One of the biggest improvements to Microsoft Dynamics NAV which has been included since the release of NAV 2009 is support for web services. We can now very quickly and easily expose NAV functions as SOAP compliant services. That’s great…but what does it mean?
Put simply, web services provide a simple, reliable and secure way of giving external systems access to data held in NAV. With the aid of an example we’ll see how useful this can be.
At Technology Management we use NAV internally to manage our holidays. We wanted a more formal system than the existing email exchanges between colleagues – but without the need for everyone to install and use NAV directly. The solution was an InfoPath form hosted via SharePoint.
At various stages, NAV web services are called. When the form is opened a web service is called to find out how many days holiday the user has left. When the holiday start and end dates are entered NAV is asked how many days need to be booked and whether any colleagues are on holiday at the same time.
When the request is submitted and approved by the appropriate manager, a NAV web service is called to record the holiday in the HR area of the system. The holiday is also put into the user’s calendar in Outlook automatically…using Exchange web services.
The same principle can be applied to all sorts of scenarios. It could be your website requesting real time stock information and pricing for your items. It could be your website passing customer order details for them to be inserted as sales orders. It could be a mobile device in your warehouse scanning a barcode to automatically post receipt of some goods. It could be your staff filling in expense claims for approval and subsequent creation of purchase invoices. Use your imagination.
We have always been able to integrate NAV with other systems, but the door is wide open with support for web services out of the box. We are seeing, for instance, people interested in using the strengths of both CRM and NAV and integrating the two using web services.
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