Among Microsoft’s array of ERP solutions, NAV has been the enterprise accounting software of choice by distributors, manufacturers and other organizations alike. Users have come to expect Microsoft to roll out upgrades for these ERP solutions either once a year or every other year.  So for all of you NAV people on 5.0 and 2009-the time has come. NAV has been working on an upgrade since late 2013.  Soon, small and medium sized enterprises will have upgraded features in NAV that will arm them with the tools to move forward in 2015.

NAV 2015

The Microsoft Dynamics NAV team has been hard at work to not only make the ERP solution simpler to use but also to have multi-tenancy and multi-platform capabilities. During the Convergence 2014 presentation in March, Microsoft committed to shipping yearly releases for NAV, beginning with NAV 2015. Also christened “Crete”, the NAV 2015 is expected to undergo partner testing in June and launches in beta for businesses in September.

While Dynamics AX R3 got all the hype for its new capabilities, the NAV 2015 also promises to be packed with a couple of upgrades that will improve business agility among SMBs.

NAV 2015 is built to create a uniform experience across devices. For example, when operating on mobile and other portable devices, it can adjust as a user tilts the device. However, Crete’s main emphasis is on Power Business Intelligence (BI), integration with Office 365 and document reporting.

NAV 2015 Business Intelligence

Big data plays an important role among organizations by enabling them to put the customer at the center of the universe- with central access to customers, suppliers, sales cycles, inventories and other pertinent business processes.  With Big Data becoming not only an advantage-but a necessity for Manufacturers and Distributors competing in the SMB space-it is becoming crucial to capitalize on big data sooner, than later. However, despite the importance and potential of big data, very few organizations are using it to their benefits. It’s estimated that 85% of businesses do not have the capability to harness the power of big data for their operations.

With Crete, Microsoft is focused on helping small businesses tap the full potential of big data insights in their critical business processes. Through Power BI, Crete users will be able to use common tools such as SharePoint, Excel and mobile devices. Some of the key features in the Power BI module include:

i) Power Query – This feature will enable users to access data from public and corporate data sources.

ii) Power Pivot – This module extends the capability of Excel by adding key Performance Indicators (KPIs), hierarchies, custom measures and relationships. Pivot’s in-built memory can store generated models, hence enabling users to analyze millions of data fast.

iii) Power View – Provides interactive views of Excel data or reports in form of charts and graphs for easy understanding.

iv) Power Map – Enables end users to integrate Excel with geospatial data to create a 3D map experience.

Power BI will also be accessible through Windows 8 app-enabled phones, iOS and Android devices.

Apart from introducing new features, Microsoft is also working on technological innovation that will make it less expensive for users to upgrade to NAV 2015 and subsequent versions. Any upgrades after NAV 2015 will be easier to carry out. Users will not feel a big technological shift like has been in the case before.

The Crete is expected to be a major NAV upgrade. After launching Crete, the NAV team will focus more on supporting applications.

Microsoft believes that small businesses also need agile solutions that will solve their problems just like the big companies. Crete will solve many of the problems SMBs face in their daily operations. Crete is poised to have powerful enterprise-comparable features that are quick to deploy and easy to implement.