Microsoft’s latest release of Dynamics NAV, released October 24th features a number of new productivity enhancements in the ways NAV interacts with Outlook and Excel. MSDynamicsWorld.com’s editor Jason Gumpert recently reviewed a few (note: free subscription required) and we’ll share today what he had to say about them.
For starters, he notes:
NAV’s integration, via an Outlook add-in, adds an extra pane alongside regular email content that will render the relevant NAV page interfaces (based on the NAV web client) in context. So a user can view data related to a contact, order, quote, or vendor in the context of an email from one of those parties and to take the next relevant action with bi-directional accuracy.
The second key interface mechanism is the “Document link” link or mechanism that shows up in Outlook on both emails and meeting invitations when the NAV add-in for Outlook detects the mention of a NAV document in a communication. Clicking on that “Document link” action just above an email brings the NAV content into full view, and the user can work on it (i.e., update the details of a quote) from within Outlook.
When an email from a vendor is received in Outlook, NAV tries to identify any invoice that has been received and store that as an incoming document that can then be processed by the default OCR service (an add-in from Lexmark) and submitted to NAV as an invoice.
Now also, if you utilize NAV’s CRM functionality, emails from your sales contacts can be recognized by Outlook as existing contacts, or added to an account if they are not otherwise recognized. There are some limits here (for example, it doesn’t track and store email interaction with the contact for others in your organization to see historically), but it’s a nice addition nonetheless.
The new Outlook add-in for NAV has a feature where it will look for patterns of data, for example words like “sales order” followed by a number that follows a sequence in NAV. If the add-in thinks it may have a match in NAV, it will show that “document link” in Outlook.
There are workflow enhancements as well. Email notifications in NAV now tie in with document links. An invoice approval process can now be kicked off with a button-click. The approver can then send the full invoice and simply approve it from within Outlook.
NAV’s jobs functionality now integrates with the Outlook calendar. Here’s how Gumpert describes it:
Job planning lines can be managed in Outlook as meeting requests to track the job details like location and assignment, but also the allotted time. The worker assigned that job can then follow up with the actual time spent and submit that back from the meeting request so that NAV can finalize the job’s planning line and use it to create an invoice. The add-in also provides duplicate checking and sends a notification to warn a user creating an invoice against a job if another invoice for that customer is already in work.
The new Outlook integration works with both the desktop and the web client. While not there yet, the NAV mobile app will likely soon begin supporting such add-ins as well.
Our post on just the Outlook integration took so long here, we’ll have to devote a second post to the new Excel and Office 365 integration points… so stay tuned, and we’ll go there in our next post.