Office 2013: Make sure it’s the Professional Plus version for PowerPivot

For Microsoft Dynamics NAV and CRM Reporting & Analysis

Microsoft Office 2013 is released and on the shelves. Be careful though – as to which version you buy – as Microsoft have introduced some restrictions designed to move users to better Office versions. The latest discovery is that more restrictive Office 2013 licensing affects the version at which you can install its PowerPivot business reporting tool.

Professional Plus for Powerpivot for Microsoft Dynamics NAV and CRM

Microsoft made PowerPivot, its easiest to use data-analytics reporting technology, available for use by anyone with any edition of Excel 2010 by installing the PowerPivot for Excel add-in. With Excel 2013, only those with the Office Professional Plus version of Office 2013 will have full access to Excel 2013's PowerPivot capabilities.

So if you are one of the many Microsoft Dynamics NAV or Dynamics CRM users that have used Excel for reporting on your sales or manufacturing data via an analysis services ‘cube’ you need to make sure you get at least the Professional Plus version of Microsoft Office 2013.

OneNote Integration for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

For several versions now, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has been integrated with Microsoft Office. You can send information from NAV to Outlook, Excel and Word.

In 2013, OneNote joins the party.

A OneNote icon has been added to most pages in the Windows client which sits alongside the Notes and Links icons that we had in NAV 2009.


At first, the icon is disabled. To enable OneNote integration you need to specify the location of the notebook that you are going to store your notes in.

This is stored at the profile level. Check either or both of the “Use Record Notes” and “Use Page Notes” boxes along with the path to the OneNote notebook that you are planning to save the notes in.

After making this change you will need to close and reopen the NAV client.



Notice that the OneNote icon is now enabled. When you do, OneNote will fire up and dock itself to the edge of your screen. It creates a new note for the record that is highlighted in the client.

Type away and add your notes.

imageLeaving the OneNote window open, highlighting different records in the NAV client will automatically load the notes for that record.

It is also possible to add notes against the current page, rather than the current record by clicking on the Dynamics icon (top left hand corner), Help and Page Notes.

You could use this for entering notes to help your users interact with the page. Give them some instructions about how they should use the page or some processes that they should follow.

Great, but why? NAV has had the record links functionality for some time and NAV 2009 introduced notifications – notes which appear prominently on a user’s role centre.

This feature allows you to leverage all of the flexibility of OneNote. You can drop pretty much any content into a OneNote page. Links to other content, embedded files, images, audio recordings, calendar appointment details…

It is also possible to sync the notebook up to SharePoint or to SkyDrive (with a Windows Live ID) and OneNote applications are available for Windows Phone, Android and iPhone.


At a glance guide to Technology Management

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.

TM Factsheet-1  

TM Factsheet-2

Microsoft vision of the future part 2

About 2 years ago Microsoft launched a concept video on how technology would impact our lives, the new forms of user interface like touch and gesture, new devices like slates and worktops being computers.  How data would interact with the real world with augmented reality, and how that data should flow seamlessly and between individuals and organisations. We used the video alot in presentations and have seen some of those technologies come to life in some shape or form.  Every time I showed it i got great feedback from the audience and many said it inspired them to see what IT may be capable of. Pleased to say that Microsoft have released another such video updated with new research and although builds on the original video rather than taking a different time scale. If you thinks its a little far fetched, just considered what you do with your smartphone today and how you would have felt if someone had predicted that 10 years ago…..

Enjoy the video

Productivity Future Vision

Our AX2012 top ten features: #6 Excel data upload

A significant portion of Microsoft’s annual $9bn R&D spend goes into integrating their products. In post number 6 of our AX2012 top ten, see how easy it is to import data directly into Microsoft Dynamics AX using Microsoft Office Excel.

So what's new about using Excel to import data into AX? Haven't we had this option since the Axapta days?

Yes, but this involved the creation of templates in AX first, and importing anything remotely sizeable or complex typically required the writing of scripts.

Now this process is much simpler and definitely warrants an entry in our top ten.

As mentioned in entry number 9, of our AX2012 top ten, it is possible to pull AX data directly into Excel.

To push data back the other way- it's as simple as this:

1.    Open up Excel and click on the Microsoft Dynamics AX tab. Click "Connection" and check the legal entity you are connected to. Use the dropdown to change this if you wish.

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2.    Click Add Data, select Tables and in the filter box, type the name of the table you want to populate. In this example we'll add a couple of customer groups by selecting the CustGroup table.

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3. Drag and drop any other Customer group fields you wish to populate.

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 4. Click the Design Mode button, to exit the design mode. Then click refresh if you wish to view existing data.

5. Enter data into the table, optionally using the Field Lookup button to view existing data in lookup tables. In this example, I've added customer group 50 and 60.

6. Click Publish Data to send this data to Dynamics AX.

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 Image 6 


7. Let's switch over to AX to view the results

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#9 of our AX2012 Top Ten: “DIY BI”

We contiune our countdown to general availability of AX2012 with a look at “self service business intelligence”.


We’ll continue Technology Management's countdown to the launch of AX2012 with a question:

    What’s the world’s favourite BI tool?

    Clue: Hit the windows key, type “exc” and hit enter.

Chances are that you’re already familiar with it, and have been for years. Your colleagues know it, and you can be fairly certain that anyone joining your business- even a school leaver is likely to be proficient.

So wouldn’t it be great if you could directly access your live ERP data from a Microsoft office Excel spreadsheet?

It's easy if your ERP system also happens to be from Microsoft. In a matter of seconds you can pull live data from AX into Excel and view, analyse and update information in AX without ever leaving your favourite BI tool.

Providing you have the necessary authority, you can help yourself to transactional data and use tools such as Powerpivot to drill down to what’s important.

You can then save the spreadsheet locally and because the link with Dynamics AX tables in maintained, you can refresh it with up to the minute data at any point in the future.

Microsoft even have a catchy, Monday morning friendly phrase for it: “Pervasive interoperability”. Meaning Microsoft software is already pervasive within your business, so perhaps a highly integrated (interoperable) Microsoft ERP system is the next logical step.

To see "DIY BI" in action, register for our AX2012 preview event on the 20th July.


Windows 8 the first official demo video’s

Microsoft have been quite tight lipped about what’s happening with Windows 8, but today they shared a look at the new touch interface they have developed.

There are some similarities with the Windows Phone 7 “tile” look and feel and with the latest version of Media Centre. Personally I like it, and I love the way as with all PC’s you can do more than one thing at a time. The demo in the video shows this clearly and with the new types of devices that we are using to access data or to do our work, Windows is evolving to take this into account. It of course will work with keyboard and mouse and not just touch.

For a more in depth look and the Microsoft team getting asked a few questions around why and will businesses buy into the new look and feel, click below.

Update to Windows Phone 7

Microsoft recently announced the launch of the next update to the Windows Phone 7 software codenamed Mango.

WP7 is starting to make some inroads in the Mobile market and this update really adds some cool and practical features.

I’ve copied a list of features from a Microsoft Blog site, but check out the videos to get a better overview

  • Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are integrated in to contact cards – the integration of social continues. We think it should be an ingredient, not just an app.
  • Face Detection – that facial reco work we’ve been doing that show up in WL Photo Gallery and Kinect? It now allows you to more quickly tag photos and post them to the Web
  • Voice to text and text to voice – using your voice to text or chat…well that’s what you already do right so it’s more natural
  • Improved Live Tiles – if the Qantas app is anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat
  • IE9 – not much more to say than HTML5 and hardware acceleration. On a phone. Beauty Of The Web? Check.
  • Local Scout – other phones have it, other apps do it but hyper local search results built right in is goodness.
  • Bing Vision, Music Search and Voice – again, other phones have some of this and I’m especially intrigued to check out Vision. It allows you to initiate a Bing search by photographing barcodes, QR codes and Microsoft Tags (without using a third-party app).
  • Camera API access – enables folks like the History Channel to create a AR/GPS app that looks pretty sweet.
  • Status based communication – Windows Phone will help determine the best communications method. If a person is online, it’ll offer IM rather than SMS.


System Centre and Hyper V Event

Our System Centre event took place on Thursday 12th May 2011 and from the feedback forms and conversations that took place after the event it was well received. Nathan Sanders (Technology Management) and Matt McSpirit (Microsoft) both delivered some live demos showing the software in action.

Click for more info on System Centre Essentials and Hyper V  

The slides should be visible below and you can download them from the link if required. 

Thanks for everybody who attended, we only had 1 attendee that couldn’t make it on the day which I think shows how relevant these solutions are. If anybody needs any more information then please email or


Microsoft Licensing – Where do I begin?

So you have made the decision to upgrade your servers, PCs and laptops or may be put in a new system and are finally ready to get things moving but all of a sudden you start to think;

-          What about the Microsoft licences?

-          How many do I need?

-          Can I use the ones I already have?

-          What options are available?

-          What do I need to consider moving forward?

As many people will know this area can be a real pitfall for those of you who are trying to plan a new implementation or install a new system and what you need now may not be what you will need 6 months down the line.

Fortunately for most people this tends to be a dilemma that does not have to be addressed too often but that also means that when it comes to making the decisions it is difficult to get up to speed on the latest licensing rules and what option is going to be the most suited to your business. This is why some of the less fortunate of us regularly take the time to attend the licensing seminars and exams to ensure that when you do need to make these decisions we can advise you according to what you need and where you will gain the most value.

Some of the key concerns that I come across on a regular basis relate to;

-          Lowering upfront costs

-          Spreading payments

-          Ensuring access is always available to the latest software versions

-          Allowing flexibility in the licences that are purchased

-          The rights that each licence will allow

As with most business decisions making the correct choice can often make the difference between a fluid transition or a painful process with increased costs and discontent colleagues. If this is an area that you are looking to plan then we are always available to help you alleviate the pain, unmask the benefits and make the correct decisions quickly.