Category Archives: General

Everything that does not fit in one of the categories

Design Patterns YouTube Playlist | 30 Videos

With the recovery of a lost video at Microsoft, the Design Patterns YouTube PlayList has 30 Videos now.

23 of these videos are part of the How Do I series and co-sponsored by Microsoft. 7 videos are created by me.

You can find the PlayList on my YouTube channel: Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/user/brummelds

Until a year ago I was unfamiliar with YouTube and video making but it is surprisingly easy to do and sends out a very clear message.

The playlist includes an hour long introduction to the concept of Design Patterns

Workshops (Advertisement)

If you want to learn more about how Design Patterns can help you improve development of Dynamics NAV in your company we have started a series of workshops together with regional MCT’s.

The first region we host is North America. On March 19th and 20th we do Atlanta with Mike Doster and on March 23rd and 24th we do Toronto with Floyd Chan.

Next up will be Europe with probably Belgium, The Netherlands, UK and Austria. I am still looking for an MCT in the UK to work together with.

Quiz: Can you see the difference between these two images?

ThinkNAVAttlantaThinkNAVToronto

Windows 10 and Dynamics NAV | Continuum and ERP

As I am writing this blog, Microsoft is showing Windows 10 to the world. I have always been a Windows fan and worked with the very early releases back until Windows 1.

Windows10-1

When Windows 8 was introduced we quickly got some screenshots emailing aroundhow the new “Live Tiles” would influene Dynamics NAV.

In reality this never happened. Live Tiles failed as people did not like the big bathroom interior on their desktop experinece and NAV never adopted the possibilty of showing data on the tile.

A big mistake still if you ask me, also considering that it looks like with Windows 10 we will still have the tiles as part of the start menu. I love the tiles and the fact that it shows me stuff without opening the application.

We got tiles in Dynamics NAV in the Role Center, with sentiment. I love that feature. I would still like to be able to make these bigger or smaller like in Windows 8 and put more on them like images and text.

But that is not what I wanted to write. Get to the point I hear you think.

Continuum

What is that, I hear you say. It means that each device that runs Windows can run the same apps and adopts to the device. If you have a small device without keyboard and mouse it optimises for that, if you run on a tablet you get more real estate and if you attach a keyboard it automatically optimises again. Like in this video:

I would love to see this feature adopted in Dynamics NAV. We already have an app for tablets, what if that would be cross-device and works on all devices? Adopting to keyboard if required.

Please Microsoft! Make this work. And while you are at it, please use the live tile to display information. Like the number of Workflow alerts from your roadmap.

Dynamics NAV should have the best Windows 10 experience of all ERP products out there. We have the architecture to make it happen.

Dynamics NAV vNext : Corfu

Ok, writing about a new version before it is released with a current NDA is like walking on eggs. It can almost only go wrong.

But, I am so exited about the upcomming release that I have to let that know to our community.

The reason for my exitement is the roadmap, presented by Microsoft on the events of fall last year. If you look at that roadmap you see a lot of functional areas. This is the first time in almost a decade that the list of new functional features is as long as it is for this release.

Let’s have a look at that roadmap.

2015-01-18_21-08-38

This screenshot is taken from the video of the NAVTechDays keynotes, but the other events showed similar announcements. I highly recommend watching the entire video.

The roadmap shows Workflow, OCR & Document Mgt and e-services integration.

There is another functional enhancement and I am 100% sure it was mentioned during an event, but I cannot find proof online so I won’t mention it here.

The future of NAV is looking bright. Adding functionality is so important for everyone.

Introduction to Design Patterns and Upgradable Code | Free Webinar

For the NAVUG Summit in St. Louis 2014 I did a presentation called Introduction to Design Patterns and Upgradable Code“. This presentation was very well received with top ratings. Therefor NAVUG have asked me to repeat the presentation in a webinar which is free for anyone to attend.

The Webinar is on January 27th from 21:00 to 22:00 CET (Europe) and 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST (US)

Here is the link

The session will be recorded too.

NAVUG_New-1_sm

My 2014 in Blogging

It’s new years eve 2014. A good moment to quickly remember a great year before spending some time with wife and kids counting down until midnight.

2014 was my first full WordPress year. I wrote about 50 new articles and brought forward another 40 from my old blog. The blog was viewed about 43.000 times.

For me 2014 was about Design Patterns. Co-funded by Microsoft I recorded about 25 videos about Design Patterns which are almost all on YouTube now. In January I will go to Microsoft to discuss how to move forward. There is a nice PartnerSource page scheduled around the patterns.

2014 was also the first full year for 2013 R2 to be up and running. With the new asynchronous object metadata it was quite a challenge in the early builds.

I started exploring C#, Visual Studio, TFS and GIT this year. I already shared some of my learnings, and I plan on continue the series next year. Some great topics are ready to be published in my head.

This fall was all about traveling and evangelising the Design Patterns. I’ve visited six events in 10 weeks across the globe. From San Diego to Poznan, from St. Louis to Bali and from Seattle to Antwerp. Talking about Design Patterns at each large NAV Conference.

It was the year where I’ve updated my book for 2013(R2) and Design Patterns. The receipt was amazing this time. Thanks to everyone who helped me, purchased the book or spread the word!

At home things have changed too. All four kids go to school now which makes a big difference. I work from home for 80% of my time allowing me to be more flexible and spend more time with the community.

2015 will be an interesting year. It will be the year when Design Patterns grow up to be complete. I am working on a train-the-trainer program with MCT’s and training partners around the world to teach people both experienced and new. The first trainings are scheduled for March in Atlanta (US) and Toronto (CA). They will be hosted by local MCT’s. I am working on a training program in Europe and an online program.

Next year will also be important for Microsoft. As new online ERP packages come up very quickly it is going to be interesting to see if a large company such as Microsoft is quick enough to adopt to changes and stay ahead.

Happy 2015 everyone. May it all be in good health and happy coding!

Repeatability, Hype or Reality?

With Repeatability being the big “buzzword” in the NAV community for 2014 I thought it would be nice to close the year with a blog around this topic.

There is no doubt in my mind that after a decade, Microsoft is still searching for positioning with its dynamics products, but it seems to me that we are getting closer to an answer. Or maybe not.

Funny thing is that (part of) the positioning of the answer is actually repeated too.

Microsoft Marketing is trying to position Dynamics NAV in a “highly” repeatable volume market, preferably in a cloud environment.

Here, only the last part is new. The rest is not.

Repeatable Software

Software has always been repeatable, also before the cloud. When I went to school we exchanged games using floppy disks. This was highly repeatable software.

Until very recently it was very common to buy boxed software at retail stores, also bookkeeping software. This was also highly repeatable software.

Some Dynamics NAV partners have been selling their vertical product to hundreds of customers for many, many years. Even before Microsoft acquired Navision. This was (highly) repeatable software.

So why is it such a buzzword all of the sudden?

Even though Microsoft, and Navision before them, have always pushed their partners to go vertical and high volume, the software is and was extremely suitable as a customisable erp package for the upper segment of the SMB market.

This is a very lucrative market for resellers. It includes selling a huge amount of consultancy hours and many years or even decades of after care and upgrades or reimplementation.

Regardless of arguments that this is successful for some partners and customers or not, consultancy does not bring any money on the table for Microsoft, since they only sell licenses. (In the early days, Navision also charged a percentage of the consultancy).

The Cloud as Accelerator

So Microsoft have been trying this model for years, but only few partners picked it up. So now with the cloud they are giving it a “second try”.

Using private and public clouds allow partners to distribute software much faster than the traditional boxing and shipping. It also allows them to adapt to changes much quicker.

Challenges

Although Marketing people want us to believe otherwise, there are more challenges than we can count going to a repeatable cloud model. Partners that have been selling consultancy services for two decades do not have the business model required to be repeatable. For these partners it is easier to start a new business with new people rather than changing their existing companies.

And why would they? The fact that Microsoft asks partners to go cloud and repeatable does not mean that there is no business in the upper SMB market. NAV is still as suitable for this market as it has ever been and there is still a lot of money to be made there.

The Product

Another big challenge that we face with Dynamics NAV going to the cloud being repeatable is the completeness and user friendliness of the product.

Being targeted at larger companies for many years, NAV has never been a very user-friendly product out of the box. Nor is the base product complete for any market, not even small businesses.

This means that the initial investment to build a cloud product is relatively high. And although NAV is very customisable, the User Interface is not. There are a lot of limitations in the UI, especially the web variant, that partners cannot work their way around. To be highly repeatable you need a Facebook like or app-like interface.

Together with the fact that cloud products pop-up like crazy at the moment, one even more user-friendly than the other, it’s going to be hard for NAV to enter that market.

2015

Next year(s) will be very important for Microsoft to see how succesful they can be in the highly repeatable cloud.

My personal opinion, keys are in making the user interface more intuitive and changeable for partners and make the base product more feature rich.

That off course and moving to Visual Studio and TFS. But that’s a no-brainer. The current development environment is completely unuseful for building repeatable software.