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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Dynamics NAV’

In our prior post we announced the April 2nd release of the “new NAV” whose name has officially been changed by Microsoft to “Dynamics 365 Business Central.”  We noted then a lack of space in a single blog post to parse all the official announcement’s details, so we’ll cover those here in our concluding post wrap-up.

Current NAV users may be asking themselves: What about us?  Is our beloved NAV going away, only to be replaced by this new cloud-based incarnation?  Of that we can give a resounding ‘No.’  Recall those 160,000 companies out there using NAV, across 2,700,000 users, spread over 195 countries around the world.  Microsoft earns an awful lot (even by Microsoft standards!) of revenues from that installed base, and they’re not anxious to disrupt that.  Rather, by the D365 Business Central evolution, they are fully intent on building a very large base of next generation customers, but still built upon that core NAV code base in which countless millions have already been invested.

In fact, the new D365 BC has a lot to recommend it.  Following are some key highlights:

  • A cloud presence supported on Microsoft Azure, among the world’s leading global cloud platforms.
  • A deep focus on BI – business intelligence, analytics, big data… call it what you will, but the integration of Dynamics 365 with Office 365 and LinkedIn and the custom applications developed by third parties, ISVs and partners means there is an enormous world of data out there to be mined for business insights and improved decision making, in a way never before available. If there’s a big takeaway, we think it’s about this openness to big data.
  • When you realize that instances of D365 BC will also include Azure, Business Intelligence via Power BI, Power Apps, and Microsoft Flow it gives new meaning to the term “all-in-one business management solution.”
  • Starting in fall 2019, there will be no “NAV 2019.” Instead, you’ll have Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premise.  Just like clients up until now have always enjoyed it.  The new cloud implementations are simply an additional, new, future-facing option.
  • The product will be robust. With the entire existing NAV code base, users are offered Marketing, Sales, Service, Operations, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management, Discrete Manufacturing, Talent, and of course, Finance.  It’s full NAV objects and functionality with D365 branded vertical solutions and ISV cloud embed programs (like PrintVis, already a leading business management solution for the print industry).
  • Partners can still do individual client customizations, but we’ll do them via “extensions,” with an option for publishing those extensions in the app store.
  • The code will continue to evolve as Visual Studio, but with 44 business APIs available at the announcement, it leaves the product open to all manner of 3rd party apps and extensions in many other environments including C#, Python, Azure, Android Studio and many others.
  • Pricing will be three-tiered with choices including: Team Member (similar to the former “lite” user), Essentials (like the former “full” user), and Premium (includes Manufacturing & Service).

This new release of Dynamics 365 Business Central is destined to change the face of the ERP landscape and opens up the product and our customers to a whole new world of data insights, interoperability with other pieces and whole new worlds of functionality.  The release is just the first step in the long journey forward to ensure that, by any name, the Microsoft ERP product is destined to be here, in many forms, for a very long time.

We’ll continue to keep you apprised of future Dynamics 365 changes and announcements as always.  For now, welcome to the future!

 

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Our firm provides specialty software for the printing industry from a company called PrintVis.  Their print-industry specific solution consists of a wide range of added functionality that is baked into Microsoft  Dynamics NAV (as they say, “You can buy NAV without PrintVis, but you can’t buy PrintVis without NAV”).  That functionality has enabled them to automate close to 400 printing operations from the largest to the smallest, in dozens of countries around the world.  So we thought we’d take advantage of their expertise by sharing their recent post (#134 in a series…) on the NAV Change Log, courtesy of a consultant by the name of Doug Wiley, who wrote the post for them.  Excerpts follow…

In essence, the Change Log is exactly what it sounds like: a log of changes that are made in your database. Essentially, there are two types of “audit trails” in PrintVis: those that track transactional data (like inventory movements or changes to the G/L) and those that track changes to things like master records.

The first type is always on, and can’t be shut off. The second type is the Change Log, and that needs to be configured and turned on manually.

Turning it on is easy. You just search for “Change Log Setup” and open the window. There is a single check box which turns on the Change Log (in red).  The more complex setup is in the background, which can be reached by clicking “Tables” in the ribbon in the window above (in green). Here you will determine which tables, and which fields within those tables, you would like to track. You have the option to track “Insertion” (adding a record), “Modification” and “Deletion” by table.

Also notice for that each of these you have the option to turn it off “blank” (even if the change log itself is turned on), track all fields, track some fields, or to select the fields you’d like to track.

The interface to this functionality is relatively simple, but the way in which it’s configured is where the nuance and decision-making come in.  In the past, it was always recommended that the Change Log be used sparingly, to prevent the size of the database increasing too much when people altered records. Now that disk space has gotten more abundant, and cheaper, you can err more on the side of using it, but there is still a good reason to plan well: If you want to find who made a change, to what, and when, you will still need to sort through all of the changes that have been logged.

Fortunately, NAV has excellent filtering and sorting tools which will get you what you want – but still there’s no need to capture a bunch of changes which don’t really matter that much from an operational standpoint.  Picking which fields in which tables you’d like to track is step one of this process. For example, you probably want to know if a customer’s payment terms change, but not so much if their main contact phone number or email address does. You may want to track if someone changes your posting group setup (which drives all your accounting and financial reporting), but not if someone changes the name of a journal batch. Your consultant will help walk you through this process and give examples of best practices.

The next step is choosing when you want to track these changes. Obviously turning this on when setting up a new database would be madness, since every change made by every new record imported would generate an unnecessary entry. Generally, it’s recommended to only turn it on once final setups and master data have been approved and put into the database.

The third and final step is maintaining which changes are tracked. For example, if for some reason there needs to be a mass update to your cost centers, you probably want to turn this off while that happens to avoid generating a bunch of data (and remember to turn it back on!).

Our thanks to Doug Wiley for pointing out these Change Log tips, which we will hope will help our NAV users get even more out of this most powerful and robust ERP system.

 

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Today we’ll share a few of the features new to the just-released edition of Dynamics NAV 2018 as noted by other prominent bloggers, users and experts.  As NAV keeps evolving its features expand, and following are a few that caused others to say… “Wow.”

With Microsoft’s increasing evolution to cloud-based solutions, even their new product documentation features the web client, a sly tip to its future direction, although the role-tailored client is still well maintained and robust.

User Personalization and the Web Client: Users can now configure the web client individually, treating it like “a desktop or interactive whiteboard” according to one NAV expert.  You can customize almost everything including repositioning the Freeze Panes, Cues and Cue Groups, moving and hiding areas, and using List Parts in Role Centers.

The Business Manager and Accounting Role Center has a new option in the ribbon for Excel Reports. Users may select from a dropdown menu of preconfigured reports ready to print from Excel, including a Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement and Trial Balance.

User Tasks can be configured to create ‘reminders’ of work to be done, for yourself or others.

The Image Analyzer extension uses powerful image analytics provided by the Computer Vision API from Microsoft Cognitive Services to detect attributes in images, like a person’s gender or age, or to identify items by attributes like type and color.  (There is currently a limit of 100 such associations per month, but the application possibilities open up a new vista in functionality, especially for instance when identifying attributes of web items and purchases.)

For technical users and developers Microsoft has provided a whole slew of new capabilities.  There are now two possible installation environments: the standard C/SIDE and C/AL, or the new “Modern Development Environment” usable in both NAV 2018 and the cloud based version called Tenerife.

There is a new set of Extensions dubbed version 2.0, with new controls.

You can now change server settings without a server ‘restart.’

The NAV universal app for remote devices has been expanded, and now includes an ability to project your phone to a large screen (a Windows Ten feature), and to interact with your mouse and keyboard via Bluetooth.

Web server components can now run on ASP.NET Core, allowing NAV to “reach new heights in scalability” as blogger Roberto Stefanetti notes.

With annual upgrade release dates, users can expect to see continued expansion of NAV’s features and capabilities and an increasing movement to the web, even as we expect the on-premise version to be supported for years to come.

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The newest version of Microsoft’s best-selling ERP solution, Dynamics NAV 2018, has just recently been released.

There are far too many changes, big and small, to fit into a post here, so we’ve made the full text of their release document available FREE for the asking as a pdf.  The document was written by Microsoft, details all the changes just since the last (2017) version, and it’s yours for the asking from Ted.Myers@pssiusa.com.

(Note that it only covers what’s new in the last year.  For users on versions prior to 2017, just know that hundreds of changes preceded those listed in the new release document.)

Among the new features, in no particular order:

  • User task simplification – From a new Setup and Extensions button that provides a single place for settings, to User Tasks you can define that remind you of work to be done, by you or others.
  • A new Employee account type in general journal lines to create employee ledger entries, as well as post payments to an employee.
  • A new Image Analyzer extension uses image analytics to detect attributes in images in conjunction with Microsoft’s Computer Vision API. It’s an AI app that identifies attributes like types and colors, as well as human genders and ages for contact persons.
  • Power BI Reporting provides Business Intelligence in the place and time you need it. Select, interact with and filter reports by selecting records from the associated list page.
  • Improved OCR results and vendor synchronization (when using Lexmark ICS).
  • Easily Cancel or correct job related posted invoices on invoices created with ‘billable’ types of planning lines.
  • Posting setup improvements and visibility over missing posting notifications.
  • Improvements to ‘Change Global Dimensions’ reporting.
  • Enhancements for EFT (Electronic Funds Transfers) including report modification abilities.
  • Increased integration with Office 365.
  • New application user docs.
  • A language selector at the bottom of the page to switch to other languages.
  • Changes for developers and IT staff to C/AL functions, data types, properties and triggers.
  • Change server settings without restarting the server.
  • Personalization of the web client and report previews in the web client on ALL supported browsers, not just Explorer.
  • An expanded API library that extends NAV functionality further still, allowing third-party developers to create connected apps on the Dynamics NAV platform.

Like the world of business, the world of software never stands still for long.

We encourage you to download the full document by clicking here.  It’s fast and free, just by confirming your name and email.

 

 

 

 

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(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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