s some sage advice:

The ideal manufacturing solution should address the entire supply chain, from product inception to customer delivery. It should have functionality to track suppliers, materials, production costs, maintenance and customer relationships. Ultimately, it should increase operational efficiency and provide full visibility into manufacturing processes and business data. Transforming your manufacturing organization requires technology that drives efficiency and enables full supply chain visibility.

While it’s helpful to compare the strengths of various ERP systems, the best solution for your business depends on your unique needs and situation.

To their advice we would add:

Discuss your needs with a software reselling partner or consultant who knows the territory, one who specializes in the manufacturing sector, and is aware of the many nuances of production, scheduling, bills of material and the unique inventory requirements that attend to them.  Find a good consultant, determine whether you’re comfortable with their people and if they have a methodology for getting you to where you want to go.  Then, when you think you’re ready, talk to a couple of their references, make sure you are on the same page with respect to your unique project roadmap, and be willing to provide the full range of resources and staff commitment required to get the job done.

After all, you only want to do this once.

(You can find access to the full report beginning here.)

 

 

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In a recent article on MSDynamicsWorld entitled “What free access to the Dynamics Learning Portal means for Microsoft customers and partners,” we’ve learned of a significant change regarding the availability of the Dynamics Learning Portal: it’s now free!  That’s big news for NAV users (the fine print: yes, you must have a current support contract for your Dynamics product).

Formerly priced at $1,000 per year and available to resellers, it was still a most valuable and worthwhile resource for the money.  As Microsoft Dynamics NAV blogger and “MVP” Gus Gonzalez describes in a recent post:

A few years ago, Microsoft launched the Dynamics Learning Portal. The portal was an answer to all the requests from Microsoft Dynamics partners out there pleading for better training content and a better platform to consume that content. Up until then, partners were consuming content via PartnerSource, but the content was difficult to find and required organizations to give regular consultants access to lots of unrelated (and sometimes sensitive) information. So most partners were asking for a solution that would focus mainly on the readiness and training side of things.

The Partner Readiness team at Microsoft made a few decisions with the creation of the Dynamics Learning Portal. …the portal will focus on readiness, which means not just providing on-demand courses, but serving as central resource for accessing in-person training and other readiness related events.

Much of the content you’ll find at the Dynamics NAV portal was created by people outside of Microsoft, many of them members of the reseller and user communities, so much of it is focused on real-world application of the broad expanse of NAV functionality.

While the portal was never created as a money-maker, its value was significant, as is the fact that Microsoft is now making available for free.  The only catch is that users must be in good standing with a premier support contract.  (It’s also free for Microsoft certified partners.)

If you’re interested in more information (because, yes, there’s a little paperwork involved)… we ask that you contact your reseller directly.  We at PSSI will be happy to help.  Best bet is to email: Larry@pssiusa.com.  We’ll take it from there.

 

 

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Our friends at PrintVis posted a quick overview a few weeks back covering some of the new changes inherent in the latest (2018) version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which we thought our users would appreciate – especially those thinking about upgrading.

While the list if far from complete, it does provide a few highlights of some changes introduced just in the last year.  (Users more outdated than that will enjoy a much longer list of added enhancements, as they have just been multiplying over the versions and years.)

In their own PrintVis product (a print and label industry-specific solution built on top of NAV), they note that in PrintVis 2018 it is now possible to change or update the cost for an Item in the Calculation Details (Cost Price Field) or on the Purchase Guide (Direct Cost PrintVis Field) – and this cost will be automatically transferred to the “PV Unit Cost (LCY)” on the purchase line.

This keeps your pricing accurate all the way from quote to invoice – and saves you from redundant manual data entry.

They also note the following features new to 2018 that regular users will probably appreciate:

  • Payroll import from QuickBooks
  • Print descriptions from related posted document lines using show details in the Print G/L Register report
  • New standard reports, including received – not invoiced purchase orders and shipped – not invoiced sales orders.
  • Check printing improved to 3 checks per page
  • Distribute Item Charges based on volume and weight
  • Direct Transfer orders – no requirement for in-transit location
  • Use EU VAT numbers to update contact name
  • Master data from customers and vendors can now be updated from sales and purchase documents
  • When searching, help results will show alongside in-product results
  • New automation of Intercompany inbox and outbox
  • Bulk Invoicing improvements
  • Suggestion of accounts for posting groups

Again, it’s very partial listing – but then it’s a very comprehensive piece of software.

 

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Today we’re sharing a few behind-the-scenes details about the latest incarnation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV as it continues its evolution into the cloud-first product now called Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Our comments come from various NAV blogs, with a special tip of the hat to long-time Italian NAV developer Roberto Stefanetti.

To begin with, as a cloud-first product, expect to see even more frequent updates to Business Central than we saw under NAV, which used to be updated about every 18 months, and then more recently, annually.  There is becoming a lot more documentation available to resellers including courses and videos, with more expected.  A BC-dedicated forum has recently come online.

Because the BC product is cloud-first by design, Microsoft will always be updating that product first, with upgrades to server-based (or in-house based) systems afterwards.  Using a cloud version of an ERP product means in effect that you are always up to date.

The new development environment, “born first to Business Central” states Stefanetti, allows us to create ‘extensions’ which can then be ‘certified’ (or not), which allows for customization of the core product in what some call a “less invasive” fashion (i.e., less labor-intensive for upgrades later) than in the past.

Business Central will now be able to offer native (i.e., cloud-integrated) services for Outlook, Office 365, Microsoft CRM, Power BI and Flow, to name a few.  Users will now be able to grow into a ‘virtual desk’ in the cloud – and with your ERP system now there, you’ll never have to leave the cloud.

For its ‘public’ cloud of course Microsoft will feature Azure, which has now become the second most popular public cloud platform in the world (behind Amazon Web Services).  Azure offers a public cloud hosted experience that features a multi-tenant database (many customers running off the same database), an architecture based on events, extensions for customization development, and an App store as a source for distributing apps to others.

From a cost standpoint, you’ll be paying by the user/month, so you’re only paying for the ‘amount’ of software you truly need, and there will be several types of users, at different price points.  Think of it very much like a car lease – you pay a fixed rate every month based on user counts and types, and your system is always kept up to date.  One price, generally speaking, can be made to cover the application, all hosting for users, maintenance/upgrades, and probably even additional services (like Office, etc.).  That’s a conversation you have with your Business Central business partner (i.e., reseller).  It’s a strong move into today’s new billing model: subscription pricing, and we’re seeing it everywhere, not just in software.

Given the benefits noted above, and since we haven’t had a chance to test all the limitations in the new model, we’ll quote verbatim what consultant Stefanetti has to say on the subject.  It’s important to note that his comments on limitations are specific to the Microsoft Azure public-cloud hosting option.  Partners (like us) are able to offer OTHER non-Azure options that avoid some of the stated limitations.  Nonetheless, of the Azure/public approach, Stefanetti notes as follows:

The system is closed (but secure). You can’t access SQL Server and databases. Only the environment-specific tenant that you have purchased exists. You can’t create development environments, only sandboxes in the same tenant for the purpose of testing the data. Therefore, the modality of the approach is very different from the on-premises world.

It is not possible to back up the database because we do not access SQL Server. The system does not go down but it is possible to restore data if necessary. The backup is managed by Microsoft, with no way to schedule an auto-backup. Therefore, a backup cannot be launched by the end user, but if necessary, it is possible to open an issue to Microsoft and they can provide a restore.

You can use RapidStart Services Packages to export data, but that isn’t a real backup system (you can’t restore your database after a crash failure) like an on-premises system. Rather, this tool allows you can export for example the “setup data” for master tables, and secondary tables (a copy of setup).

Sorry, that’s all the space (and then some) we have today, but we’ll continue to cover more Business Central update details in the future, just as we’ve been doing.  Stay tuned.

 

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Our headline is a tad misleading because, while the specifics concern Microsoft Dynamics NAV, one of the world’s leading ERP and business management software systems, the principles of the article could be applied to virtually any software system implementation.  This one just happened to be NAV, because that’s what the consultant, a London-based freelancer by the name of Hannes Holst, implemented when he wrote the article.  (it’s our firm’s specialty as well, by way of full disclosure.)

In that project, Holst was tasked with replacing an existing ERP system with Dynamics NAV, and the plan was to do it on time and on budget – or under.  And they succeeded.  The three critical factors, in Holst’s retrospective were…

  1. Know what the business wants. In our own process at our firm, we label this the business process analysis, but call it what you will, you have to scope the requirements.  It’s the roadmap for all that follows.  It’s a serious (and yes, billable) engagement requiring both parties’ key staff to engage deeply in thinking about the client’s company, processes and goals.  Then, a roadmap is constructed that involves what, where, when, how and who, and guides the entire project team so they understand the goals, benchmarks and processes of that implementation

 

  1. Utilize the Dynamics NAV standard. NAV has been developed continuously for well over twenty years now, and covers all the functionality most any business could need today.  Standardized functionality has been applied all up and down the accounting workflow in NAV, and it works across many industries.  (While we specialize here in manufacturing and distribution, it’s equally adept at retail, service and many others.)  So wherever possible, Holst advises, align the business processes with the software.  This makes projects simpler, quicker and more agile.  Users can start working in some areas very quickly, as other pieces get added later.  (There are some caveats in this regard, but the advice is generally true.)  Finally, assess customizations in terms of impact to the company, which includes an overarching need, the budget, the need to continually maintain those modifications into the future, and the value of their overall ROI.  And when you do customize, wait a while, and then prioritize those “mods” from high to low when you determine which are truly needed.

 

  1. Hire an internal NAV expert. You can’t always do this of course, but you can have your most knowledgeable expert on the company’s inner-workings coordinating the project on the client side with the project leader from the consultant’s side.  A lot of issues can be resolved quickly when you have process- and software-knowledgeable participants on both sides of that support call.  That internal resource at the client side has a lot to do with landing your project on-time and/or on-budget.  They can recognize problems early on, unsnag project logjams, warn of impending potential pitfalls, and keep client-side implementers on-task and moving forward.  Your whole implementation benefits from the insights an internal expert can bring to bear, and having voices on both sides of the project management spectrum helps ensure that projects are kept honest, flowing, cooperative and, ultimately, successful.

 

Holst’s full, brief article can be found here (you have to join the forum, but it’s free):

 

 

 

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Our friends at our partner PrintVis, specialists in print & label industry-specific solutions recently posted a timely article on some of the new features to be found in Microsoft’s leading ERP solution, Dynamics NAV 2018 (later this year to be rebranded as “Dynamics 365 Business Central”).  The D365/BC product is basically NAV in new packaging, note the folks at PrintVis.  At it’s core, it’s NAV, in the cloud, hosted directly by Microsoft.  (Note: there will also be an on-premise (i.e., locally hosted at your server) version available.

Dynamics NAV now boasts over two million users (at over 130,000 companies) worldwide, and has established itself “as the choice for midsize organizations looking for a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is fast to implement, easy to configure, and simple to use,” as PrintVis’ Michael  Bradley notes.  And he should know, since PrintVis’ industry-specific solution now has over 350 companies running its application, which is deeply and richly embedded with the core NAV.

Customers who upgrade now can work with their reseller-partners to create a more seamless upgrade path to D365 now, and for future releases.  As PrintVis noted in their article:

“If your partner invests a bit more time in the upgrade today, they can move any/all of your code customizations to “events” and “extensions.”  This will dramatically reduce the amount of effort required for later upgrades – and this is the clear direction Microsoft has been heading for some years now. We have arrived at this pivotal time in the evolution of ERP.”

New features included in the latest 2018 release will extend the functionality of NAV, including…

  • Greater Integration with Business Applications
  • Improved Customization using Extensions
  • Automation and AI
  • Interaction with Microsoft Flow
  • Improved Workspace Personalization
  • Data Sharing with CRM systems
  • Pre-configured Excel Reports
  • REST API extended
  • Report Preview
  • Improved Check Printing
  • Pre-configured Excel Reports
  • Larger EC Sales Lists reports

The ERP world is experiencing a time of disruption and like any paradigm shift, change needs a while to be appreciated and absorbed – but it’s inevitable.  At least with today’s NAV, you’ll be ready for what is perhaps the largest paradigm shift ever in the business software marketplace by positioning yourself today with a product that’s already ready for the cloud tomorrow.

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