What's New in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018?
There is a ton of information coming out about what is new in the Dynamics NAV 2018 release. The most thorough piece I have been privy to is this Directions webinar, where Microsoft engineers reviewed all the changes. My summary follows.
Heavy R & D Continues
Microsoft has continued heavy investment in Dynamics NAV and NAV 2018 is no exception. We have been hearing for several months now that Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition, Microsoft’s cloud ERP offering, will have all of the breadth of Dynamics NAV on premise functionality moving forward. This is the solution that will be getting a new name at some time in the future, likely by the second quarter of 2018. Dynamics NAV 2018 R2 is due for release this spring.
Jannik Bausager, Group Program Manager, reviewed the application changes for us.
Setup and Extension
Everything needed to set up Dynamics NAV 2018 for the first time is all in one place with assisted setup and wizards to make it very easy to get started. Manual setup requirements are provided in one place.
In each role center there is a user task queue to create system-wide tasks, assigned to any user, track due dates, create recurring tasks and gives user their own task list. Any overdue tasks are highlighted in red for easy identification of what needs attention.
Employee Ledger Entries
You can now create journal entries directly for employees. There is no longer a need to create vendors for employees. Only local currency is supported for this. You can also define the default posting group (account) for employees and access this information on the employee card. We can make payments to employees in the payments journal and apply payments to open employee entries in one shot, linking the payment to the employee journal and closing both. Further, one can easily correct mistakes with the “un-apply” payments option. Payment Suggestions provides a list of all outstanding employee payments. These capabilities are exposed through APIs, allowing ISV partners with expense management systems to use this new functionality.
In NAV 2017, machine learning was introduced for inventory and sales forecasting, as well as cash flow forecasting. NAV 2018 expands on these capabilities by using cognitive services so you can take a picture of people and products. For Contacts, it will automatically detect age and gender from photos. For Items, it will identify item category and attributes of an item from the picture including type and color. The Image Analyzer will by default only show the suggested item category and attributes with an 80% or higher confidence level, but you can select “View All” to see all suggestions, even those with low confidence. This setting can be modified in setup.
Dynamics 365 for Sales Integration
Integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales was introduced in previous versions. However, improvements have been made with a setup wizard for synchronizing Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) users with NAV 2018, guiding you through the coupling of users in both applications. Additionally, synchronization of the two applications now runs in the background.
You can also send a sales quote without having to set them up as a customer first. Sales orders from Dynamics 365 for Sales now can be created in Dynamics NAV automatically without manual intervention (no longer requires “commit” in Dynamics NAV).
Sync Vendors to OCR
OCR recognition is much better if you enable Kofax ICS within OCR service setup. It can recognize vendors that already exist in NAV when scanning invoices and purchase documents.
Additional Application Improvements
- Item charges. You can now distribute by volume and weight.
- Direct transfer orders. You no longer need to use an in-transit location.
- Update name based on VAT numbers in EU.
- Master data addresses for customers and vendors can be updated from sales and purchase documents (a notification surfaces asking if you wish to update the master data).
- Help search results now available along with in-product search.
- Automation of IC Outbox and IC Inbox. No longer need to manually send and receive.
- Bulk Invoicing. You can now select more.
- Posting Groups. Now providing suggestion of accounts when creating new posting groups.
- Print G/L register report with “show details” options, which will print descriptions from related posted document lines.
- New reports include Received, Not Invoiced Purchase Orders and Shipped, and Not Invoiced Sales Orders.
- Check printing. You can now print three checks per page.
- Payroll Import with QuickBooks.
Integration with Microsoft Flow, Power BI, and Microsoft Office
Chad Sogge GPM at Microsoft announced improved integration with Microsoft Flow, Power BI, and Office.
Microsoft Flow Embed Experience
Using the new connector, you can create, edit, and manage your Flows directly from Dynamics NAV 2018. You can even connect and monitor “non” Dynamics NAV data. It’s also easy to manage approvals as well as modify, notify, and update data automatically. Lastly, you can select which Microsoft Flow environment in which you want to work.
Power BI Reporting
Power BI reporting is now embedded in NAV 2018. The content packs have been updated to support the latest Power BI functionality with direct navigation to content packs within your organization as well as to the general public. Setup is easy with all necessary connection information available in a single page, and the connector has been updated.
Create Contact Interactions in Outlook
NAV 2018 boasts the work that has been done with the Outlook add-in, which now provides more features with contact interactions. You can now use NAV templates to create emails in Outlook and track those interactions on the contact card within NAV.
Preconfigured Excel Reports
Excel Reports that are now found in the ribbon menu are Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement, Retained Earnings Statement, Trial Balance, Aged Accounts Receivable, and Aged Accounts Receivable Excel reports.
Company name is “burned into” the table names and changing the company display name throughout the system was cumbersome and time consuming. Now, when you key the new display name in the Companies table, it is perpetuated throughout the UI and reports instantly.
When previewing reports, you no longer need no need to install a pdf viewer to render the report in pdf format. This gives a much better experience for the user.
It is everywhere (all supported browsers, all supported mobile platforms), embedded (directly in the client, no need to download and install viewer apps), interactive (toolbar, mouse, keyboard, select and copy text, hyperlinks), and modern (a new foundation to continue to build on the report preview functionality).
The PowerShell cmdlets for server start / stop have been renamed. Now they are simply:
There has also been a change of server properties:
- Dynamically change the amount of tasks that the server will process in parallel
- Change the trace level to diagnose the performance issue
- Will add more properties as needed
- We should avoid stopping the service if we can
- We can turn on further diagnostics on ‘problematic’ clusters for a limited period of time
- Server settings can be marked as dynamic allowing you to set them through management endpoint
- Event is raised allowing the server to react to the change
Upgrade for Dynamics 365
The schema synchronization is now done with users online; Extensions’ costly uninstall and reinstall has been totally eliminated; per-tenant data upgrade can be done with other users online; upgrade can be done in a single transaction and rolls back on failure. The bottom line is that upgrades for customers using Dynamics 365 for Financials take less time.
Web Client Personalization
This is currently available for Dynamics 365 Financials and is coming soon for NAV 2018! You decide what you see and where in your role center. We’re talking drag and drop, sorting data how you see fit for your work, and even adding fields is easy and all preferences are saved to your personal user account.
Dynamics NAV 2018 Improvements for Developers and IT Professionals
Jasper Hedegaard Bojsen, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, ran through the development environment changes for Dynamics NAV 2018. Jasper notes that not only is NAV 2018 the best on premises NAV version to date, it is also the stepping-stone to the cloud future and NAV Tenerife release this coming spring.
Integrating and Extending
Connected Apps connect another service with Dynamics 365 for Financials and Operations, for instance a third party payroll or eCommerce system with APIs. Add-On apps enrich the D365 functionality through Extensions 2.0, such as taxation applications. Embed apps provide an end-to-end solution for an industry or micro-vertical via Extensions 2.0, apps, etc.
NAV 2018 will offer a total of 44 APIs out of the box in the areas of company, finance, sales, purchasing, and reports. New APIs can be created as well. This means that you can create integrations to third- party systems without having NAV development experience.
Working with APIs is not new, it is just new to Dynamics NAV.
Extensions 2.0 and Modern Development
Even though we now have APIs, you can still extend Dynamics NAV from within the product. Extensions v2 are improved and will be portable to upcoming releases. You can make changes via the In-App Designer or Visual Studio Code. In most cases, you will likely be using both. Microsoft is making AL coding fun and productive. They also referenced the NAV Development Preview Anniversary Update on the Dynamics NAV Team Blog.
Investments here will prepare you for the cloud and Tenerife. C/SIDE will still be available, but look for it to be sunset in the future.
Extensions to the language include .NET replacements:
Developer Tools Release Cycle
Microsoft is moving to a much faster release cycle by embracing containers and Docker and are projecting bi-weekly builds. Check out ArcherPoint’s Developer Digest blogs for some of our internal conversations regarding Dynamics NAV 2018. The NAV developer blog network on Microsoft is another great resource to find out what tools are being released and when.
The READY and GO Programs
For partners only: email Dyn365BEP@microsoft.com to signup and stay abreast of everything coming from Microsoft for Dynamics NAV.
To see some of these new features in action, and how you can get the most out of this latest release check out our webinar, What’s New in Dynamics NAV 2018.