Understanding Microsoft Dynamics Navision: A Comprehensive Guide

on Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Task Management Tool • December 17th, 2021

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Microsoft seems to be going heavy on with its Dynamics 365 plan. As most of the Microsoft commercials read- “There is something as to why 51.9 million people use Microsoft 365, and they can’t be wrong.” In their latest Earnings Release FY21 Q4, Microsoft Dynamics Products, and Cloud Services revenue recorded a 33% increase is showing no signs of slowing down.

Included in Microsoft Dynamics 365 subscription is one such product focussed on Small and Mid-Size Businesses, called Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly called Microsoft Dynamics NAV). According to a Deloitte report, more than 80% of SMBs who utilize the cloud feel it allows them to scale and grow more quickly. But why should you adopt Microsoft Dynamics NAV? Is this appealing enough to propel your company’s growth, or is it just another mediocre solution?

This guide delves into the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, as well as how Dynamics NAV can take your company’s streamlining, automation, and client interaction to a whole new level! Let’s have a look and see if it’s worth it.

Table of Contents

Navision Software: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: Triangle

The beginnings of Microsoft Dynamics Navision date back to 1984. PC&C A/S (Personal Computing and Consulting), a Danish firm, experienced enormous success with its Client/Server-based accounting tool called Navision. This was because Navision was one of the first software that allowed many users to access system information simultaneously. The success it brought prompted the company to change its name to Navision Software A/S in 1995.

When Navision was released on Microsoft Windows 95, it was a huge hit. In contrast to many of its contemporaries, Navision earned a distinct reputation among Small and Mid-sized Manufacturers/Distributors as a highly configurable and dependable product.

With Navision’s expanding success and potential future, Microsoft saw a lucrative chance to integrate it into their existing product offerings. Microsoft bought Navision Software A/S in July 2002, and Navision formed a new business of Microsoft called Microsoft Business Solutions, which also handled Microsoft CRM.

What is Microsoft Dynamics NAV?

Microsoft Dynamics Navision Software: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: AP&T Business Solutions

Shortly after Microsoft’s acquisition, Navision was rebranded as Microsoft Dynamics NAV. It was one of four major ERP systems Microsoft had acquired and renamed, which also included Dynamics AX (Axapta), Dynamics GP (Great Plains), and Dynamics SL (Solomon). Many of the existing Navision partners, including Innovia, became Microsoft Partners.

Following that, the later versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV were given new names that included more features and technologies, such as Finance, Supply Chain Management, and Business Intelligence. In 2018, Microsoft Dynamics NAV released its last version.

After that, Microsoft decided to forgo Microsoft Navision as an independent solution and choose to integrate Microsoft Dynamics NAV as one of its products in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem. Microsoft Dynamics NAV was rebranded as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and this is the name it now goes by. 

Microsoft continues to provide updates to existing users who are still limited to Microsoft Dynamics NAV and previous versions. However, it is best to switch to the most recent Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, which has easy and seamless integration with other Microsoft Cloud Services (including Office 365) and adaptation to individual needs with Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI.

Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Office integration from our another blog here- Pull In Business Advantage with Office 365 Dynamics Integration.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly Microsoft Dynamics NAV)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: Prisma Informatik

We live in a day and age where agility and innovation are the hallmarks of a resilient business. Our modern-day problems and actions require ever-ready and agile services to efficiently handle all the business operations, even in times of uncertainty.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive Business Application Solution that is designed and optimized for Small and Midsized Organizations. Dynamics 365 Business Central, formerly called Dynamics NAV is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program helping businesses manage their back-end operations easily, which keeps them running on a day-to-day basis.

As part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite, Dynamics 365 Business Central integrates deeply with Office 365 and enables you to customize your deployment with powerful productivity tools to support critical business activities such as Sales, Customer Care, Finance, Field Service, Operations, Marketing, and Project Service Automation. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central includes capabilities to successfully manage and satisfy companies’ lead management needs. Its basic management features allow you to manage:

  • Contacts
  • Interactions
  • Segments
  • Sales Opportunities
  • Marketing Campaigns, and much more.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an extremely flexible solution, easily adaptable to the needs of geographies, industries, and individual customers. Find more information on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central here – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Business Benefits of Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics Navision is a Business Management Solution for Small and Mid-size organizations that automates and streamlines business processes. It’s highly adaptable and rich with features that enable them to manage all aspects, including Finance, Manufacturing, Sales, Shipping, Project Management, Services, and more from a single canvas. Companies can easily add functionality that is relevant to the region of operation, and that is customized to support even highly specialized industries.

Overall, Microsoft 365 Dynamics Business Central assists firms in the following areas:

Scalability

With Microsoft Dynamics Navision business employees can work wherever their business takes them, with full capabilities on desktop, tablet, or mobile, on-premises or in the Cloud, across Windows, Android, and iOS devices.

Microsoft Business Central Solution can adapt to changing business needs while using cutting-edge technology, presenting itself as a modern digital business management solution suited for every purpose. 

Improved Visibility

Business growth cannot happen unless there is an accurate analysis of the current business operations. Microsoft Dynamics 365 software includes capabilities that help organizations manage their Accounting and Cash flows, Process receivables, Fixed assets, and a variety of other characteristics.

Microsoft Dynamics Navision can be used to manage several businesses from a single interface. Dynamics NAV enables organizations to get internal insight and a full view of their operations, allowing them to understand exactly where they can improve.

Single Repository

Microsoft Navision Business Central software, like data warehouses, can store customer and business data. It also acts as a single repository for operational data. As a result, various teams and top management get a clear view of things like production costs and outgoings, allowing budgets to be analyzed and re-evaluated on a regular basis to maintain spending as low as possible. 

Dynamics 365’s powerful user interface enables your employees to provide operational excellence and create more engaging client experiences.

Rapid Access to Information

One of Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s differentiators is the use of Sum Index Flow Technology or SIFT for short. SumIndexField Technology (SIFT) lets you quickly calculate the sums of numeric data type (Decimal, Integer, BigInteger, and Duration) columns in tables, even in tables with thousands of records. This allows the solution to eliminate the programming required to maintain ‘buckets’ up to date via posting operations, while also ensuring that the summarized figures on displays and reports completely relate back to the underlying information.

So, for example, if you’re using a Customer Card and see a current open invoice account balance, that figure is produced in real-time by adding up all the bills on file that haven’t been paid yet. The SIFT technology does this while causing no performance impact on the application.

Automations to Get More Done

Doing repetitive tasks on a frequent basis is a waste of time and employee bandwidth. As the number of customers and operational activities grows, so does the work. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can handle your routine tasks and automate them to save time. It can keep teams well informed of priorities, pending tasks, and upcoming project deadlines well ahead of time. 

Smart Actionable Insights

Microsoft Dynamics 365 subscription lets users avail the benefit of its AI-powered insights using rich data visualizations and dashboards. This functionality comes in through the use of Power BI, a Microsoft-owned business intelligence tool. 

You can integrate Power BI with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and get a much better idea of trends and business data through advanced detailed reporting. Discover the process of integrating Power BI Microsoft Dynamics 365 here- Power BI-Dynamics 365 Integration: Easy Steps

Enhanced Protection

Dynamics 365 protects your data and maintains compliance with identity protection. encryption, as well as role-based auditing and logging access. Microsoft assures to secure your company’s and customers’ data and gives users total control over it.

Pricing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, the next generation of Dynamics Navision offers two different licensing options to suit diverse needs:

  1. Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials: This plan includes all the essential features like unlimited user access, the ability to support unlimited companies, customization, extensibility, and stable business functionality across Finance, Supply Chain Management, Sales and Marketing, CRM, HR, and much more.
    Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials plan costs $70/user per month.
  1. Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium: This plan covers everything offered in Essentials along with support for functionality across Manufacturing and Service Management. 
    Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium plan costs $100/user per month.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Capabilities

Financial Management 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central- Financial Management: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

Microsoft Dynamics Navision interconnects all data across Accounting, Sales, Purchasing, Inventory, and Customer Transactions to create a single repository that helps make better and informed financial decisions. With the support of built-in Power BI dashboards, any team or business individual can chart their business performance, identify patterns & trends and gain new insights with in-depth analysis of where their business is headed.

Microsoft Dynamics Navision also has the ability to securely share your business performance data with accountants or third-party consulting teams. This provides firms far greater control over their budgets and cash flow, allowing them to make adjustments in a timely manner.

Furthermore, Microsoft Dynamics Navision includes a slew of other features like:

  • Support for Multiple Currencies: With Microsoft Dynamics Navision, businesses can work with customers and vendors in any number of currencies. They get the ability to use, store and adjust currency details for transactions in both local and foreign currencies.
  • Bank Account Management: Businesses can create, operate and manage multiple bank accounts to cater to diverse business needs and across different currencies. 
  • Easy Payment for Customers: By adding connections to Online Payment Services to invoices in the Business Central, Microsoft Dynamics Navision provides customers with an expedient way to submit payments.
  • Cash Flow Forecast: Using Cash Flow Forecast, your teams and accountants can forecast how your company’s liquidity will change over time.

Sales and Marketing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central- Sales and Marketing: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Contact Management and Campaign Management are two focus points of any Sales and Marketing activity. Microsoft Dynamics Navision is well equipped with all the right tools to keep track of Sales Opportunities, section your Sales Processes into different stages, log all inbound and outbound email messages, and record interactions that you have with your contacts.

With Microsoft Dynamics Navision, Sales and Marketing Representatives can shorten the time from quote to cash, act quickly on sales-related inquiries, manage service requests, and process payments—all from within the Microsoft Dynamics Navision platform. They even get to divide customers into ABC segments and target these contacts for campaigns specifically.

Other features for Sales and Marketing processes included in Microsoft Dynamics Navision include:

  • Microsoft Dynamics Sales integration: Microsoft Dynamics Navision can integrate with Dynamics 365 for Sales in a few easy steps to synchronize your data, including sales orders, item availability, units of measure, and currencies. This allows for a more efficient lead-to-cash process and enables users to make more informed decisions without switching products.
  • Bulk Invoicing from Microsoft Bookings: Sometimes creating bulk invoices can become time-consuming, which is why Microsoft Dynamics Navision supports an extension to Microsoft Bookings in Office 365 where it’s possible to do bulk invoicing for bookings. 
  • Campaign Pricing and Discounting: Microsoft Dynamics Navision platform lets employees negotiate and keep track of special agreements with individual customers, including discount structures. Campaign pricing connects sales prices and sales line discounts to sales campaigns to give special pricing and discounts to customers and contacts in campaign segments. 
  • Contact Management: Businesses get to maintain an overview of their contacts and record all their information in one place for seamless access.
  • Email Logging for Microsoft Exchange Server: Sales and Marketing Representatives can log all inbound and outbound email messages sent through Business Central or Microsoft Outlook. This can be done either manually or automated. They can also use a server-based solution with Microsoft Exchange Server to keep email messages in their natural environment and ease administration.

Project Management

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central- Project Management: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: Cloud Factory

Not only are businesses creating tons of business and customer data every day, but being able to leverage those into actionable insights to make decisions as quickly as possible has become an absolute necessity. With competitors trying to pull each other down, how can your business safeguard progress? How can you move fast in such a space? How can your business outstrip the competition? Solutions to all these challenges lie in using agile Project Management Tools like Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Microsoft Dynamics Navision helps businesses to keep track of their resources and costs. They can make a plan in their calendar system with the necessary amount of detail and for the time period required. On the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Dashboard, it is simple to monitor resource utilization and obtain a comprehensive picture of resource capacity, including availability and expected expenses on Orders and Quotations.

All of these fantastic features help organizations stay on track with their budgets. They can plan precisely and make smart decisions because they have real-time visibility into project status, profitability, and resource utilization indicators.

Microsoft Dynamics Navision for Project Management also includes the following features:

  • Include Multiple Costs: Organizations can manage alternative costs for resources and resource groupings. These expenses can be fixed, depending on a percentage, or supplied as a separate fixed payment.
  • Time Sheet: The Time Sheet feature in Microsoft Dynamics NAV records employee time spent and obtains management permission using the easy and versatile Time Sheet. Time Sheet may be used in conjunction with Service and Project Management and can incorporate resources.
  • Jobs: Businesses may maintain track of job utilization and data for billing customers. They can manage fixed-price jobs as well as time-and-materials tasks smoothly.
  • Intrastat Reporting: Businesses can automatically retrieve the information required to report Intrastat data to statistics authorities. Local customs officials can tell you if your firm is required to file such a report.
  • Outlook Integration: Using Microsoft’s seamless interface, you can sync your To-do items and contacts with your meetings, tasks, and contacts in Outlook.

Human Resources

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central- HR Management: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics Navision comes with in-built capabilities to group, track and organize employee information such as employment contacts, experience, skills, education, training, qualifications, and confidential information. 

Human resource professionals may create an attendance system within the dashboard to track employee absences and evaluate them as needed. There is also an option to record and reimburse employees’ expenses, which gets counted against their employee cards.

Supply Chain Management

Every successful organization requires a comprehensive perspective of its supply chain, complete with integrated data, business analytics, and oversight. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, businesses can effortlessly manage sales, orders, blanket sales orders, and sales order processes. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central allows you to manage inventory across many locations, such as a manufacturing facility, distribution center, warehouse, showroom, retail store, or service vehicle. It houses intelligent tools to generate optimal

suggestions for replenishing inventory transfers based on the item’s current and future demand and availability. These tools can also check on a variety of planning parameters, such as minimum and maximum quantities and reorder quantities. 

Some of the prominent features in Microsoft Dynamics Navision Supply Chain Management include:

  • Demand Forecasting: Businesses can manage demand forecasting based on items in a more convenient way (daily, monthly, quarterly). Using demand forecasts, they can create production and purchase orders that consider the demand forecast, available inventory and plan requirements.
  • Sales and Inventory Forecasting: Microsoft Dynamics Navision gives businesses deep insight into potential sales and a clear overview of expected stock-outs by using the Sales and Inventory Forecast extension. 
  • Order Promising: This helps businesses maintain better relationships with their customers. Based on an item’s present and future availability, businesses may guarantee correct order shipment and delivery dates. When things are not available to meet a customer’s specified delivery date, the earliest shipping date can be calculated as either an available-to-promise date based on forthcoming uncommitted supply or a capable-to-promise date, which is when items can become available.
  • Drop Shipments: Orders that ship straight from the vendor to the client can be handled by businesses without the need to physically stock things in their inventory. Microsoft Dynamics Navision helps them keep an eye on their order expenses and earnings.

Business Central Capabilities Included in Premium Licensing

Service Order Management

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central- Service Order Management: Microsoft Dynamics Navision
Image Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Customer service of the highest caliber sets a different tone to the business in which you operate. The Customer Service Experience is an important factor that every top organization examines. Because poor experiences propagate far quicker on the Internet, branding this Customer Service Experience has become almost as crucial as having it.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides the best comprehensive system with a high degree of business information at a moderate cost. The tools in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are designed to support repair shop and field service operations and can be used in business scenarios such as complex Customer Service Distribution Systems and Industrial Service Environments with bills of materials, and high volume dispatching of service technicians. 

Additional features included in Service Order Management are:

  • Warehouse Efficiency: This feature gives businesses a holistic view of inventory for efficient order fulfillment. Businesses can track every item transaction and movement by setting up bins based on warehouse layout and storage unit dimensions.
  • Service Item Management: With this businesses can record and keep track of all their service items, including contract information, component management, BOM reference, and warranty information.
  • Dispatching: Companies can manage service staff and field technician information, filtering it based on availability, skills, and stock items.
  • Optimize Manufacturing Capacity: To enhance production schedules and satisfy customer requests, Microsoft Dynamics Navision helps calculate and optimize manufacturing capacity and resources.

Manufacturing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central allows users to integrate, streamline and manage every aspect of their manufacturing process including planning, scheduling, inventory, distribution, and financial management. Users can add capacities (work centers) to the manufacturing process. They can set up routings for production orders and material requirements planning along with a task list for the capacities.

More features included in this setup are:

  • Estimates: Manufacturing businesses can monitor resource usage and get a complete overview of their capacity for each resource with information about availability and planned costs on orders and quotes.
  • Subcontracting: This feature allows manufacturing companies to send raw materials, unfinished goods, or partially finished goods for further processing elsewhere.
  • Support for Multiple languages: Companies can switch languages on the client in real-time provided that the desired language is available.
  • Machine Centers: Manufacturers can add machine centers as capacities in the manufacturing process. They can manage capacity for each machine or production resource on a detailed level for machine centers, and on a consolidated level for work centers.

Conclusion

To summarise, this blog post provided a wealth of information about Microsoft Dynamics Navision or NAV, including a brief history of how the Navision software began, how it progressed, and what current features it provides to various businesses.

Microsoft has released a new massive October 2021 update for its Dynamics 365 platform with a whole lot of improved features and tools to allow collaboration and business functioning in a smooth and seamless fashion. The Dynamics update brings immense business value to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central by enabling access to all the features from the portal, giving you a complete modern maker experience.

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