On March 2nd, Encore hosted Microsoft Dynamics NAV users (and potential users) for a breakfast event where we talked about Microsoft, the cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Here are some of the top takeaways from that event.
The World Has Changed
This was one of my favourite slides from the event. We take our technology for granted, and it’s nice to take a second for a reality check in regards to the way we communicate and access information. (For the record, a petabyte is 1,000 terabytes).
Another cool slide – in the 1920’s, a company on the S&P 500 had been there for 67 years on average. Now, that stat is more like 15 years. The message: your business model probably isn’t going to be competitive in the long run if you don’t embrace change!
Microsoft for the Enterprise – What is it?
This slide gives an up-to-date snapshot of what Microsoft is offering enterprises and how it structures it’s enterprise product offerings. It’s a good way to think of your technology needs:day-to-day productivity, business applications, and computing services.
Were (Are) We Thinking?
For many organizations, the architecture that’s still in use today, and still actively sold by many vendors, originates from the 1980s. It’s complex and inflexible―unable to provide the power and agility businesses need to thrive, change, and grow.
- Application code and parameters are intertwined, tangled—like spaghetti. There’s no way to customize or integrate the software.
- Duplicated data structures complicate the task of focusing on what’s critical―extracting, transforming, and presenting accurate data in the most appropriate format to enable performance and ease of use for the user.
- Middleware and batch processes are often used as necessary workarounds to overcome the lack of integration and interoperability across implementations and business processes.
- Key work-related functionality sits in separate applications, so users have to access multiple programs to complete daily tasks. In addition when upgrading the systems, the customer has the challenge to solve the integration problem not the vendor.
- Business intelligence is an afterthought for many customers. They’ve continued doing business the way they’ve always done business, because despite the complex processes, they are still getting reasonable results. So the need for deeper insight into the business is not always an investment priority. BI is not done at the time of the initial implementation but in a later phase. Unfortunately the implementation is not set up with BI in mind resulting in changes in the implementation afterwards or a compromise.
- The user experience is task-oriented, not role- or process-oriented, and there is little or no opportunity to customize or optimize the user experience.
Dynamics NAV Overview & What’s New
Microsoft Dynamics NAV has built NAV 2016 as a flexible platform. I think of it like a Rubik’s Cube that can be easily manipulated to suit your business needs as they change without disrupting the core functionality.
Dynamics CRM Integration
The Microsoft Dynamics NAV demo featured a lot of Dynamics CRM. They are so tightly integrated that the presenter would frequently switch between NAV and CRM and I could barely keep track of which application we were in! Because of this, lots of people were curious about how licensing worked. Dynamics NAV and CRM also function completely independently, so licensing costs are kept separate.
When using Microsoft Dynamics CRM for customer engagement and Microsoft Dynamics NAV for order processing and financials, a direct CRM connection enables an optimal and seamless experience in the lead-to-cash process. Because of the tight integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM accounts and Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers, users can work efficiently in the product that they prefer, using the cross-product features for the lead-to-cash flow.
The Dynamics NAV app is available in the Windows Store, iOS App Store, and Google Play. In addition, the Dynamics NAV web client has been given superpowers with over 60 enhancements. In fact, many functionalities were available in the web client that aren’t available in the version you install on your computer.
In Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016, you can use more than 20 workflow templates to connect business processes according to best practices or industry-standard practices.
Anyone can design a workflow by creating or modifying workflow steps and selecting from lists of events and responses. A workflow designer can build sophisticated workflows, without the need of adding application code.
For developers, implementing new or modifying existing workflows is straightforward because the capabilities of workflows are separate from the workflows themselves, leaving developers with a library of functionality to choose from.
In Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016, you can store incoming documents, for example, PDFs from vendors, or scanned or captured images of paper versions, and you can use these documents to create corresponding purchase documents or journal lines. You can also track the original document from draft and posted purchase documents, as well as from ledger entries.
Once in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016, to capture invoices you can use an external optical character recognition (Lexmark ICS) service. Similar to electronic documents, the Lexmark ICS integration means that unstructured PDFs or scanned invoices or credit memos can be extracted into structured data, allowing further automatic processing without any need to retype.
Workflows can be added for both approval flows and automated processing, for example, based on vendor or amount data.
Using the supported, out-of-the-box, cloud-based Lexmark ICS service, Readsoft Online, you can extract information about headers and totals. Documents can also be forwarded directly to the Lexmark ICS service, using an email message. To use Readsoft Online, you must create an account at Readsoft Online – a free stock keeping unit (SKU) is available.
In Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016, you can send and receive electronic invoices and credit memos in the Pan-European Public Procurement (PEPPOL), B2G format, through the freemium document exchange service Tradeshift.
Received electronic documents are integrated into the document management features, for example, they are stored in Incoming Documents, along with PDF or scanned paper invoices. From here, users can create purchase invoices and purchase credit memos, or general journal lines.
You can add workflows to automatically process any incoming electronic document.
We got a good look at the latest version of Dynamics NAV, and covered more than could be addressed in a single blog article. If you’re thinking about getting on the latest version of Dynamics NAV, or want more info, contact us!
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