Resistance To Change (NAV 2009)

I’m tempted to turn this into a general rant about resistance to change. I’ll try to talk about NAV 2009, though.
Here’s the brief 30,000 foot overview. As Microsoft promised, NAV 2009 contains no new functionality. All of that was released earlier in the year in Service Pack 1 to NAV 5.0.
The “What’s New in NAV 2009” that has been released to partners is entirely about the new plumbing for the “Role Based” interface, as well as the changes that will affect the “Classic” interface.
So what do these interfaces look like?
The “Classic” interface is…well…the “classic” interface. It looks pretty much like NAV 5.0/5.0 SP 1 (View image).
The “Role Based” interface is wholly new. And I won’t show it to you in this post. Why? Because I want to talk about the concept in this post, then show it in the next. See, I’m working through your resistance to the change here in this blog. Because I know that there’s going to be resistance to change here. There are some things I really like about this interface; there are some things I really hate abou this interface. But whether I like or hate the changes to this interface, I’m comparing it to the “Classic” interface, and that’s what existing users will do: compare it!
Let me say first that the NAV 2009 release offers the OPTION to use EITHER the classic OR the role based interface. Different people in the same company can use different interfaces. The controller may prefer the classic, while service people may prefer the role based. I did pick those two particular functions for a reason!
Here are a few of the new features I really like.
More User Control
It’s easier to customize screens like the Order Entry screen in NAV 2009. The basic order entry information (who’s buying and what are they buying) is the same. It’s the extra data that you might want (as a sidebar) that you can easily change. In the classic interface, there are links down the right-hand side of the OE screen. In the role based version, you can select which “fact boxes” appear, and what order they appear in. For example, you can display customer statistics, details, notes, and links on the list of sales orders. Once you select an order, there is (in the preview version) a list of 11 factboxes you can select from. Much of this information is the same information available in the 5.x version, but it’s now customizable.
You can also control default sort order on many of the screens.
Office 2007 Menus
NAV 2009 also introduces the “ribbon” concept which allows for display of common commands and reports across the top of the screen. Best yet, these are also user customizable.
Reporting Using SRS
The one complaint I’ve had for several years is the formatting capability for reports and forms inside NAV. NAV 2009 creates data from within the same classic report designer, then pushes the data to the SQL Reporting Services (SRS) client for presentation. This gives the developer many more tools to use in formatting and making the data pretty. Not a big deal, perhaps, but eventually significant.
Home Pages
Role-based home pages are a big improvement. The 2009 role center for Order Processing contains a summary of sales orders in the system. Under the heading of “Orders released not shipped” there are icons with counts of orders ready to ship, orders delayed, and partially shipped orders. Useful information to have for an order processing employee.
That’s enough for a first post. In the next post, I’ll show you the preview with a few more comments.