Tag Archives: Features NAV 2016

“Internal Security” in ERP Systems

Internal security in ERP systemsMid-sized companies are being targeted these days by plenty of ads for “IT security in business”. Focus is on securing data and protecting the IT infrastructure against external attack. Daily headlines about hacker attacks are drawing attention to the vulnerability of one’s business at a fundamental level.

For an internal ERP system, however, the data security concept ought to give equal importance to how its user permissions are set up. Because of its complexity this issue is often neglected, although it holds a great potential for harm. Even disregarding any criminal intent of employees who might want to steal or manipulate sensitive data, it should be clear that sensible, role-based granting or limitation of access for individual users is a critically important administrative task.

Defining user rights helps, after all, to avoid errors and to increase data quality, since only entitled (= competent) users can perform certain transactions.

The ERP system Microsoft Dynamics NAV, for example, allows you to adapt which features will be available to a user depending on that user’s permission settings. This greatly improves usability, because each role in a company will only use a fraction of the functions of a typical ERP system. Therefore, many companies have adopted high compliance standards for data access, which have to be guaranteed by a sophisticated access concept.

A number of important updates in this vein have made their way into the NAV standard with the release of NAV Version 2016. Some of these solutions had already existed in partner solutions. Microsoft has now consolidated these into a new release. Unfortunately, they did little to announce these functions, and most of us have had to stumble upon these “hidden features” by accident.

To summarize the most important changes:

It is possible to define specific permission roles. These roles can be assigned to permission sets that precisely control access to a system object (table, table data, report etc.). This administrative level makes configuring new users much more efficient, by having preconfigured roles to choose from.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 user groups
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 user groups

Matrix views show quickly and clearly which users have been assigned to which groups.

Users ordered by user groups in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016
Users ordered by user groups in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016

The creation of permission sets has also been simplified. A “recording” mode now lets the authorization administrator select the necessary system objects by simply running a session and working with the system the way a given user will work with it in future. Thus, the system objects are logged and summarized in a permission set. A user assigned to that permission set will then have exactly those permissions (read, write, execute, delete) that the administrator accessed while recording the model use of the application.

User permissions in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016
User permissions in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016

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.

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

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 officially available

The waiting has come to an end: At Directions EMEA 2015 in Mannheim, Microsoft announced the official availability of its new release, Dynamics NAV 2016. The ERP software offers its users numerous important innovations relating to portability and integration, as well as application-related and technologically progressive upgrades.

Even with the new release of its ERP solution, Microsoft wants to adhere to the three promises made to its users. Like its previous versions, the product shall be quick to implement and easy to use, and above all shall assist medium-sized companies all over the world in achieving their goals.

The release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 (Navision) brings numerous functional innovations and upgrades. These encompass amongst other things:

• The new innovative Universal App (available for Windows, iOS and Android), which now enables the program to be used even on the smartphone.

• Greater integration with the Microsoft products CRM, Azure and Office 365 to ease workflows, as well as upgraded Power BI Content.

• Extended opportunities for the digitalisation of company documents and processes through Document Management, OCR and a new Workflow Module.

• Improved links to the outside world through new E-Services and Microsoft Social Engagement Integration.

• Additional upgrades in the development environment (e.g. new automated tests), financial accounting and the Web Client.

Release Dynamics NAV 2016
Source: Microsoft

You will soon find detailed information about the new functions and upgrades in Dynamics NAV 2016 in our ERP newsroom.

Further information directly related to the new release can also be found here.