NAV TechDays 2017 Recap

One day after NAV TechDays 2017 in Antwerp is finished. Again, amazing conference with 1.236 attendees this year and big thanks to Luc Van Dyck for organization of this event.

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There were a plenty of amazing sessions provided by Microsoft staff and by some well known MVPs. But I think that this NAV TechDays is marked with new NAV and Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ challenge, ie Extensions v2 in Visual Studio Code, new integration directions, new deployment models… I don’ want to write in detail about all these sessions; as I mentioned all where I was been were amazing. But soon, they will be published on mibuso official channel on YouTube and I’ll make reference on them in the next article when they will be published. And, then all of you who were not been there can see these sessions.

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But just to know, attending this conference is not just about sessions, but also networking, because you can fins 1.000+ professionals all around the world on one place.

I’m waiting the next year and November 22-23 in Antwerp (schedule these dates right now). And once more, thank to Luc, all speakers and sponsors…

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The future of NAV – a small wrap up

These days we got a lot of messages about the future of our product – Dynamics NAV. Now I’m seating in a plane and traveling to Nashville on NAVUG Summit and finally have found some time to make a small wrap up with all important things. I think now, after two Directions in North America and EMEA, picture is clearer.

Roadmap

The first thing I want to mention is roadmap of Dynamics NAV. I think it is absolutely clear that in this moment we have Dynamics NAV 2017 as ‘on prem’ and ‘on cloud ready’ solution, but as SaaS, we have Dynamics 365 for Financial and Operations Business Edition, generally based on Dynamics NAV. But this is just in this moment, because Marko Perisic announced in Madrid last week that we will have published Dynamics NAV 2018 at December 1st. This announced is mostly based on partners feedback and this is absolutely this what partners wanted. For now, SaaS solution will stay the same, with the same name and in the same countries (US, Canada and UK). But with this new NAV version, partners will get new solution and the most important, with this new NAV version they can start to use Visual Studio Code for Extensions v2. This is important because partners now can start immediately with new model of development and to be ready for the spring and new solution.

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At the spring 2018, we will finally get already announced new product – Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”, but only as cloud SaaS solution. As on-prem solution, we will get Dynamics NAV 2018 R2, but with the same code base as Dynamics 365 “Tenerife”. In this moment I don’t know a reason why we will still have the same product with the different names ‘on cloud’ and ‘on prem’. But very soon, we will continue with only one name – currently code name Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’. System will have new modern web interface, sandbox and lot of new features (more about it in another post).

And ant the spring, we will get Dynamics 365 for Sales App with less features (ex Business Edition) and Dynamics 365 for Marketing as preview. Both of these products was presented on Directions and they really look nice and rich.

New Package – New Opportunities

As I said, I don’t want to write about all new features in the future release, but what with the whole package. The main idea is to stop to implement ERP and/or CRM; but to continue to implement full business solution. This is what clients need; they don’t care what part of system it is, the just need to solve their problems and their requirements. And as the new business solution, we will have Dynamics 365 as business solution who cover most of the potential client’s needs. That means we will not sell e.g. ERP, but solution. In this solution we will see what real requirements client has and implement adequate Apps with adequate level of features. Price will depend of this, but we will don’t know prices, because of lot of changes. By my opinion, very important is that now we can combine Apps from ex Business Edition and ex Enterprise Edition. With this we will have more agility in implementation process. And of course, all of this will be integrated with Common Data Service. And even better, we can use CDS for our integrations. We can use not only Dynamics 365 Apps, but also PowerApps, Flow, Office 365, Power BI, 3th party Apps… as the same business environment.

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Conclusion

The final message is by my opinion very clear and very positive. For both partners and customers. Don’t afraid, Microsoft will not stop with this amazing product. Rebranding is not canceling. But with new name, we will get still the same powerful product, but with the great new opportunities as well.

I can write probably more, but I think this is more than enough as the first wrap up after two Directions. Future of our product is a clear.

D365 for Talent new Apps: Attract and Onboard

Microsoft recently announced new Dynamics 365 member for Human Capital Management – Dynamics 365 for Talent. I’ve already wrote about this new solution in my previous posts. On Directions NA in Orlando, we’ve seen that this SaaS App will still have an important role in new Dynamics 365 package. But now on Microsoft Ignite conference we got some new announcements related with this SaaS App.

We already knew that Talent will be integrated with LinkedIn, but now we know how. It will work using new Dynamics 365 AI solutions. This is not the first time we gave AI in Dynamics products, but this one will be really good. Based on this solution, we will have new SaaS Apps for Talent expanding:

  • Dynamics 365 for Talent: Attract
  • Dynamics 365 for Talent: Onboard

Both of them are designed for different phases of recruiting and hiring process.

The first, Attract is designed to help users to assess candidates and receive their insights and find the right candidates. With this App, as its name suggests, they can attract the right and the most qualified candidates more efficiently.

Onboard, as the name says, will make new employee onboarding process more easy, with different help in getting new hires, setting up in onboarding processes and preparing trainings for teams.

As we heard, these two SaaS Apps will be available through Dynamics 365 for Talent later this year.

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The future of AppSource

With Dynamics 365, AppSource was introduced as platform for Apps exchange. This was a place where you could find apps based on product type and industrial solution. Now we can find more and more Apps there.

But now, AppSource got a new additional reason of existing. This is not only place where you can find App. Now, you can also find a good consulting service there (and not only for D365, but also for PowerBI). You just need to choose Consulting Services and you can find a list of them:

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Or if you are located on Apps, you will also see that you can choose some of existing consulting services, related with your product.

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With these possibilities, now you can be nore close to your partners, and not only as ISV, but also as consulting implementator. With this, the way of how this kind of business works will be dramatically changed, and for all partners it will be good idea to accept this new approach as soon as possible.

If you want to publish your services, you can go to the List on AppSource and choose “Grow your business – offer your implementation services” and you can find a manual how to do it as Microsoft system integrator, because you still need to meet some conditions. But if you succeed, you can offer different consulting services in fixed scope and with a fixed duration and become well known globally with your services.

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.

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.