Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 – Tech Preview Ships

Several years in the making, the role tailored client that is part of NAV 2009 appears ready to begin production. The VPC, What’s New document, and several other pieces of the new product were made available to partners over the last week or so. We’re delving into the product now.
Lots new under the hood.
As promised, though, all the functionality was released in the 5.0 SP1 version.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) 5 Service Pack 1

Well, Service Pack 1 is out…or is it. We’ve recently discovered that the NA localization isn’t fully complete, and that there are several features that don’t work that will be fixed.
For example, in the out of the box 5.0 release, POs don’t work with Jobs. If you show the column for Job number in the details on the PO form (it’s still there), enter a PO, and then receive (first) and invoice (second) the PO, you’ll find that the cost has been posted to Usage twice in Jobs.
This will (reportedly) be fixed in SP 1, but that fix isn’t out yet.
For now, be aware that if you have Jobs in Nav 4 with POs directed to them and you are using Receive separate from ship, you won’t have this option in NAV 5. In fact, out of the box, you won’t be able to enter a job number on a PO at all. Microsoft recommends receiving the item to inventory and then applying it in a job journal to a job (2 steps == stinky solution).
What does work is to go directly to the Purchase Invoices screen and enter it there (thus removing the opportunity to do a “receive.”)
This is all related to the fact that costs posted to jobs in 4.x were at “expected” cost (i.e. basically at average cost or standard cost [if you were using standard]). When you ran Adjust Cost/Item entries, the FINANCIAL entries were made (e.g. DR inventory, CR COGS), but the JOB entries stayed the same. I did some testing and found out that the tracks were there to create a report that included the final adjustments, but it’s pretty complicated.
Anyway, that’s the situation. We’re still waiting for a final Service Pack 1 upgrade.

Information and ERP

I’ve been thinking a good bit lately about the information value of the reporting that comes from ERP systems. Most of the ERP systems in the market now focus on operating data. An example of reports available in most systems will clarify what I mean: accounts receivable aging (how much do people owe me? how long have they owed it?), inventory status report (how much of what do I have? where is it?), reorder status report (how much do I need to order?), etc.
Now suppose that I want to ask the question, “How healthy is this business?” “What kind of a year am I having?” “What will sales look like next month?”
Where would I go to get that data in the average ERP system?
Well, for some of the sales data, I could go to the pipeline reporting in a CRM system. Your ERP does have CRM, right? But if I really wanted a clear and accurate answer, I might have trouble getting it from the CRM pipeline report. There’s nothing in that report (unless I built it into the process) to guarantee that the data I get is accurate. Furthermore, it is estimated. The estimate is based on an assessment of customer psychology by sales people whose jobs depend on their continuing ability to close sales. We might suspect that it is just a bit ambitious.
And none of this gives me an answer to the question, “How healthy…”
But the question most of the managers I know want to ask doesn’t start with the six honest serving men (Kipling):
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
The question most managers I know want to ask starts with the word, “If…”
And where shall we find the answer to that question? In the next post? Doubt it. But maybe.