Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Features Announced

Okay, as an accountant, perhaps I am too easily impressed by new releases of software, but Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 continues its path of incremental improvement in functionality, but with very impressive advances in technology and integration to the Microsoft stack.

An ongoing challenge in Dynamics NAV 2013 has been the need to utilize SQL Server reporting services for all reports and documents. While it is very capable, the SQL Server reporting environment cannot be accused of being a rapid development environment and this is especially true when creating complex documents such as invoices. Dynamics NAV 2015 offers the spectacular ability to take a Word invoice format from the Microsoft online repository (or other sources) and use Word to map Dynamics NAV fields into the document. This new invoice format can be modified using the Word style templates and is then easily imported into NAV for immediate use. This functionality is also included with the new tablet client. This ability is available without using a development toolkit and can be done by the customer without the assistance of the reseller. A utility available with Jet Express allows the available fields to be viewed and dragged onto the Word template.

While this was the most visual of the many improvements, there were significant advances in other areas. A small business version is now available with simplified screens and functionality to smooth the transition of users new to ERP from Simply, QuickBooks, and other entry-level systems. The new Web Client is 30% faster and requires four times less bandwidth. A very capable and smooth Tablet Client was introduced for Android, IOS, and Windows tablets that is easily configurable to meet the unique requirements of customers using the Dynamics NAV development toolkit. It includes dashboarding and transaction processing capabilities. It should be noted that the tablet client can run only in online mode and is not meant for use on smartphones. User testing of the Tablet Client produced a 92% approval rating, which is quiet impressive for a first generation product. The new Dynamics NAV Role Center has much improved business intelligence capabilities with the ability to define business rules that automatically show positive or negative trends in the activity cues. Users for example, can define a limit for the amount of overdue invoices before notifying the user of a problem. Anything over this will trigger a red flag on the activity cue on the Role Center.

The Jobs module will also be moved to the Base Pack so that less complex organizations will no longer need to purchase the Extended Pack. As a promise of better things to come, the next release of Dynamics NAV is to include a configurable workflow engine. There has been a lot to see at day one of Directions 2014 with promises of more. In one session presented by a Cloud sponsor, it was noted that 50% of new customers consider the Cloud but so far 95% are still choosing to implement in-house. That same provider noted that they had over 2,000 hosting clients, which is an impressive total.

Microsoft Dnnamics NAV 2015 will be available beginning on October 1, 2014 for new customers and October 6 for existing customers.

By Malcolm Roach, CEO of Open Door Technology, writing from Directions 2014