The different ways you can get information out from the data in Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision)

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is part of Microsoft Business Solutions family and is growing force in the mid-market space of ERP applications. It has many options for reporting:

  • Built-in Dynamics NAV report designer – Microsoft Dynamics NAV has always had its own report designer, which requires an in-depth knowledge of C/SIDE (Client/Server Integrated Development Environment) to make it useful and has been the trusted friend of veteran Navision developers. It is definitely the most robust report writer you can use with Dynamics NAV. It might not be as fancy and user friendly as the reporting options described below, but it makes it up in versatility and straight down to business engineering. In NAV 2009, from the Classic client, you can view reports in the Classic report layout and from the RTC (RoleTailored Client) you can view reports in either Classic report layout or the Client Report Definition (RDLC) report layout. An RDLC file is a file with an .rdlc extension that is created by Visual Studio Report Designer and stores the layout information for the report. Classic reports support to be discontinued in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 7.
  • RDLC Reports – You use both Report Designer in the Classic client and Visual Studio Report Designer to create RDLC report layouts for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009. Anything that you want to appear in the Visual Studio designer must appear on the sections of the classic report, which makes creating a new reports a bit longer and tougher than if you were to create the same report in the Classic report designer. When you run an RTC report, the dataset is generated by the classic report and is passed to the RDL layout for formatting. RDLC report layouts provide some new features that are not available in Classic client report layouts, for example, charts with 3D effects, images and colors, dynamic sort by different columns in a table. One of the big benefits of RTC reports – you can save straight to Excel or PDF.

  • Dynamics NAV Analysis Views – Use Analysis Views to investigate relationships and monitor performance; Gather and view posted G/L entries for immediate analysis by attributing characteristics to the information you record in your daily work; Make general analysis much easier to understand by compressing analysis view entries so you see only totals (based on a vast number of G/L entries); Sort and gather all G/L entries with at least one of up to four dimensions specified for each analysis view.
  • Jet Report Express for Microsoft Dynamics NAV – Jet Report Express for Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a business reporting tool that gives users an easy and simple way to create high impact reports. Within a familiar Microsoft Excel environment, users will be able to access and merge Microsoft Dynamics NAV data and utilize all of the Microsoft Excel capabilities, such as Power Pivot, formatting, charting and Pivot Tables, to create powerful, insightful and well-formatted reports – quickly and easily. Jet Report Express for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 or later is available as new functionality for new and existing Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers who are on an active Business Ready Enhancement Plan.
  • Jet Reports – Jet Reports is a very good and complete reporting tool for generating quick reports in Microsoft Excel environment. Perhaps, with this tool, we won’t need RDLC anymore to generate quick reports for the end users. Jet Report is also very trainable to the end users. And you turn this data into powerful, well-formatted reports using all the Excel functions, graphing and formatting. The only drawback with Jet Reports is that for complex and reports with a lot of data, it’s slow and consumes a lot of resources. For more complex reports, we still prefer RDLC.
  • Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services – SQL Server Reporting Services provides a full range of ready-to-use tools and services to help you create, deploy, and manage reports for your organization, as well as programming features that enable you to extend and customize your reporting functionality. Reporting Services is a server-based reporting platform that provides comprehensive reporting functionality for a variety of data sources. Reporting Services includes a complete set of tools for you to create, manage, and deliver reports, and APIs that enable developers to integrate or extend data and report processing in custom applications. Reporting Services tools work within the Microsoft Visual Studio environment and are fully integrated with SQL Server tools and components.
  • Sharepoint – You can integrate your reporting environment with SharePoint to experience the benefits of using the collaborative environment provided by SharePoint sites. Display your NAV data in SharePoint!
  • Crystal Reports – Crystal Reports is widely recognized across many ERPs and uses C/ODBC to create a connection to the NAV database needed for report generation. Since it is relatively ERP independent, it does not take advantage of the CalcFields or flow fields within NAV.
  • Your Favorite tool – You can use your favorite tool to examine your data from Microsoft Dynamics NAV. This can be MS Excel, MS Access, Your favorite BI tool that uses MS SQL server Analysis services or any combination of the above methods.

As you can see there are a variety of ways to do this.  And still more tools such as business analytics tools like Targit, Tableau or Qlikview. Talk with us to find out the best tool for your specific requirements and situation.