More truth about the future of NAV

After the first day of Directions NA, there are a lot of confusing posts about the future of Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for Financials. I don’t know why, because Marko Perisic was clear about all details.

The first well known products are not canceled. This is just rebranding and it means we will still have products with the same features (and lot of new features) as old NAV (and Dynamics 365 for Financials). Now we will just have one common platform for both of these old products and with the same name – Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ (currently code name). We will have this product on cloud and on-prem (as old NAV). If partners want to deploy NAV on Azure, they will not use their own infrastructure and instead of that, they will use this product as SaaS. But what is the best for partners, they can make project based customizations on cloud as well as on-prem. And this is amazing.

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About other Apps, we can license Apps as we want to use and we will be in situation to make combination of Apps from old BE or EE solutions. And of course we will pay per feature and per named user. And I must to be honest, maybe we still don’t have all details about licensing and this is one of the most important reasons, why this product is not published just now. Product is already finished, but we need to wait the final adjustments about licensing. This will be on the first place, because Microsoft wants to encourage partners and clients to use cloud solution as more as possible. This is the most important strategy. But all clients can continue to use on-prem solution if they insist. But Microsoft will make much better offer for cloud solution. And we need to be patient to wait the final decision.

New product will have new modern user interface, almost the same as other D365 products and this will be very important for future customers, because they will have the same filling working in different Apps.

And yes, we need to wait until the spring for the new product, but I cannot see some specific issue, because we can continue to implement NAV. If we customize NAV 2017 using extensions and VS Code, it will be very easy to transform these implementations to new solution the next year.

And yes, we can continue to use CDS for integrations, PowerApps, Flow, PowerBI… All of these will be used with the new product as well. We can continue to publish Apps on AppSource, because this service will be continue to use and it will be much more improved. And one more yes, on the closing session, Marko announced that he and his team accepted the most important feedbacks from partners. This is encouraging message for all partners who are afraid from any reason.

Of course, partners will need to change their business models in some parts, more or less, but this is normal situation in whole business. Personally, I’m happy with all new announcements and I think R&D team made a good job.

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My Dynamics lectures in Serbia this fall

Just before I go on a trip to Orlando (Directions NA 2017), I want to announce something to my countrymen in Serbia. I’ll have two sessions on Sinergija 2017 conference in Belgrade. Sinergija will be held at October 25th – 27th and detailed agenda is still not known.

But my sessions will be the following:

  • Is the new NAV actually Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’?
  • What is Dynamics 365 for Talent?

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You can register with early bird until the end of this day. If you want to attend, it is a good opportunity to register.

Contacts Photos in NAV as Cognitive Service

I’ve just wrote a post about Image Analyzer in NAV as Cognitive Service and recognizing attributes for Item, but now I’ll write about second part of using cognitive services in NAV and D365 for Financials. Now I’ll show you how it works with people photos. This feature works on the Contact Card.

When you create new contact and upload contact’s photo, you will notice notification that you can see result of the image analysis on the Profile Questionnaire Fast tab.

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I tried it with one of my photos and you can see result. System recognized my gender, but ages… 😊 System thinks I am 50 (just for the record, I’m 45 😊). I tried with a few different photos and unfortunately, system found my ages between 48 and 51. I don’t know if this is problem with system or with me 😊.

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OK, I tried with some other people and for example, my 25 years old sun has mostly 29, based on Image Analyzer (gender was OK again). My wife is female (thanks god 😊) and 7-8 years younger…

OK, I can conclude that gender recognition is 100% correct, but with ages – so, so. If we can accept 5-6 year more or less, it is OK. But mostly, we can use this age recognizer just as some nice funny reminder. And yes, I’ve tried with picture of my dog 😊… system took a time, but it could find anything (no gender, no ages 😊).

And, just not to forget… if you already have some photos of your contacts, you can run action Analyze Picture from Action tab every time when you need it.

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And if you want to know how it added technically to currently D365 BE, you can go to Extension Management and recognize Image Analyzer App. That means, this is made as an Extension and it can give you some new ideas how you can create maybe something similar.

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And of course, I hope we will have this Extension on Dynamics NAV installation DVD.

Image Analyzer in NAV as Cognitive Service

It really sounds amazing. But if you were been at Microsoft Ignite and attended NAV/D365FOBE sessions, you already seen this service as something what we will have in the future. When I say future, I think on the future NAV version, but if we speak about D365 for Financials, you can test in now.

Now, just small introduction how it works. I’ll show this feature on Items and you will see it works fine. When you run Item Card page, you will see Analyze Picture on a Actions tab as on the following picture.

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When you start this action for the first time, you will get similar notifications as on the following screen and you just need to enable it (of course) if you want to use:

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Then, system will lead through enabling wizard. First you will see a small description about how system uses the Computer Vision API from Microsoft Cognitive Service, where you can find links with more information bout API and services… You just need to click on Next, then confirm that you understand terms of conditions and on the end – Finish (if you want to analyze this current picture, you need to check one field).

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And if you check this checkmark field, system will start with analyzing this picture. This is how it works for the first time. But you can click this Analyze Picture on each Item Card where you already have a picture.

But what if you don’t have picture? As soon as you finish with inserting picture, system will by default run this feature, and system will automatically analyze new picture. When system finish with analyzing of this picture, you will find what system recognize with confidence better then 80%.

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But you can find all detected attributes if you click on a View All Attributes. All attributes with not so good confidence will be painted in red.

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From this point, you can do a few things. First, you will see that system sometimes offer some specific option in Action to Perform. By default, system will mostly offer Ignore as option, but sometimes it is “Use as category” or “Use as attribute”. I think I don’t need to describe what it means :). Of course, you can change this option as you wish and it probably depends of what system recognized. You can also use “Add to the Item Description” for each of attributes and to create specific Item Description based on discovered attributes.

When you finish with everything you can confirm and than you need to finish with attributes. System will add as attributes and as category all attributes you decided.

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Now, I’ve showed how you can start with this feature and how to test it. But I wanted to test it little bit more. OK, it worked mostly nice with images we have in Cronus database (not with all, because you need to have clear enough pictures).

But what we will get in some production environment? I made a few tests taking the pictures for the same items from catalogue (ideal pictures) and made from my own (natural pictures). You can find 5 tests in the following charts:

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Now, you can compare these results. First, I didn’t expect good results from realistic photos, but I was really surprised. Sometimes, ideal pictures got better percentage on the most important attributes (but not so big difference), but system very often recognized better attributes on realistic photos and that means system can understand context of photos. And I got more attributes from natural photos, but of course I got a more noses in attributes list, and this is something I could expect because in real picture you don’t have only one thing on the photo.

But I can conclude that this feature is really powerful. Of course this is just first edition of this feature and this is not unmistakable tool, but it can be very helpful in the future.

Dynamics 365 Accountant Portal on a Phone

I already wrote about using Accountant Portal in Dynamics 365 for Financials. And now just imagine if you are accountant and your client call you about some very important information when you are out of office. Generally you have your phone in your pocket in almost all situation and as we know we have Dynamics NAV/365 App for iPhone, Android and WP.

Good information is that when you installed Accountant Portal extension, it is available on a Phone Client as well. And you will have the same features.

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You will see the same basic information on a Phone Client as on the Web Client. When you click on your client, you will see more detailed information on whole page. and if you want to work with your client, system will continue opening your client instance.

Because you can run it not only from Phone Client, system will offer you to open it with your App and then you can continue with standard using Phone Client and all standard features. But depends of your phone, you have a link to check if your device is supported and to download App if you already didn’t.

Very easy and absolutely in the spirit of ‘Cloud first, mobile first’.

Working with Dynamics 365 Clients from Accountant Portal

In my previous post, I’ve describer how to install and start with Accountant Portal in Dynamics 365 for Financials (…and Operation Business Edition), but now I want to continue this story.

First, when you want to add a new client, you can do it from your home page. Just click on Manage Clients action and then choose some of your existing clients or add new one clicking on New. If you want to create new one, minimum what you must to do is to add a name and Client URL, where you need to enter the URL destination for your client’s instance for your client D365 system (just basic part of URL: https://XXXXXX.financials.dynamics.com).

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When you finish it, close the page and click on Client Summary -> Redisplay All Companies, and new company will appear on your home page.

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The basic information on your home page about companies you manage are:

  • Company names
  • Cash Account Balances
  • Overdue Purchase Invoice Amounts
  • Overdue Sales Invoice Amounts

If you need more information or if you want to do something directly in one of the company, you need to click on a Company Name or on Client Summary -> Go To Client.

If you are registered user in this client database, you will open it, but if you are not, system will ask to type your new credentials. After you finish with this, new database will be opened in new window and you can continue with work.

How to start with Accountant Portal in Dynamics 365

If you have accountant agency and want to take care about a lot of clients, you can use this new feature in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Business Edition (too long name: I’ll use D365FOBE). It is really good to encourage your clients to start with Dynamics 365. After that you can use your new Accountant Portal to manage all your clients using free license for external accountants.

To do it, you need to have your own D365FOBE subscription and install this App from AppSource. Open Extension Management and go to AppSource and choose Account Portal (click on ‘Get it now’).

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When you finish installation process, you need to sign out and sign in again. Then you will be noticed that Account Portal is installed and system will ask you if you want to accept user personalization changes to enable this feature (click Yes). Then you can continue with Next and Next to start 30-days trial.

After that, you will get a different home page, where you can add new clients, choosing one of the options: Enter Clients, Manage Clients…

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Then, you need to create client and the main details. The most important field is ‘Client URL’, where you need to enter the URL destination for your client’s instance for D365FOBE. When you finish with this, you need to click on ‘Test Client URL’ actions to check if everything is OK.

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After filling other details about your client, you can close this page and see your new client on your home page.

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Here, you will see the basic clients information and you can choose to go to the client. . From this page, accountants can drill down to their clients’ specific transaction details. These were only the basic steps how to start.