Navision Customization: Business Notification

By: Andrew Karasev

Microsoft Business Solutions Navision is one of four Microsoft ERP applications: Navision, Axapta, Solomon and Great Plains. Navision has huge market share in Europe and becomes more popular in US, especially for Manufacturing companies. It is very good candidate for future Microsoft Manufacturing suite - as you know Microsoft is planning on merging its ERP packages into one modular set of suites: Microsoft Financial, Microsoft Distribution, Microsoft HR (first three are probably on Great Plains base), Microsoft Manufacturing (Navision), Microsoft Professional Services (project accounting - probably Solomon). These suites will have one front end - Microsoft Business Portal - web based interface, currently web based interface is the foundation of Microsoft CRM.

Let's take a look at the new functionality: Navision Business Notification

Business Notification as MBS describes it: Business Notification is the new feature for Microsoft Business Solutions–Navision vrsion 4.0 - it makes it possible to automatically send e-mail notifications to employees and business partners about changes within Navision. This is really hot one. EmagineFor example that bill of materials (BOM) is changed by a product designer, other departments need to be aware of the changes: purchasing needs to adjust to the new or changed components; sales may need to inform customers about delays; and so on. Another example would be when you have placed an order and received some of the purchased items, but you are waiting for delivery of the rest of the order. Sending a notification will alert your suppliers that some of the goods have not yet been delivered. Without an automatic process, this important information is easily lost.

What you can do with Business Notification (as it is new feature we have to base our info on Microsoft original documentation):

  • Track and monitor critical business data, while at the same time limiting the need to print and compare reports, such as those on inventory level.

  • Alert the appropriate employees or business partners in the following cases:

    1. When an action is required in accordance with normal business procedure, for example, when a BOM has changed, or you need to send the inventory status to your suppliers or remind them about upcoming deliveries.

    2. When an exception occurs, for example, when a supplier has not confirmed your purchase order or has not delivered goods as expected, or when a production order has been delayed.

  • Keep employees and business partners informed. For example, you can use business notification to inform them when a new BOM item has been created.

In addition to Business Notification we would like to give you our short overview on Navision customization and reporting in general

Developing in Navision

  • C/SIDE (Client/Server Integrated Development Environment) - The core of Navision is the C/SIDE. C/SIDE is the foundation for all the business management functionality of Navision. It is made up of five building blocks, called object types, which are used to create the application. These five object types are shared throughout Navision to create every application area, and give it a unified, consistent interface. This powerful language allows for the internal construction of new business logic and sophisticated reporting. Because of the internal nature of modifications it’s highly recommended that you develop all your code in “processing only" report objects and called from the native code base. By grouping all your code in logical units, upgrades and additional modifications are easier to manage.

  • C/ODBC and C/FRONT - Both C/ODBC and C/FRONT enable you to easily use information from Navision in familiar programs such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. The Open Database Connectivity driver for Navision (C/ODBC) is an application program interface (API) that provides a way for other applications, such as the entire Microsoft Office Suite, to send and retrieve data to and from the Navision database through the ODBC interface.

  • External Tool: Navision Developer’s Toolkit - The Navision Developer’s Toolkit enables your Microsoft Certified Business Solutions Partner to upgrade your Navision solution to the latest version. It is used to analyze and upgrade customer and vertical solutions

Reporting Options - Aside from the powerful internal reporting tool which requires an in-depth knowledge of C/SIDE to make it useful the other options are:

  • Jet Reports- Jet Reports is a complete reporting package utilizing Microsoft Excel. Using Excel you can create reports on any table of data from within any granule in Navision.

  • C/ODBC - Using the ODBC driver, the entire Microsoft office suite and programs such as Crystal Reports can access the database. I would recommend using this tool for occasional reporting requests only. If you need to pull data out of the Navision database on a regular basis one of the other options is a better choice.

  • Business Analytics (SQL Server Required) - Using Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) from Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000, Business Analytics organizes all of your business data into information units called cubes. Using a familiar Microsoft Outlook?-style interface, Business Analytics presents this information to your desk top where easy to use analytical tools allow you to carry out targeted analysis that is tailored by you, for you

  • XBRL - Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) for Navision enables simple and dependable distribution of all a company’s financial information and ensures smooth and accurate data transfer. XBRL is an XML-based specification that uses accepted financial reporting standards and practices to export financial reports across all software and technologies, including the Internet

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