Dynamics NAV 5.00 first impressions.

Well as you read form Kamil Saceks Blog, http://dynamicsusers.org/blogs/kine/default.aspx we now have 5.00 to start testing, and to Blog about. I am going to look for now from the End User perspective, and leave the fun techie stuff to Kamil.

NOTE! If you are interested in 5.00, then please add a comment to this Blog, that way I will know which areas to concentrate on.

For me the most interesting things in 5.00 from the first "demo" I saw was the Excel and Word Export functions, but getting into it, the big thing in 5.00 is costing. I will write more detail about each of these features later, but for now a quick round up of what's new at first glance.

Export to Word and Excel.
The first time I saw this, I though that this I some how got the impression that it was Table based. But its not, the templates are based on Forms and Reports, (though Reports are not yet active, so that might just be advance prep for 5.1). If there is not template, then Export to Excel creates an Excel Sheet for every Tab, SubForm or Frame on the form. The data copied across respects the layout sorting filtering etc of the form. So even without creating a template (which looks like a nightmare, but lets wait for Kamil to go into the technical side of that), you could create a form that some how represents the Excel spread sheet you want. Word on the other hand creates a table for each Tab, SubForm and Frame, and is not as neat.

Inventory Costing.
For long time Navision users this is going to be a "well finally" type thing. You can now create an Inventory Worksheet, something like account schedules, that allow you to view, reconcile, adjust, and  post inventory costs to the GL. I have written similar functionality, but specific to clients' needs, as I am sure many others of you have, but this is nice to finally have a generic solution.

This comes with Inventory periods, which look like a work in progress, since they seem to lack a few critical things, such as : Relation to Normal Accounting periods; Ability to perform true date based Standard costing, Average costing by period by location. And I am sure there are more things as I look deeper.

But I have to say that this is probably the biggest step forward in making inventory costing visible to Navision users ever.

License tracking.

This is an odd one. License agreements, and acceptance (the tick box when you install) are now stored in the database. This looks like it is incomplete, but I would not be surprised to see in 5.1 that you need to be logged onto the internet to create a new database.

I also noticed a few things in the license agreement. There is mention of "Named Users". This is quite separate from the normal concurrent users. This may be a country specific thing, and maybe in some countries you can purchase Named Users instead of concurrent users. The other was Multiplexers. You are not allowed to channel multiple users though one login, or at least if you do, then you need to buy the appropriate number of users. I am not a lawyer, but I guess this will have implications for applications such as : POS, retail and cash register systems; Shipping systems that interface to say FedEx or UPS; Bar coding and scanning servers; and even some web interfaces.

This at first impression looks like there are some big changes, but I need to look closer to see if its not just a clean up.

The first thing you notice, is that Phase, Tasks Steps and Budgets are gone, and replaced with Task Planning.

SMTP Mail.

You now have built in SMTP support, so mail sending should be a lot easier.

This is an enhancement to Sales Release process, and allows you to implement a rudimentary work flow process. At first glance it looks pretty basic, but since it uses 14 new tables, it needs a further look.

Job Scheduler --> Job Queue.
The Job Scheduler has gone, and is now replaced with the Job Queue. I guess there could be two reasons for this, first so that it can be sold as a granule without having to purchase Service, and second it was never really finished anyway. The old Job Scheduler simly came in as an Add-On that Microsoft aquired, so I assume they felt it time for a clean up.

Map point Integration.
This really is much like the integration to UPS and FedEx package tracking, except it can give directions between points. I would have expected some buttons on  the Sales Order or Shipment Cards, but I have not found them yet.

Outlook integration.
This again is one of the big things. I have not looked at it at all, but I do know that the big news is that you can now do a partial synchronize, rather than having to sync everything every time. If you integrate Outlook to Dynamics NAV, then this alone will probably be the reason that you upgrade.

Item Tracing.
This is a new feature that allows you to trace Tracked items through the system. There is no data setup in Cronus, so I will need to post some entries to find out exactly how it works, but it does seem to show where Serial and Lot numbers have been used.

There are also a couple of new tables for tracking in Manufacturing, so I would assume there has been some Tracking clean up done.

There are also some more minor table changes, such as Smart tag setup is now gone, and some notification changes, but more later on these.

So let me know what you are most interested in, and I will review that functionality first.

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