Tag Archives: Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Digital transformation – in business applications as well?

Commercial applications have not been left out of the discussion on comprehensive digitization of our environment. While digital solutions are only now starting to take up a central and active role in numerous areas of our everyday life, e.g., autonomous driving, many operations of all serious companies and industries have been inconceivable without IT for a long time. In fact, these companies were the driving force behind IT development long before the private sector.

Digital Transformation with Dynamics 365

Today’s digital transformation is not just about technology. Rather, it entails a comprehensive strategy that puts organizations and business models to the test of implementing new ways of interacting with people, data, and processes. A significant part of the added value will be in the digital sector in the future. This has consequences, not least for business software. The roots of many ERP systems still date back to the 1980s and the systems have continuously been adapted over time to suit the respective requirements. Another update will not be enough to adapt the software to meet today’s requirements for the comprehensive digitization.

Why do we also have to rethink our business software?

Today customer relationships work more differently than a few years ago. The market transparency is many times higher and the opportunity to operate internationally has become much easier – competition is diverse. That makes it even more important to establish a stable and reliable cooperation with our customers, that guarantees the same level of quality across different situations. Studies foresee that the “customer experience” in dealing with a company is becoming increasingly important and will soon be just as relevant as “price” or “brand”.

Skills shortages are not an industry-specific problem. Our corporate resources are limited and the productivity of each employee is critical. Fast training, project-oriented way of working instead of controlled routines and teamwork across different locations are the keywords that now set the bar for the IT infrastructure of a company. Attractive workplaces must be modern and meet the desire for flexibility and mobility, which knows a new generation of private software usage habits.

Technology enables speed and flexibility. In today’s environment, the features a software should keep are changing fast. New business models emerge and increase competition constantly. Many companies are forced to act, to stem the loss of market share at least. Companies that offer their own new and better IT-based services can gain new customers quickly and offer well-targeted and individual products and services. With Dynamics 365, Microsoft has rethought the conventional ERP and CRM concepts and launched a solution that is well suited for a modern business applications architecture.

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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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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.

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.

Time for change: When an update of your ERP system is necessary

ERP UpdateFor many companies, the use of an ERP system has become an indispensable element for managing business processes. At the latest when a company grows or its requirements change, current software functions may not be sufficient, making an update or even a change of system necessary.

An ERP system provides a business and employees with optimum support across several corporate divisions. In most cases, the desired processes are facilitated by acquiring a software whose corresponding functions are most in line with existing corporate and user requirements. Yet many companies think that the functions, which were implemented in the beginning, become insufficient over time due to growth and structural or technological changes and therefore need to be adapted accordingly. Before the ERP system application becomes too complex due to excessive technological customization and causes a reduction in productivity, it is recommended to update to a newer, improved, and more comprehensive version.

Technological change requires action

Global economic and technological IT-developments are increasing rapidly, and factors such as digitalization and the ever-growing amounts of data that need to be processed are major challenges to technology and business processes. Many recent ERP systems, for example Microsoft Dynamics NAV, are already offering a variety of features, as well as interfaces with significantly improved user experience software, which means working with the respective system is easier, faster, and more convenient than it was a few years ago. The systems provide the user with an unmatched degree of scalability and enable access to the desired data from any mobile device or location by means of Web, Tablet, and Phone Client – a particular advantage for field staff, warehouse employees, or those working in manufacturing. Therefore, ensuring that their in-house ERP systems can keep pace with these developments is important for modern, small and medium-sized businesses.

Moreover, most companies are faced with continuous change themselves. Company growth and even strategical or structural changes can be decisive when it comes to the need for new functions and updates in order to continue to be able to meet market and customer requirements.

In general, an ERP system should always be able to map all the business processes required by the respective company in their entirety. Depending on its technical and functional specifications, not all software is automatically suitable for every business. It is necessary to ensure that the desired processes and functions are in place when purchasing the system. However, if these have changed or become more enhanced over the years, action is required.

Better act sooner than later

Regardless of whether the implemented ERP system was the wrong choice for the company or whether the requirements simply changed over time: if an ERP update or change is necessary, it is important to act quickly. The more time passes, the more the costs incurred by using an outdated system, as well as the costs of a change or an update, will increase – a problem which can ultimately be prevented by implementing a new solution. Many modern ERP systems run automated updates, which means that expensive and time-consuming upgrades are redundant. The software basically grows with the newest developments and technologies.

Are you planning to change your ERP landscape as well? Our consultants will be happy to assist you. You can also find out what you should consider when choosing an ERP system by reading our blog.

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

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

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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.