Events Recap 2016

NAV Events Season Recap: It’s a Dynamics 365 World

If you missed NAVUG Summit 2016, Directions North America and Directions EMEA 2016, we are here to help!  With a re-cap! 

Aside from the record turnout, the biggest news cumulatively coming from the events were related to two big Microsoft product announcements: Dynamics NAV 2017 and Dynamics 365.

Paul White, General Manager of Microsoft Business Solutions, announced the arrival of Dynamics NAV 2017 and Dynamics 365 for Financials to the Directions North America partner audience in September, and again with more detail, to the Directions EMEA reseller crowd during his keynote on October 11th. Dynamics 365 was obviously the larger story here. The SaaS only Dynamics 365 Business Edition Financials solution was formerly known as “Project Madeira”, and will become generally available on November 1st of this year.

Dynamics 365 is a completely new cloud based software offering with purpose and industry built apps that enable businesses to address specific needs (e.g. retail, healthcare, sales automation, operations and/or customer service). It markets itself as an “all in one” business application by combining ERP and CRM functionality in single solution. This new technology is also powered by advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), more specifically Machine Learning (ML) – which will help the next era of business agility. [1] Overall, it is obvious Microsoft is putting a lot of gusto behind Dynamics 365 because joining their offerings into a single solution experience is showing promise that this evolution could give them an edge against competitors like Oracle (NetSuite), SAP, and Salesforce. It also appears that the entire CRM/CRM Online solution will be repackaged and branded under Dynamics 365.

As for Dynamics NAV 2017 specifically, the news there was exciting, but more subtle. Microsoft has improved the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) functionalities that were introduced in NAV 2016. In Dynamics NAV 2017, the software has been improved to recognize and import lines from scanned invoices and documents.  Additionally, in the latest version release, Dynamics NAV 2017 will offer enhanced functionalities for further integration with Office 365 in order to improve safety with data protection through audit, restoration, and geo-replication. [2]

The message provided at NAVUG Summit was similar. During the keynote, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft Executive Vice President, provided the first glimpse of Dynamics 365 to North American end users and customers (versus partners at the Directions events) emphasizing Microsoft’s plans to bring AI into the business world. He encouraged businesses to take advantage of data and intelligence, then showed the impact on digital disruption trends. This type of technology is expected to be the driving force across all industries in the near future. Experts expect this will be the catalyst driving productivity, innovation, skill development and growth for the companies of today. [3] Mr. Guthrie also shared how Microsoft is enabling businesses to transform digitally, and unveiled the next generation of intelligent business applications from Microsoft that unify CRM and ERP capabilities to help manage specific business functions seamlessly. Guthrie provided the Summit attendees with their first look at how these applications are helping businesses engage with customers, empower employees, optimize operations and transform products. [4]

Furthermore, Power BI was still a popular phrase heard in the Dynamics Community while at NAVUG Summit. Not only did we, at Jet Reports, showcase the integration with Power BI so users could eliminate the complex, technical data modeling and begin using the visualization tool within 5 minutes, attendees were shown a new Office 365 content pack. Users of Office 365 can now use Power BI to determine whether Office 365 was a good investment based on usage data provided by the software itself:

“The new Office 365 adoption content pack enables you to visualize and analyze Office 365 usage data, create custom reports and share the insights within your organization and pivot by attributes such as location and department,” said Anne Michels, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft Office 365 Marketing, in an Oct. 10 announcement. “Organizations can also track the usage patterns using the product’s charts and other visualizations, enabling them to adjust their management strategies to increase usage. With the adoption content pack, admins can gain deeper insights into how their users leverage Office 365 to communicate and collaborate and how it has evolved over time,” Michels said. “This helps understand where admins need to focus user training and communication going forward.” [5]

There are hundreds of other tidbits and industry goodies we couldn’t possibly fit into a single blog, so we stuck with the highlight reel here.  Wrapping up – it is an exciting time to be in the ERP and Dynamics industry, especially with the massive emphasis on data and analytics that came out of this year’s round of events. We are thrilled to be in the forefront of it by partnering with Microsoft on delivering the standard in reporting solutions for Dynamics with Jet Express for Excel, adapting our development to increase product releases and updates that match the new increased release cycles for NAV, and furthering our integration with Power BI and Office 365.

With so much evolving in the Microsoft ERP market so rapidly, we encourage you to check back soon for exciting news, information and insights from Jet Reports!