Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 – New Features for Developers

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017Since last October, users have been benefiting from the many new features introduced by the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. But there are also several enhancements for developers to discover in the 2017 version.

One of the most important changes is the expansion to options for creating extensions, whose basic functionality was introduced back in the 2016 release. Developers are now able to utilise the remaining object types (Reports, XMLPorts and Queries), which the extensions now usefully make available for creating more comprehensive solutions. Thanks to the new extensions, enhancements can now be built for Dynamics NAV without making changes to the platform’s standard objects. This simplifies the update process in particular, since the base system can be updated and the extension layer is then updated automatically from the service tier. Extensions can also be easily removed again without trace. In addition, extensions from NAV 2017 onwards can now include report templates, table content, permission sets, add-ins and much more besides.

In the next Dynamics NAV version (codename “Tenerife”), developers will also be able to draw on an in-client designer and the Visual Studio Code development platform for creating their extensions. Since last December, the new tools can already be tested by downloading a public Developer Preview.

With the new “application areas”, Dynamics NAV 2017 also makes things simpler for developers when modifying the user experience to the specific application requirements of the individual user. Administrators can now assign sets defined by a developer to application areas, so that the end users only see elements of the user interface that they actually require in order to complete their various tasks.

Optimise Business Processes with Machine Learning and Dynamics NAV 2017

Machine Learning with Dynamics NAV 2017The unstoppable progress of digital transformation not only changes the way of living and working of private individuals, but also presents big challenges to companies on a regular base. An efficient way of dealing with the increasingly rapid transformation are modern technologies and approaches such as machine learning.

In order to stay at the pulse of the times, executives should prepare themselves in time for the continuing digitalisation of the business world. This digitalisation also offers companies numerous advantages that not only facilitate administrative processes and general everyday operations, but also secure competitiveness in the long term. For example:

  • Creation of flexible work forms
  • Service optimisation through online support
  • Cross-location working
  • Streamlining administration
  • Outsourcing administrative processes

In order to strengthen or even improve ones’ own position in the competition, to increase productivity, quality and sales, and to save money by a more efficient use of resources, the use of machine learning is recommended. Machine learning is not a finished software product, but an individualisable learning and optimisation process. Using machine learning, algorithms are developed with the aim of analysing historical data automatically and identifying patterns therein. The results can finally be used as predictions and thus as a basis for future business decisions or to solve problems.

Efficient machine learning with Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning in combination with the data source Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 is worthwhile for the introduction of machine learning into ones’ own company. The advantages for the companies include the following:

  • Assess the sales potential
    Efficient business management with the help of “learning” sales forecasts based on historical data.
  • Prompt overview of stock shortages
    Timely overview of inventory developments based on current stock bookings and dynamic sales forecasts.
  • Decision optimisation
    Realistic predictions as solid decision-making bases by means of various machine-learning algorithms and continuous result comparisons.
  • Transparency of predictive quality
    Evaluation of the calculated prediction results in everyday practice. Successive optimisation of prediction quality through exclusion or weighting of the predictions obtained.

Machine learning is used wherever large quantities of data are analysed and compactede into business or scientifically quantity and value indicators. According to experts, machine learning will be ready for the market and business-relevant across the board in two to five years. It is worth getting started with it now.

Get an overview over Microsoft Azure Machine Learning in the following video:

Microsoft Azure Machine Learning

Comprehensive geo-evaluations with NPGeoMap

A lot of business data in a company have a geographic relation and are therefore suitable for an analytical evaluation. With the products of business intelligence provider Qlik, the potential of this data can be clearly recognised and exploited. The special Qlik extension NPGeoMap also offers additional tools and possibilities for analysing geographic company data.

For example, NPGeoMap cannot only answer questions about “how”, but also questions about “where” even more efficiently: Which locations generate the most sales? Where are the customers with the highest buying power? In which regions could the sale of a product be particularly enhanced with the last advertising campaign?

The extension is not only suitable for classic sales analyses. Thanks to its intelligent data management, it also offers optimal performance even with large data quantities and can display information in four levels as areas and points or as a combination of both. NPGeoMap also enables the evaluation of visualisation of more complex geographic questions. Maps of the most important countries are already included in the extension and do not require an additional server installation. Individual maps – for example sales areas that are relevant to the company – can also be generated by means of further additional tools.

NPGeoMap offers the user various visualisation options to display the geographic data. They can be displayed in many different layers – for example, as polygons (areas) on background maps like GoogleMaps, BingMaps or OpenStreetMaps, as markers (points), great circles or even charts. The following display options are particularly efficient. Continue reading Comprehensive geo-evaluations with NPGeoMap

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 – Cortana Intelligence

Thanks to the option of expanding the NAV environment by means of various extensions, Dynamics NAV 2017 users can now also view sales and inventory development forecasts using machine learning.

Dynamics NAV can be expanded with an extension that gives the possibility to acquire knowledge of potential future sales from past data and a clear overview of expected stocks and sales development. Microsoft runs this extension under the name “Cortana Intelligence”. The Dynamics NAV extensions have no functional or content-related connection to the “Cortana Intelligence” concept in Power BI.

The system uses historical data for forecasts and helps the user to manage company stocks more efficient. This supports the supply management and ensures the customers satisfaction by guaranteeing that frequently purchased goods are consistently in stock.

Inventory Forecast in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017
Inventory Forecast in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017

In order to achieve optimal forecasts all the time, the extension uses a trained algorithm within the cloud service Azure Machine Learning, determines a corresponding result using the training data and finally issues this data to the user.

The performance range of the extension “Sales and Inventory Forecast” in Dynamics NAV 2017 covers the following functional areas on the base of historical data:

  • Forecast within the cash flow module
  • Inventory forecast and direct creation of purchase orders
  • Sales forecast

In addition to the existing functionality, Dynamics NAV 2017 also offers developers access to the trained algorithm within Azure Machine Learning. In this way, forecasts for the future can also be accessed on the base of further historical data.

Microsoft Flow And PowerApps

With the advanced development of the Microsoft product world, the opportunities to connect individual services and solutions are also increasing more and more. For example, Microsoft Flow simplifies the workflows between preferentially used cloud-based apps and services. Additionally own apps can be generated, adapted and shared with other users by PowerApps.

By Microsoft Flow, users are able to set up automated workflows between their preferred services and apps, to synchronise files, to collect data and to receive messages accordingly. Templates are already contained in Flow for this purpose; however, the user is also free to create his own workflows that correspond to his own work processes and process requirements. Essentially, Microsoft Flow includes the following features:

  • Delivery of a message as soon as a folder or file has been updated.
  • Automatic collection and organisation of business data.
  • Continuous synchronisation of data so that all folders are always up-to-date.
  • Automation of approvals, e.g. by means of immediate messages via e-mail, Yammer or Twitter.

By connecting the various apps and services, automatic workflows, for example, can be created between Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Office 365, SharePoint, Outlook, Dynamics 365, Yammer and many other applications. In concrete use cases, for example, e-mail attachments could be saved in a SharePoint library, automatic Yammer postings could be created when a new CRM sales opportunity is created, important Outlook e-mails could be copied into OneNote, Dynamics CRM leads could be created from Excel tables, and much more. The interactions between the individual applications are almost unlimited. You can see an example of the creation of a workflow with data from Dynamics NAV 2017 in the following video:

Video Microsoft Flow

Continue reading Microsoft Flow And PowerApps

IT-Expo 2017 at Zurich: prisma informatik presents user-friendly Self-Service BI with Qlik

IT-ExpoOn April 5th and 6th the IT-Expo opens its doors in Zurich. prisma informatik will be exhibiting at the Swiss Fair for Business Software, Security and Document Solutions.

The IT-Expo at Zurich is regarded as the leading trade fair for IT industry in Switzerland. In addition to the exhibition, it offers a comprehensive lecture program, panel discussions and practical examples. Parallel to IT-Expo, additional trade fairs in the fields of online and dialogue marketing, e-business and human resource management take place, which gives visitors the opportunity to dive into various aspects of digitalization.

As a certified Qlik partner, prisma informatik offers comprehensive insights into the world of Self-Service BI and Visual Analytics with Qlik products – especially in connection with the ERP system Microsoft Dynamics NAV – to visitors of the IT-Expo. With the intuitive QlikView and Qlik Sense solutions and their link to various data sources (e.g. ERP and CRM systems) the relationships between the connected data can be examined particularly well and can be used, for example, for future business decisions. Even in complex ERP environments with individualized structures, the Qlik solutions can be integrated permanently. The integration of Qlik and Dynamics NAV is realized very quick and easy thanks to the certified NAVdiscovery Toolbox from prisma informatik. In addition, each other data source (e.g. Microsoft Dynamics CRM) can be linked to QlikView and Qlik Sense via NAVdiscovery.

For further information on the successful use of Self-Service BI and our products and solutions, refer to our press release or meet us on April 5th or 6th, 2017 at the IT-Expo at Zurich, booth C.19 in hall 1. To arrange a personal meeting please call +49 911 23980550.

Dynamics 365 for Financials: No New Dynamics NAV

In November last year, Microsoft launched its new cloud-based solution Dynamics 365 on the North American market. Release in four more European countries is planned for this year. The Business Edition of the product, which includes Dynamics 365 for Financials (Project Madeira), is based on Dynamics NAV, but varies from the ERP system in many aspects.

Microsoft Dynamics 365
Source: Microsoft

Although Dynamics 365 for Financials includes some of the functions of Dynamics NAV, it is not meant to and will not replace it – Dynamics NAV will be developed further in future as well. Unlike the latter, which can be run on-premise, via a private cloud or Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 for Financials is a purely cloud-based solution. Since the features of the platform are reduced mainly to basic functionalities of the financial accounting areas, sales and purchasing, it is particularly suitable for small and medium-sized organisations. The simplified functional scope, the high user-friendliness of the intuitive application, as well as assistants and tutorials ensure comfortable acclimatisation and quick understanding in Dynamics 365 for Financials – especially for beginners. Dynamics NAV, on the other hand, comes up with far more extensive processes and additional modules (e.g. assets, production, service and project module), but is also more complex in use.

Comfortable platform expansion via apps and extensions

The flexible cloud platform Dynamics 365 for Financials enables to put the entire system individually together for oneself from various business apps and to adapt it to the requirements of the company, the industry or the role of the user. The corresponding applications can be obtained via Microsoft AppSource and can be supplied and used independently of each other.

For example, you can start with a few fundamental apps and add more as needs rise. The solution deployed includes only functionalities that are actually required in day-to-day operations. Thanks to this flexibility of Dynamics 365 for Financials and the opportunity to implement changes and expansions even without the help of the IT department, it is possible to react quickly and easily to the constantly changing market or company conditions.

Starting with the current 2017 version, the classic Dynamics NAV can also be expanded conveniently thanks to the extensions available. In addition, basic objects in NAV can be changed directly, thus allowing even the most customised adjustments. Updating the respective additional modules in Dynamics 365 for Financials and Dynamics NAV has different levels of difficulty. While Microsoft updates the applications acquired via the AppSource along with the basic application on a monthly basis automatically, extensions installed and basic objects adjusted in Dynamics NAV must always be migrated separately in the event of an update.

Continue reading Dynamics 365 for Financials: No New Dynamics NAV

prisma informatik at the CeBIT 2017

prisma informatik at the CeBIT 2017At the end of March, visitors from all over the world will meet again at the CeBIT in Hanover. prisma informatik will present its certified BI and ERP solutions at the global event for digital business with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, QlikView and Qlik Sense once more.

Under the major topic “d!conomy – no limits”,  the CeBIT 2017 (March, 20th through 24th) is dominated by the latest technologies and their impact on society. In 2017 Japan has been announced as the official partner country.

At booth E16 in hall 5 prisma informatik will be showing how a company can boost its dormant information potential easily via Microsoft Dynamics – by the certified NAVdiscovery Toolbox. It links the BI products QlikView and Qlik Sense with Microsoft Dynamics NAV or each other data source (e.g. Dynamics CRM), enabling users to analyze data by themselves easily, with minimal technical preparation and without the support of the IT department. Based upon the individual issues, the systematic evaluation of business data can provide companies with a range of important insights in order to assess business opportunities and financial risks better.

We will be presenting our products and solutions from March, 20th through 24th at the CeBIT in Hanover, booth E16 in hall 5. Here visitors can also generally find out about the versatile possibilities of Self-Service BI, Data Discovery and Visual Analytics. For a personal appointment please call +49 911 23980550.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 – Extensions

Since the publication of Dynamics NAV 2017, the NAV environment has been comprehensively expandable with additional modules or extensions. Partner solutions will also be made more and more available as extensions in future.

The extensions “PayPal Payments Standard” and “Sales and Inventory Forecast” are already included in Dynamics NAV 2017. The former can insert a PayPal payment link into the invoice document and the latter uses Cortana Intelligence for the targeted analysis of corporate data as well as for the subsequent creation of meaningful forecasts – calculated by means of p0werful machine learning. In Dynamics 365 for Financials, further modules can be installed directly via Microsoft AppSource. For Dynamics NAV, partners have the possibility to make the solutions available as a NAVX package to be installed locally.

NAV 2017 - Extensions
NAV 2017 – Extensions

As an additional layer, extensions contain all object changes, new objects and rights and can also include .NET add-ins and initial data, for example for set-up tables. This layer can be installed and activated without restarting the service tier. The service tier changes all relevant SQL tables upon activation and shows the extensions to the user.

The objective is to simplify the entire update process. The basic system can be updated and the extension layer is automatically also updated by the service tier. You can always stay up-to-date without dispensing individualisations, as long as the basic system maintains all references for the additional layer.

The enlargements of extensions are available in the developer environment both in the debugger and in the code coverage. It is also possible to remove extensions again residue-free. Thereby, all additional fields and table data will be removed.

QlikView vs. Power BI

QlikView vs. Power BIThe products of provider Qlik have been among the market-leading solutions in the business intelligence sphere for years. With its analysis software Power BI, Microsoft would like to establish itself on the BI market as well. However, the product that is best suited to a company depends on the respective requirements placed to the tool. Qlik products and Power BI both come up with various advantages and disadvantages.

Although both solutions offer extensive opportunities for data assessment and generation of screenshots and dashboards, a closer look shows that there are significant differences.

Easy integration into the Microsoft environment

One of Power BI’s biggest strengths is its easy integration with other Microsoft products such as Dynamics NAV, Office 365 or SQL Server. If a company already works in a Microsoft environment, the necessary data sources (e.g. Excel tables or NAV data) can be connected particularly quickly and easily. In case of QlikView or Qlik Sense, integration with a source system such as Dynamics NAV is just as simple. The products also assimilate seamlessly into the Microsoft product portfolio. A connector such as prisma’s NAVdiscovery Toolbox can provide particular comfort while performing the connection.

Business Intelligence in the cloud – good or bad?

One should not be misled by the names given to the Power BI products. For instance, although there is a “Power BI Desktop”, this program edition is not suitable for professional use at companies due to its limitations with regard to deployment to other users and in capacity (1 GB). Rather, as a designer program, it can be used to create the assessments locally and publish them on Power BI, which is integrated in Office 365. Power BI is a purely cloud-based product and even the data to be analysed must be held available in a cloud storage space. However, the cloud-based technology of Power BI also gives rise to some advantages. For example, screenshots and dashboards created via the software’s mobile app can be shown directly on a mobile end device, allowing field service employees always to be kept up-to-date with the data.

Continue reading QlikView vs. Power BI

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