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Posts Tagged ‘Dynamics NAV’

(This is the second of our two posts reflecting the thoughts of noted NAV blogger Eric Wauters on the upcoming release of the new Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018.  His full, original post can be found here.)

 

Fact 8: Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 will be released on December 1st.  Thanks to the Directions conference in Orlando last month, and the feedback and the passion of the partners, this had to happen.  As Microsoft has already announced, the product itself is ready.  It’s the pricing and positioning issues they are working on that have delayed the release.

Fact 9: Extension V2 will work on Dynamics NAV 2018.  In non-Geek-speak this simply means that a very modern development experience in VSCode will work on the December release, and that we will be able to create extensions on top of our own customizations and products as well.

Fact 10: Yes, you will be able to white label your product, but you don’t have to.  “Powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365” or not, it’s your choice.  (Early word last month was that Microsoft would change the marketing thrust from promoting “NAV” to promoting a “Powered by…” approach, thus allowing resellers and ISVs the ability to “white label” their accouring offerings.  But really… I mean, really?  Would you rather by “Brian’s Accounting & Manufacturing Powered by Microsoft Dynamics” or simply Microsoft Dynamics NAV, as you always have?  No brainer.

Fact 11: Microsoft is working on the pricing.  Considering the various options… on-premise… cloud… as discrete functional-areas apps (like CRM or Marketing) and not just the “ful-blown” complete ERP system… Microsoft has a lot to think about.  But it’s coming.

Fact 12: There is no monetization in AppSource – but it will come.  This one is mostly for partners.  It means that we’ll be able to sell customized apps through the Microsoft App Store, and there will be a ‘monetization’ policy at some point.  In other words, Microsoft will likely have an approval process for apps and then make them available on the store and take their cut.  Think of Apple’s app store model.

Fact 13: Microsoft Dynamics NAV consumes an insane amount of Azure stuff – and that’s a good thing.  Cloud based NAV can generate a lot of data and metrics on its Azure cloud, and that stuff will eventually be available as analytics of some kind or another.  It’s a work in progress for now.

A new development environment… new features… the ability to run either in the cloud or at your own site… the ability to create apps… the enhanced capabilities to run with the Microsoft “stack” of applications from Windows to Office 365 (Word, Excel, etc.) to Outlook… Dynamics NAV will be at the heart of it all.

And for our customers, that safety in numbers and place in the Microsoft hierarchy of applications upon which you run your business might be the very best news of all!  It all starts happening in December.  Are you ready?

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Eric Wauters is a most knowledgeable and well-known blogger about Microsoft Dynamics best-selling ERP system, Dynamics NAV.  Wauters recently put together a great list of the key highlights (his ‘Facts’) gleaned from recent conferences and conversations regarding the upcoming release of the newest NAV version, 2018.  While we’ve written a bit about NAV 2019 (codename ‘Tenerife’) here recently, we felt his list of news & updates was the most definitive yet.

Since there’s too much to push into a single post, we’ll edit for length and publish Wauters’ facts in our own blog here as two posts, today and in the post following.  For the original article, go here.

 

Fact 1: the market around the product we know as “Dynamics NAV” keeps being a partner model.  NAV is Microsoft’s biggest ERP cash generator, and partners have been selling, implementing, customizing and supporting the product successfully for years, making or exceeding Microsoft’s goals for the product.  In the future, that won’t change, nor does anyone want it to do.  Now, on to the NAV product itself…

Fact 2: NAV will be available in the cloud.  In Spring 2018, there is going to be Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud, based on NAV.  And that’s important to those, like us, who serve the SMB (small to midsize business) market exclusively.

Fact 3: There is a roadmap beyond Spring 2018.  Because NAV is now developed in what’s known as an ‘agile’ development environment (i.e., quick, incremental releases keeping the product fresh and up-to-date), it’s impossible to guarantee a future road map.  But they do a pretty good job nonetheless.  Dynamics 365 for Financial and Operations and 365 ‘Tenerife’ (a temporary name until the actual product is released) are the currently slated releases for late this year and early next year, and they are right on track.  The future NAV – available either on-premise or in the cloud – will follow this same roadmap.

Fact 4: On Premise is there to stay.  As long as there is business for On Premise, we will be able to do it with NAV. Microsoft’s focus is “cloud” for sure, but On Premise is there to stay.

Fact 5: Dynamics 365 will have full NAV capabilities.  Says Wauters:  “Rest assured – for whatever we will do in the cloud – we can do all! From Manufacturing to Jobs to Relationship Management to… Whatever! All a SMB wants to do – it will be there! With the power of the cloud!”

Fact 6: One Codebase.  We will have a slightly different experience in the cloud, but all will be one codebase.  Basically the design is somewhat different in Dynamics 365 (let’s call it the “Dynamics 365 Experience”), and a lot is “tuned” with Application Areas, but for all we do, the codebase is the same.

Fact 7: Extensibility with Extensions.  NAV has an extensibility model, aka “Extensions” or “Apps.”  This allows developers to create apps for Dynamics 365 and extensions for on-prem installations.  These can be built on customized databases, ensuring modifications unique to a client can be enabled.

And that’s only the half of it!  We’ll reveal the rest of Wauters’ thoughts – including the timing of the NAV 2018 release date – in our next post, so stay tuned…

 

 

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Today we’ll feature some of the updates and new views we saw at the recent annual NAV Directions conference in Orlando.  We’re sharing these with our own clients, but it only seemed right to share what’s new from NAV with our larger audience of blog readers as well.  So here goes…

We recently returned from the Microsoft Dynamics NAV annual conference and  we’re pleased to share what we learned there.  We gained insight as to the road ahead for NAV, and saw a number of the fast-growing family of third-party applications many companies are using to enhance NAV’s underlying capabilities.  We thought we’d share a few of those with you here today…

  • Microsoft announced that the forthcoming 2018 product – code named ‘Tenerife’ – would be “the single NAV product, with full NAV functionality, for both cloud and on-premise” going forward. That’s important, because Microsoft is making a push into the cloud like never before, and it’s good to know that the Dynamics NAV product is one they’ve chosen to be fully present in both forms: hosted on someone else’s server (in the cloud) or on your own (on-premise) for the foreseeable future.
  • While past NAV upgrades From Microsoft have recently been scheduled annually in October, this year’s date has not yet been announced. We’ll keep you posted.
  • NAV will continue to be customizable to the way you work – another important consideration. Long true of on-premise versions, it’s now slated to be true in the cloud via ‘extensions.’
  • ‘Tenerife’ (or NAV 2018) will mark a new stage in the interplay between Office 365 and Dynamics 365 (the current cloud product), specifically around Outlook and the Office 365 Business Center, a collection of apps based on NAV.

Among recently announced enhancements from our favorite 3rd party providers…

  • Warehouse Insight: Mobile warehouse data collection using handhelds in the warehouse to pick, pack & ship… Get real-time access to NAV inventory & production… Perform all those inventory and warehouse functions from hand-held devices… Capture lot & serial
  • Advanced inventory counting now simplifies inventory and cycle count entry, reconciliation, posting and analysis.
  • Integrated shipping with all major carriers including FedEx and UPS with real-time, detailed package management.
  • NAV Sales Configurator: Accurately quote your products with multiple configuration options that allow for assemble-to-order configurations directly from quotes and orders, or create production BOMs for more complex production environments.
  • Additionally: Production scheduling solutions from Insight Works and others… advanced document management and new expense reporting from ZetaDocs… and more.

Dynamics NAV is Microsoft’s best-selling ERP system worldwide, by far, proudly serving over 120,000 companies today worldwide.  Knowing that it’s a platform well poised for the future both on-premise and in the cloud is a strong message going forward for all those users, and we’re glad to see the product continue to grow in both functionality and users, worldwide.

 

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tipsERP blogger Eric Kimberling of Panorama Consulting recently posted some advice about selecting an ERP system, along with a few comments about specific systems, which we thought we’d share today (while adding a couple of our own).

We know that most clients think (or hope) an implementation can be accomplished in a few short months.  We usually try to let them down gently when we will tell them that a year or more is the norm – with large and comprehensive systems often taking considerably longer.

Kimberling, who owns an ERP consulting firm on Colorado, notes that his firm’s experience is indeed the same: about 18-24 months for the “average implementation.”  And that’s regardless of whether the system chosen was SAP, Infor, Oracle or Microsoft Dynamics.

Among those particular choices (SAP, Infor, Dynamics, Oracle, Dynamics), his firm’s experience showed that Microsoft Dynamics was the lowest cost on average to implement, but generally took longer too.

Some of Kimberling’s advice to shoppers includes:

  • Define and prioritize your highest priority business requirements to quickly arrive at a short-list
  • Leverage independent experts who can help you quickly narrow the field
  • Don’t forget to consider implementation while evaluating ERP systems (Don’t just focus on the software: understand how it will be implemented.)

And we would add one that’s maybe a bit of a surprise: the software is not what matters, at least not entirely.  There’s lots of good software: it’s the team you work with, and their understanding of how to apply the software to your business processes, that will yield the most superior results in the end.  We know it from years of experience.

He reminds us that 50-70% of all the implementations his firm sees experience significant operational disruption.  The industry average, he notes, has hovered just above 50% for many years.  So… expect some disruption.  Just emember, ERP is a strategic investment.  It takes time, and it’s not turn-key.  Work with your consultants and providers as a team – and we can assure you, you’ll get there.  Patience on both sides goes a long, long ways.

According to some statistics Kimberling shares at his website, payback tends to come in greatest at years 3 and 4 after purchase.  But we would add: after that, the ROI and savings are permanent.

Finally, Kimberling advises that you can quickly narrow the field down to the top ten or twenty percent by prioritizing those that meet two key requirements:

1) they are critical to your business, and

2) they are differentiating functions of various ERP systems in the market

Only those that meet both criteria should be used to narrow down your short-list.

 

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nav17Yesterday, Microsoft was slated to release the newest version of its flagship Dynamics NAV ERP suite.  Several of us just returned from the annual “Directions” partner/reseller conference in Phoenix, so we thought we’d share a few of the things we learned there about the latest in NAV.

  • On-Premise vs. Cloud: In a keynote address, Microsoft GM Paul White acknowledged that a lot of clients still want their ERP systems (i.e., NAV) to be “on-prem.” No surprise there, as we find the vast majority of our clients feeling that way as well.  The new cloud NAV version seems to be getting positioned as a lower cost, lower function alternative, aimed at folks coming off a low-end system like, say, QuickBooks, and looking for what is predominantly a ‘financial’ solution.
  • And to that point, expect to hear a lot more about Dynamics 365 (formerly codenamed Madeira). Debuting in November, the “Business Edition” of the new cloud product will be a low priced offering with NAV roots that provides financials and, in later editions, sales and marketing capabilities as well.  It promises to be well integrated with Office 365.  The “Enterprise” edition will be a mash-up of Microsoft CRM and Dynamics AX.
  • Microsoft aims, especially for cloud installations, to move developers away from pure code modifications into the world of “extensions,” whereby code objects are largely rendered outside of core NAV, lending themselves to easier upgrades and better interoperability with 3rd party applications. It’s a “goal” for now, and very much a work in progress.
  • Those extensions will then be available as “apps” in the new APPSOURCE store. So, expect in time to see lots of add-on extensions courtesy of NAV developers.  Microsoft will allegedly not “endorse” any of these; rather, they will vet them for inclusion by ensuring certain standards are upheld, and then let the marketplace decide (5 stars, anyone?) what are the best apps.
  • Also in the development arena, it will now be “Visual Studio Code,” utilizing NAV’s current CA/L language running V.S. code. There will be on the-the-fly screen and form modifications via the Visual Designer, and they’ll be available for PCs, tablets and phones as they are published to the app store.
  • The Power BI (business intelligence) tool will be embedded in NAV 2017, giving more advanced users a powerful tool for advanced data analysis and deeper insights into your business details.
  • Also coming is the first integration of Microsoft’s Cortana intelligent assistant, an early foray into the realm of artificial intelligence, a hot topic for tech firms today from Amazon and Google to Apple and Microsoft. Expect to see a long evolution of AI development in the versions and years to come.

One thing’s for certain: when it comes to business, technology and ERP – things never stand still for very long.

 

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supply chainOne of the reasons clients (and we) prefer systems like Dynamics NAV over what are sometimes called “best-of-breed” systems (a financial system, linked to a warehouse and inventory management application, linked to a sales/contact application, etc.), or to a “bespoke” (i.e., custom-developed) solution is that all the data typically lies within a single database repository as part of a fully integrated system.

As a recent article from MS Dynamics World that makes this point also points out, distributors (including of course manufacturers who distribute their own products) face some common pressures.  Analysis of global supply chain businesses indicate that key among those pressures are some of the following…

(We’ll quote Marty Kemp, a UK Dynamics salesperson in an article found here):

  • Global supply chains generate longer lead times and therefore greater variability of supply
  • Supply chain efficiencies and data accuracy need to be increased
  • Knowledge of shipment data, both inbound and outbound, is more critical
  • The pressure to lower supply chain costs that erode precious margin is constant
  • There is pressure to efficiently manage inventory at various points along the supply chain
  • They need the capability to work with a limited number of partners within the supply chain more effectively

As Kemp notes, with a single-database solution such as NAV, a user can track the demand from sales and sales forecasts, view stock replenishment and production demand, and utilize its MRP capabilities to create and review suggested purchase orders.  With its intrinsic visibility of inventory over time (viewed graphically), orders can be manipulated to dynamically reflect any changes in order or delivery dates.  Inventories can be managed at their leanest levels without needing to compromise customer satisfaction.

And with built-in BI (business intelligence) capabilities and analysis built into the core solution, managers can make timely decisions across a range of business requirements.  Dashboards and KPI indicators allow nearly instant, on-demand views of key business criteria.  This is above and beyond the various Excel and other reporting capabilities inherent in the solution.

Warehouse management is yet another daunting and expensive task best handled by an integrated solution.  By taking advantage of precise inventory management, SKUs can generally be better managed, and reduced, thus optimizing overhead, space and costs.  Real-time status capabilities make it possible to keep customers apprised of availability on the fly.

These are just a few of the key supply chain advantages accruing to users of today’s modern, integrated, unified data repository types of systems, like NAV.  Taken together, they account for tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars (depending on company size) of annual cost reductions – not to mention real-time analysis and improved customer service that will help a company stand out from its peers.

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dynamics erpAs a Microsoft Dynamics NAV reseller of many years specializing almost exclusively in companies that engage in manufacturing and distribution, we frequently find ourselves describing what Dynamics is and, right after that, why there are four different “versions.”  While those “versions” are the result of separate Microsoft acquisitions of different, unrelated firms over the years, over time Microsoft has folded its offerings under the single umbrella named “Dynamics” and offered four entirely different ERP products.

Today’s post comes from a site called OnWindows, which, according to its website: “provides news and industry thought leadership on Microsoft and partner technology in the enterprise.”  We thought they did a pretty good job of describing the products and their target markets – and give confirmation to why we chose one of the only two Dynamics products (AX and NAV) focused on manufacturing firms.  Here’s what they had to say in a post you can find here.

Microsoft Dynamics AX

  • Company size: emerging and mid-sized
  • Target industries: wholesale distribution, manufacturing, public sector, non-profit, retail, professional services, software, transportation
  • Target market: company revenue of US$50 million-US$2 billion
  • Strengths: industry-specific solution templates for distribution, retail, professional services, manufacturing, lean and public sector; enterprise functionality – share data across companies, e-banking, supports a shared services model; agile business enabling technology; integration tools support legacy and newest technology; integrated document control; automates procedures; enterprise reporting and analysis.

Microsoft Dynamics GP

  • Company size: small to large and everything in between
  • Target industries: healthcare, distribution, education, government agencies, non-profit, retail, consumer packaged goods
  • Target market: US$5 million-US$1 billion
  • Strengths: integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM; business alerts, routines, wizards and help; easy to customize; field service suite; collections management; extensive third-party offerings; integrated fixed asset module; integrated HR and payroll; integration with office.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

  • Company size: small to mid-sized
  • Target industries: consumer packaged goods, wholesale distribution, manufacturing, retail, professional services, high tech, oil and gas
  • Target market: US$10 million-US$500 million
  • Strengths: highly flexible and customizable; strong multi-company and consolidation support for unlimited companies in one database; localized in multi-country and multi-language; strong financial and cash management; supply chain management; three-tier architecture; job costing; Microsoft Office integration; basic HR.

Microsoft Dynamics SL

  • Company size: small to mid-sized
  • Target industries: contracting and government contracting, professional services, oil and gas, field services, construction, distribution
  • Target market: US$10 million-US$500 million
  • Strengths: strong multi-company support; easily customizable; time and expense for employees; professional services functionality; architectural, engineering and construction functionality; web-enabled project management functions; web services; integrated payroll module; government contract compliance capabilities; standard Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration.

 

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