Dynamics 365: confusion to the max!

Yesterday Microsoft has announced Dynamics 365, its new approach to cloud-based business Apps.

Here you can find responses to many many questions that comes after the Dynamics 365 announcement.

I totally disagree with this Microsoft’s way to share news, actually there is too much confusion about NAV and Dynamics ERP in the cloud and this is absolutely not good for customers.

Remember only a concept: NAV will remain also an On Premise solution, it’s still the same great product and it has a great roadmap for the future. Madeira or Dynamics 365 ARE NOT NAV!!!

Microsoft Project “Madeira”: my opinion

As many of you already knows, in April Microsoft has released the first public preview of Madeira, their SaaS ERP solution based on NAV and running on the Azure cloud. And also as many of you already knows, actually I was not a great fan of this solution (I’ve always said ACTUALLY 🙂 ).

Let me explain well why this…

This is the “Madeira vs NAV” chart:


Madeira is not NAV, at least it’s not the NAV that many customers has in mind and it’s not the Microsoft’s ERP that sells so well at least here in Europe.

The pros:

  1. Microsoft is making huge investments on Azure cloud and I think that they should have a completely SaaS solution for the entire Dynamics suite. Dynamics CRM is also online, so why not also an ERP online? This is where Madeira fits the gap. This is the cloud-based ERP offering by Microsoft and I think that Microsoft has done a right step. They must be present on this market!
  2. It’s NAV-based, so no new to reinvent but all is based on a solid platform.

The cons:

  1. Madeira is an ERP inside Office 365. Microsoft has always highlighted the native integration between Office 365, Outlook and Madeira. But unfortunately not all companies are Office-addicted and expecially Outlook-addicted.
  2. I see Madeira as a possible (and suitable) ERP solution only for small companies, where no big customizations are required and where cloud is a chance to cut costs.
  3. Unfortunately, not all ERP markets are the same. Maybe there are places and situations where a standard NAV ERP without (or really few) customizations are ok, but (at least here in Italy) the industry market is really complex, the ERP is the core software for the companies and they want that it suits all aspects of their business (workflow functions, integration with other existing software or machines etc). If you want a real ERP solution with all these aspects in mind, implementing Madeira could be not enough.

Obviously, I’m happy to see a SaaS ERP solution base on NAV, I hope a great future for Madeira but I can’t see it to satisfy a wide range of market now. It’s simply not enough for me…

I’ve placed in Bold the word actually because I think that the industry world (alias big companies) is not ready for Madeira now. In the future things could change (maybe also the cloud culture) and we’ll see what happens. Now I couldn’t recommend Madeira to a customer unless it has few technical requirements or it has a really small budget.

Standard NAV will remain the main proposal for a company that needs a solid ERP system, totally adaptable to its business model. With NAV you can choose for a totally On-Premise solution or an hybrid one (I’m pushing always more to use Azure at least for the database tier) and with NAV you’ve all the power you want for your business now and forever.


Microsoft PowerApps: finally!

Today the official announcement of something cool that was in the air from a long time and that closes the gap between Azure App Service and the real world: Microsoft PowerApps.


Microsoft has announced its latest application development solution for businesses, to easily create and share apps for iOS, Android and Windows, in an easy-to-use ‘Office-like’ suite. Microsoft PowerApps has been designed for the business market, and speeds up application creation and distribution via a range of specialist tools.

Microsoft PowerApps allows businesses to integrate existing services and systems into applications, without the need for highly-skilled programmers. Multiple cloud and in-house data sources can be integrated with apps created using the service, taking advantage of dispersed company data. This can streamline data from multiple systems, into a single PowerApp solution.

As clearly explained today by Scott Hanselman:

PowerApps is the business application creation side. Think of it as a new member of the Office Family. It’s not a Visual Studio thing. Apps made with PowerApps are sharable with in your organization as easy as sharing documents and they run on Windows, Android, and iOS. A business user could build a new workflow app and share it with everyone. They can auth that new app against APIs like Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Dropbox, Twitter, Google Drive, and OneDrive. For example, my example app takes photos of the bricks and puts the result in Azure Storage, but I could just as easily drop them in Google Drive or OneDrive.

However, for Visual Studio developers, or any developer, you still use the language of your choice (C#, F#, node.js, PHP, etc) and write Web APIs and Apps and host them in Azure App Service as you always have. But, if you want, those APIs can live in a new gallery that is specific to your organization so that anyone in your org (developer or business user alike) can use in their applications.

I think that you can easily imagine the power and the opportunities. So cool!

.NET Core and ASP.NET 5 RC available for production

Exciting news are coming from Connect() 2015 event. All is well summarized here, but I want to put in evidence a revolutionary news:

.NET Core and ASP.NET 5 are now RC. They are ready for you to start building web apps and services with ASP.NET 5. You can build apps and services that scale, that work on-premise and in the Cloud and that can be run on Windows, Linux and OS X. .NET apps are portable. You can take an app running on Windows and move it to Linux, or vice-versa, without code modification.

I’m sure that you can you imagine how this is so cool…

NAV 2016: a little web client feature to have everywhere…

With NAV 2016, Microsoft has improved a lot the Web Client, starting from the startup time (now very fast!) to the new keyboard facilities and the new UI features. Now you have really a first-class desktop experience!

But there’s a little feature that is really well implemented: hide/show columns (yes, now it’s possible also on the web client!).

If you want to hide a column on the NAV web client, just right click on it and click Hide Column:


If you want to add columns to the view, just click on Choose Columns and you can quickly select the columns you want:


I think that it’s a very quick way to handle the hide/show fields feature, better than how the same feature on the Windows Client is handled.

Request: Why not using the same way also on the NAV Windows Client? 🙂


The SQL Authentication return with NAV 2016.

As you know, in previous NAV versions (3-tier) you can access the system by using 4 different authentication types:

  • Windows
  • UserName
  • NavUserPassword
  • AccessControlService

A thing that I think is passed under the hood in these days is that now NAV 2016 supports also the SQL Authentication.

Configuration for this authentication type is a bit tricky but you can find all the details here.

An idea/suggestion: NAV Windows Client via Azure RemoteApp

This is an idea that’s rolling on my mind from a lot of time… Why Microsoft not provides a deploy of the NAV Windows Client via Azure RemoteApp?

Azure RemoteApp is a wonderful service provided by the Azure platform that permits you to run Windows applications “as a service” and permits to access the published app anywhere and on any platform.

In these days for example I’ve played with RemoteApp and IE11 (Microsoft has published it on Azure) and I was able to run IE11 on my MacBook exactly as I was on my Windows machine.

Having the NAV Windows Client published as a RemoteApp on Azure will permit everyone to have a “cross platform” NAV desktop client. You could for example turn on your Mac, join the RemoteApp session, start the NAV Windows client and run it on Mac OS exactly like on Windows.

Sounds interesting? For me a lot…