With Dynamics NAV 2017, Microsoft continues the improvement of CRM integration and user experience. In addition to the simplification of the setup process, the latest version of the ERP system also offers improvements in CRM use on the smartphone.
For instance, the basic CRM functions of the previous version have been fundamentally revised and expanded. With the linking of Dynamics NAV 2017 and Dynamics 365 for Sales (previously Dynamics CRM Online), for example, the user is now supported by a new assistant that leads him conveniently through setup and ensures seamless linking of Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for Sales data. Moreover, by means of mapping and synchronisation it can be ensured that the data (e.g. prices and articles) in Dynamics 365 for Sales will always have the most current NAV status.
Mobile working with the CRM module within Dynamics NAV is also now even more pleasant thanks to Dynamics NAV 2017. For instance, customer relationships can be maintained more effectively in future from smartphones and some of the newly introduced expansions of the CRM role center can also be used on a mobile basis. The special CRM for smartphones includes contact management, various interactions and sales opportunities. In addition, all e-mails of the exchange server that belong to a contact can be journalized in Dynamics NAV.
Mid-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.
Matrix views show quickly and clearly which users have been assigned to which groups.
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.
In July, Microsoft released an update for its cloud-based solution “Project Madeira”. This offers the users some interesting new expansions in addition to a number of small improvements.
The innovations mostly affect the interaction between “Project Madeira” and Outlook, the improvement of the sales documents and the connection to Dynamics CRM.
New features in Microsoft Outlook
Outlook now is equipped with certain new functions. From an appointment in the Outlook calendar, you can directly open the “Project Madeira” add-in, for example, in order to get an overview over the customer associated to the respective meeting. It is even possible to create and send an invoice for the appointment – without leaving the application.
A further possibility is, to send e-mail attachments (e.g. invoices as a pdf file) directly from the Outlook add-in to the list of “Incoming Documents” in “Project Madeira”. Then they can be forwarded to an OCR service which converts the received information into a digitally useable format. The entire process is carried out in the Outlook add-in. By the way, the user will also be informed there as soon as a software update is available.
Expansion of sales and delivery documents
The sales documents in “Project Madeira” have been expanded with a number of important fields. The changes now allow information in relation to the transport service and the tracking number to be recorded, which allows a better traceability for the delivery of goods.
Adding own article attributes
Inventory articles can now also be labelled with various characteristics. The user can define his own types of attributes (e.g. colour, country of manufacture or size) and add these to the articles in addition to the built-in item characteristics. The inventory can subsequently be filtered using the various attributes. This makes the search for specific articles easier for both the user and the customer.
Linking with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
“Project Madeira“ already contains basic customer relationship management and opportunity management. If the available functions are not enough, it is now possible – supported by a setup guide on the Business Manager homepage – to create a link to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM in order to use its comprehensive features (e.g. in the area of marketing and customer service). This means that data from “Project Madeira” and information from the CRM can be connected seamlessly.
Further additional expansions can be installed via the “Extension Management” webpage. These include the verification and correction of all addresses in “Project Madeira”, as well as a simplified migration of data (e.g. customers, vendors and items) from Opera or Sage to “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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.