The most important NAV events in 2018

We’ve just finished amazing NAVUG Summit in Nashville and got all confirmation about NAV future as SaaS and on-prem options. But in this period we can start to make a plan for the next year about the most important events, because almost all of them are already announced.

First in the spring 2018, we will have Directions Asia in Bangkok in period March 15 – 16. By my opinion, this event will be very important to attend, because Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ is planed for this spring.

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After that, one month later we will move to Europe to Summit EMEA in Dublin, Ireland in period from April 24th to 26th.

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Later this year after summer, on the fall 2018, we will have another well known conferences. First we will start with Directions NA, this time in beautiful California, in San Diego between September 30 and October 3.

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This time, NAVUG Summit will come before Directions EMEA, and it will be in October 15-18 at sunny Arizona in Phoenix.

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And on the end, one month after North America premiere, we will have Directions EMEA, this time in Hague in Netherlands. It will be held in period October 31 – November 2.

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Of course, we have one more very important – NAV TechDays, but we still don’t know when it will be the next year.

But if you want to plan all Dynamics important conferences (these four and even more), you can open my page with Dynamics conferences with all details.

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.

NAV 2018 after all

After Direction NA announcement, it was clear the next Dynamics NAV release will be known as Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ and it will be published in spring next year. But…

As we heard on Direction, actually new NAV is already finished from technical perspective and probably because of partners feedback, the final decision is that we will have once more release of NAV as NAV 2018 later this year. More about it is published here in Microsoft official blog, and it is yesterday confirmed by Marko Perisic on Twitter.

But in further, this blog post still speaks more about future of Dynamics 365 as we already heard on Direction. That means we will just get new NAV in a meantime, because product is already finished. As I mentioned in my previous post, we can use this NAV release to be well prepared for the future release of Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’. In this post I made one mistake when I said we can customize NAV 2017 using extensions and VS Code; I actually thought on Dynamics 365 for Financials, but with this new NAV 2018 release, it will be possible as I said on both of these current products D365FOBE and NAV 2018.

With this approach in development, it will be very easy to transform all new implementations to new solution the next year. Because of that, the most important thing for partners is accepting extensions and VS Code.

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And I don’t know if we will get new user interface with NAV 2018. By my personal opinion – not. Probably, it will be announced with Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’, but this is just my private opinion. For more details, we need to wait R&D team.

New UX in NAV (Dynamics 365 Tenerife)

After first Keynote on Directions NA, we got a very exciting news about rebranding of our products and about their common future as Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’. In my previous post, I wanted to announce only the most important news and later write a more detailed. But in a meantime, Waldo wrote a post with perfect explained all these details and I’ll just give you URL to this post instead of writing the same text.

Before I start with other exciting news from the second Keynote part, first I want to share details when we can expect new products:

  • Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ – In preview, but GA Spring 2018
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales – In preview, but GA Spring 2018
  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing – In preview

Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL will continue as for now with the same name and we will get new versions this year at Q4.

But now, what we have more about new future release. OK we will get a lot of new features, but on the first sight, new UX will be the first what we can see and just to say my personal opinion – It is the great work. We will get complete rendered web client (probably Tablet and Phone and the same time, I’m not sure). Now when you compare all Dynamics 365 clients, there are all almost the same. This is the point, we don’t want to speak about specific different solutions, we want to speak only about Dynamics 365 as a product; and of course, we will run only these Apps we need:

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Now, I can just share some first pictures of the new client to see how it looks like. When we run Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’, we can see new refreshed role center with very interesting ordered information:

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Then in further, when we slightly go down, we can see more tiles and Power BI charts:

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If we click on some tile, we can get very first sight to the most important information in beautiful interface:

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The list pages are very similar as in old client, but without fact boxes. These information will be available on a different place, but by my opinion on much better place:

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And on the end, cards are little bit different with the most important information on the top of card:

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I really like this new interface and I cannot wait to make more tests with this.

New NAV will be Dynamics 365 Tenerife

The first day of Direction NA has just started and Keynote has just finished. The event is the biggest ever with 774 attendees. We heard a lot of news about our product(s). The most important announcement is:

  • The future Dynamics NAV release will be Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ on-premises;
  • The future Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Business Edition release will be Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’ on cloud.

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That means, we will continue with ‘AND’ story. The main goal will be ‘on cloud’, but if we need we can continue to work with ‘on prem’. But, both of these products will be the same – a full NAV.

But there are more news, especially about ‘on cloud’ story. In the future release, we can provide customer oriented customizations in our SaaS solution, we can run Sandbox environment, our services can be offered… All of this is very exciting and we can find a lot of opportunities, especially in integrations with other products.

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This is not all with details. This is just the first basic review of news. There will be more news soon.

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.

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.