What’s new in Dynamics NAV 2018/Business Central (Video)

Learn more about our fixed price Business Central rapid cloud implementations: Express Start for Core Financials and Agile Start for Core Financials and Distribution.

Note: this video was recorded before the re-branding of Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premise was official. If you would like to know more about the re-brand, please see this Q&A article.


Tony: In the session today now, we’re about to do a discussion about what’s new in NAV 2018 and Dynamics 365 Business Central. There has been a new release from NAV in October of 2017. And we’re gonna cover some of the new features that will be available from NAV 2017 to NAV 2018, as well as what’s available in Business Central which was released in the spring of 2018. To start out the session, we’re gonna talk quickly a little bit about the roadmap of Business Central and NAV 2018 as well as talk about some of the differences between the two products.

So we can do that introduction of roadmap, then we’re gonna move on to new features of NAV 2018 and Business Central which includes setup and extension, user tasks, employee ledger and payments, dimension filter builder, create purchase documents, item charge assignments, post selected documents, Web Client design changes, preconfigured Excel reports, edit in Excel, and some further new features. And at the end, we’ll save some time for questions and answers.

So introduction and roadmap. Here is the current roadmap for NAV 2018 and Business Central. As you can tell at the top, we have the Dynamics 365 roadmap, and below that we have the Dynamics NAV roadmap, which are in lock step. In fall of 2017, Microsoft released a SaaS offering called Dynamics 365 for finance and operations business edition. And this was a subset of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV features and functions, and was available as a purely SaaS offering. By that I mean, you didn’t buy the software and get along CDs or floppy discs, it was installed as a product in the cloud that you’re able to access and was a subset and feature of Dynamics NAV.

Around the same time, they released Dynamics NAV 2018 which is the well-known, well used version of NAV including some additional features, some of which we are gonna through in today’s session. As we move into spring 2018, we see that Dynamics 365 for finance and operations was released for the products by the name of Dynamics 365 Business Central. This is the same concept, it’s still a SaaS offering, so it’s the same as Business Edition. However, now it’s actually all of the features and all of the functions available in Microsoft Dynamics NAV available as a SaaS offering.

At the same time Microsoft has released some updates for Dynamics NAV 2018. As we look into the future, in particular around full 2018, we see that Dynamics 365 for Business Central in the cloud is gonna continue, and Microsoft actually plans to release another major version of NAV. But at this point, they’re gonna rename the product and so we’re gonna start to see Dynamics 365 Business Central used as a name for NAV and obviously the SaaS offering of Business Central moving forward.

Dynamics 365 Business Central will in full 2018 be available as a SaaS offering, which is the upper part of this diagram as well as an on-premise or a hosted solution as you can see in the lower portion of the slide. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the differences between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV. This is by no means exhaustive, but it does give some of the high-level differences between the two products. So licensing for Dynamics 365 Business Central, it is a purely SaaS offering that means you are paying software as a service.

Dynamics NAV, you’re still able to purchase a subscription which is a monthly fee as well as perpetual where you physically buy the licenses outrights as a capital expenditure. In terms of installation for Dynamics 365 Business Central, it is a cloud application, you do not have access to the backend as we get into a little bit later. Whereas with Dynamics NAV, you can install it on your on-premise, you can have it hosted by a data center, or you can do IaaS which is infrastructure as a service. And in fact, Encore offers infrastructure as a service with the Dynamics NAV products, which is a bit of a hybrid and effectively fakes software as a service for our clients who do wanna have the full version of NAV, do want the Business Central type experience, but aren’t interested in the infrastructure or handling any of the hardware and software installations involved that we can actually do and give you NAV as a SaaS style offering.

For developmental changes in Business Central I would use apps or private extensions. And in Dynamics NAV, you are having apps, private extensions, but you can also do the classic development. Obviously, if you do the classic development, you run the risk of having to do upgrades in the older style of NAV. But it is still there and so is a route for clients who are upgrading for an older version of NAV which wasn’t app or extension compatible.

The clients you have available, so for Dynamics 365 Business Central, we have the Web Client and the Universal App, so the Universal App being that on your phone or your tablet. And in Dynamics NAV basically the same, but you still have use of the full windows Role Tailored Client.

The backend administration if you get a Business Central, you can’t access the backends, you have no access to the servers, no access to the database engine, purely just access to the application on the web. Whereas if you have NAV then you have access to the Navision Service Tear, you can access the Windows Servers, and you can also have access to the SQL databases themselves.

And then lastly updates, so for Business Central, the updates are applied automatically for you by Microsoft. And if you have Dynamics NAV, then they still do need to be applied manually. Even if you are using the apps or private extension concept for changes to the product, the cumulative updates and the full upgrades would still need to be applied manually to the product. So hopefully that gives everybody a quick overview of the major differences between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Now, I’m gonna hand over to my colleague Rico, who is going to walk you through a selection of new features available in NAV 2018 as well as Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Rico: Hi, everyone. So my name is Rico, as Tony mentioned, and I’m showing some selection of new features in NAV 2018. Yeah, let’s dive right away with the first menu that come up with NAV 2018, and it’s just set of an extension functionality. It is available in the Role Tailored Client for the Role Centers, business manager and accountant. We have assisted setup which is kind of a wizard. I’m leading you through the data migration things, for example, and you have the manually setup, which is the same like the company setup, number series and so on. Then we have the service connection and the extension, and I will show it in the system, just to give you a glance.

So here we are in the RTC of NAV 2018. We are in the Business Manager role, and we are speaking about these setup and extension tap here. And as I told you, we have assisted setup, manual setup, service connection and extension. First, I wanna go for the assisted setup. For example, if you want migrate data into the system, we have this functionality here. It opens a wizard, welcoming you and saying what is going on. And on the next step, you can choose if you want to import data from Excel or in this case from QuickBooks, which is out-of-the-box on Microsoft.

So we choose import things from Excel, going for the next step then you get a manual what to do. So the first thing that you have to do is to download an Excel template that you can do right here, then you fill out all the data, then you can set up some templates that will be applied to the data when you load it. And the next step is then you load the data into a system.

So, let’s start here. We download the template. This is kind of the same as maybe you know from RapidStart, and the end it’s creating like a RapidStart package. When you open it, you will immediately see that it’s looking like the old or coming RapidStart packages. So what you can do here is, you can create new customers. So, let’s say, we go for…oh let’s start it with AA so we’ll see it in the top. Customer number one, so he lives in Example Road in Vancouver, and just give him an email address and now this is one of our data and you can add as many as you want. It’s like Excel, you can enter all the data in here. You can do it for the customers, for the vendors, and as well as for the items.

So now this is publishing not all the fields of the table, just a selection, but maybe it’s a good idea if you go for the G/L account. Here we have the account type field, and if you go on it, you will see a comment saying, “What are the options?” So if you go for an import of a chart of account, you will see here what is the option value, so you can either put in a zero if it’s for hosting or simply write hosting here.

Okay. Once you have found this, you want to save this file somewhere maybe on your desktop, that’s always the best place to put your data. The next step is to specify the templates. If you go for the customers, you can select a template here. So if you have all your domestic customers in the Excel file, you can select this one. If you have the vendors, they are also already set up on templates, they also use the domestic ones and for the items I could use the retail but we have no items in this file, so at least I won’t use it.

Okay. Next step, I can now…where has my Excel file gone, save as, you’ll see it here. And it’s importing all the data so you can see it’s just one customer in here, and we simply could click Migrate. And one table was processed, one record was created. And if you finish this, go for sales, go for the customers that should be the AA customer, here we are. This is our customer, and then this is the address that we entered in the Excel file.

Okay, this is for the assisted setup, you can also access the manual setups like the general, in the general register, you’ll find general data like the languages. If you go in here top and click it, you’ll come into the table of languages, you have all the language codes. You can copy and paste it, really useful is maybe the number series access, so you can really go in here just select the starting and ending numbers. That’s maybe a task that you have to do more often when you have different numbers for different business years.

The next step would be to establish connections, service connections is a place where you often find all these setups for external connections. You can set up the online map, you can have a PayPal data connection and so on, and you’ll see a status if it’s already set up or not. So if it’s enabled, then you can use it, if it’s not, then you still have to, yeah, connect it.

The last point here is the extensions. With NAV 2016, we introduced a new feature, the extensions. It is an ability to add functionality without actually changing source code in NAV. That is what Tony was mentioning, you can have private apps, and you can use it on top of your standard NAV. So if you go for an upgrade, these extensions would just be applied to your new NAV, but the original NAV is using the standard code and no changes in the standard code.

Okay. So let’s start from here again. Next thing I wanna show you is a new feature called user tasks. You can find in the Role Centers for Business Manager, Bookkeeper, and Accountant and not new tile, which is called pending user task. This will obviously show all of the user tasks that are attached to you or assigned to you which are not 100% completed. Let’s see what it looks like in the system, go for home, here we’ll see the pending user task. If I click on it, I will see I have to prepare for the elevate, as it’s due on 12th of June. So it’s 60% complete and I have also to get the birthday present for Ashley because she has birthday. So, yes, it’s not complete yet, but it’s due on Friday so I have some more time.

So how to use it? To set up User Task, you go for Departments Administration Application setup, users and user task, here we are. When you want to create a new user task, we have to give it in a sub-check. Let’s say it’s a trial balance, and we want to put this file balance to the management pack. I can assign this task to user. And these are all the available users within NAV, so I can choose myself. I can say when it’s due, let’s say it’s always or it’s due by mid of the month. And what you can do as well, is you can attach a NAV item to it, so you have this choice of either selecting a report or a page, or a list page. In my case, I would like to use a report. In this case, this is the trial balance for the previous year. And I can open it right from here, and I can say, “Okay, please show me,” let’s see.

These figures, and now the report will render and will show all the results. It is standard NAV functionality, nothing new. But what you can do now is you can set up a recurrence. So if you want someone to prepare this one every month, you can say, “Okay, please start it on the mid of the month.” You want to have it every month, and you wanna have it 12 times. If you say, “Okay,” and then you create this task, it will create 12 tasks for you, each for a month.

So this is how you use it. And when I go back to my Role Center, you’ll seeing now I have 14 pending user tasks. And as well there is a report which can be used for bulk deleting. So once the task is completed, you may want to clean up this list and you can do it by just using this report and saying, “Please, delete all report or task that have completed 100% or maybe that were due in the last few months and nobody touched it ever.” So that’s quite easy to delete them as well.

The next two feature I wanna show you is the employee. And this is kind of new, purposely you had to create if you, for example, had employees that got some money back for business trips, you had to create it as well as a vendor, so you were able to create an invoice and pay it to the employee. The disadvantage was that everyone who is able to see the vendor ledger entries could also see the ledgers for the actual employee. So, now Microsoft split it, so you can have employee as well. In order to do so, we have to first define where all the postings go. There were like the payable account, this is done like for the vendor posting group, we have now the employee posting group. We obviously also create ledger entries for the employee, and we can, yeah, do it enough like all the other ledgers we can use the general journals.

So just give me a sec to show what I mean. So if we go for finance, here we have the employee, let’s go for a net and see she has some ledger entries. She received some money for a hotel and mileage, and then there was a payment to her, and now she has been paid all her expenses. The setup of the employment, excuse me, skip it in the presentation. I don’t want to show it.

The next step would be I can create a general journal. If for example I have a general journal for product expenses, I prepared here something. I want to reimburse this employee, John Robert. I want to reimburse mileage expenditures he had, so type everything in, this goes into the G/L account obviously. And if you wanna post it, trying to post it. And now let’s check what happens here, find ledger entries. Now you can see that we have two more postings, two more ledgers, and this is all the money he should get.

So if you now go for a payment of this guy, you go for the payment journals. No payment journals are set. Let’s say, we use this bank, and here you can get all the suggested employee payments, there’s a new functionality, not only vendors but also employee. You can filter setup the number series. You can filter by employee if you want just selected one, I want to go for all of them.

Now we can see that these three lines were added. So now this is in the payment journal, you can use whatever you want, you can use checks. You can also use the EFT functionality which is in NAV, so whatever you want in the end, this needs to be posted. So I want to post only this one with values, so post it. Now, let’s see on employee again. So this was the expenditure and this is the payment for it. This is kind of the cool feature because these ledgers are not be available to a purchasing person, but maybe available for accountant or somebody who is doing the payments.

The next feature I really like is the dimension filter builder. Previously, when you had more than two dimensions, you were not able to directly use a filter on a search as fourth dimension just for, let’s say, the chart of account. Now it is possible to have even more dimensions. What you’d do in the past was you create an analysis view by dimension, you have to update it, and then you had to create its account schedule and then you could use all the figures by these other dimensions. But now what you can do is you can really filter right away.

So if you go for the G/L accounts, I prepared few here with the income statement accounts. So let’s check this account here. This is the current balance. If we see here, we have department codes, we have project codes, and we have this dimension sets. If we go for this dimension set and check here, we’ll find that Peter was the salesperson for this sale. If we go here this one, it’s a different dimension set obviously but as well Peter was the salesperson.

So, if we go for these values here, you can see that Peter was not included, though there was no salesperson, but now we are able to filter the chart of accounts by salesperson, and then we can see the figures that belong to Peter’s revenues. How to do it, we go for navigate, go for dimensions, set dimension filter. In my case, it’s only salespersons you can have a combination of dimensions as you like, so use Peter, click Okay, you can see that these figures changed. And now we can only see ledgers that apply to the salesperson Peter.

In the background what NAV does it’s checking for all dimensions that have this combination of dimensions and building a string on this dimension set that have to be used, which are valid for this combination. So if you know the dimension sets by heart, you can do it manually, but as you can tell, this is impossible, just to do it.

Okay. And this functionality is available in most common ledgers, so you have it available in a general ledger, in the item ledger, resource ledger, customer and vendor ledger, bank ledger, cash flow ledger, job ledger, and service ledger, and some more resource, just a selection of it. So I think this is one of the most powerful new features because it saves a lot of time instead of building these other opportunities like account schedules, and creating the analysis view and so on.

Next new feature is to create purchase stock from sales order. So this is better to show you just right in the system. If we go for the sales, go for sales orders. I prepared some here, we have the item. This item needs to come from the location code yellow as well. So here you can see also in this, it’s the notification, so in the past it was popping up a window and you had to click it. Now, you can still work on it, so this one doesn’t break your flow of work. So this is also a nice feature in NAV 2018, but it tells me that the inventory for this item is lower than the one that I’m selling.

Let’s see what’s happening here, so go for lines availability by location. Go for yellow, we can see we want to sell 20 of them and there’s non-stock. So what we have to do is, we have to purchase it, and this is a senior functionality, you have to create purchase order, and will open a new window checking for all the items in the document. If we need to purchase it first before we can sell it. For the bicycle we don’t have any stock in the yellow location, so we have to purchase 20 for the desk. We have enough stock, so it doesn’t need to be purchased. So you can show only the unavailable, you can say, “Okay, I want to use these 20 or I can stock up and say let’s purchase 30.” I can also choose the vendor. This is the standard vendor from the items, so if your data is correct, then you just need to click “OK” here, and it will create a new purchase order for London Postmaster for the bicycle, in a location yellow and the 30 pieces. And this will shorten the way instead of just using depending worksheet you find out which is what I wanna sell, I don’t have enough stock and so on. So this will shorten the way, it’s a short track, maybe it’s useful for you if the salesperson could create purchase orders as well.

The next new thing is the item chart assignment. If you go for the items, previously, you had only the chance to assign it equally or by amount, now it is available to assign it by weight and by volume. I can easily show you in NAV, so if we go for purchasing invoices, we might use these invoice here, we have two items, and we have this charge of $200, now we want to split these $200 to the items. What you need to do is, go to the charge and use the item charge assignment functionality, and then you can suggest on how it should be split. And this is the vendor I was talking about in the past you could use equally and that will simply split the amount by lines or you can say do it by amount. This was possible in the past, and now since we have also in the master data the weight inserted and also the volume, we can use these figures as well. So we now can use the weight or the volume to assign these charges.

The next thing is that now you can post select it on documents. In the past what was possible, was you could filter just that value and then you can say, “Now post all of the filtered items,” but what if you want to select like random vendors. In this case, I take these same vendors but now when I go for posting, it asked me, “Do I want to post two out of three?” And if I click “Yes,” then it will post these two purchasing invoices. It doesn’t because that number already existed, but now it’s posted as expected.

Now, let’s go over for the new Web Client in Dynamics 365. You may have seen that the screenshots from the new client are a bit different to the ones that you’re used to. Let’s compare the original RTC client from NAV 2018, just to give you an idea that everything is right there, it’s just a bit different but not totally. Though, this is the RTC as you know it, and now we are using the Web Client. I’m going to start my Business Central. Notice is to starting page for Business Central. And if you have a preview look on it, it’s a totally different part. If you have a deeper look inside, you’ll see it’s actually the same.

Checking for the numbers, its sales for the month over to sales invoices and over to purchase invoices. This is sales over to purchase invoices over to payments. And for the other tiles we have the quotes, the orders, the invoices, the same purchase orders, purchase invoices, and purchase amount. And we have the payments as well, as well as the incoming documents and the pending user task tile. So this is almost the same but in a different order.

Let’s go a bit down and you will see there is a diagram which is almost the same like this one, so different, yeah, visualization but still the same information. If you click on it, it’ll open. The customer card, you can see it’s exactly the same as what happened in the RTC. You also have the favorite accounts, this is the list right…on right side here, we have the trial balance. So it is quite the same content wise. If you have a look on the navigation, it’s also quite similar. You have the finance, you have the sales, purchasing, approvals, self-service, and it’s the same as here, it’s finance, sales, purchasing, approvals, self-service and so on.

And if we go for the Home tab, we’ll see the customer, vendor and items and this is what we find here, customer, vendor, items, and so on. So all the information you’re looking for navigation purposes, it’s still the same but a different place. And if we have a look on the actions, this is here in the [inaudible 00:35:39] and now we find it here in the actions. So actually, it’s not that difference, it’s a different order but same content, so nothing is lost.

Okay. Now I want to show you a feature which is available as well here as well as on the RTC. I want to show you a feature that is called built-in Excel reports. What you can do here is, you can export a predefined Excel file. So open it, and this Excel file is connected to the NAV instance. It uses, you know, Office 365 credentials to load the data. The company was not set, so again and then refresh. So now I can see a balance sheet as of today. But now I want to compare it, let’s say, for last year, what I can do is I can copy the data, and then I set a filter and say, “Okay, let’s do filter on the date and let’s just make it, not today but last year. And refresh, and so you can see these were the figures for last year, and these are the figures for this year. That was quite easy to get figures on the first glance, this is done all automatically out of the box, so there is no configuration needed, it’s done by standard functionality with the NAV. You can save it and update it later or you can just drop it and do it again when you need it again.

Another nice feature is…of course, we were telling you that this is the Web Client for Business Central, and we also have an app. Now, I am opening the app to show you that it’s quite similar to the Web Client. You can see that’s almost the same, but what I want to show you here as if we go for finance, general tools, there’s a feature called “Edit in Excel.” I prepared a general journal here and I can export it to Excel. And now Excel is getting all the information from NAV, which are already in the sheet. And now we are able to extend this table. Let’s say we want to do…oops, to add some more lines, it is 100 and this is 500 and let’s make this 600. So, two new lines and one was changed.

For the new lines I have to provide a key which is quite easy because the key fields are included in the very end. So what I also have to do is to extend the key fields here, and now I’m able to publish this Excel file again to NAV. If I go back for NAV, refresh the page, I will see now it’s four lines and this figure has changed in these two, all new. This is kind of cool if you have functionality something is calculated in Excel, or you’re getting an invoice or something from the customer in Excel format that you can really just use it in Excel and publish it into the journals right out of the box.

We have some more new features in NAV that obviously wasn’t enough time to show everything. But just to mention one, though, we had a lot of improvements for the Web Client, now you can use Personalisations. You can, for example, pick and drop columns. It was not possible in previous versions. The job module was, yeah, fixed, as of now it’s not needed anymore that you create a manual line in the job structure for negative values to create and credit memo. So this is now done automatically when you post credit memo for an invoice which is job related. Furthermore, we have the enhancement for North American Electric funds transfers or EFT functionality. Previously, it was only possible for a few banks to use it, now this is an open, yeah, an export definition so we can set it up for you, or you can do it if you get the definition from your bank.

And last but not least, we have the updated integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales, so namely the CRM module. Yeah, we have some new setup functionality and the integration is better now than it was before. You know, though this is from my part of the presentation. If you have any further questions, please go forward and ask.

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