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Directions EMEA is an independent conference for Microsoft Dynamics partners, with a focus on the SME market was held in Madrid last week (from October 4 – 6).
The event saw a number of announcements and seminars in front of a gathering of the largest community of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) partners.
Here’s the pick of highlights from this year’s event:
At the Directions North America event Alysa Taylor, general manager of Business Apps & Strategy, announced a simplification of the Dynamics 365 business model.
From spring of next year Dynamics 365 applications will be offered as a single solution. Instead of having a Business and Enterprise Edition, customers will be able to choose different price points for different lines of business applications, whether they need functionality for Marketing, Sales, Finance, Service, Operations or Talent.
A new cloud-based version of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations will bring the full capabilities of Dynamics NAV with the solutions currently being code-named ‘Tenerife’.
There was a lot of discussion surrounding the future of NAV following Directions North America and Taylor’s blogged announcement.
Whatever it is eventually named, it seems the cloud-based Tenerife will be a main focus, but it was also confirmed at Directions EMEA that NAV 2018 will still be released on December 1 of this year, with a follow-up in the spring. Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL will also continue to be available.
For the near future at least, then, NAV will still be available on-premises and with a number of updates. There will be new tools allowing users to make customisations from within the client before releasing them as an extension. PowerApps can be used to create apps with minimal technical knowledge required.
There will also be a number of functionality updates, based mainly on integration, intelligence and automation. For example Flow can be used to monitor a status and trigger an event, such as reordering when stocks are low or sending customers automated updates. AI can be used to locate pictures or complete questionnaires.
With Power BI usage becoming more widespread, there have been a wide range of integration updates designed to provide a more structured approach to embedding Power BI reports into NAV and Office 365.
Although its been possible to integrate Dynamics 365 and NAV for a while, this has been simplified further with the latest update providing assisted setups for most of its 6-step process.
This improved integration also brings updated coupling with customer cards and a number of new and returning features, including item availability for the purpose of quoting.
Much has been written about Dynamics 365 for Sales being a bit too complicated in its implementation. With this in mind Microsoft has taken steps to address this with a number of pre-packaged process flows added to the sales app solution. These process flows can also be fully customised.
A number of new features have also been introduced, including the ability to detect sales leads from emails, more general email text extraction and a relationship assistant.
The dashboard will now provide a better experience, with full integration with Excel allowing self-service analytics. A responsive design will allow users to switch between devices, including mobile, providing a more flexible and agile experience.
It's never a quiet time in the Dynamics team at Microsoft! However with the above changes, deeper integration with LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing on the horizon we are all looking forward to the next few months.
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