Exposing Bugs with Tests in Microsoft Dynamics NAV

This post is not an introduction to automated testing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should check out Luc van Vugt’s blog here first.

If you aren’t writing any automated tests for your code at the moment you should consider starting. You know that really, but it can difficult to get going. You need time to learn and become familiar with the testing framework in the first place. Then it takes time to write the tests. And then time to run them. Time you don’t have, time you’d rather spend doing something else…etc.

I Don’t Have Time

On that point, it really doesn’t take long to write tests after you’ve done your first few. There are tons of ‘library’ functions that help you create test data and documents with minimal fuss. You want to create a customer, create a sales order with an item line and then post it? That’s three lines of code.

Start with Bugs

A good place to start might be with bugs. Half the challenge with writing tests is defining exactly what you’re testing i.e. “given some initial scenario when X happens the expected result is Y.” Breaking a big codebase into snippets like that can seem daunting. With a bug you’ve got all the information you need. “Under these circumstances, when X happens we are getting Z when we were expecting Y.”

1. Write the Test First

Rather than diving into the code to find and fix the cause of the problem, take a minute to write a test for it. Recreate the steps that are leading to the bug in your test. Run the test and confirm that it fails.

Why write the test first? If you are going to use the test to confirm that the bug has been fixed (and doesn’t reappear sometime in the future) you want to be sure that the test itself works. If you write the test after the fix and it passes is that because you’ve fixed the problem or because the test is incorrect and will always pass?

Capture the bug while you’ve got the steps and the code to reproduce it. That way, you know that you’re looking at the right thing and that you’re actually fixing the issue.

2. Fix the Bug

Now you can go ahead and put the bug fix in.

3. (Re)Run the Test

Once you think you’ve fixed the problem you can run the test and confirm that it now passes. A test that passes having previously failed ought to give you a lot more confidence than one that has always passed.

Even better, you’ve added a test to your library that you can re-run when you make future changes to your code. You’re much like likely to reintroduce a bug that you’ve seen before if you’ve got a test that is specifically looking out for it.

Business intelligence – more than just financial reporting

Give everyone, not just those in your Finance team, a powerful new way to work with data.

User expectations are changing, and we know that most job roles now need self-service access to more types of data than ever before – to measure the success of every department.

To fully benefit from the power of data, organisations need to make it easy for all users to get access to the right data, at the right time, so they can make more informed decisions; whilst also giving IT the tools to manage data access, quality and compliance.

Whether you are on the go or in the office, you need to create rich, interactive reports and Microsoft Power BI offers you the tools you need. Stay connected to your data from anywhere, anytime. Watch our video for a quick run through.

Power BI gives a 360° view of your business data on the go – at the touch of your fingers and quickly connect, shape, visualise, and share data insights.

With Power BI, your dashboards help you keep a finger on the pulse of your business.  Your dashboards display tiles that you can click to explore further with reports. Connect to multiple datasets to bring all of the relevant data together in one place.

For a quick exploration of your data, you can even try asking a question in the Q&A box.  For example, try typing "what segment had the most revenue".

Power BI

If you have important data in an Excel spreadsheet on your computer, you can create a Power BI dashboard to stay informed anywhere and share with others. 

Microsoft Power BI is helping users spot risks & find opportunities at a glance so they can save the day, every single day.

Watch more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWHnLeT-WXs

Track every change made on Sales Orders in Microsoft Dynamics NAV – and save the history

Every wondered the value of orders you’ve had today and tried to report on that from Dynamics NAV? How do you track the orders you ship & invoice on the same day? How do you include a change in value where previously placed orders are amended or even cancelled?

Dynamics Additions Sales Input Log can keep track and control of the change to value and quantity made on every sales document (orders, invoices, credits & returns) made in Dynamics NAV between two specified times – down to the second.

Use this Dynamics Addition for Microsoft Dynamics NAV to know who is responsible for each entry, change or deletion and be able to dashboard each salesperson's performance to the second.

Then share knowledge of spikes or dips in demand as soon as transactions are entered, enabling you to better react to maximise your market share.

Watch our video to see how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGzWsBxl-d4

Hitting the limits of your accounting software? The risks of doing nothing.

Whilst your existing accounting solution has served you well to-date, as your business grows, it may not be able to keep up. There are normally tell-tale signs you’ve hit your limits with your current systems and when those signs start to show up, it’s likely your future growth is at risk.

Growth means change and not many of us are keen on change, especially when it comes to changing business software. So what are the real costs of doing nothing and continuing to operate as is?

In a recent survey by the Aberdeen Group “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why You Can’t Afford to Sit on an ERP Software Decision”, there is tangible evidence that delaying the implementation, or upgrade, of a new solution can cause an organisation to perform less effectively across a variety of metrics:

Aberdeen Group  Cost of Doing Nothing Feb 17

strongly suggesting that inaction is not an option.

Even stronger evidence for implementing a modern ERP solution comes from another analyst report this time by IDC and entitled “Gaining the ERP Edge”. This research looks at quantifying the productivity benefits of a new ERP solution when compared to companies not using any or an ineffective ERP system:

Gaining ERP Edge IDC 2015

Starting to think you might need to make the move to a new business software solution?

To discover the tell-tale signs that you are outgrowing your accounting software and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 could can help deliver a smooth transition to greater productivity and success in your organisation, download our infographic “Is Your Business Outgrowing your accounting software?

Increase First Contact Resolution and Customer Loyalty with Dynamics 365

Customer expectations are rising and will continue to do so at a rapid rate.  The result of this is that more and more pressure is being placed on organisations to meet these rising expectations. Customers are no longer influenced on price and product alone, they are also highly influenced by the emotional experience they have with an organisation. 

One of the significant contributors to the customer experience is ease of doing business.  Today’s customers are often time poor so they want us to acknowledge that their time is important by making interactions with our organisations as effortless and seamless as possible.

First contact resolution involves resolving a customer’s need on first contact.  If a customer has an issue or question, they want to contact you once and only once.  If they have to contact you again, chase for an answer or repeat themselves then this can quickly become a source of irritation and frustration leading to a negative service experience. 

First contact resolution is therefore linked to customer effort and can be a powerful way to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

Harness Your Organisational Knowledge with Dynamics 365

Knowledge sharing and knowledge management are important factors in increasing First Contact Resolution.  By giving employees access to the right information at the right time it will empower them to deliver fast, informed and effective solutions for customers. 

Dynamics 365 allows you to capture and share knowledge via Knowledge Base.  Knowledge Base is a library of information that can be set up and accessed by users.  It might contain things such as installation instructions, frequently asked questions, policies & procedures, product datasheets, terms and conditions etc.  You can also embed videos and images in the Knowledge Base.

First Contact resolution 1

First Contact resolution 2

Each piece of knowledge can be created as an individual Article which can categorised into different subjects and given keywords to make searching nice and easy. When you create an Article you can:

  • Review and approved it before it is published and made available to everyone
  • Give it a version number
  • Give it an expiration dates

All of this functionality helps to minimise the danger of out of date information being given to customers. 

In addition to the above, when a new query or issue (Case) is logged in Dynamics 365 users can search the Knowledge Base for Articles that may help them to resolve it first time (as illustrated below).

Dynamics 365 also encourages knowledge sharing and collaboration by giving users the ability to link the knowledge article to Cases to help anyone else that may encounter similar Cases in future.

First Contact Resoltion 3

Using the combination of Cases and Knowledge Base can act as a key driver for continuous service improvement.  It allows you to analyse and understand which types of queries or issues you can resolve first time and which you can’t.  You can then work on bridging the gaps in knowledge by adding more articles to your Knowledge Base.

Benefits of Harnessing Your Knowledge

Knowledge is one of the most valuable resource in today’s competitive environment.  Dynamics 365 offers you the ability to quickly and effectively build a central Knowledge Base which can be used to empower your staff to provide fast, informed and effective solutions that will ultimately delight customers.

The benefits that this can bring to your organisation are huge and include:

  • Improved efficiency and productivity
  • Cost savings
  • Reduced training needs
  • Consistency
  • Better decision making
  • Competitive advantage
  • Preserve existing knowledge to prevent any single point of failure
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Stimulates creativity and innovation
  • Increased customer loyalty leading to increased growth and profitability

If you’d like to know more about how Dynamics 365 can help transform the customer experience in your organisation please visit our website www.tecman.co.uk 


When your customers work late, who’s there to take the order?

We all aim to use sophisticated technology, try to remain flexible and responsive, source the best components – but parts of the B2B industry are still missing a trick…

In a world where business practices are only getting more complex and your customers expect 24/7 service, now is the time to make managing changing customer behaviours simpler – for you and them.

Enable your customers to place orders in their own time. Online sales are cost effective, practically self-managing and will save your sales team a lot of stress. And if we are to learn from the omni-channel selling of the B2C community, upgrading your online presence today to serve more of your customers’ needs will pay off almost immediately.

Just one system has to take the lead in your eCommerce journey, and that’s your ERP. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV in place, you have the operational efficiency to excel with online sales. It’s just one small step to eCommerce and all its potential business benefits.

Our eCommerce solution is built specifically for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Seamlessly linking your stock, product, discounts, promotions, and customer information for real-time integration between Dynamics NAV and your online store. Dynamics Additions eCommerce is your short cut to increased revenue and reduced administration.

Online access can transform B2B commerce. Your customers will see you as more responsive, get access to your products from wherever they are and be able to carry on their working day without the bottom-line impact on yours.

And remember, happy customers are far more likely to remain customers. In fact, its reported time and time again that customer satisfaction directly impacts business bottom line for the better. Therefore, making all of your systems easy and accessible for every type of customer can only be a good thing.

To find out more watch these quick videos, or visit www.tecman.co.uk/eCommerce

The Rise of Social Customer Service

Social Customer Service is a Huge Opportunity for You

In today’s digital world there are various social media platforms, blogs, reviews, forums on which customers’ can talk about your organisation and there is now a growing preference for customers to turn to these platforms to get questions answered and provide feedback, positive or negative. 

The result is that social media has changed how organisations and customers interact with one another.  Whether we like it or not we, as organisations, are going to have to deal with our customers via these channels.  If comments have been made about your organisation and you don’t respond, then the perception may be that you don’t care.  If you do respond to these comments, then perception is more likely to be that you are making an effort and really care. 

As daunting as this may seem, social customer service represents a huge opportunity to for you to build and maintain loyalty and trust among your customer base along with publicly demonstrating your ability to provide a great customer experience. 

The Challenge

More and more organisations are getting involved in social customer service with the aim of creating meaningful relationships and building a loyal online following for their product or service.  The challenge they face is that it can be extremely time-consuming to monitor the vast number of social platforms that are out there.  With speed of response being a key measure of the customer experience, it’s important for organisations to have a well-organised, efficient method of responding.  What’s also key is that responses over the social platforms still need to be in line with your organisation’s overall service strategy. 

How Microsoft Dynamics Can Help

Microsoft have recognised this challenge and have developed a Social Engagement tool to assist organisations in delivering and managing their social customer service strategy.  Some of the features included in the Social Engagement Tool include:

  • Publishing and replying on a number of social media sites via a single platform
  • Analysing what people are saying about your organisation
  • Identifying who your top influencers and top critics are
  • Identifying what your competitors are saying on social media
  • Automatically create leads or cases from social posts
  • Setting up alerts for trending topics

Benefits to Your Organisation

Using the Social Engagement Tool to manage your social customer service strategy can result in a range of benefits for your organisation including: 

  • Generating positive word of mouth recommendations for your organisation
  • Improved customer satisfaction leading to increased customer loyalty, growth and profit
  • Reduction in customer service costs
  • Real-time feedback on new product/service launches
  • Early insight into any problems or opportunities which you may not have been aware of via traditional channels

If you’d like to find out more please contact us at hello@tecman.co.uk or at https://www.tecman.co.uk/Contact/Contact-Us 

No more hand me down training

ERP is a big investment, of resources such as time and money, which will pay dividends in terms of the information it can provide to empower your business. But, your business is not one entity, it’s made up of individuals, individuals who need to be shown how to get the best from that ERP system.

If employees only know how to do their main job function within the system then you are limiting how they can use it, limiting their creativity in doing things better and ultimately limiting the return you will get on your investment. When your project went live, most likely you had a core team that were involved from the start and then training was cascaded down to everyone else. But what about new employees arriving after the project completed? Who trained them? How many times has the original knowledge been handed down? Do you know that important things are not being lost along the grapevine? And just like a rushed telephone message, how do you know that the right information has been passed on?

We are here to help. NAV Learning is our specific training solution designed to help you get more from your investment. NAV Learning is intended to complement our free customer training such as our workshops and webinars, by giving your staff the chance of dedicated training in a purpose-built environment with a professional trainer. Trainees will even leave with a 100-page reference manual to support their work in the future. For example, we offer a course introducing Dynamics NAV to new or early users, this non-role specific course specifically aims to give users a holistic view of the ERP system, to build a user’s confidence to find answers and empower them to go further by working with the system. Similarly, our courses such as Jet Professional contain a large number of practical examples for you to work through, so you really get hands on with the subject matter.

Our courses are not just aimed at beginners, we have had customers send employees that had been using NAV for months, who found the training extremely useful as it filled in their knowledge gaps and helped them with best practice to help prevent avoidable errors.

The question is, can your company afford not to do this?

Have a look through our current NAV Learning courses at https://www.tecman.co.uk/Resources/NAV-Learning and our YouTube playlists such as https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoS7gV-LINmnV0DWUgFo9ZTIzddqHLXli or https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoS7gV-LINmmqE6R7tFLIiQmbISraQRFg

Turn Customer Disappointment into Customer Delight with Microsoft Dynamics: Part 5 – Learn

In our previous articles, we’ve focused on the steps taken to resolve an individual complaint.  What’s also important in any service recovery strategy is to use all your complaints to learn and drive improvements to your overall service offering.   


Your Data is a Valuable Strategic Asset

Rarely in any organisation do you reach a point where you can’t improve.  As we’ve seen over the last few years the customer experience is constantly evolving which means there are always going to be new objectives and challenges to meet.  Learning should therefore be a part of any organisation’s DNA. 

The data you collect about your complaints is a valuable strategic asset.  The real value comes from being able to analyse it, learn from it and formulate sound, strategic insights which are based on fact rather than assumption. You can then use this insight to improve your systems and processes to ensure customers are satisfied in future. 

There is also real value in sharing this information with your staff.  By doing this you allow them to see how the work they do daily is contributing to the improvement in customer satisfaction and the overall success of the organisation which will encourage them to deliver exceptional service time and time again.


How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Can Help

One of the most powerful features of CRM is the dashboards which present you with valuable insight into your data in a very easy to use, visual format.

As an example we’ve set up the dashboard below to provide us with insight into the complaints we have received.

Learn 1

Starting at the top left this dashboard is showing us:

  1. Non-Product vs. Product Fault – this allows us to monitor how many product issues we are getting by quarter compared to non-product issues. If the split of product issue vs. non-product issue increases one quarter compared to another then this will alert us to a possible quality issue and allows us to investigate further
  2. Time Taken to Resolve Complaints – this allows us to monitor how long it is taking to get complaints resolved. In this example you can see it took us 17 weeks to resolve 6 cases so that would then allow us to investigate further to see why it took so long i.e. is there a resource issue, training issue? 
  3. Cases by Fault Code – this allows us to monitor what the actual cause of the complaint was. We can then use this information to drive improvements in each individual area e.g. carry out more training to reduce admin faults, talk with the delivery company to see how we can improve delivery errors, put together a customer education programme to reduce the number of user errors etc.
  4. Cases by Resolution – this allows us to monitor the various methods we have used to get complaints resolved i.e. provided the customer with information, replaced the product, credited their invoice etc. If a particular type of resolution is very frequent then the dashboard will alert you to this and you can then dig deeper to see why we are continually offering this resolution
  5. Case Number by Fault Code – you can choose to represent the data on the dashboards in different formats. This pie chart is just a different representation of the information shown in chart 3.
  6. Satisfaction Survey Results – CRM contains a Voice of Customer Survey feature which you can use to send out short surveys to your customers. In this example, we have sent out a survey to find out how satisfied customers were with how we handled their complaint and the results are being pulled through for us to review on the dashboard.

You can create as many dashboards as you want and can choose to share them with different individuals or teams throughout your organisation. 


Benefits to Your Organisation

Dashboards are incredibly powerful tool in CRM and can help:

  • Present you with an accurate picture of how you are performing
  • Identify what is working well so you can do more of it
  • Identify what is not working so well so you can fix it
  • Identify trends allowing you to predict future needs of your customers
  • Gain and sustain a competitive advantage
  • Increased employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Build loyalty and satisfaction amongst your customer base leading to increased growth and profitability
  • Measure the impact of business improvement decisions and investments i.e. return on investment

For more insights into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM suite, soon to be part of Dynamics 365, visit www.tecman.co.uk/Microsoft-Dynamics-CRM-2016 


Wasting time on complex, manual processes for EDI & eCommerce?

CPG intro slide

Meeting demands for EDI and online ordering…

One of the challenges facing the Consumer Goods industry is time consuming, complex, manual processes for EDI and eCommerce. You need to provide a quick turnaround, whilst also making it easy for your retailers to place an order through every touchpoint.  

Your retailer base is under pressure from increasing customer demands, so when the retailers place their orders with you, they expect to get supply by tomorrow, if not sooner. And as more and more retailers sell through multiple channels, manufacturers are needing to be equipped to process online orders and EDI messages to remain a preferred supplier.    

Due to the competitive nature of the Consumer Goods sector, the public now expect to be able to place orders at a time that’s convenient for them. And that convenience is starting to ripple all the way through to manufacturers, as retailers in turn want to place orders in the evenings and late at night, not just during business opening hours when they are likely to be busy themselves.

This can make keeping on top of your customer service trickier. If a retailer calls you, you need to have their information and their status at your fingertips. You need to be aware of their outstanding orders and which products they typically purchase from you, as well as being able to suggest changes that are beneficial to both you and them.

All these factors point to one thing; needing accurate information at your fingertips.

Having good systems in place means you don’t have to waste time hunting around, looking for the information you need.

Get the right answers, at the right time, all from one system. You need to be able to find the relevant information for a customer, and subsequently, update that information when you agree anything with that customer and that information then needs to be immediately reflected so everybody in your organisation knows about it.

That’s where Dynamics Consumer Goods comes in. It improves customer responsiveness with its integrated Customer Service Desk, so you can take orders over the phone or resolve queries easily. It can help you drive down the cost of EDI with major retailers, wholesalers and suppliers by reducing your transaction costs and improving order accuracy. It can help to drive up sales and remove the need for re-keying data and improving order accuracy. It also enables you to extend your trading hours and be seen as more responsive to your customers’ demands as it allows customers to place orders outside normal working hours.

For more information on getting your internal processes fit for purpose, watch our video.