NAV default dimensions and value postings applied to master data (part 6 of 15)

You’ve decided you want to use dimensions, you’ve picked a strategy, you have people in both finance and IT on board with the plan, and you even have two global dimensions and a few shortcut dimensions all planned out. Now what?

Now you need to go through the process of applying your dimension strategy to all of your master data using value postings.

Master data are all the things in NAV that have a “card”.  When you think about the sales process in NAV, what might have a card? How about the customer card, the item card, or even the salesperson/purchaser card? Where else are there cards in NAV? How about the vendor card, the bank account card, or the fixed asset card? All of this is master data you will use when applying dimensions to your system.

Value postings are the requirements you set on your master data when defining dimensions.  For the sake of an example, lets say we’re going to focus our dimensions on the item card. You have four choices:

4choices1)  Leave the value posting blank. This will impose no requirement for the dimension to be filled out and is the same as not defining a dimension.

2)  Choose code mandatory. This option can act in two different ways and is highly useful. If you leave the dimension value code empty, setting the value posting to code mandatory will require the end-user to fill in a dimension value code from the defined dimension code listing before the transaction can be posted to the system. If you fill in the dimension value code with a selection from the list, essentially a default value, any transaction using this item card will populate the dimension value code with the code you have pre-selected as a default. However, if necessary, the end-user can change the value to a different selection.

3) Choose same code. You might think this would be a fantastic option, offering the highest level of control. It is true that choosing same code is the most restrictive. By choosing same code, any transaction must use the code defined in the dimension value code. This can become problematic when your company changes and you need to redefine your default values. Dimensions can be pretty pervasive, getting into places you just didn’t think about when you set them up. For the most part, they’re harmless, just little pieces of data hanging out waiting to be accessed for reporting. But sometimes, when used together with same code, they become vicious nasty little roadblocks. I’ve heard many a horror story of accountants struggling with adjust cost or inventory adjustments or even trying to get sales order postings to finalize because they’re using same code and have needed to make a necessary change.

4) Choose no code. This is the option you choose if you want to tell NAV to never assign a particular code to the item. You could do this if you wanted to reduce the possibility of error from someone trying to apply a dimension that belongs to your customer card to your item card accidentally.

dimdefaultAs you can probably tell, my recommendation is to use code mandatory in most situations. It offers the most control over your data while also allowing for necessary flexibility as your business changes. Using code mandatory avoids the problem of “optional” data by requiring some type of data to show up in the dimension value code, whether you put it there as a default to be automatically populated or whether you’ve left it blank so someone down the line can populate it when it is time to make that decision before posting. Using code mandatory can also be a great source of efficiency if you can choose to use default values. If you can decide how to make your dimension postings as automatic as possible, this really can run completely in the background, populating your system with luscious data to be reported on later, with no effort or decision-making required by you. By using default values, you also gain accuracy in your postings since the computer is making the decision the same way every time, whereas you might not be that consistent if you had to define the values manually all year.

Keep reading this month as we continue our series, 15 Days of NAV Dimensions.

Viewing NAV dimensions on postings: where can you see them? (part 5 of 15)

Inevitably, once you’ve dipped your toe into the world of dimensions, the next thing you’re going to want to know about is the difference between global and shortcut dimensions.

dims1Global dimensions are the two most important dimensions you can choose because global dimensions are the most accessible from anywhere in NAV. They are posted with every transaction you have attached them to, right along side the data, and you can see them on every form as an available choice without having to do anything special. You can see them right along with all your other data in forms (like a sales order or purchase invoice), in journals, in posted history, and global dimensions are even available for selection in every canned NAV report.


A common misconception about global dimensions is that they must be department and project. This simply isn’t so, and in my opinion, is an old holdover from thousands and thousands of NAV demos that use the CRONUS database, where the globals they have used as their demo example are department and project.

The global dimensions your company chooses should be the two most important things your company needs to report on when looking at your financial data. If your company is very customer-centric, maybe one of those globals should be customer related. As an example, if your company groups their customers by wholesale or retail, and uses this designation as a major reporting category when looking at your sales each month (or each day!), you may want to choose this “customergroup” as one of your global dimensions.

If your company is very inventory-centric, maybe one of those globals should be item related. My company has a large number of SKUS, so we find it absolutely essential to relate our global dimensions to our inventory items in order to make sense out of our sales data. We’ve designated a global dimension called PGC or product group category to allow us to group our large list of items into smaller groupings that are easier to digest when we produce reports. In addition, we also use a global dimension called edition that has a one to one relationship with each item we sell. With these two global dimensions, we can look at our sales by large group of items as well as item by item. This comes in mighty handy when it’s time to evaluate gross margin. We can get a macro and a micro view of what’s going on with our gross margin without having to do a lot of digging into the data.

You may have an even different emphasis on what your company needs to monitor. I’ve seen lots of companies who depend heavily on their dimension reporting to allow them to monitor what is going on per salesperson or territory or region. Spend a good amount of time talking this over with your company stakeholders. What really matters? What should you be looking at? Remember too, that just because you are reporting on one measure right now doesn’t mean it’s the right measure to be reporting on in the future. Figure out what those two most important things are, and designate them as your global dimensions.

Shortcut dimensions are what you’ll begin to use once you realize that two dimensions simply aren’t enough! The single largest limitation to shortcut dimensions is that they are not as readily available as global dimensions. They do not have those two designated always there fields that the globals hold. Technically, you can have an unlimited number of dimensions in total, but shortcut dimensions are special because they are more reachable. By designating a dimension as a shortcut dimension, you are making that dimension available as a choice on your forms ((like a sales order or purchase invoice), in journals, in posted history, and in every canned NAV report. The trick is that they don’t show up automatically, and you’ll need to go to the show column area on your forms and purposefully choose them for use the first time.

When you’re looking at posted history, you’ll need to use a new trick to see shortcut dimensions. As an example, choose some transactions from your chart of accounts. You’ll be on the general ledger entry table. Now choose entry and g/l dimension overview. You’ll now get a view that looks like what I’ve pasted below, showing all your shortcut dimensions as well as the global dimensions.


Another perspective on shortcut dimensions is one of efficiency. You will always want to set up a dimension as a shortcut if your end users need to access the field in order to enter or change data on a regular basis. An example of this from my company is our shortcut dimension, team. For all expense accounts, we designate a team in order to track who incurred that expense. My accounts payable person must enter that information for every expense related invoice because the computer simply can’t be trained to make all the decisions she must make in order to determine whose team gets the expense. Team is a shortcut dimension for us because she can set that field up on every form she uses so it is available for her to use for data entry right on the form, keeping her from having to go anywhere else to enter that information.

Keep reading this month as we continue our series, 15 Days of NAV Dimensions.

NAVUG spotter at Convergence: Where will you find supply chain users?

navug with nameThis year, the NAVUG (NAV user group) is more active at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence than ever before, offering 19 sessions given by end users who use the software every day at their companies! There are plenty of opportunities to attend sessions on supply chain topics and to meet other supply chain end users.

Start off your week on Monday by attending roundtable discussions.  There will be a role based table for supply chain and manufacturing personnel as well as an ask your peers table.

On Tuesday, attend a session by Marc Allman, Chief Operating Officer at AMS Controls, and Kevin Fons, Director of Business Systems at Saris Cycling Group, to get tips and tricks for supply planning. On Wednesday, Marc Allman teams up with Heather Allman, Communications Director at AMS Controls, and Bob Bergman, Senior Microsoft Dynamics NAV Consultant with Archerpoint, to conduct an ask your peers session on manufacturing setups. To cap off the week on Thursday, Nancy O’Hara, Director of Business Systems at Shaw Development, and Tom Taylor, Microsoft Dynamics Partner Technology Advisor with Microsoft, conduct a session together on warehousing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

NAVUG spotter at Convergence: Where will you find IT and developer users?

navug with nameThis year, the NAVUG (NAV user group) is more active at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence than ever before, offering 19 sessions given by end users who use the software every day at their companies! There are plenty of opportunities to attend sessions on IT and developer topics and to meet other IT and developer end users.

The user group gets Monday’s sessions started with three sessions for IT and developer roles. Kali Petit, Systems Analyst Manager at Group O, gets the day going with a session on integrating Microsoft Dynamics NAV with SharePoint, while Kim Congleton, Director IT for Supply Chain Solutions at Group O, gives a session on reporting 101 using the role tailored client. Matt Traxinger, Dynamics NAV MVP and Developer at ArcherPoint, caps off the Monday sessions with database optimization and best practices in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Kali Petit is joined by David Long, SharePoint Practice Leader at Tribridge, and Doug Shepard, Director of Information Technology at Augsburg Fortress Publishers, as peer experts for an interactive discussion on getting more out of Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics NAV.  Anticipating quite of bit of interest in this topic, the session is offered in time slots on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Also on Wednesday, Scott Rose, VP of Operations at Mirus Bio joins forces with Fria Kurowski, Account Manager for ABC Computers, for a session on how to make a smooth transition when moving from classic to RTC.

To end off the week, there is one last session offered on Thursday for folks looking for an interactive discussion with a peer panel related to upgrade experiences with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.  This session makes NAVUG members who are in all different stages of NAV upgrade and implementation available to Convergence attendees to ask questions about what their experiences have been.  Peer panelists for this session are David Hatker, VP of IT at CCA & B, Kim Congleton, Director IT for Supply Chain Solutions at Group O, Kerry Rosvold, Corporate Controller at Augsburg Fortress Publishers, and Greg Kaupp, CEO of ArcherPoint.

Don’t forget there are plenty of opportunities on Monday during the time slots for roundtable discussion, with specific tables available for IT Managers, Developers and Programmers.  The IT and Developer roles dominate the hot topic roundtables this year covering upgrading, reporting in NAV, integrating NAV with SharePoint, NAV modifications, recent go lives, current implementations, and converting forms to pages.

Guest blog on site

I’m guest blogging over on the site today.  Follow the link to learn how to Network and Collaborate at Convergence !

Learning about Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

My company has started seriously discussing what we’re going to do about upgrading our NAV ERP system. With NAV 2013 released to market in October, we’ve got plenty to talk about. Of course, just like you and your companies, we’re nailing down exactly what the benefit of upgrading will be to our company specifically. We’ve talked about performance improvements and greater ability to get to data needed for reporting, but some of those concepts can get pretty intangible in these beginning discussions.

We’ve already talked about the big concepts, but what people really want to know about right now are the real concepts:  exactly how will an upgrade in the software increase our productivity, make us more efficient in our jobs, and ultimately, help us to drive revenue, decrease costs, or increase cash?

So, I’m beginning to gather ways to start to show people at my company, in a tangible way, what the upgraded version can do for them. Here’s where I’m at so far:

1)  Get groups of stakeholders to start to attend webinars about NAV 2013. I’ve had to chance to attend Microsoft Convergence and see all this stuff, they haven’t. I need to get them exposed to seeing this incredibly different version and what it can do for them. One way I’ll do this is to have them attend webinars sponsored by the NAV user group, NAVUG. They’ve got one scheduled called “A Guided Tour of NAV 2013”, and I’ve got a group organized to attend already.  I’m betting we’ll see quite a bit of material about NAV 2013 from the user group in the next year. One of the best things about the user group webinars is that they’re recorded, so if we want to review the webinar later, anyone in my company has that option.

2)  Learn as much as I can about the nitty-gritty details so I can promote them in a real way. I’m constantly searching the web (seriously, I “Bing” everything) for new information about just about anything. Right now, I’m focusing on NAV 2013. I just found a great YouTube video, “What’s New Dynamics NAV 2013 – User Productivity Enhancements“. In six quick minutes I got about five takeaways that I can start to use. My favorite?  NAV 2013 has improved error messages to help end users resolve problems. I’m going to take this info back to work with me and make sure people know we could have less help desk traffic because the new NAV version makes it a lot easier for end users to solve their own errors on the spot.

3)  Get a test copy of NAV 2013 installed so I can start to play around with it myself. I’ve done this with previous versions, so now it’s time. I can get a demo copy installed and start touring the menus, trying things out, and teaching myself how to use the new version. What’ll I try out first?  I can’t wait to get my hands on the cash flow forecast!  Once I’ve got some level of mastery of the new version, I can start showing folks what improvements will apply to them personally, in their jobs.

I’ll keep posting here as I find useful things to share with you.  Hopefully, as you begin your process to discuss the upgrade plan for your company, you’ll find some ideas on things that’ll work for you and your companies.

This posting is one of the Top 20 Most Viewed in the last year! Follow this link to see the entire list.

Business Intelligence and Reporting Track helps solve user challenges at NAVUG Forum.

Jason Chance, Senior Programmer/Analyst at Seventh Generation and Business Intelligence and Reporting Track Leader for NAVUG Forum, guest blogs today on what the BI and Reporting Track has to offer end users at NAVUG Forum, the annual NAV end-user conference held in Seattle, October 15-18 2012.

Without fail, whenever I lead a NAV roundtable discussion or training class, people talk about the reporting. I’ve only met a handful of people who are completely happy with their business reporting and most of them have spent significant resources developing reporting solutions outside of NAV. But before you throw in the towel on reporting in NAV, and spend a lot of time and money, you owe it yourself and your organization to understand what’s available in NAV. This is where NAVUG Forum 2012 comes in.

NAVUG Forum is an excellent event led by NAV users and professionals. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s not a glossy brochure full of fluff. It’s real NAV users sharing their experience and insight gained through years working with NAV. In the reporting and BI track we’ll focus how you can get the most out of the existing tools in NAV. With sessions like Reporting 101 and Reporting 102, you’ll learn how to create and modify NAV reports. Sessions on the Role Tailored Client will show you how to use the RTC to customize the data that you see in NAV. The Analysis Views and Jet Reports session will highlight two often under utilized reporting tools in NAV. The NAV 2013 sessions will give you a preview of what to expect in the newest version of NAV.

If you have issues and concerns with your reporting capabilities, chances are someone else has the same concerns, who knows, maybe they’ve already solved their problems. Come to NAVUG Forum, learn from your peers, build a network of colleagues that can help you get the most out of NAV.

See you in Seattle.