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Microsoft NAV Software Review


Microsoft Dynamics NAV Technology Review

The Dynamics NAV ERP software is developed (largely) on a .NET architecture, runs on a Windows operating system with MS SQL Server as the sole database and is limited to the Internet Explorer browser. Dynamics NAV is offered as either an on-premise installation or software as a service (SaaS) cloud delivery. However at this point, the cloud option is only offered through business partners with hosting platforms.

ERP software setup and configuration is relatively complex, however, aided with wizards and sequential routines. For example, a wizard allows customers to configure setup configurations such as security permissions, maintenance and auditing with role-based security features, synchronization tools, and the option to remember user and company settings. The system manager feature is part of the new role-based user interface, which can be configured specifically for each user to show all the features, tasks, reminders, and dashboards required for daily work.

The Role Tailored Client (RTC) is an effective tool to bypass software customization in favor of very flexible and role-based configuration—and should be thoroughly investigated before proceeding to more complex, risky and costly software customization. This software design tool can modify page design such as layout, structure, field sequence and field attributes.

System Integration Capabilities

Both C/ODBC and C/FRONT enable access to information from Microsoft NAV in familiar programs such as Word and Excel. C/FRONT is a tool that opens up the Microsoft NAV database and allows Microsoft Certified Business Solutions Partners to develop custom or bespoke programs with direct access to the database. There are also application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow two-way communication between Microsoft NAV and other third party software through an ODBC connection. Additionally, the Microsoft Dynamics NAV XMLport objects permit system administrators to put Dynamics NAV data into an XML format for exchange or integration purposes.

Like most ERP software systems, Dynamics NAV can deliver or consume extensible web services to permit real-time data sharing and integrate business processes across disparate business applications. The Web Services layer works with the business services layer to provide security, policy validations, defaulting, and exception management for consumers of the web services. These two tiers interact with the business logic and persistence layer within eConnect to provide scalable and reliable integration solutions.

Extensible business reporting language (XBRL) is an XML-based specification that uses accepted financial reporting standards and practices to export financial reports across financial software and technologies. Transact-SQL stored procedures is the one database language that manages the ERP software application and database and has been constructed in a way to permit financial reporting to be consumed in many languages and formats. It also enables export of financial data using XBRL, with its underlying XML-based tags, to a regulatory authority (i.e. SEC), credit institution, bank or other destination. The receiving system should import the financial information automatically, and without the need for data parsing or manual entry.

Software Customization Capabilities

Due its technology architecture, and tight integration with the Microsoft technology stack (including .NET, SQL Server, Windows Workflow Foundation, etc.), Dynamics NAV supports simple or extensive ERP software customization.

The object-oriented development environment permits organizations to make modifications on their own, potentially without extensive IT resources, because of the multiple ways the code base can be configured or customized to suit organizational needs. Several software development tools that allow for customization to the Dynamics NAV ERP software are available, namely, 1) an application builder, which allows for additional functionality to be built but does not allow access to the write-protected tables; 2) a form and page designer, which allows the creation of up to 100 forms and objects and enables the user to create new menu items; 3) a report and dataport designer, which allows access to write-protected tables, creation of new calculations and business rules, and report customization; 4) a solution developer, which allows full development control and merging of new data types and menus that can be integrated and rolled into the base ERP application; 5) a table designer, which enables organizations to customize most types of tables or reports for individual user or organizational needs; and 6) an XML port designer that allows customization to XMLport objects. For extensive software customization, Dynamics NAV source code is available for purchase.

As another option, the Advanced Management and à la carte packs allow extensions or customization of the solution based on specific organizational needs while balancing the depth of new functionality and software modification. Or another option is to implement partner solution add-ons that provide functionalities that are deficient in the base package. Many partner solutions have been developed to fill voids in the base system, add totally new feature sets for incremental purposes or deliver vertical solutions for industry specific requirements. For example, a new ERP named JustFoodERP stems from Dynamics NAV's code base and is purpose built food production, resourcing, and tracking.

Many other add-on solutions are available to accommodate advanced feature sets or vertical market needs, such as for nonprofit and non-governmental organizations (NGO), life sciences, quality management, e-commerce, sales and commissions and bonus tracking, project management, professional services automation (PSA), business intelligence (BI), enterprise performance management (EPM), product management, pricing, order and sales management, wholesale distribution, 3PL and extended logistics, nutrition, leasing/rental, financial institution-based capabilities, ETO, loan management, and heavy equipment manufacturing.

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Microsoft Dynamics NAV



Microsoft Dynamics NAV Software Review



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