As business software consultants, we’re used to working inside the box, designing business processes within the NAV framework, rarely moving to the outside world. The word integration had a foul smell to it and had to be avoided at all cost.
Single database, single software layer and built in application development layer, were the way to go. Everything neatly tucked together in an isolated ecosphere.
Now this ideology has been smashed. Microsoft has been working hard on breaking the safety net for the last few years and it feels that it is finally pierced through with the release of NAV 2017.
Here are some of the important doors that have been opened:
NAV 2017 is now even more tightly integrated to Dynamics CRM whether it is on premise or in the cloud. Data flows seamlessly through web services back and forth. Whether you have a short sales cycle or a long sales cycle the needs are met.
You can now e-mail sales orders to your customers and have them fill them out. When they’re e-mailed back, NAV updates the data. The same concept could be used for updating sales prices, budget numbers and more.
Power BI is now a maturing product which provides state of the art business intelligence at a fraction of the cost that it used to. Now Power BI has been integrated into the NAV 2017 client allowing the user to view interactive business intelligence dashboards right next to the NAV data.
Azure now provides an optimal way to deploy a cloud based solution. NAV users can now setup a cloud active directory which authenticates users into the NAV system providing a comprehensive security solution in the cloud. The NAV system can be installed on a virtual machine using Azure SQL databases which can be elastically scaled.
Cortana Artificial Intelligence
NAV now uses artificial intelligence to model inventory and cash forecasts. Cortana has been connected to NAV data opening up the possibility to expand even further on the use of machine learning.
Dynamics NAV can be connected to social networks to give the user insights into how the company is doing in its social marketing efforts.
NAV is now connected to Microsoft Flow allowing the user to build action-based triggers outside of NAV. Flow enables the user to setup an action that is triggered from within NAV. The action can apply to any outside system. As an example, an action can be configured to send a text message to the sales person whenever a return order is created for his customer.
NAV is now integrated to Sharepoint to provide document storage and management. Additionally, NAV functionality can be presented in the Sharepoint layer, enabling the user to perform his work without leaving the Sharepoint environment.
Microsoft has introduced a very powerful platform called PowerApps. You can essentially build your own app with almost with no coding. NAV has been integrated with PowerApps so that the user can build an app based on NAV functionality, such as sales order management.
Application development is now moving into a Visual Studio framework allowing developers to utilize that extensive toolset.
With these additional functionalities, we’ve now have a myriad of ways to provide solutions to our customers on top of the existing business processes with NAV.
The sky, or should I say the cloud, is the limit.