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.
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This time of year, you might be thinking about what events you want to attend next year. There are many reasons we attend conferences: for professional development, to keep current with upcoming technologies, and to investigate solutions for new business challenges. For me, attending Convergence is all about the networking. I go every year to refresh relationships with business contacts I’ve already made and to meet new folks as well. Check out this quick one minute video clip that talks about the networking value of the NAV user group (NAVUG) at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence.
Not sure if you can get approved to go? Make sure to include going to Convergence in your annual budgeting process. Documenting the ROI of attending Convergence should be a part of your process. For some quick advice on how to do that, see my article Convincing Your Boss You Should go to Convergence.
The 2013 Microsoft Dynamics Convergence event is held in New Orleans from March 18-21.
I had the opportunity today to teach a full day class on account schedules to an amazing engaged group of people! I get the privilege of doing this in person once a year at NAVUG Forum thanks to NAVUG Academy. In the last year, I’ve branched out to teach this same class in webinar format, and boy has it been a blast. The number one question I get is, “Do you have a cheat sheet for all the formulas you can use in Account Schedules?”
I’ve shied away from this in the past, because it’s a complex question. You’ve got to take into account comparison period versus comparison date, column type used, use of filters, and like all Microsoft products, there is often more than one way to accomplish the same result. But I think I’ve got us a start with the page I’ve just put out on my blog.
I believe the power of community is an amazing thing. We continually make each other better by sharing information.
I CHALLENGE YOU TO SUBMIT A COMMENT WITH AN ACCOUNT SCHEDULE FORMULA THAT’S NOT YET BEEN LISTED.
As long as I can test it to prove it works in the way described, and it’s different enough from already listed formulas, I’ll add it to the list and make sure to put a shout out to the contributor on the blog.
I’m looking forward to seeing what our amazing NAVUG community can accomplish!
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.
Lewis Rosenberg, Information Technology Manager at Mars Fishcare, Information Technology Track Leader, and Programming Committee Chairperson for NAVUG Forum, guest blogs today on what the IT Track has to offer end users at NAVUG Forum, the annual NAV end-user conference held in Seattle, October 15-18 2012.
All I can say after reviewing the list of offerings for this years’ NAVUG Forum in Seattle is WOW! If you have never attended a NAVUG Forum before, this is a “must-attend, must-participate, WOW!” event! There will be so much quality information available from so many quality Dynamics NAV professionals. This is the best opportunity to link up with, meet, and network with so many people that do what you do every day using Dynamics NAV.
The conference begins with an optional day or half-day of training. There are ten different classes to choose from for a small additional fee. The classes being offered span a wide range of subject areas including finance, manufacturing, information technology, and reporting.
The remainder of the event spans three days and offers more than 100 sessions organized by eight subject tracks: BI-Reporting, Finance, Global, IT-Developers, Manufacturing-Supply Chain, NAV 2013, Strategic, Potpourri. You can attend sessions in multiple tracks to get the most out of the conference.
One of the most exciting things about the sessions offered is that they are all led by Dynamics NAV users and professionals like you. All of the sessions encourage participation, sharing of knowledge and solutions. The power of networking is what NAVUG Forum is all about!
This year’s Information Technology track features thirteen sessions covering topics like Cloud Computing, Database Optimization, SharePoint, Web Services, NAV 2013, the Role Tailored Client, and Dynamics NAV Security, Permissions, & Roles.
NAVUG Forum 2012 is at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle Washington from October 16 – October 18. All the information you need is available at http://www.navugforum.com. Connect, Learn, Share! WOW!Lewis I. Rosenberg Information Technology Manager, Mars Fishcare Programming Committee Chairperson, NAVUG
Marc Allman, Executive Vice President of AMS Controls and Manufacturing and Supply Chain Track Leader for NAVUG Forum guest blogs today on what the Supply Chain Track has to offer end users at NAVUG Forum, the annual NAV end-user conference held in Seattle, October 15-18 2012.
Whether you’re a manufacturer creating production orders and purchase orders or a distributor just creating purchase orders, the process you use to determine your plans is the same – run MRP. This will be covered in two sessions: Supply Planning 101 and Supply Planning 201.
Once you’ve decided what to make or buy, you must deal the results of your plan. Working with Production Orders and Working with Purchase Orders will provide more insight into these topics.
Several sessions will provide some specific detail into some related topics: Forecasting Functionality, Manufacturing Product Design, Subcontracting, and Warehouse Operations.
Costing is one of the most complex areas within NAV. A two-hour Costing Deep Dive session will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about costing in NAV.
One of the best aspects of an event like NAVUG Forum is the access you get to the experts in the software you use every day. Two roundtable Q&A sessions are your opportunity to get your questions answered: Ask the Experts – Manufacturingand Supply Chain and Ask the Experts – Costing.
Finally, the forthcoming release of NAV 2013 brings with it some significant enhancements to the supply planning area.What’s New is Supply Planning in NAV 2013 will show off the new features.
Attending NAVUG Forum is exciting for many reasons: getting to see the future of the ERP package we have chosen for our companies, meeting and networking with other people who use that same solution for their organizations, and learning new ways to leverage those tools are just a few. How do you share this experience with the people at your company when you get back home to ensure you are able to return next year? By making sure to measure the return on investment you got for your company while you were there!
Start by making a list of what you want to accomplish while you are at the conference. Planning out what you want to accomplish in the three short days you are here is key.
- Who do you want to meet?
- What do you want to learn?
- What problems do you want to solve?
Make sure to involve others at your company when putting together your list. Are there things you could solve for them? Find out what the big picture is at your company. What is your organization planning to do in the next 3-5 years? What are their challenges technologically in order to meet those goals?
When you arrive at the conference, start to work the list. Take advantage of as many sessions as you can attend in your tracks, and pick and choose some sessions from other tracks that may be outside of your comfort zone. Get involved in networking activities. Bring plenty of business cards and be ready to use your smart phone to exchange information for the first time using QR code scanning! Make sure to stop by the help desk to get advice on more advanced challenges from partners who are volunteering their services during the conference as well as from Microsoft experts. Stop by the vendor hall to check out solutions you know you need and find some that you didn’t know you needed.
Before you get back home, review your time at the conference and what you accomplished. When you return to life back at the office, you’ll quickly forget, so write these things down. Once you’ve got your list together of what you’ve accomplished, both big and small, start to assign value to these things. Were you planning to take a class to learn that new thing? How much would the class have cost? Did you solve a problem at the help desk? What would that have cost you? How about that exchange of information you had with another user? They were able to help you think through a solution for something that would have taken you a few weeks or months to get to. How much time, and money, did having a solution now, instead of later, save you? How much is it worth to you that you can call them up three months from now to ask a clarifying question? Add up the numbers – I guarantee you’ve just justified the cost of attending NAVUG Forum.
Make sure to share what problems you solved, what things you learned, and how much money you saved your company by attending NAVUG Forum when you get back home. Set aside some time to discuss the vision for the future that inspired you with your executive team. Share your involvement with the user group by taking advantage of the free learning and networking opportunities they have and by showing your co-workers how they can also get involved throughout the year. Follow up with the contacts you made while you were at the conference. You will find this network of professionals invaluable in the future.
Hang on to that list. If you question the value of NAVUG Forum, or if someone else does, get out your list and look at the bottom line.
If you need a little more help in getting approval from your company for your NAVUG Forum attendance, the user group provides a great template to help you get started. Find it here: http://navugforum.com/justify-my-trip/
As one added incentive, just by reading this blog, you can get an extra $100 off your NAVUG Forum registration by using this promo code: NAVFIN04. This code can’t be used in combination with other offers.
I’ve attended NAVUG Forum for the last four years. I’ll be attending again in October 2012, and I’m bringing three coworkers with me this year. I’m looking forward to the conference already and I hope that you Meet Me There!