What Dynamics NAV 2016 means for the Oilfield Service Industry

Microsoft’s release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 in October offers exciting new capability for oilfield service organizations.

Microsoft continues to invest heavily in the Microsoft Dynamics NAV product and have been rewarded to the point where Dynamics NAV is the most popular mid-market system in the world with over 110,000 customers worldwide as of June 2015. This new release continues down the path of the product’s original mantra of building a superior technology platform capable of being adapted to fit varying customer needs. That design makes Dynamics NAV an ideal choice for oilfield service organizations for whom the only constant seems to be the need to adapt to continuous change.

Versions 2009 through 2015 added significant changes including three-tier architecture, web services, SQL Server reporting services, improved scalability, and a choice of clients to better fit a variety of users including mobile staff. Dynamics NAV 2016 has continued the enhancement of this platform while adding a few key features, some of which take advantage of the changes.

These are just some of the new features in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016:

  • One of the most exciting features for organizations is the addition of a configurable workflow engine. While there was rudimentary document workflow capability before in purchasing and sales, the workflow engine now goes much further into virtually of the application suite and adds user configurability.
  • Integration to the web has been enhanced by taking the NAV 2015 tablet client, enhancing it, and making it the standard platform for web browser and phone clients, giving mobile and distributed users a consistent experience, regardless of platform. The new web client offers significant enhancements to the configuration capability.
  • Utilizing the web services capability of the three-tier architecture, Dynamics NAV can now automatically retrieve foreign exchange rates for anyone involved in international business.
  • A new Dynamics NAV content pack enables Power BI to provide end users with a more powerful business intelligence and dashboard capabilities for little or no additional cost.
  • Staff can now submit printed expense receipts by taking a photo with a smartphone and then scanning it directly into Dynamics NAV using OCR.
  • New code extensions allow partner add-on products or customer enhancements to be added to customer databases in a multi-tenant environment, which usually limits modifications. The code extensions can survive upgrades, which is a real benefit for many organizations.
  • Users will now have access to posting previews, which allows them to see the effects of posting the document or transactions in question.
  • A very exciting development for Dynamics CRM users is the native integration between Dynamics NAV and Dynamics CRM where customers can configure the integration from the Dynamics NAV toolkit instead of a separate and limited connector. System integrators will no longer have to rely on third party integration tools, such as Scribe, if they need to deal with advanced business rules.

Whether you are an existing or new Dynamics NAV customer, Dynamics NAV 2016 brings much to the table, with promises of more to come in “Madeira”, their next generation of the NAV product due in 2017.

See why Microsoft Dynamics NAV for the Oilfield Industry is a great fit.

Windows 10 Release Promising for Mobile Users

Microsoft releases its highly anticipated Windows 10 operating system amidst skepticism of whether it will allow the company to remain the king of desktops as well as become a real contender in the mobile space. Among other exciting features, Windows 10 boasts of one operating system for any device with universal apps to keep the user experience consistent across platforms.

The Continuum feature of Windows 10 could be a game changer for Microsoft as Windows 10 makes it possible to adjust the user interface at will. A Microsoft tablet automatically can switch back and forth from a desktop or tablet interface by connecting a keyboard or other accessories. A smartphone can function as essentially a mini computer by connecting a monitor and keyboard and having all applications accommodate the larger screen for a seamless experience. In fact, the experience of working on a PC or a phone connected to a monitor is exactly the same.

Continuum alone should be enough to get you excited about Windows 10 and the direction Microsoft is leading. We’ve seen a shift from desktops to laptops, to tablets, and now to mobile and Windows 10. Universal apps will keep you up to date across any device with a consistent user interface. Down the road employees could simply be issued smartphones and Office 365 corporate memberships with a desk station equipped with a monitor, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Mobile workers armed with smartphones in the field will be able to see exactly what their counterparts in the office see. The potential efficiency is intoxicating for organizations willing to embrace these new concepts.

A goal expressed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella of 1 billion Windows powered devices by 2019 may seem like a stretch with the worldwide shipments of desktops expected to fall by 5% in 2015 and an ever-growing trend towards mobile. Microsoft isn’t relinquishing control just yet, however, with more than 9 in 10 desktops currently running Windows operating systems and free upgrades to Windows 10 being offered until Summer 2016. The corporate market remains cornered by Microsoft and with greater integration offered with universal apps including the Office Suite with Office 365, organizations will soon adopt Windows 10 as an enterprise IT standard.

The real success for Windows 10 and Microsoft will be based on how users respond to the new functionality and use the technology in creative and groundbreaking ways.

Why being part of the Microsoft’s President’s Club is a big deal

We are pleased to announce that Open Door Technology has been included in Microsoft’s 2015 President’s Club. This is an exciting time for us as this achievement is difficult to obtain and one that doesn’t happen every year. It is personally very pleasing to see our staff gain recognition for all of the hard work done throughout the year.

For those of who don’t know about Microsoft’s President’s Club, it is a program to recognize the highest performing Microsoft Dynamics partners who are acknowledged by Microsoft for exceptional levels of total revenue or customer adds while growing their revenue from year to year. It can be a tool for customers or business partners, existing or prospective, who are trying to determine the Microsoft Dynamics partner that best fits their needs. It is different and unrelated to Gold competency certifications available from Microsoft as each one has its own value and limitations.

President’s Club is a useful for being a rough indicator that a partner is committed to the Microsoft Dynamics product line and has experienced significant success in the last Microsoft fiscal year, which ends on June 30th. Traditionally, it has represented the top 5% or so of Microsoft Dynamics partners, so it is not a trivial achievement. What it doesn’t do is provide any guarantee of the quality of services or software provided to customers as there is no element of customer satisfaction other than presumably in the long-term a partner with low customer satisfaction is unlikely to be able to consistently achieve President’s Club status. It does require either a Silver or Gold certification in a particular competency such as ERM (Enterprise Resource Management), which does contain elements of both sales achievement and customer satisfaction. It is, however, achievable by a much higher percentage of the partners, at one point over 50% for Gold, which renders it less useful in identifying high achievers. President’s Club status can also be extremely difficult to achieve consistently as it requires an increase in sales each year. If the partner has an exceptional year or is caught in a struggling economy or industry, it is extremely unlikely they will make President’s Club in the succeeding year, which may be no fault of their own. Gold certification is generally easily attainable each year for qualified partners, regardless of the economy or sales cycles.

So if someone is looking for a high achieving Microsoft Dynamics partner with some guarantee of customer satisfaction, it is best to consider both President’s Club and a Gold certification in the required competency.

By Malcolm Roach, President of Open Door Technology

New Canadian Data Centers Ensures Cloud Access For All

Microsoft announced last week that commercial cloud services will be available to Canadian customers on new local data centers in Canada coming in 2016. The previous lack of Canadian data centers meant many customers with rigorous data compliance needs were unable to host their data outside of Canada and therefore unable to deploy Azure or Office 365.

A primary roadblock to the adoption of these services has traditionally been accessibility of the Internet services and location of data.  Now that data will remain in Canada and Internet speeds are in excess of 100MB, the cloud is definitely the future for many organizations. The advantages to choosing the cloud means organizations will not have to spend valuable capital investment dollars upfront to allow them to scale up infrastructure as their business grows.

“We are very excited about the arrival of Canadian data centers and have been asking Microsoft for this for a long time in order to better serve the needs of our clients,” according to Christian Roach, Vice President of Open Door Technology.

“Now every Canadian customer has the option of deploying Microsoft Cloud services and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” Mr. Roach said.

The local Alberta floods of June 2013 are an excellent example of how a cloud solution can add incredible value to an organization. Several clients of Open Door Technology were directly affected by the loss of power and access to their local business and servers. Other clients who were utilizing cloud services including for ERP and Office 365 simply continued their daily business, but from their kitchen table.

The data centers will be located in Toronto, ON and Quebec City, QC. Availability for Azure is expected in early 2016 with access for Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online to follow later in 2016. There are already more than 80,000 Canadian businesses using cloud-based email, Office 365, and CRM Online.

New Vice President of Open Door Technology

Christian Roach now Vice President of Open Door Technology

Open Door Technology is pleased to announce that Christian Roach, former Account Manager, has been promoted to Vice President of Open Door Technology effective immediately.

“Christian has been a key part of Open Door Technology for more than 17 years. He has grown into an outstanding individual who is well-qualified to provide leadership as we continue to grow and shape our firm,” said Malcolm Roach, President of Open Door Technology.

“Christian has an excellent knowledge of technology and has shown a keen interest in ways to expand and improve our business. He will be counted on to provide technology leadership with regards to the delivery of our applications,” Malcolm said.

Prepare to Acquire or be Acquired

It used to be you could start up a business and merrily work away until you were ready to sell out and retire.  Things change so quickly now that this often just isn’t the case.  New competitors arise, technology changes, the economy frequently moves up and down…you name it and it’s bound to happen.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States has released information that shows just over fifty percent of new businesses survive five years and around one-third survive ten years.

So how is this relevant to the subject of acquisition?  The pace of change is so quick these days that growth often comes from acquiring new or similar businesses.  The changes are very likely, if you are one of the survivors, that you will acquire someone or be acquired.  Depending on your exit strategy, that might be a good thing or a bad thing.  Either way, there are some standard principles you should follow in order to make sure the acquisition succeeds.

First, you need to have the right people.  If you’re going to acquire someone, your people need to be able to handle the needs of a more complex organization.  If you’re going to be acquired, the purchaser will normally be very interested in the quality and commitment of your staff.

Secondly, you need the right systems in place, both processes and software.  The arguments apply as for your staff.  A properly running organization with modern systems will be much more capable.  Purchasers will want to make sure they’re not acquiring a firm working in the Stone Age.

And, finally, sit down with your key advisors and stakeholders and really determine both what your short and long-term objectives are and how you see yourself growing or exiting.  You need to be prepared for both eventualities.  Talk to your accountant, your lawyer, your spouse, business partners, etc.  Be prepared!  The opportunity will come and your direction needs to be crystal clear in order to properly evaluate the situation.

Points to Consider When Selecting an ERP System

By Open Door Technology

Choosing an ERP system can be overwhelming when trying to match up features with key requirements identified by all departments of your organization. Finding an ERP system that will not only meet your needs, but also improve your business is paramount. We’ve identified some key considerations when selecting a new ERP system.

Evaluate your current operation processes

  • A new ERP system will not solve flawed processes within your organization if you don’t first identify the issues and how to resolve them. Make a list of specific system requirements by department so you will be ready to match those requirements to ERP systems that will improve your current operations.

Choose your customizations carefully

  • Highly customized ERP systems can become quite costly not only during the initial implementation, but during future upgrades as well. Although customizations add an additional expense there are circumstances where the benefits of having a flexible ERP system to match your unique processes could be a game changer in your industry. The key is choosing an ERP system that has impressive core functionality with the ability to quickly add customizations if and when needed.

Determine your resources and commitment to the project

  • The success of your ERP implementation will depend on adequately planning your time and resources. The buy in of your team to learn and adapt to a new system is crucial. When implementing a new system you must provide the necessary time and resources for training. You might also consider providing extra training for your employees with strong technical skills so they can become experts and resources for assisting fellow employees.

Consider appointing an ERP champion and product expert

  • Select an employee who can act as the champion and project manager for the new ERP system. They should concentrate on learning the system inside and out so he or she can be the point of contact for the vendor and the employees.

Make sure you factor in change management

  • Change Management may sound like a fancy buzzword, but do not underestimate the importance of planning out the finer details of how your organization will deploy its new ERP system. The implementation of a new system brings about a lot of changes and can be a stressful time for staff as they learn a new system and business processes. Many implementations fail because of inadequate planning and lack of buy-in from staff. You can minimize issues by deploying communication plans and workshops to ensure a positive reaction and adoption to the new ERP system.

How many companies are using Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Microsoft recently released the number of companies using their various Dynamics products and, once again, Microsoft Dynamics NAV tops the list with the most new additions and the highest number of customers worldwide. The Microsoft Dynamics products gained market share as a whole with GP and NAV having an increase of 30% more customer ads and AX having over 30% license growth in North America over the last 6 months.

Dynamics NAV is the most popular mid-market ERP system in the world, which gives it significant momentum when it comes to driving innovation and product development. One of the reasons for its success is Dynamics NAV’s ability to quickly integrate to virtually any industry across multiple languages and currencies. The result is a strong worldwide user community and significant growth year over year.

The Dynamics NAV product has undergone some significant updates with the NAV 2015 release and continues to implement new improvements and technology improving its flexibility and scalability.  In addition to Windows, browser, and SharePoint clients, users now have the option of a client optimized for a variety of tablet platforms, offering great mobile flexibility.

We look forward to seeing how the world-wide customer base will continue to push innovation in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

The 2015 breakdown of the Microsoft Dynamics customers worldwide by product is:

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 20,000 companies (formerly 19,000 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 47,000 companies  (formerly 47,000 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV 110,000 companies (formerly 102,000 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL 13,500 companies (formerly 13,500 companies in 2014)
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 40,000+ companies and 4.4 million users (formerly 40,000 companies and 4 million users in 2014)

Why Convergence is an important event for Microsoft Dynamics users

Microsoft Convergence is the time when the Microsoft community members gather to network with other users and get inspired by exploring and sharing new technology and business solutions. Leaders in Microsoft technology will share new innovations and product updates and attendees can also connect with peers and experts. Attendees will walk away feeling energized and confident about their long-term investment in Microsoft technology.

Open Door Technology will be heading to Microsoft Convergence to exhibit Open Door Rental Software, a solution built in Microsoft Dynamics NAV for equipment rental companies or equipment dealers. Join us at Booth #8 to learn more about our complete system for rental and service management.
This annual event is being held this year on March 16-19, 2015 in Atlanta, GA. Find out more about Convergence.

Find out some tips for maximizing your time onsite at Convergence.

See Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 at our Client Open House

We want to help our clients get the most out of their Microsoft Dynamics NAV system and so we are hosting a Client Open House on November 20, 2014 to view the newest release of Dynamics NAV.

Clients are invited to join Open Door Technology’s annual Open House to see the new features of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, which includes a new tablet version and other applications such as Jet Express for Word, which allows you to design NAV document templates right in Microsoft Word. Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend the hands-on labs following the presentation in order to see these exciting new features firsthand and chat with Open Door Technology staff one-on-one.

The Open House will take place in Calgary, AB and out-of-town clients are given the opportunity to attend by webinar.

If you are a client of Open Door Technology, please register today!

Attendees can expect the following:

  • 1:00 Begin Arriving
  • Refreshments served through out
  • 1:30 Presentation Begins
    • Overview of new features of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015
    • Improvements to user interface and simplified upgrading
    • New tablet client
    • New ‘Small Business’ Role and simplification options for some businesses/users
    • Power BI Reporting Concepts and Report scheduler
    • Jet Express for Word for designing NAV 2015 document templates in Microsoft
    • ZetaDocs for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015
    • Microsoft Social Listening
    • Plus more topics!
  • 3:45 Hands On Labs:
    • Technical Sessions on how to install/manage NAV Web Client
    • Tablet Clients available for review/training on various tablets (Surfaces/iPads)
    • Jet Reports 2013 Update 1 and how to upgrade