QlikView and Qlik Sense – Combined use

QlikView Qlik Sense Combined UseIn the summer of 2014, Swedish business intelligence company Qlik added the new self-service data visualization software Qlik Sense to its product range, which until then had comprised the BI platform QlikView. This release provided users with many new analysis and visualization capabilities, but also made them wonder which of the products was best suited to their company. In fact, QlikView and Qlik Sense can be easily used in parallel.

Before implementing a new Qlik product, however, it should be determined exactly what purposes the platform should serve and whether it might actually make the most sense to use both products combined. Many companies employing QlikView can already meet all daily requirements in terms of information gathering, analysis, evaluation and visualization with this software. But they may still be lacking certain functions that Qlik Sense Enterprise could offer, especially for power users.

The two products have their own strengths that, when combined, complement each other perfectly and can thus fulfill the needs of various user groups in a company. The leading data discovery platform QlikView, for example, is recommendable for developing and implementing detailed managed applications for comprehensive data analysis. The layout and design can be fine-tuned down to the last detail. This makes the software ideal for power users developing analytical environments for expert users.

Qlik Sense, on the other hand, generally offers better options for web development. It can furthermore be employed easily and intuitively by any user as a modern self-service data visualization application for creating and using interactive and intelligent visualizations. The platform’s smart searches and a drag & drop workflow make it especially comfortable to work with. Due to its responsive design, Qlik Sense is also ideal for use on mobile devices. Again, a good reason to be favored by power users, but also an important deciding factor for field staff, for example.

QlikView and Qlik Sense thus complement each another perfectly in terms of what they can be used for. Because they share a common technological basis (QIX engine), the two solutions can be implemented quickly and easily in combined operation – tailored precisely to the respective company’s needs.

Are you interested in a parallel implementation of QlikView and Qlik Sense? Contact us for more Information!

Analytical CRM – uses and advantages

Analytical CRMToday, in a modern company, technological support is essential for managing all business processes. Therefore, in addition to an efficient ERP system, many companies also deploy a CRM system. After all, through intelligent combination of the data from the two business applications, the constantly changing buying behaviour of the modern and complex market environment can be reacted to in a structured manner within the framework of an analytical CRM concept.

Whether in the creation of marketing campaigns, the generation of leads, the management of sales opportunities or the optimised service of existing customers, an operational CRM system supports companies in all industries in automating various tasks in the fields of marketing, sales and service. In this way the platform makes it possible to influence customers and the market. Thus it offers the ideal basis for optimised customer orientation and making well-founded decisions.

With this, the uses of a CRM system are far from exhausted yet. Combined with other data sources and a suitable business intelligence solution, the software can also be used to pursue the approach of analytical CRM. The combination of the various databases and the exchange of information between them facilitate the systematic processing and evaluation of the data collected in the operational systems and make it possible to link the data. The mentioned information can be, for example, customer reactions, sales figures, transactions or other data from various areas of application of the ERP and CRM systems.

However, it is not always possible to obtain all relevant market data (e.g. interested-party behaviour and customer satisfaction) directly from one’s own ERP or CRM system. In line with the fast-growing quantity of big data, some information is only available externally, i.e. in the cloud. Ultimately, the goal is to filter out the data that is important for the respective company from this cloud and to include it in analyses and evaluations.

So using the idea of analytical CRM, customer behaviour patterns, company potential or current market conditions analysed and evaluated by the BI tool from various internal and external data sources, for example, can serve as an ideal decision-making base for future actions. For even better processing of the analyses and evaluations, integrating these directly into the surface of the other operational systems respectively is a good option. In this case the connected CRM can ensure the optimisation and control of further operational CRM processes and impact on the future strategic alignment of the company.

Analytical CRM

Thus, in a concrete case of application, the buying behaviour of customers could be assessed, for example, on the basis of various internal and external data via the BI software. By means of the analysis, it can ultimately be recognised which customers (e.g. categorised according to age or region) purchased which products in the recent past and how satisfied they were with their purchase. Then, in a subsequent mailing campaign, specific target groups can be written to in operational CRM and encouraged to purchase relevant products again. Customer groups who have not bought anything for a long time or were dissatisfied with their purchases can be left out or receive other offers. In this way, CRM can be used in a targeted manner for efficient communication, for detecting and harnessing trends and consequently for optimising customer satisfaction and sales measures.

Using the NAVdiscovery Toolbox developed by prisma informatik, the integration of the individual systems required for this can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively. The connector links the business intelligence solutions QlikView and Qlik Sense with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, CRM and as many other data sources as desired (e.g. Qlik DataMarket).

Microsoft releases a preview of its new cloud-based solution “Project Madeira”

A few days ago, Microsoft announced the upcoming release of its new business management offering called “Project Madeira”. The cloud-based solution will be released on the US market first, in the fall of 2016, and can be tested as a free preview up until then.

Rolecenter in Microsoft Project Madeira
Rolecenter in Microsoft Project Madeira

“Project Madeira” is an ERP service for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with up to 100 employees that interacts with Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure and Office 365. The product serves to execute business processes and is characterized by its high usability and simplicity, which are already appreciable during the systems very easy setup.

“Project Madeira” is based on Microsoft’s established ERP system Dynamics NAV, but limits itself to the most important base functionalities, what makes it especially comfortable to use. That means the solution focusses primarily on companies that have already outgrown their basic finance and accounting tools but are not ready to invest in an expensive, customized ERP system yet.

Due to the simplified and reduced scope of functions, users of “Project Madeira” will have to pass on many of the more complex features. So you can easily create, post, print and dispatch offers, orders and invoices but, for example, can only offer items (not ledger accounts, resources, surcharges or discounts etc.). Despite its simple structure, the solution – like Dynamics NAV – can represent many processes in finance and accounting, sales and even purchasing. “Project Madeira” also permits extensions, of which three are already available and installable in the preview version (PayPal, QuickBooks Import and US Bankimport Envestnet Yoodlee). In future, third-party developers (“independent software vendors”) will be able to develop new extensions and sell them to customers.

Extensions in Microsoft Project Madeira
Extensions in Microsoft Project Madeira

While the solution is functionally limited in many areas, it also offers other new functions that the current version of Dynamics NAV does not. “Project Madeira” features, for example, completely revised online help, integrated tooltips on table fields and actions, as well as a role center for the CRM module within Dynamics NAV and new “ready-to-use” permission sets. Another highlight is the ability to display items from an item list as large pictures.

Item list with big pictures in Microsoft Project Madeira
Item list with big pictures in Microsoft Project Madeira

The most impressive new feature, however, is the strong integration into Outlook or the Outlook Web App (OWA) combined with Office 365, which shows context-sensitive data about the sender from the ERP system. This way, users can create orders directly and send a corresponding e-mail with a PDF attachment without ever leaving Outlook/OWA.

Microsoft Project Madeira Office 365 Integration
Microsoft Project Madeira Office 365 Integration

With “Project Madeira”, Microsoft reveals the efforts they are currently making towards the logical continuation of NAV. The preview version of “Project Madeira” will remain available for testing until fall of 2016, afterwards the solution will be officially released on the US market first and then in other countries.

Keep checking here as we continue to post more about functions that will also affect the new Dynamics NAV release.

Incoming invoice process with OCR in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Incoming Invoice Process with OCREven though, in keeping with tradition, invoices continue to be sent in hard copy by suppliers, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 offers an opportunity to digitalise the process and thus map it more efficiently in the ERP process. Using an OCR service (optical character recognition) provided by Lexmark, each incoming receipt can be converted into a structure processed by NAV.

The new function sends PDF documents (scanned or electronically received incoming receipts) to the recognition service. The recognition service analyses and extracts the information located   centrally on the respective receipt and then supplies the user with an “incoming invoice file” to be processed directly by Microsoft Dynamics NAV on the basis of this information.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Incoming Invoice Process with OCR

However, it should be mentioned at this point that the recognition focuses only on information of the invoice head (creditor, receipt no., amount etc.), so that the invoice can be recorded in a purchase/accounting sheet or purchase invoice/credit note in the financial accounting department. Then, by means of the configuration settings, the information recognised can be assigned to various NAV database elements. The recognition of line items and the associated creation of an item-specific invoice in NAV are not provided in this version. The determination of the corresponding general ledger account has to be defined by “Mapping Text to Account”, since it is not automatically linked.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Incoming Invoice Process with OCR

The OCR service is available as standard for all users of the 2016 version and requires only a registration. The user then receives corresponding access data and a certain monthly volume of documents to be processed from Lexmark for free. Lexmark offers different rates that can be booked additionally, if the usage increases.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Incoming Invoice Process with OCR

Electronic Invoices in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016

Microsoft Dynamics NAV As the forwarding of invoice documentation to public agencies (B2G = Business to Government) will soon be obligatory in some European countries, in the latest version of its ERP-system Dynamics NAV 2016, Microsoft has created the application basis to send and receive invoice documentation in digital form.

Linked to this is the implementation of basic data structures for the standardised exchange of data and specific processes which consider the special attributes of incoming and outgoing digital documentation. It is important though, to point out that only the invoice / credit note document types have been implemented by Microsoft so far and can now be sent and received as described below.

Many companies have already automated their processes in this area with the help of EDI processes, and are generally realising the complete process chain, starting with the incoming order through the delivery, ending at the invoice with the corresponding digital documents. On this basis, the introduction of electronic invoices can simply be seen as being a further step towards the complete implementation of digital business processes. Nevertheless, this is an important step, since with the implementation of the invoice a wide-ranging basis has been created both on the setup side and the master data side.

Generic platform
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 has been extended to be able to receive, manage, process and send digital documents in an XML-structure. The appropriate processes can be implemented in NAV on a parameter-controlled basis.

Dynamics NAV 2016 Electronic Invoice

In addition, the appropriate bases in the management of data have been created in NAV in order to support the exchange and allocation of communication parameters (management of conversion tables for units, allocation of the GLN (“Global Identification Number”) codes in the master data etc.). The status of the send/receipt transactions can be recognised by the administrative assistant at a glance at all times, and a drill-down in the activity log of the process is also possible. The GTIN (“Global Trade Item Number”) required for the identification of specific items has also been incorporated in the master data.

Sending of invoices
In the version of 2016, the following formats are provided for the sending of invoice data as standard:

  • PEPPOL AP Connectivity in the formats 2.0 and 2.1
  • Tradeshift
  • Creation of a file and/or and email with an attachment

PEPPOL is a concept which has been created by the European Union and consists of a platform that has been provided for the entire topic-area of “E-Procurement” (B2G).

Tradeshift provides a “Value Added Network” which supports the exchanging of documents in the B2B area. At the basic level it can be used free of charge.

Invoice data which corresponds to the above-mentioned conventions can be imported directly in Dynamics NAV.

Converter software
If your company takes a wide-ranging approach to the digital exchange of external notifications (EDI = “Electronic Data Intercharge”) and internal notifications (EAI = “Enterprise Application Integration”), then as before, the use of specialist software for the conversion, mapping and sending of documents is an economically viable idea (e.g. Microsoft BizTalk Server or Lobster). For this, all the standard formats (EDIFACT, IDoc, VDA etc.) and special methods of transfer (SMTP, AS2, FTP, X.400, OFTP etc.) have been implemented as standard.

For standard EDI notification types (ORDERS, DESADV, INVOIC), in the scope of the sector solutions, prisma informatik has provided an exchange structure on the basis of OPENTRANS. This structure enables the exchanges between NAV and the converter software to consistently take place in a uniform way.

Qlik Sense 2.2 officially available

Qlik SenseAfter a long beta testing phase, users around the world can now officially benefit from the new functions and improvements of the business intelligence solution Qlik Sense 2.2.

The new features concern platform users and developers alike. Version 2.2 of the visualization software Qlik Sense includes the following features and improvements, among others:

Alternative dimensions and measures
Qlik Sense 2.2 allows the user to add alternative dimensions and figures to charts and graphs via the properties field. The diagrams remain easily accessible, with the data in them quickly and easily swappable. During data analysis, you can thus comfortably swap between different views of a visualization without having to directly edit governed objects.

Advanced data preparation
The new version of the software also makes it easier to prepare the data to be used in an improved data manager. Among other things, this allows you to split linked tables, rename fields and tables, and change the display format of date and time stamp fields.

Data export from pivot tables
Users can now easily export data from a pivot table into an Excel spreadsheet.

Qlik DataMarket
Qlik Sense 2.2 has furthermore expanded Qlik DataMarket with a number of records for global weather, currencies and the stock market. The user interface for data selection has also been revised. Licensed and free data sets are now kept in clearly marked categories. The data packets have also been sorted hierarchically to make selection easier.

Expanded printing and exporting capabilities
Stories and charts are now much better and easier to export to Excel and PowerPoint for printing out as a PDF.

Aside from these new features, Version 2.2 of the business intelligence software Qlik Sense includes many bug fixes and enhancements, which make working with the platform much smoother and more comfortable. Developers will certainly be glad of diverse other new features such as various new APIs and a Qlik Analytics plug-in for Visual Studio.

You can find out more about the most important features of Qlik Sense 2.2 in the following Video:

Qlik Sense 2.2 Presentation

Further technical development in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 and “E-Everything”

Microsoft Dynamics NAV In many versions prior to NAV 2016, technical work had already started on ensuring a high degree of connectivity with the outside world. As a central ERP-system, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has the most modern technical standards, which enable it to exchange data with other systems in real time and to outsource processes unnotelessly for the user to subsystems.

By establishing a higher interoperability with other, above all specialised systems, it is becoming increasingly unimportant to include complex or maintenance-intensive and varying functionality as an individual programming in the ERP-solution. With the so-called Web Service Communication, associated with the XML-based data exchange, it is now possible to design processes synchronically in machine-to-machine communication. This concept has meanwhile become indispensable in many applications in modern ERP-architecture.

Expansion of the Development Environment

For this reason Microsoft is expanding the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with every version of Dynamics NAV, to implement the design of the application and the process control function effectively with the latest technologies.

Since Dynamics NAV is increasingly positioned by Microsoft in a Cloud Operating Model, it is of greater significance that the solution operated in this way is not optionally individualised, as this will push the supply platforms to their limits. As such, also in the version NAV 2016 a number of innovations were introduced, which essentially target the backgrounds mentioned above.

Developers can now – as in other development environments – also query so-called “events” across the entire system in Dynamics NAV, in order to react in the program code to status changes in other areas of the program. With this technology it is possible to integrate additional functions in the individual processes, without directly modifying the core source code of the standard application. For the user and operator of the ERP-solution, this ultimately means that fewer medium and long-term costs are generated during maintenance work and updates.

Likewise, separated “Apps” can be installed in Dynamics NAV, which do not change the existing object model, although they do have an influence on the data and functional model of the application.

Microsoft not only updates the system “superficially” or in terms of “contents”, but also ensures that current technical requirements can be met. With version 2016, developers and designers are also provided with further high-performance tools to create specific applications, which are of great benefit to them in their day-to-day using.

Continue reading Further technical development in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 and “E-Everything”

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 – CRM Integration

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Not only because of the successful online availability of Dynamics CRM (Software as a Service) and the overall widespread use of the ERP application Dynamics NAV, many companies use both of these Microsoft products.

In the interests of efficient customer management, however, simple parallel operation of the two systems does not make sense. Both products utilize central data structures in a company, like customer management, for example. Instead, it makes sense to integrate the two systems technically so that processes can be organized seamlessly and efficiently in both.

Standard CRM integration into Dynamics NAV
With its new release of Dynamics NAV, Microsoft presents an entirely redesigned method of integration between NAV and CRM, far beyond the synchronization tools of the previous versions. Both products are used for their respective strengths regarding the common business processes and complement each other excellently. Information from Dynamics NAV can now be shown natively in the GUIs of the CRM application and vice versa. All employees are thus guaranteed full view of all processes of a given customer.

Coupling and linking
A customer from the NAV application can be coupled with a customer in the CRM, for example, thus enabling automatic background synchronization of master data. This applies most of all to fields used in both applications (e.g. address information). On top of this, so-called links are offered from both applications for all relevant tables, allowing one-click navigation from one application to the other, where further editing steps can be taken if the appropriate permissions exist. Various content types can then be shown respectively in the context of the other program in so-called FactBoxes (e.g. NAV financial accounting statistics shown in CRM or CRM sales opportunity statistics shown in NAV).

Dynamics NAV 2016 CRM Integration

Process integration
Processes can also be integrated between the two systems. Sales opportunities in the CRM system can thus directly result in quotations and orders in the ERP system. System information will then be posted there in the future as well (e.g. when billing is complete for a process associated with a CRM element).

The strengths of each product should be considered in the respective process stage in the conceptual design. Run-up and initiation of sales transactions belong in CRM while fulfilment, logistical handling and billing belong in NAV.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 – The New Workflow Module

Microsoft Dynamics NAV The latest version of Microsofts ERP solution Dynamics NAV 2016 includes many optimised and new features that make day-to-day work with the software significantly easier for the user. One of the presumably most interesting new features is the option of generically and flexibly configuring and executing workflows directly within the application.

The new workflow module supports the user in consistently and individually controlling ERP processes and, in so doing, meeting existing compliance requirements. Business Process Management is thus IT-supported to an extent. For instance, a user disposing of the appropriate authorisations can independently configure approval and licence processes by defining the respective reactions to certain events directly in Dynamics NAV 2016 (”If”…”then”…). These may include, for instance, a simple notification, the request for consent or rejection regarding a required action, or the automatic initialisation of a process.

NAV 2016 Workflow Module

Notification

If a notification is selected as the reaction, the desired users will be informed about what happened when the respective event occurred, and, if required, these users will be requested to act accordingly. In this case, the corresponding persons will be provided with an email or a message including the respective information.

Approval of a necessary measure

Furthermore, it can be defined that a necessary subsequent task, goods or a document remain blocked until a responsible person within the company approves the respective action and the object for further processing. For instance, a purchase invoice exceeding a certain amount can be blocked until an employee of the company has reviewed and approved this invoice.

Process automation

It is also possible to decide that the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 system should automatically execute a defined response process upon certain events without there being any need for another user to manually initiate the next task.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 already includes more than 20 workflow templates (for purchase invoice processes e.g.) the user may use. However, developers may additionally define separate workflow events and reactions.

NAV 2016 Workflow Module

Up to now, Microsoft Dynamics NAV provided the option of partially parameterising business processes, but they were always defined by the system. The new logic regarding the workflows therefore creates the possibility to design processes generically and have them executed by users of the ERP System.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 – Web and Universal App Client

Microsoft Dynamics NAVSince last October the new version of the ERP software Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 is available. The increasing orientation towards mobile application scenarios also appears at its efforts to further upgrade the Web Client of the Dynamics NAV ERP software. While the field of application has been limited due to various restrictions in the past, the 2016 version of the Web Client develops into a full-fledged alternative for manifold NAV application scenarios. Additionally, the software has also been optimized for mobile terminal devices and can even be used on smartphones with the help of the new Universal App Client today.

A total of nearly 60 minor but effective enhancements have been implemented with regard to the web client in Dynamics NAV 2016. To date, the majority of the new functionalities have been available within the Windows Client only. First of all, they are designed to enhance the productivity, to simplify operation, and to increase the performance during use. Amongst other things, the innovations refer to the fields of data input, lists, role centre, as well as different basic settings.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 Web Client

For instance, the software can now be operated in the Web Client with a significantly higher level of comfort by fixing columns in tables, by expanding and closing tabs, and by quickly switching between different clients. Browsing is also easier in Dynamics NAV 2016, since cross-column browsing is possible and matching search results are already displayed during input to the field. Moreover, the new version allows the user to independently perform settings such as language, Company, region or time zone in the Web Client using the new version. These and many other enhancements make working with the ERP system in the web client easier.

The new Universal App Client
Some of the new functionalities can also be found in the new Universal App Client of Dynamics NAV 2016. In relation to the Web Client, this Universal App Client is even more optimized to get used on mobile terminal devices such as Apple iPhone, iPad, or Microsoft Surface. Efficient gesture-based control and the enhanced representation on different screen sizes are prioritized. In so doing, the optimization was advanced to an extent that the client can even be used comfortably on smartphones with any of the common operating Systems.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 Universal App Client

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 Universal App Client

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 Universal App Client