We are currently witnessing a significant change to the way software is deployed. Evergreen Software is the description of applications that continually have new features or functionality added to them. We saw this start with apps on our phones and web based software (think Facebook or Twitter).
The speed of change in progressive software packages is unrelenting and it's great for end users, as they receive smaller changes on a more regular basis which don't require a huge upgrade or lots of additional changes, it's an evolution and it should be intuitive for the end user to take advantage of.
It really makes me happy when I see our own software following this trend, Additions is the name we give to our range of software developments that add extra functionality to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. One of our most popular is Document Delivery, an Addition that allows your staff to send out copies of documents from NAV, think Sales Orders, Invoices, Purchase Orders in different formats via Email either immediately or at a scheduled time. Many of our customers use this Addition on a daily basis and we love taking feedback and feature requests, as well as the option of being able to send multiple documents which was added, the ability to password protect the PDF's that were being sent out was requested. Obviously with sensitive data being sent this needs to be secure, so pleased to see in the last update our customers are now able to password protect the PDF that is created from the Document Delivery Addition.
You can find out more info about Document Delivery on the URL below..
We’ve all been there, you get in the office early to finish that urgent task, and then your business system is not playing ball. The support line doesn’t open until 9am and so the early start is wasted or worse, the deadline you had to meet for your customer can’t be met.
We also know many of our customer’s work in manufacturing and distribution and that industry doesn’t fit the traditional 9 till 5 routine. Warehouse staff need to know what they are picking when they arrive, to make sure everything else runs to schedule. The world in general is changing and businesses are working more varied hours as they offer more to their customers.
So we decided to do the same – Technology Management have offered 24 hour critical support for several years, but we realised that many of the companies we work with couldn’t justify the cost for the few times they may need some help. Most of those customers just wanted some extra help above and beyond the normal contracted hours.
We took the feedback and extended our standard support hours from 8am – 6pm.
We already have what we believe to be the biggest UK NAV support team, they are dedicated to support so you don’t find you are talking to different people each day. They are also complemented by an experienced developer that is part of the support team, so if a calls need to be escalated in that direction, they’re available (and not pulled off an existing project they are meant to be working on!)
Our priority is to make sure you have as few niggles as possible, but when one crops up we want to make sure you get the help and support you need, even if that is when some other partners are still having breakfast or have packed up and gone home for the night.
Whether its an app on your phone, Facebook, Twitter or you’re favourite website, you can bet that fairly frequently a new feature or benefit appears. Before you know it that feature becomes the norm and you wonder how you got by without it.
And so it goes on…..
That mindset of constant improvement is a good thing and its great to see it being adopted in more tradition software packages like ERP. The days of huge upgrades every 4 or 5 years that were costly, time consuming and detested by the end users are over. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has been on an annual release cycle for over 4 years now and we see that accelerating as we get a monthly update as well.
As the changes are happening more subtly the requirement for intensive training sessions are disappearing, the interface evolves sensibly so users can see quickly see what’s new rather than being drowned under too many changes at one time.
The world is changing at a rapid pace as well, mobile devices have dramatically changed the way we work on the go. If you had to wait 5 years for an upgrade then you’ll still be waiting for a mobile client for your software long after you bought that Ipad. But an annual release means its there within months of us all realising these tablets could actually make us more productive.
New licencing models have also appeared, the ability to pay for the software on a monthly basis, scaling up and down as your business requires it.
The option of having your ERP software in the cloud is appealing to many progressive business owners, no hardware to worry about or maintain, no huge infrastructure costs just to get the software installed. Just load the client or use your web browser. This again results in updates to the client just appearing in the browser client, no more walking around each PC and loading new client software on it when there’s a change. Huge time and cost saving.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV is at the front of the pack when it comes to this new software model. If your on an older version speak to us about getting you up on the current release. Once your there you’ll wonder how you got by without it for so long.
If your current ERP solution doesn’t offer you these benefits, well maybe its time to make switch.
Check out our NAV 2016 resource page with videos, downloads and info sheets to get you up to speed.
20 years ago Windows 95 was released, it became the standard operating system that businesses ran their IT systems on. Since that release Windows has continued to evolve with a couple of versions performing extremely well (XP, Windows 7) and couple less so! (ME/Vista)
The previous release Windows 8 was a brave move for Microsoft and took a massive step away from its tried and tested user interface, the Start menu was no more and the interface was geared for the new world of touch screens. Great for those folk who were using tablets and touch screens, but not appealing to the millions of windows users that still spent there working life at a desktop machine with a keyboard and mouse as the primary input. An update added an element of the start menu back, but it was a step too far for many businesses.
So with Windows 10 Microsoft has brought back some of the familiarity of previous versions, but also taken some of touch friendly interface it introduced with Windows 8 and the operating systems attempts to change depending what type of device you are working on.
1) The Start Menu is back (and better)
So everything you loved about the start menu from Windows 7 is back, you can pin favourite apps or shortcuts. You get branched menus, so click on Accessories drops down a further menu with all the accessories icons showing. The menu is in alphabetical order, so click on one of the letters and the alphabet pops up to select another letter that contains the shortcut you’re looking for. All the quick lists are there as well so right click on Windows Explorer and you get the last few files you’ve been working on to get quick access.
One of my favourite features, I loved the touch interface on Windows 8 when I was working on a tablet or touch device. So now when I’m on a touch device as soon as disconnect the keyboard I get the option to have a touch friendly interface. With more devices becoming hybrid this feature is ideal, you just keep on working in the most effective way that your device is set up at that moment. You also get the touch friendly menu alongside the new start menu – so if you prefer that windows 8 look its always with you.
3) Its Free!
If you are on a legit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 this is a free upgrade for the next 12 months.
4) A new browser – Microsoft Edge
Internet Explorer has been the browser bundled with every copy of Windows since that Win 95 release, its got a little clunky and bloated over the years, Microsoft Edge performs faster than the usual suspects such as Chrome etc, but for me it’s a couple of the other features that have made it a really nice browser. Reading mode, how many times have you found an article online that you wish to read, but the page has loads of junk all over the screen and across the article? Well select the reading mode and the browser strips out all the on screen noise and leaves you with just the text.
It also allows you to have a reading list as well as a favourite’s list, so when you stumble across a page you want to go back to later and read just drop it in the reading list. I used to always be adding links to my favourites that I only wanted to pop back to once, but after reading it I never removed it from my favourites, that meant the list just kept on growing. Of course with the power of the cloud no matter which Windows 10 device I log onto, my favourites and reading list will follow me around, much easier for catching up on some web links on a tablet in the evening rather than a PC or laptop.
Page review. Edge allows you to take a web page then to begin to write all over it (if you have a touch device) then share that page with anyone you want. Fantastic if you’ve found some info you want to share but with notes or highlights on it
5) Action Centre
Swipe in from the right and you get a new information hub that gives you visibility of all the things you need t o know. From Wifi points, battery life, screen brightness through to new emails, app notifications, its nice to have a single place one swipe away to see everything. If you have used windows phone its similar to the experience you get when you swipe down from the top of the hone, just with loads more information points.
Another feature that found life on Windows Phone. Cortana is a digital assistant that is now built into Windows 10. You can search your device or the internet by either typing in your search phrase or just talking to you PC. Begin with “Hey Cortana” and then ask away. As with a lot of voice activated technology it’s not perfect, but it’s getting better.
What I do like about Cortana is the way it learns about your interests and also looks at your location and diary and warns you when you need to leave or if there is traffic issues that may affect you. It’s neat when it suddenly pops up reminding you that a meeting 20 miles away will take around 40 minutes so its time to go – it drops a map of the suggested route up as well. It collects information about items I have said I’m interested in so gives me a personal view when I click on the search input, next to the start menu button. Having been playing on the beta version of Windows 10 since the turn of the year, it’s been great to see Cortana improve and actual be of use in certain situations. It’s still early days for digital assistants but once again its moving in the right direction. With Cortana at the bottom of my screen i just type my query, no more firing up a browser then my search engine of choice. Its just there.
7) Xbox Streaming
Not really a business feature, but it’s cool and who doesn’t like a quick session on the Xbox One. This allows you to connect your Xbox One to your Windows 10 machine and stream your game across to the Windows 10 screen. So you can keep on playing and free up the main TV in the living room. It currently only works if your on the same Wifi access point, so you can only play when you’re in the same house, but its rumoured to be available over the internet in the future.
The IT industry love talking about integration, so when ever NAV is mentioned as being integrated with another product i always want to see it in action and understand how that benefits the end user.
Once Microsoft started talking about seamless links to Office 365 from NAV I was naturally interested. Thankfully they were kind enough to create a video, and we see the flexibility of using the NAV 2013 web client. Take a look…. and if you’re interested in either upgrading to NAV 2013 R2 or Office 365 get in contact. firstname.lastname@example.org
With Microsoft continuing to invest heavily in Dynamics NAV, its fantastic to see this reflected in large numbers of customer adds and a larger segment of the market.
At the Dynamics Conference being held at present in Atlanta, USA, the customer add figures were revealed for the ERP products in the Dynamics range worldwide, and NAV continues to lead the way.
With NAV being targeted at the Small, Mid Sized Business (which Microsoft defines as under 250 users) and AX at the enterprise, its not surprising to see the difference in numbers.
NAV has always had a strong presence in the 40 – 100 user space, but with the latest versions and a new process to install in a rapid, templated way (designed by Technology Management) we are seeing real growth in the 10 user and below market. With a lot or organisations struggling with Sage Line 50 and spreadsheets moving to a more flexible and progressive product.
Mars Horescare recently approached Technology Management about a new project, where they were looking to directly interact with horse owners via an ecommerce site with Dynamic NAV 2013 as the back end dealing with the financials.
It was decided to have NAV 2013 in the cloud for various reasons, not least as it was the most rapid way to get up and running, and the lowest investment, as software is paid per user per month and no hardware is required.
We are pleased to to see the site and the solution go live in February 2013 and adds to the growing list of companies deploying NAV in the cloud with Technology Management.
We are one of the few UK based partners providing the hosting platform and the deployment/configuration of the software. This results in confidence for the customer that we can control the performance and support of both the cloud platform and software support. This way you are never caught between the NAV partner and the hosting provider when they blame each other for issues. For more information around NAV in the cloud please click here
If you are a horseowner, then you may want to check out the website, offering nutritional supplements for horses.
Mobility is one of the buzz words that IT loves to embrace, however with the advent of smart phones, tablets and remote working, the ability to deliver in certain roles is becoming essential.
CRM is definitely a product where demand for mobility is high. In the traditional role of CRM (managing the sales process) the ability to access and update data whereever the sales person/account manager finds themselve is imperative. Dynamics CRM has always been available within Outlook and via the browser (Internet Explorer) but now with the rise in popularity of tablets and smart phones, Microsoft have released a roadmap of what’s available from February 2013 and the roadmap for the next 6 months.
With Windows 8 now appearing on some really cool hardware including Microsoft’s own Surface device, the power of touch is becoming common place and a productive tool for the mobile worker.
The problem with touch is that traditional applications with their intricate small buttons and menus don’t work, a new interface is required.
So the Dymamics CRM for Sales app is a welcome addition to the CRM family
Having been able to play with a demo version of this on my Surface for a while i can confirm that the ability to delve into data and update it is intuitive and productive. To be able to push an opportunity to the next stage in the sales cycle is easy and quick and uses touch really well.
I have posted this video before but seeing the app in action gives a clearer idea of how it works.
CRM Windows 8 Concept App
Of course the IPad is a major player in the tablet market and CRM also caters for its users. The next release for on premise customers will support the IPad browser.
In conclusion i have posted Microsoft’s latest roadmap dates as an indication on what to expect when, but to see the extension of CRM of its traditional home of the PC and laptop re-enforces the changing face of modern business software.
As we approach the Christmas holidays many organisations will be closing until the New Year. However we know that some of our customers will continue to work across the festive period. Technology Management will continue to offer office based support across all our products except for bank holidays (December 25th,26th & January 1st ) For customer’s with 24/7 business critical support the lines will be manned throughout the entire holiday period.
We would all like to wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and look forward to working with you again in 2013.
As we are about to enter our 21st year in business, still growing and evolving, it’s difficult to give customers or prospects a summary about Technology Management’s services and our ethos. With this in mind we designed some infographics that make up an “at a glance guide to Technology Management”
It gives some numbers around our hosting services, (although they continue to grow each month!) re-enforces our technical bias with 86% of the workforce being IT professionals and hopefully gives a snap shot of where we are at after 2 decades.