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How Microsoft Navision Utilizes Microsoft® Office® to Boost Productivity for Customers and Partners


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Integrated Innovation in Microsoft® Navision®

How Microsoft Navision Utilizes Microsoft® Office® to Boost Productivity for Customers and Partners



Introduction


This white paper is intended for Microsoft customers and partners. It reviews how Microsoft® Business Solutions—Navision® and Microsoft® Office® create value for customers and partners by helping small and medium-sized companies increase productivity.

After reading this paper you will know:




  • What Microsoft Navision is and how Microsoft products and technologies have always been an integral part of Microsoft Navision

  • Which Microsoft products and technologies integrate with Microsoft Navision

  • How integration with Microsoft Office benefits customers and partners

Published: July 2005



Contents


Introduction

Executive Summary

Background

Integrated Innovation in Microsoft Navision Today

Companies Can Do More Faster without Increasing Costs

Integration with Microsoft Outlook

Integration with Microsoft Word

Integration with Microsoft Excel

Other Examples of Integration

Summary

Conclusion

Executive Summary


Microsoft Navision is an integrated business management solution designed specifically for the unique needs of growing, small to medium-sized companies. Microsoft Navision has a long history of utilizing Microsoft technologies and products. As early as 1993, the developers of Microsoft Navision recognized the potential of the Microsoft® for Windows® NT 32-bit graphical user interface (GUI)-based software. This resulted in the successful launch of Microsoft Navision Financials Windows 95 and Windows NT versions in 1995 – making it one of the first accounting solutions for small and medium-sized businesses based on Microsoft Windows. And, Microsoft Navision Commerce Gateway was one of the world’s first solutions based on Microsoft BizTalk Server. Today, Microsoft Navision represents a significant number of the total sales of Microsoft Biz Talk Server. Integrated innovation and Microsoft technologies continue to be the foundation for the future development of Microsoft Navision.

Businesses are challenged every day to manage massive amounts of information. This can be a difficult, inefficient and time-consuming process, especially if companies are using different software systems to deal with the various aspects of their business.

To help businesses cope with this challenge, Microsoft Business Solutions – Navision integrates with Microsoft Office, including the familiar programs Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Outlook. This integration allows employees to work faster and smarter and increases company productivity. The tight integration to Microsoft Office also empowers employees to make better decisions by giving them fast access to timely, relevant and reliable information across the organization.

In addition, the Navigation Pane in Microsoft Navision 4.0 has the familiar look and feel of Microsoft Outlook. This makes it easy for users to navigate through the system and access precisely the information they need, when and where they need it.

In addition to the user-friendly Navigation Pane, the major integration points between Microsoft Navision and Microsoft Office are:


  • Synchronization with Microsoft Outlook

  • Integration with Microsoft Word

  • Smart Tag functionality

  • Integration with Microsoft Excel

  • Microsoft Navision Employee Portal

Integration means that data is synchronized between Microsoft Navision and Outlook and that data from Microsoft Navision is pushed to the other Office applications. Synchronization between Microsoft Navision and Outlook happens instantly when users are online and both systems are running or at a later time if a user is working offline or with only one application.

Finally, the Integrated Development Environment C/SIDE makes the application code open to developers so that Microsoft Navision can be made to fit each company’s unique way of doing business. Thanks to C/SIDE, all Microsoft Certified Business Solutions partners can customize Microsoft Navision so the application areas support each company’s particular routines, processes and methods—as well as extend the various Office integration points.

All these factors boost company productivity.

Background


Managing massive amounts of business information is one of the biggest challenges companies face today. And access to the right information at the right time is crucial to the success of every business.
Many small and midsize businesses work daily with a range of disparate software systems and applications. Using multiple systems to manage information can be a costly, frustrating and inefficient way of conducting business when the systems are not integrated. This lack of integration lowers productivity and reduces a company’s ability to compete.
One of the big challenges of using systems that are not integrated is the danger of making mistakes when the same data is entered into different systems. Also, when systems are not integrated, information in one system may not be up to date with the information in another system. So the reliability of company data can become an issue.
Companies face another challenge if the look and feel of different systems employees are using varies because then users are forced to use valuable time and energy learning and remembering how each system works.
All this can make the workday and business processes much more time-consuming. And, multiple systems that are not integrated can be problematic when doing business with external partners.
Additionally, there is the challenge of access to timely information as well as the ability to drill down and analyze business data in a meaningful fashion. With systems that are not integrated, it may be difficult to access and analyze the right data and keep up to date both in terms of problems and opportunities. And if data is difficult to access and analyze, how can intelligent business decisions be made?
To compete in today’s market, integration of systems and data – and fast access to that data – is crucial to a company’s productivity and ability to compete effectively. Microsoft Navision integrates with Microsoft products and technologies, including Microsoft Office, to help companies work faster, smarter and increase productivity.
What is Microsoft Navision?

Microsoft Navision is an integrated business management solution designed specifically for the unique needs of growing, small to medium-sized companies. It is ideal for businesses looking for one solution that is fast to implement, easy to customize and simple to use and maintain. Microsoft Navision delivers integrated functionality to support solutions for Financial Management, Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management and e-Commerce.


The product originates in Denmark and was the flagship solution of Navision a/s when Microsoft acquired Navision a/s in May 2002. Today it is one of four products in the Microsoft Business Solutions product portfolio.
Microsoft Navision was originally envisioned around three fundamental design principles – simplicity, flexibility and adaptability. The Microsoft Navision development team’s unwavering commitment to these principles and the expertise of the Microsoft Navision partners has made Microsoft Navision the success it is today. To date, Microsoft has over 1500 Microsoft Navision partners in at least 50 countries serving more than 44,000 small to medium-sized companies. These companies rely on Microsoft Navision every day to help them run their operations.
Better Together: A Successful History of Integrated Innovation

Microsoft Navision has a long history of utilizing Microsoft technologies and products. As early as 1993, the development team behind Microsoft Navision recognized the potential of the Microsoft® for Windows® NT 32-bit graphical user interface (GUI)-based software. At that time, a major development effort was initiated to create a new generation of Microsoft Navision solutions with a highly adaptable and easy-to-customize user interface. This resulted in the successful launch of Microsoft Navision Financials Windows 95 and Windows NT versions in 1995 – making it one of the first accounting solutions for small and medium-sized businesses based on Microsoft Windows.


Since then, innovative enhancements have been made to Microsoft Navision making it even easier and more cost-efficient to sell, implement, upgrade, use and maintain. And, Microsoft products and technologies have been and continue to be an integral part of these enhancements.
For example, in 2000, Microsoft Navision Commerce Gateway was one of the world’s first solutions based on Microsoft BizTalk Server. Today, Microsoft Navision represents a significant number of the total sales of Microsoft Biz Talk Server. And, again in 2000, Microsoft Navision User Portal was one of the first the world’s first solution based on Microsoft’s Digital Dashboard. Today, Microsoft Navision is leveraging the benefits of Microsoft SharePoint technologies with a new employee portal based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services.
Integrated innovation and Microsoft technologies continue to be the foundation for the future development of Microsoft Navision. Integrated innovation will enable us to achieve our ultimate goal of empowering both Microsoft Navision customers and partners to realize business success by working more productively without increasing costs.

Integrated Innovation in Microsoft Navision Today


Microsoft Navision integrates with a number of Microsoft products and technologies to help Microsoft Navision customers realize business success in three ways:



  1. Empowering employees to work more productively in a cost-efficient way

  2. Seamlessly connecting people, processes and information throughout the business and

  3. Providing employees with better insight so they make smarter decisions.



Overview of Microsoft Products & Technologies

in Microsoft Navision

Microsoft Product/Technology

How Integrated Innovation Benefits Customers




Productivity

Connectivity

Insight

Microsoftâ Windowsâ 2000 


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Microsoftâ Windowsâ XP


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Microsoftâ Windowsâ Server 2003


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Windowsâ Installer and Active Directoryâ


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Microsoftâ SQL Serverâ 2000


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*

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Microsoftâ SQL Serverâ 2000 Notification Services

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Microsoft Internet Information Server




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Microsoftâ Exchange Server




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Microsoftâ BizTalkâ Server

*

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Microsoftâ SharePointâ Portal

*

*

*

Microsoftâ Windowsâ SharePointâ Server

*

*

*

Microsoftâ Commerce Server




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Microsoftâ .NET




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Microsoftâ Office Suite – Including Excel & Word


*

*

*

Microsoft Outlook® 2000/XP/2003

*

*





Companies Can Do More Faster without Increasing Costs


Increasing employee productivity – without increasing costs – is a top priority among growing small and medium-sized customers. With tight integration to the Microsoft productivity tools Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Navision enables employees in small and medium-sized businesses to work faster, smarter and get more done in less time.

A familiar user-interface increases productivity

Customer research shows that employees waste valuable time re-keying redundant information and data into disparate systems, switching back and forth between different applications and getting reacquainted with applications that look and feel different.

Microsoft Navision’s intuitive, task-based design looks just like Microsoft Windows. The familiar user environment enables employees to work faster and more efficiently because they feel “at home” with the application.

The Microsoft Navision Navigation Pane has the familiar look and feel of the Navigation Pane in Microsoftâ Office Outlookâ 2003. Its main menu content has been structured around departmental areas to reflect employees’ roles and tasks. Each of these areas has its own menu. This makes it easy for employees to find the functionality they need, quickly.

T
The main menu in Microsoft Navision looks and feels like Microsoft Windows
he Navigation Pane displays one menu at a time. Menu buttons at the bottom of the pane enable users to switch from one menu to another. The menus are organized in intuitive, logical tree structures, just like the folder structure in Windows Explorer. Menus contain menu items for the windows, reports, and batch jobs that users have access to. To make it easier to navigate within a menu, related menu items are gathered in menu groups.

Systems administrators can use the Microsoft Navigation Pane Designer to configure the Microsoft Navision main menu to suit the way their organizations operate. They can also assign users to menus so that employees only see the menus that are relevant to their roles.

The familiar and intuitive Microsoft environment enables new employees to start working almost immediately thereby saving money on training. If they have worked in a Microsoft program before or are used to surfing the Internet then they have all the training they need to start working.

Integration with Microsoft Outlook


Integrated innovation enables better communication with customers and colleagues.

Users can access up-to-date contacts, tasks and calendar information in Outlook directly from Microsoft Navision. Records are kept in Microsoft Navision of email correspondence, business contacts, meetings and tasks. Data changed in Microsoft Navision or Outlook is instantly synchronized and entries in both applications are therefore always up to date.



E
Figure 1: An example of synchronized contact information with Navision (in the background) and the Outlook contact form in front.
mployees can also be working in the field online or offline, for example when on a sales call or business trip, and then synchronize their data at any time. If the user is online and both systems are running, then data is synchronized instantly.

In addition, when users who are authorized to update an employee’s calendar in Outlook enter data, the data is automatically synchronized between the systems.

Users can also keep records of e-mail correspondence, business contacts, meetings, tasks, appointments, and so on, in both Outlook and Microsoft Navision and share selected records with colleagues. For example: when an e-mail from Microsoft Navision is created, the e-mail is also registered in Outlook, and when a task is assigned in Outlook, the task is also registered in Microsoft Navision.

E-Mail Logging gives a greater overview of e-mails. Employees can integrate e-mails between Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Navision. Companies are able to maintain current e-mail records in both systems and employees can share and publish knowledge about external contacts.


Integration with Microsoft Word


The tight integration of the Microsoft Navision Marketing Module with Microsoft Office allows users to work directly in the familiar program Microsoft Word with data stored in Microsoft Navision. The result is that users can use Word templates to make appealing business letters and then extract the data they need directly from the Microsoft Navision Marketing module. This is a great time saver and can be used, for example, when creating customer letters. When finished, letters can be printed or sent by email and the information stored in the Microsoft Navision database for future use.



Figure 2: Merge result with the contact information received from Microsoft Navision
Smart Tags provide a more effective working environment

The tight integration between Microsoft Navision and Microsoft Office enables employees to access information that is stored in Microsoft Navision without leaving Microsoft Word, Excel or Outlook. Smart Tags are a feature in Microsoft Office that associate an Office document with another resource. It is very much like a hyperlink except that Smart Tags can link users to information in other applications instead of to Web pages.

When Smart Tags are installed, they give Microsoft Navision users access to data in Microsoft Navision. For example, when a user is working in Word and Word recognizes a type of data from the Microsoft Navision database, the Smart Tag icon is displayed. If, for example, the user types the name of a customer that is recognized, a Smart Tag icon will appear and the user can click on the icon. A menu will then open that shows what types of information are available in the Microsoft Navision database about this name. When the user selects one of the items in the menu, a window will open and display the data from the Microsoft Navision database.

The Smart Tag Integration Toolkit includes a set of predefined Smart Tags, which recognize information in the different application areas in Microsoft Navision.

F
or example, in Microsoft Navision Relationship Management, contacts, campaigns and opportunities are recognized. In inventory Items, Sales and Receivables, and in Purchases and Payables, information is recognized by name and number. The Smart Tag toolkit for partners makes it possible to tailor the depth of detail to meet customer requirements.

Integration with Microsoft Excel


Integration makes it possible to view data from Microsoft Navision in Microsoft Excel and explore different scenarios. The data can be exported directly from Microsoft Navision into Excel so users can format the data as they wish. This enhances regular reporting capabilities and facilitates one-time analysis of data. For example, data can be copied from any tabular list form or matrix form in Microsoft Navision and taken to Excel for further analysis. Then users can slice and dice the info and visualize it graphically as a pie chart, spreadsheet or pivot table for reports and analysis, transforming Microsoft Navision data into business intelligence.
Sophisticated queries can also be made in Excel and users can produce reports and analyses of the latest financial and other data directly from Microsoft Navision. Or budgets, corporate or departmental, can be updated in Excel and then later transferred to Microsoft Navision. Microsoft Navision also offers the possibility to create SQL Server Analysis Services OLAP cubes directly from Microsoft Navision and these can also be accessed from Excel.






KPI functionality

In connection with using Excel, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important tools for keeping a business on track. Once defined, KPIs help company decision-makers stay aware of ongoing market conditions and to make better decisions. This is an excellent way to provide company employees with easy-to read views of business measurements of company performance such as profitability, gross margin and much more. Data is drawn directly from Microsoft Navision, offering a real-time view of company performance.


For company managers, access to key business metrics helps them assess the current health of their business and respond quickly when market conditions change. By using graphs, tables, and alerts, KPIs can be created that highlight the most important aspect of each information view so that decision-makers gain an overview and can then drill down in the data to identify the underlying causes of the changing conditions.

Role-based access to individual KPIs can also be created so each manager has access to the information that is relevant to his/her area of responsibility.


Other Examples of Integration


Microsoft BizTalk Server

Microsoft Navision integrates with Microsoft BizTalk Server to facilitate the electronic exchange of business documents between business partners. Commerce Gateway helps customers efficiently unite systems, employees, and trading partners and automates their interactions in a flexible way. Information sent or received by Microsoft Navision Commerce Gateway is automatically updated in Microsoft Navision. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and significantly increases data accuracy.


Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft Navision Commerce Portal is an Internet-based e-commerce solution within Microsoft Navision that leverages the Internet to streamline interactions with vendors and customers. All relevant data in the Commerce Portal is synchronized with Microsoft SQL Server so that the data is actually stored in both the Microsoft Navision Database Server and the Microsoft SQL Server database. The system automatically synchronizes the Microsoft SQL Server database, and subsequently the Web pages on a storefront, with the Microsoft Navision database. And, integration with Microsoft SQL and SQL Notification Services enables efficient sharing of knowledge and information throughout your organization


Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services


The Microsoft Navision Employee Portal is an Intranet solution that utilizes Microsoft SharePoint Services and integrates with Microsoft SharePoint Portal making it possible for employees to work with real-time business information in a secure environment from Microsoft Navision. Thus employees can access and share Microsoft Office documents, receive information or updates, and update relevant business information in Microsoft Navision.
Using the Microsoft Navision Employee Portal, document workplaces can be set up and employees can collaborate and work together on invoices, customer data and reports in real time. The Microsoft Navision Employee Portal is a convenient and powerful .NET based product that covers distributed information needs. And since access is role-based, users only have access to the information that is relevant for their jobs. In addition, since Microsoft Navision data is accessed from the Intranet via the user’s Web interface, the Microsoft Navision Employee Portal is also ideal for mobile users wherever they are in the world or for company “light users” who do not need access to the whole Microsoft Navision system.

Delivering More Value for Your Money


Integration helps your Microsoft Navision partners, too. For example, the Microsoft Navision Rapid Implementation Methodology uses Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project which help your partner implement your solution faster and more efficiently. And, your partner can focus on meeting your needs rather than on integration issues. Upgrades and maintenance of your solution is easier, too.
C/SIDE for open development

C/SIDE or Client/the Integrated Development Environment, C/SIDE, is the core of Microsoft Navision and the foundation for the system’s business functionality. C/SIDE makes the application code open to developers so that Microsoft Navision can be made to fit each company’s unique way of doing business. Thanks to C/SIDE, all Microsoft Certified Business Solutions partners can customize Microsoft Navision so the application areas support each company’s particular routines, processes and methods. And the automation controller provides a way to access the functionality of external applications such as Microsoft Excel from within Microsoft Navision so the solution can, for example, be extended if a company has special KPI’s.


Summary


The bottom line when it comes to integration is increased productivity. Integration enables employees to work faster and smarter. They get more done in less time because of the similar look and feel of the applications and access to data across applications.

Integration delivers value to customers, too. Integration reduces the cost of hiring experts to implement, manage and maintain disparate systems. Moreover, the cost of training employees to use new and disparate systems is also minimized.

Integration allows administrators to design and configure Microsoft Navision so employees can do their jobs faster and more efficiently. Employees have fast access to the information they need when and where they need it so timely decisions can be made, increasing company competitiveness. In addition, integration also facilitates doing business with external partners and customers.

Integration empowers users because employees who are connected with the information they need in applications they already know and use, quite simply, work better, smarter and faster.

Connected employees work more efficiently in teams – and customer, team and task information is easier to continuously update and synchronize. Moreover, the tight online integration with Microsoft Office ensures that calendars, tasks and meetings can be constantly synchronized in Outlook. No one is left out; everyone is informed and in the loop. And the system remembers and synchronizes data so any changes made in one application are replicated in the other applications.

Smart tags are another key to empowerment because they give users quick access to vital information in real time because when they recognize information, users can immediately drill down in Microsoft Navision and locate precisely the data they need.

Finally, access to timely information when and where you need it translates into better business insight. In short, the power to make better decisions is enhanced. Integration gives companies and employees access to the information they need, when and where they need it. And without the considerable use of time and resources that previously was required to find information when using disparate systems.

Business analytic tools and the ability to drill down into underlying data that is reliable and up to date for further analysis, ensures that business decisions are based on more than intuition and gut feelings. Tools such as OLAP (online analytical processing) allow users to draw upon table relations within Microsoft Navision for a multi-dimensional view of data.


Conclusion


Microsoft Navision was created with the spirit of integrated innovation. As one of the very early adopters of Microsoft products and technologies, Microsoft Navision continues to utilize Microsoft products and technologies to help customers increase productivity, collaboration and business insight. Microsoft Navision and Microsoft products and technologies boost partner productivity and profitability, too. Instead of wasting valuable resources on integration, partners can focus on adding more customers and developing unique solutions that help small and medium-sized businesses around the world achieve business success.

Learn more about Microsoft Navision

Contact your local Microsoft Business Solutions country office to learn more about how Microsoft Navision can help your organization: www.microsoft.com/BusinessSolutions/worldwide.aspx.

Or, go to www.microsoft.com/BusinessSolutions/Navision/default.aspx to read case stories and find fact sheets about the tools described in this white paper:


  • Microsoft Navision Integrated Innovation White Paper – this paper addresses all the Microsoft products and technologies in Microsoft Navision

  • Microsoft Navision Foundation Fact Sheet

  • Microsoft Navision 4.0 Overall Fact Sheet

  • Microsoft Navision 4.0 Technology Framework Fact Sheet

  • Microsoft Navision 4.0 Employee Portal

  • Microsoft Navision User Experience Fact Sheet



Copyright

The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


This White Paper is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT.
Complying with all applicable copyright laws is the responsibility of the user. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft may have patents, patent programs, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Microsoft, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property.
© 2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft is either registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.


The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.







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