05 October 2017
In a recent blog we discussed the reasons for going to Directions EMEA – now it is finally here! With Dynamics 365 bringing together Dynamics NAV/Dynamics 365 with Dynamics CRM, this event has grown massively, with a lot of sessions focussed on the integration of the two products, as well as their future together.
Here we will discuss an overview of what we learnt at today’s wide range of seminars.
There were a lot of discussions from Directions US a few weeks ago about the future of NAV, especially with regard to branding and release dates. As we expected, this was cleared up at the EMEA event – NAV 2018 will be released on 1st December, with a second release due in the Spring. The current plan is that following the completion of the migration of the NAV functionality to the D365 platform, the code bases will combine to a single product deployable as a SAAS solution or on premise.
As we have grown to expect over recent years, there are a number of client related features coming to NAV, including new tools for making customisations from within the client and then releasing them as an extension. It will also be possible to view how customisations will be displayed on different devices from within the web client.
The main story for the functionality updates was to do with automation, intelligence and integration. Such as AI to automatically find pictures and fill in questionnaires as well as using Flow to monitor and trigger events such as low stock and purchasing.
With the growth of Power BI as a product, there have been a wide range of updates to integrations to imbed reports into NAV and Office 365. There are now clearer guidelines with a more structured approach on implementing the product, which not only takes out some of the “feeling around” but also gives end users confidence in the process involved in implementing Power BI.
Every year the integration between NAV and CRM becomes easier, with the latest update requiring a 6 step process, a lot of which have assisted setup. Improved coupling with customer cards, as well as bringing through item availability for the purposes of quoting, are amongst the many features of the improved integration, where information from the back-office system is brought forward to guide the sales team.
These tools, which were announced last year, are starting to become a major part of the functionality that is offered by Microsoft Dynamics. PowerApps is a tool for creating apps with very little technical knowledge required, allowing a fast set up and implementation. Flow is extending its usefulness, allowing triggers on a wide range of events, as well as performing a wide range of functions as a result.
Automations, such as sending customers automated updates, as well as notifying on low stock will allow employees the comfort of working without having to worry about repeatedly looking up data.
The market perception of Dynamics 365 for Sales is that it is for the big players. Microsoft want to address this, as the business edition was aimed at being competitive in the lower end of the market, helping businesses to grow naturally, by adding functionality in the enterprise solution. There is currently a lot of complexity in setting up the sales app, so they have simplified the solution to have some pre-packaged process flows that can be customised.
Features including the relationship assistant, email text extraction and detection of sales leads from emails. There is also a dashboard experience for a better overview, with integration to Excel for self service style analytics. The full experience is available in mobile through a responsive layout, allowing employees to work from anywhere on any device. The integrated Outlook app also allows user to create contacts and orders without switching application.
There are always a lot of updates with regard to development tools and environments, such as Azure functions and application development. These are interesting for our technical team but are not really useful for our customers so we will leave the bulk of this data out of this blog!
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