Join Our Launch Event Showcasing The New Dynamics AX

Launch Event Showcasing The New Dynamics AX

Join Clients First Texas as we are hosting a launch event on the new Microsoft Dynamics AX on March 8th or 9th, 2016.  Discover the new features of this powerful business technology written entirely written in HTML 5 with a code upgrade, that is a true Cloud ERP Offering.  This will allow Dynamics AX to be used across any internet enabled device.

Learn how Microsoft Dynamics AX can help you increase the speed of doing business.

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NAV Resources Every IT Manager Should Have For Performance Optimization

Dynamics NAV Process Improvement BlogsWhile it is commonplace for Clients First to write about Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s functionality, and useful tips, a community of Dynamics NAV MVP’s exists that we wanted to share.  They deliver content on Dynamics NAV performance optimization, and troubleshooting.   Read more

Attend NAVUG Summit 2015 in Reno-Tahoe, NV | Oct 13-16

Photo of happy business people applauding at conference, focus on smiling female

Join Clients First and your Microsoft Dynamics® NAV peers, including Microsoft MVPs subject matter experts, and Microsoft staff at this year’s NAVUG Summit event taking place October 13-16 at the Reno Convention Center located in Reno-Tahoe, Nevada.

As a gold sponsor, Clients First is thrilled to contribute to such a valuable event for Dynamics NAV users. Here’s what you need to know To Go ALL IN at NAVUG Summit 2015: Read more

Cloud ERP Software

SMB Guide to the Cloud

Most organizations are witnessing an explosion of data generated through social media, emails, forums, and instant messaging. For a company, visualizing, sorting, and analyzing all the data it receives every day is a task of Herculean proportions. Yet, many companies, including small and midsize businesses (SMBs), successfully manage a huge amount of data relating to customers, markets, trends, and business operations.  Many SMBs are able to leverage the cloud and manage their data and let IT focus on moving business forward.  The whitepaper ‘The Cloud for Insights’ provides ideas, terminology, and a lot more can help your business connect the cloud dots.  Download this document for free:  The Cloud for Insights_SMB eBook. Read more

Dynamics NAV 110,000 Customers and Counting

With Microsoft Dynamics NAV now being utilized by more than 110,000 small and mid-sized businesses and organizations worldwide, the time couldn’t be better for the latest update offering, coinciding with the new release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015. Designed with the purpose of helping these companies increase their productivity while reducing the costs and complexities associated with growing a business to its potential, business owners/managers are given simple-to-set-up and easy-to-use tools to help them optimize their business processes. Read more

How Many Companies Use Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV?

One of the questions that organizations looking to transition or upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX or NAV ask is how many organizations use the ERPs.  Data released from the recent Convergence 2015 conference shows that Microsoft NAV is the most popular Dynamics product. In fact, Dynamics NAV has more than double the total customers of the next most popular ERP. Read more

ERP System Cost

What Does An ERP System Cost?

When we talk about ERP implementations, one of the most important things is setting up the budget. Whether you opt for a system upgrade or for a new implementation, forecasting your project budget is impossible without knowing the costs associated with each phase of the project. In fact, estimating the total cost isn’t easy, even if you anticipate costs accurately. That’s because costs can vary greatly according to the solution selected, unique requirements, third-party software, and size of company.

How Much Does a Typical ERP System Cost?

According to a recent report from Panorama Consulting, companies have invested more than $6.5 million in ERP solutions between 2010 and 2013. Although the survey participants vary in industry, size, location, and needs, all of them admitted that ERP implementation costs have been affected by several factors, as follows:

ERP System Cost

Software License
Most ERP solutions come with software license fees, which must be paid before system implementation. Software costs are often divided according to “Tiers”. For instance, Tier 1 delivers the most powerful ERP systems, which serve the needs of large enterprises. The ERP systems categorized as Tier 2 and 3 have a tighter focus, being appropriate for small- and mid-sized companies. Within the same category, ERP software prices are competitive. If you’re considering a Tier 2 solution, for example, the cost will be remarkably similar to that of other systems in the same Tier.

Service and Infrastructure
Implementation services, maintenance, and infrastructure define three important components that impact the total ERP system cost. To begin with, your organization must consider how much support it needs for implementing the system. If you have in-house IT staff or a third-party IT consultant, it’s essential that you talk with the person who will manage your ERP project to ensure that he or she has the necessary knowledge, skill, and experience not only to install the system, but also to customize it to fit your organization’s needs.

On the other hand, if you enlist the services of the vendor providing the ERP solution, implementation costs will probably cover consulting, planning, installation, custom development, training, testing, maintenance, and any additional changes your organization may need in the future in order to operate optimally. Infrastructure costs relate to the equipment your company may need to purchase, such as new servers, workstations, etc.

Third-Party Software
Many ERP solutions propose third-party software products to extend ERP system functionality. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics products can be complemented with a series of add-ons to create documents and reports, perform custom data extractions, and generate barcode labels.

As a general rule, software, including third-party products, represents about 30 percent of the total ERP costs, while infrastructure is another 20 percent. This means that the remaining 50 percent usually goes for consulting, implementation, training, and maintenance.

The functions and modules your organization needs to operate efficiently will affect the overall ERP system cost. While basic functionality, typically including between 30 and 50 applications, may be appropriate for a small company, a large enterprise may need hundreds of applications. As expected, additional modules and features will drive up the total project cost. Therefore, it’s critical that you carefully assess all of your business areas to avoid investing in unneeded functionality.

Type of Company
Not only large organizations require more complexity, but also they have a higher number of users. An essential aspect is that most ERP solutions are priced on a per user basis. How much can you expect to pay per user? Rough estimates indicate anywhere from $1,500 up to $4,500. Yes, that much. To give you an idea of how much your organization may pay for an ERP system, you should know that prices range between $15,000 for basic ERP functionality, including 5 concurrent users, to as much as $200,000 for a complex ERP solution, with dozens of users. It’s important to know that these figures don’t include significant customization.

Occasionally, major industry players offer exclusive promotions to allow companies to get advanced ERP solutions for less. As an example, Microsoft has recently launched “Give Me 5” and “Get 3 More 4 Less” Dynamics NAV promotions, which imply a much lower ERP system cost. Both promotions are valid through December 27, 2014.

Cost Of ERP

Jet Reports for Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Jet Reports is a smart reporting tool, which offers non-technical Dynamics NAV users the opportunity to create various reports based on Excel, Word, and Dynamics NAV data. The solution interconnects multiple functions with different areas of your database to allow you to develop, schedule, update, and distribute reports according to your organization’s needs. This way, Jet puts complex, end-to-end reporting at your fingertips.

dynamics NAV

The Benefits of Using Jet Reports

In a nutshell, management can use this reporting tool to view and analyze key performance metrics in real time, track profit and loss by department, create sales and budget forecasts, compare income to predictions, automatically update information in real time or on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, build product sheets based on specifications, and much more. As you can see, this add-on can help companies manage a variety of business areas, besides reporting. But more important is that it provides a series of advantages, such as:

  • A Short Learning Curve – Jet proposes some simple features, similar to Microsoft Word and Excel’s layouts, fields, dimensions, formatting, charting, formulas, pivot tables, etc. Thus, anyone who knows how to use Excel and Word – and who doesn’t? – can learn everything about this tool within days. Furthermore, any employee can use Jet to create a variety of reports without cutting and pasting data, and more important, without IT assistance. New functionality included in Dynamics NAV also enables users to import reports from Jet and run them directly from the NAV client. Another notable point is that the product is easy to install and connect to NAV.
  • Unplanned Reporting – Getting up-to-the-minute information is critical for any company, be it large or small. Since Jet Reports reads directly from the database, it can create ad-hoc reports that provide prompt, relevant answers to very specific, mission-critical queries. You can also make last-minute changes in Excel and Word documents, access different dimensions within your NAV database, slice and dice data the way you want, and then use Jet to generate comprehensive reports. Additional features included in the application – such as the GL reporting function, which lets you retrieve credit, debit, and budget balance information from the general ledger account in Dynamics NAV – can be used to combine multiple reports into single documents.
  • Flexible Templates – With this tool, employees can personalize templates and documents by adding company logos, modifying fonts, changing fields, etc. Providing more than 20 templates and giving users the opportunity to change the layout according to their needs and preferences, Jet makes it easier for employees to understand company reports, which will positively impact your overall activity. Moreover, the templates included in this application reveal the best uses of standard Excel and Word functionality that many users might be unaware of.
  • Integrated Customization – From Word and Excel capabilities to sales and marketing reporting, you can access all business data within a flexible, familiar environment. Besides grouping records according to specific criteria and selecting the type of data you want to receive, you can set up the application to send reports in different formats.
  • Advanced Security – Jet Reports is configured by default to comply with standard security features in Dynamics NAV. Just like Dynamics NAV, the application allows authorized users to access and manage data according to their roles.
  • Multiple Languages – As soon as you install and activate the add-on, you no longer have to worry about translation. You can have any of your reports translated in different languages, including French, German, Dutch, Spanish, etc., with just a few clicks.
  • Flexible Licensing Model – Jet is available in three different versions: Express, which is free, Essentials, and Enterprise. Since the Express version doesn’t include a license, you can install it on as many computers as you like.

Unlike other Business Intelligence solutions that aren’t only very expensive, but also quite cumbersome to use, Jet combined with Dynamics NAV offers a reliable tool, which delivers critical business information in a succinct form, exactly when you need it. In conclusion, Jet Reports is one of the best applications leaders can use to gain more insight into business processes and run operations more efficiently.

NAV 2015

Scheduling Reports in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015

Running and scheduling reports in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 has been enhanced and is now easier.

NAV 2015 now supports full integration with Microsoft Word. This means users can use MS Word to create and manage report layouts in the ERP. Other things made possible with the integration include capability to change font type, size, color, style, etc. in reports as well as schedule document reporting tasks.

Since most people are familiar with MS Word, this integration simplifies the task of creating reports.

NAV 2015

Through NAV’s report scheduling option, users can run reports at custom intervals. When a report is run, the report scheduler executes the action in the NAV server and outputs the report in Excel, Word or PDF format.

Here is an overview of how you can use the report scheduler:

  • Configure resource intensive reports to be run when the server is not busy
  • Run reports on the NAV server instead of the client.
  • Save your reports in the format you desire

The options available when printing a report from a client are also available when scheduling a report. You can also indicate when the scheduling should be done. If no option is selected, scheduling will start immediately.

The job queue in NAV 2015 is useful for scheduling lots of tasks that need to be executed automatically and regularly. When you want to schedule a job, the system will warn you if a job queue is not running on the middle tier.

How to Configure the Report Scheduler in NAV 2015

Follow the steps below on MS Dynamics NAV 2015’s main menu:

  • Click Departments, choose Administration and from the ensuing menu, select Application Setup
  • Next, click on Job Queue and open the Job Category List
  • Click New to setup a new Job Queue Category
  • Next, navigate to and click Departments, choose Administration and from the ensuing menu, select Application Setup
  • Click on Job Queue and open Job Queues
  • Click New to setup a new Job Queue
  • On the Job Queue Card interface, enter a value for Description and Code
  • Next, select the Job Queue Category that you created in the Job Queue Category Filter field
  • Finally, select the NAV server that you want the report to be run on

Starting/Stopping Reports Schedules

To start or stop a report schedule, click the Start Job Queue or Stop Job Queue button on the Actions pane respectively. The buttons are available under the Process category on the main menu fold.

The above are the steps to take to schedule reports to run on Microsoft NAV 2015. You can schedule reports to run from the Web, Windows or Tablet Client.

Viewing and Editing Reports

The final reports  can be accessed in new Report Inbox section introduced in the Role Center page.

To view the contents of a report that has already been processed, click the Report row and select the report you want to view. You will be prompted to open or save the document. You can hold, review any errors or even delete the report at this point.

If you want to edit a report that is still in a queue, click on it to open the Job Queue Entry Card. On the entry card, you can change the report and schedule it to automatically run at the time you want.

TIP: The best time to schedule reports to run is when the server is idle. This will ensure resources are not overstretched should you have resource intensive reports to run.

With scheduling, you are basically offloading the job of producing a report from whichever client you are using to the middle tier server. Thus, your client will be free for other tasks immediately while the long reports can wait.

Finally, the kicker with the reports feature in NAV 2015 is that the produced reports are stored in the My Reports box. The reports can be stored there indefinitely. You do not have to print or scatter your reports all over in cloud services like SharePoint or Onedrive.

Moreover, there is an option to show only Unread reports. With this feature, you will not have to skim through lots of old reports to find what you are looking for.

Windows 10

What’s New for ERP in Microsoft Windows 10?

The first public preview of Windows 10, also known as Windows Technical Preview, was launched on Oct, 1. From the onset, it’s clear Windows 10 is built to appease users of Windows 8 and 8.1 that were not pleased with the touch-oriented interface.

The operating system powering Windows 10 is known as Windows Threshold.

Windows 10

Where is Windows 9?

Perhaps you may be wondering how you missed the release of Windows 9. Well, there is no Windows 9.

According to Mary Jo Foley, a Microsoft tech writer with ZDnet, Microsoft opted to call the new Windows “10” instead of “9” to signify it will be a big and cross-platform release. This seems to have been achieved as the Windows runs on PCs, tablets, and Windows Phones. The version is even expected on the Xbox sometime in future.

The user interface of Windows 10 is tailored for each type of device. Like is expected, there are still some rough spots on the Windows but the preview points to a robust software.

Windows 10 and ERP

The impact of Windows 10 to ERP software is yet to be seen. However, with the initial looks, organizations that opt to use Windows 10 will be able to use their ERP systems across different devices. Some of possible impacts of Windows 10 on ERP  include:

  1. Employee Satisfaction

With Windows 10 running on a variety of devices, employees in organizations with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies will experience more satisfaction. This is because the employees will be able to use various ERP systems using the devices they have chosen and invested in rather than what has been selected by IT.

According to a study commissioned by NG Bailey, 87 percent of workers in organizations with no BYOD policy were unhappy.

  1. Increased Productivity and Innovation

While cloud ERP is still gaining ground among organizations, Windows 10 will make it easier for users to access ERP functions from different devices. This means improved productivity and innovation for organizations. Employees are more comfortable with personal devices and become experts at using them, which makes them more productive.

Moreover, personal devices tend to be more cutting-edge. Employees using personal devices upgrade to the latest hardware more frequently. By having a BYOD policy, organizations will benefit from the latest features. Still, it remains to be seen how stable Windows 10 will be on devices like tablets and phones.

  1. Cost Savings

BYOD can help organizations save by shifting costs to users. For example, employees may be paying for data services and mobile devices. However, such savings are usually not significant and thus should not be among the key considerations to make for organizations looking to switch to Windows 10 for BYOD purposes.

Windows 10 Interface

If you prefer using your PC with a keyboard and mouse, you will be happy to know that the Start menu is back. You can however still keep the full-screen Start screen of Windows 8 and 8.1 if you want.

On the Start menu, you can pin Live Tiles in multiple sizes on the right. On the left, a list of familiar applications and those recently accessed is available. There is also a jump list for files and the familiar search box in Windows that you can use to run commands such as opening your ERP.

Other interesting features in Windows 10 include:

  • Ability to upgrade PCs using management tools
  • Ability to manage PCs through the same Mobile Device Management system you use for your tablets and smartphones
  • Separation of business and personal data using encrypted containers
  • An enterprise app store where you can manage licenses for modern apps instead of having employees sign into work PCs with their personal Microsoft accounts.

Windows 10 allows users to have multiple virtual desktops. This feature enables easy access of different application windows for users running multiple programs.

The Verdict

Windows 10 is all about balancing the demands of different users. Users with desktop PCs with keyboards and those using tablets, laptops, and giant screens have been taken care of in Windows 10.

Coming to ERPs, Windows 10 makes IT teams comfortable with the BYOD features introduced in Windows 8, and provides more management and security options.