Filing reports is an important part of a company's operation. From invoices to quotes to inventory orders, reporting is not only critical to the software but also keeps the business running over time. As a consequence, employees and ERP developers should strive to have easy reporting solutions that work for everyone. That includes a high level of customizability that best suits the needs and the aesthetics of a business. Luckily, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 addresses this major issue for end users and partners by adding a new level of compatibility with a common program: Microsoft Word.

Working for better reporting
Dynamics NAV has had a long history of reporting issues. In older versions, in order to make reports, end users had to utilize the proprietary NAV Report Designer to make their reports.

"It's a fairly technical tool," said Mark Hamblin, president of Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions. "Not that hard to use, but most end users would not have a clue where to start within that system."

In more recent versions of Dynamics NAV, users had to fall back on the SQL Server Reporting Service to design new reporting documents. According to Hamblin, the main problem with SSRS was that it lacked a lot of functionality, making it very difficult for end users to develop invoices to give to suppliers for new materials. They would have to contact the NAV partner or developer they worked with just to create a new document, a very counter-intuitive practice. To make matters worse, developers had trouble with it themselves. While NAV 2013 R2's Report Builder alleviated some of the problems that users had, they were not completely addressed.

With NAV 2015, however, the issue is fully resolved, as Microsoft Word documents and templates are fully compatible with the ERP's reporting system. Instead of having to learn new systems or wrangle their way through the NAV proprietary system, a manufacturer can simply pull up Word, create the reporting document and then upload it into NAV. That makes things incredibly easier for everyone who runs NAV.

"It really opens the doors to allow end users to design their documents the way they'd like to see them," Hamblin said.

It's all in the cloud
One of the major factors that will aid end users in utilizing Word is interoperability with Office 365, Microsoft's subscription-based office software platform. The connection between NAV and Office is such that companies can log in to NAV 2015 online using only its Office 365 credentials. That makes a major difference in how businesses function, especially if they intend to use mobile devices or even different operating systems.

"You can really see that with tablets," Hamblin said. "[Microsoft is] focusing on people that could be running on any operating system, any device. They can bring up NAV, documents, email, just about everything in one interface."

These new functions demonstrate NAV's continued commitment to the cloud. With these new systems, manufacturers can stand to become even more agile against the competition and with customers.

To discuss Microsoft NAV solutions for manufacturing, join the Microsoft Dynamics NAV for Manufacturing LinkedIn group.