Tag Archives: ERP-Software

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – First details known for October release

In October, Microsoft is going to roll out new releases for its business applications. Dynamics 365 Business Central will then also be equipped with some improvements and innovations. The release notes recently published by Microsoft provide an overview of the new key features. They also confirm that the on-premise version of Business Central will be the successor to Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

With the upcoming October release, the availability of Dynamics 365 Business Central will be extended. From this point on, the solution can be operated in the cloud, on-premise and as a hybrid model. Customers who currently have a local Dynamics NAV solution in operation can continue to use it. However, subsequent versions of the Dynamics NAV product range will no longer be available under the usual name. Instead, the solution will become “Business Central On-Premise” as part of the new releases.

Optimized productivity and user experience

The new version of Business Central will bring some productivity and usability improvements in the Web Client. Besides a new modern look, improved keyboard navigation and new keyboard shortcuts make working with the program considerably faster and more convenient. Enhanced search functions for pages and reports as well as new filter options for lists also increase user-friendliness – regardless of whether the data is accessed via Web Client or Universal App Client (Smartphone, Tablet or Windows 10).

Dynamics 365 Business Central
The October version of Dynamics 365 Business Central also offers some visual changes (Source: Microsoft)

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Eight proven success factors in implementing modern business software

Business Software SuiteIn order to keep up with digitization in the corporate world, even classic business applications are on trial. In many companies there is need for action in order to map all segments across the value chain in future by an integrated solution.

At Microsoft the traditionally separated fields of ERP and CRM are growing together under the umbrella brand “Dynamics 365”; the integrated business application suite “Business Central” is a major part of this. Modern software solutions like this offer lots of opportunities, but the scope of implementing such a system should never be underestimated.

Even though new business applications have different pricing models than before and even offer leasing models, the implementation and conception of such a software solution is still a major investment. And even if manufacturers keep talking about “self-service” and there is no longer a need to provide your own hardware, for complex business processes it will always be necessary to include consultants with experience from other similar projects. Many companies will have to check and adapt their existing processes to the parameters specified by the new software. To this end, lots of plans and discussions are required to ensure the success of the project. So it’s worthwhile to keep the following principles in mind before launching a new project.

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Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 – Features that make everyday work with the system easier

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018At the end of last year, Microsoft released the new version of its ERP solution Dynamics NAV 2018. The new release offers some improvements that make everyday work more simple and convenient.

In this respect, for example, the “Setup & Extensions” button provides a central place for the settings. Here, the user is able to obtain step by step support from several setup wizards while defining the parameters for a certain module or area. The required settings can also be made in the classic setup cards. These are collected in one single place and are stored according to area (e.g. finance, sales, projects etc.). The individual setup pages also feature keywords to search and filter accordingly.

NAV 2018 Assisted Setup
Assisted setup in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018

The preview of reports has also been improved. While in previous versions the preview was only available in the Internet Explorer, all standard browsers (e.g. Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari on macOS) are now supported. The appropriate preview is ultimately provided as PDF and can be downloaded and printed directly. The preview mode can furthermore be operated with the mouse or the keyboard.

NAV 2018 Report Preview
Preview of reports in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018

NAV 2018 further allows to create user task lists that – similar to Outlook – can pint to certain tasks which must be completed within the ERP system. The appropriate tasks can be linked with corresponding pages or reports. If necessary, they can also be prioritised and automatically repeated.

NAV 2018 User Task List
User task lists in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018

In addition to the above upgrades, NAV 2018 offers some more new features. In this context, for example, it is possible to change the role centre directly in the Web Client without logging off and in again.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Release in April

Microsoft announced the official name and release date of its new cloud ERP solution. Dynamics 365 Business Central will officially be available in April.

The cloud-based all-in-one business management solution, which was formerly known as Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”, will have the full functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The On-Premise version will continue to exist.

Starting April 2nd, Dynamics 365 Business Central will be available in 14 countries (including Germany) in two price packages: “Essential” and “Premium”. The “Essential” version contains all the key modules, such as those required for finances, operations, sales and customer service, as well as human resources, project and supply chain management, whereas the “Premium” edition has additional modules for service order management and manufacturing.

Business Central is intended to upgrade entry-level accounting software and ERP legacy systems easily and quickly. Updates are performed automatically by the cloud solution to eliminate complex upgrade processes. The basic functionalities integrate with other Microsoft cloud services (e.g., Office 365) and can be customized and extended with PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Power BI for specific, growing, and changing business needs.

Microsofts’ primary goal is to create a flexible cloud platform through automated tasks and workflows (using familiar tools such as Office, Outlook, Word, and Excel), networked data and intelligent technologies to offer users a standardized and efficient way of handling business transactions. The created company networking will be helpful to make informed decisions. Dynamics 365 Business Central has also a new modern user interface to provide a better overview and increase productivity.

Dynamics 365 Business Central
Dynamics 365 Business Central comes with a new modern user Interface (Source: Microsoft)

With the enhanced user experience, its extensibility, and the full functionality of Dynamics NAV, the all-in-one business management solution offers many benefits – particularly for companies, which are looking for a flexible solution that grows and changes with them just as their requirements.

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.