Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 – Feature Highlights

As announced at the previous Directions, the latest version of Microsoft’s ERP system Dynamics NAV 2018 has been released on the 1st of December. The new version contains several new features and improvements.

Dynamics NAV 2018 - Feature Highlights

Aside from improved Office 365 integration and several new general features, the changes mainly concern financial accounting and inventory management. The most important enhancements and improvements at a glance:

General new features
With the new version, the user is fully supported during setup and configuration by various setup wizards accompanying the user step by step in defining the parameters for a certain module or area. In addition, all classic setup pages can now be called at one single place, categorized by area. Another new feature is the ability to change the role center directly in the Web Client without logging off and to create user task lists that – similar to Outlook – can pint to certain ERP-specific tasks, support prioritization and repetition, and can be connected to defined pages or reports. Version 2018 also allows the user to generate a PDF preview of reports in all major browsers (previously only Internet Explorer).

New financial accounting features
In financial accounting, dimension filters can now be applied to all dimensions. These are available, among others, in the chart of accounts, general ledger, accounts payable and receivable. Certain Excel reports, such as balance sheets, profit & loss, cash flow statements or traw balance sheets, can now also be constantly updated via Excel. Moreover, lists (e.g. journals) can now be accessed in Excel and changes written back, taking business logic into account. Both require an Office 365 account. Dynamics NAV 2018 also offers an additional subledger for employees with individual “employee” ledger entries as well as an account type “employee” in the general journal (e.g. for settling travel expenses). In addition, the new Accountant Hub provides cloud-based support for external accountants.

New inventory features
Dynamics NAV 2018 surcharges based on gross weight and volume can now be assigned. Gross weight and volume are taken from the item card and units are converted based on this information. Another new addition is the opportunity to adjust vendors with OCR for an even more accurate recognition of invoices. Moreover, items can now be classified (category and further attributes) based on images (using a cloud-based Azure Machine Learning Algorithm).

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Qlik launches Qlik Sense November 2017

Around two months since the last release in September, Qlik has introduced the latest version of its data visualization solution Qlik Sense November 2017.

The improvements and updates of the new release mainly relate to visualization options, the adding of data, as well as navigation within the apps. The most important new features and add-ons include the following:

Improved visualization
The visualizations of Qlik Sense November 2017 have been improved and extended. Among other things, users are now able to scroll horizontally in a table, vary bubble sizes and use an expression to set the color of distribution charts and box plot diagrams. Moreover, data can be added and refreshed in the sheet editor without having to switch to Data Manager.

Manual adding of data
In Qlik Sense November data can be manually entered in Data Manager. Manual entry allows data to be added directly into a table editor and subsequently as a table to Data Manager.

Details dialog in Data Manager
A details dialog now views the sequence of changes performed on selected tables and fields. This allows the user to directly identify the source of the table or field, the current changes and transformations that have been made, as well as the order in which they have been applied.

Keyboard navigation in Qlik Sense apps
It is now possible to navigate by using the keyboard within the app overview page and the Qlik Sense toolbar.

The following video provides a short overview of the listed and some additional new features in Qlik Sense November 2017:

Qlik Sense November 2017

Alongside launching the new Qlik Sense version, Qlik also introduced the November releases of its QlikView and Qlik NPrinting solutions, which predominantly contain technical improvements.

Microsoft Dynamics 2018 in December – Dynamics 365 “Tenerife” follows in spring

On Directions EMEA 2017 in Madrid, Microsoft brought more clarity into its release plans and published the latest roadmap for its products.

The release of the new On-Premise NAV version is scheduled to take place on December 1st this year named Dynamics NAV 2018. Another release – Dynamics NAV 2018 R2 – will be launched in spring 2018, just like the full-featured Cloud/SaaS variation, which is still known by its codename Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”. With the replacement of the preliminary product title, a renaming of the products can be expected.

Microsoft Dynamics Roadmap
Source: Microsoft

For the upcoming releases Microsoft announced again some interesting innovations and improvements. These include an even more intensive Office 365 integration (e.g. through the Common Data Service and the possibility to edit book sheets in Excel), an optimization of the Web Client and the visual appearance (e.g. personalization of the workspace) as well as new Standard Web Service APIs.

More information and details will be posted soon on this blog. All important product news will be also available for our customers and interested parties on our Business Day 2017.

Qlik publishes Qlik Sense September 2017 and Qlik NPrinting September 2017

Recently BI vendor Qlik announced its new release strategy: starting now, a major-release will be launched five times a year. In addition to continuous releases of Qlik Sense, there will be different focuses on other products of the BI portfolio.

After the release of “Qlik Sense June 2017” last June, Qlik now published “Qlik Sense September 2017”. At the same time, the reporting platform Qlik NPrinting features a new version and some – partly long-awaited – capabilities and improvements.

The Qlik Sense September 2017 release also includes some interesting features and extensions, for example:

New Qlik Sense Mobile App
The new Qlik Sense Mobile App for iOS devices is now available at Apple Enterprise Store. Using the app, you can download Qlik Sense evaluations locally and use them on the iPad. The powerful features of the QIX engine, such as the Associative Search, run directly on the iPad and remain fully preserved.

Qlik Sense September 2017 Mobile App
Source: Qlik

Waterfall Charts
Using the new waterfall chart, users can now illustrate how an initial value is influenced by intermediate positive and negative values. For example, they can show positive and negative contributions of different accounts in an income statement.

Qlik Sense September 2017 Mobile App
Source: Qlik

Box Plot and Pivot
In addition, the box plot diagram, which was introduced in the June version, was equipped with more detailed selection options. Pivot tables also received new format options.

Color Selection
The color picker in Qlik Sense September 2017 now shows the five most recently chosen colors.

Improved Data Manager
Improvements of the data manager give the possibility to perform continuous transformations on tables and fields.

Qlik NPrinting September 2017 (NPrinting 17.5)

  • Report Cycles
    A separate report file can now be added for each combination of one or more dimension values.
  • Report Export and Import
    It is now possible to export a report to a compressed file and import it into another Qlik NPrinting installation (for example, to transfer a report from a test to a productive environment).
  • Object filters for Qlik Sense Charts
    With Qlik NPrinting September 2017, a filter can now be applied to a single object (e.g. a chart) without placing the filter on objects in the report. On the other hand, filtering an object can be blocked.

In addition to these and other new features, Qlik Sense September 2017 and NPrinting September 2017 also contain numerous bug fixes. The following video shows the most important innovations of Qlik Sense September 2017:

In addition to these and other new features, Qlik Sense September 2017 and NPrinting September 2017 also contain numerous bug fixes. The following video shows the most important innovations of Qlik Sense September 2017.

Living data with Qlik Data Storytelling

The visualization of company data, for example in graphics and charts, can enormously simplify and improve the analysis and gaining knowledge. If the respective evaluations are expected to be shared and presented with others, the data can even be combined into a real story and thereby be brought to life.

Data Storytelling connects selected data, puts it in a specific context, emphasizes special elements and wakes up the audiences’ emotions. This is a major factor in understanding and convincing data. It is also important for the presenter to adapt the narrated data history to the respective knowledge and requirements of the audience, for example different departments.

Often, it is also adequate to focus on single important information or the presentation of summarized results ideally drawn on a particular scenario or enriched with different hypotheses. For example, by showing and explaining possible developments to your employees, so they can be enabled into the respective situation better and make the right decisions faster and easier.

Additional emotions can result in the elucidation of potential consequences when choosing a wrong alternative. Therefore, the trick is to catch the audience – not only in a professional, but also in an emotional way – by selecting the right data and numbers, packaged in convincing pictures and graphics.

Bring data to life with Qlik

For an all-round efficient Data Storytelling the use of a supporting Business Intelligence solution is recommended. The BI-Software Qlik Sense already offers an integrated Data Storytelling tool, that allows you to combine different analysis-, reporting- and presentation technics. A special mechanism for making static snapshots of your favored data, which can be put together to an appropriate story on slides, is provided. The static snapshots can be arranged with different effects and the attention of the audience will be channeled on specific information.

For more interactivity, it is also possible to access the source (e.g. the corresponding live data) of the static snapshots during the presentation. Another possibility for more interactivity is the integration of worksheets into the slides. For more information about the Qlik Data Storytelling tool, watch the following video:

Qlik Data Storytelling

 

Microsoft 365: New Cloud-Bundles officially available

Microsoft 365 Cloud BundlesAs already announced on this years’ „Inspire“ partner conference, Microsoft has now released the Enterprise version of its new cloud service package Microsoft 365. The Business Edition can currently be tested in a public preview.

The new bundles combine different cloud-based Microsoft services. It is possible to provide the user with a modern, intelligence and safe workplace now. In order to meet the requirements of different companies, from small companies to large corporations, the packages are available in two different models.

The Enterprise Bundle includes the Enterprise versions of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) for larger companies and supports the employees by modern technologies (e.g. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence) and an extensive choice of apps and services. These not only increase the creativity and flexibility, but also improve the communication between individual users and teams as well as the IT- and security structure within the company. Microsoft 365 Enterprise is already completely available.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Business was produced for smaller and medium-sized companies and includes Office 365 Business Premium and security- and management capabilities for Office apps and Windows 10 devices. In addition, it offers the possibility to upgrade to Windows 10 professional. Users will be offered a complete suite of productivity and security applications, which will also help to relieve the IT department. Moreover, it offers employees, customers and business partners the possibility to connect with each other and allow them to work at every optional place and device – always protected by special security precautions. You can now test the business version of Microsoft 365 in a public preview, the full version will be available in autumn 2017.

Get rid of the data garbage!

Data garbageData, which is maintained conscientiously and always up-to-date, is indispensable for a frictionless running of many business processes in a company. Especially clean master data forms the backbone for a functioning everyday business. Although high data quality is becoming more and more relevant, especially in times of digitalization and big data, many companies, are still neglecting the issue of data cleansing.

Most of the time, this is due to the lack of time and personnel for a continuous monitoring of the internal and external data. Thereby, company data can definitely be called an economic asset nowadays. In most cases, by using a system for many years, more and more information, which is not even needed in the end, is collected. The result is an inconsistent database, which makes the structures more and more complex. This unnecessary waste of data interferes with daily business by significantly decreasing productivity and performance in a company and making important processes more complicated.

Data consolidation with Business Intelligence tools

With the help of an extensive data analysis, inconsistent or even wrong data can quickly be identified and corrected. Experience has shown that the early use of a flexible business intelligence solution – in addition to the subsequent use as a classic BI tool – to eliminate databases, which are faulty or no longer needed in your own system, will pay off. An external solution, such as QlikView und Qlik Sense, which was implemented on time, can, for example, serve as an optimal analysis tool.

Especially during the introduction of a new business software or the update to a newer version of the used system, checking and cleaning the existing databases is recommended before the migration of the data. Thus, unimportant old burdens are not transferred to the new, still clean system and will not interfere the handling of daily business processes in the future. On top of that, the available information can be used as a solid basis for efficient business decisions. So, free yourself from this useless data waste – we would be glad to help you!

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 – liquidity planning

Only companies that keep constant track of their funds can plan ahead and guarantee their capacity to pay. Here, constant monitoring of solvency development is particularly important. Microsoft Dynamics NAV offers the required tools.

Careful cash flow planning, also integrated into Microsoft Dynamics NAV, is necessary to correctly control and analyze cash flows in a company. This software draws all relevant information from various business areas (e.g. purchase and sales) and uses it as a basis for forecasts on all incomes and cost for a set period. One large advantage of cash flow planning is the inclusion of target figures such as posted orders. As the information used is real-time, it can be traded quickly as needed. This does not properly work in isolated financial accounting, as here only logged values are available.

Dynamics NAV 2017 Cash Flow
Cash Flow Planning in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017

With the 2017 version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, two new areas have been added to the cash flow functions – areas that also play an important role in planning:

  • The projects or project incomes
  • The VAT settlement (more detailed, the determination of VAT payable amounts)

It is now also possible to manually enter neutral incomes and cost. In this way, amounts outside of Dynamics NAV can be considered as well.

Dynamics NAV 2017 Cash Flow
Includable origin types in Cash Flow Planning

At first use of the cash flow tool, from version 2017 upwards, users are additionally assisted by a configuration assistant. This guides them through the necessary parameters, allowing users to define these by themselves.

Relevance of high availability on the rise

High AvailabilityIn times of growing digitalization, it is almost impossible for companies to operate without Internet availability and the right business software. Therefore it is very serious when a network component or even the entire IT infrastructure goes down. Even short downtimes can result in high costs and annoyed customers – another reason to tackle the topic of high availability in one’s own company.

The importance of high availability has already been deeply rooted in the corporate awareness of large companies. Small and mid-sized companies, however, still often put the topic into cold storage due to time and costs. A big mistake, considering that longer network and database downtimes can, in critical cases, even threaten the continued existence of companies. The aim is to keep systems available even if one or more components relevant to the company go down. Only after it is already too late and components of the infrastructure are already down, most companies usually first realize the importance of high availability. However, not only sudden failures of the systems or individual components, but also planned downtimes, for example in the case of necessary maintenance work, should be considered.

Different levels of high availability

A system can only be classified as highly available if it manages to achieve more than 99.9% availability in 24/7 operation. Downtime is thus reduced to less than 8.5 hours over the course of year. Adding further decimal places subsequently increases availability. According to this, an availability of 99.9999 % means a much shorter downtime of around 32 seconds in a year. This classification form also serves as a benchmark for highly available systems on the IT market.

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Qlik publishes new release “Qlik Sense June 2017”

Qlik Sense June 2017BI provider Qlik has published a new release of Qlik Sense. The latest version contains various interesting features such as better charts and visualization options, advanced analytics functions, an iOS client, visual data profiling and more. The version is named “Qlik Sense June 2017” in line with the new release cycle announced by Qlik.

Already at this year’s Qonnections, Qlik announced that in future new software releases of equal weight and scope will be published every ten weeks – signifying an end to major and minor releases. To clarify this, they replaced the numerical name with a description containing the month and year of the respective release. Qlik Sense 4.0 thus became Qlik Sense June 2017. The new cloud-like release cycle and changed versioning should significantly simplify upgrading to higher versions.

New features for data processing and visualization

Qlik Sense June 2017 contains various new features, particularly in data processing and visualization options. Users, among other things, benefit from improved data preparation and provision without complex scripting. With visual data profiling Qlik Sense June 2017, e.g., supports better understanding data from the get go by automatically generating visualizations for the distribution of data already when loading. Furthermore Data binning allows for the grouping of numeric data (by size etc.) to better analyze relevant information. Using a new type of table concatenation, table views with different fields and field names can additionally be connected. This makes it possible to concatenate differently created data sets (e.g., from different organizations). The data preparation functions are introduced in the next What’s New video:

Qlik Sense June 2017 - Data Preparation

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