Dynamics NAV 2017: Creating New Opportunities

Let’s talk about the new opportunities that Dynamics NAV 2017 brings.

Developing Extensions

Dynamics NAV 2017 includes many new capabilities for developing extensions:

  • Support for additional object types
    You can include reports, XMLports, and queries in your extension along with new custom report templates. For more information, see Extension Packages Capability Support Matrix.
  • Support for .NET Framework add-ins
    You can include and deploy .NET interop types executed on the server, client-side JavaScript or WinForms extensibility control add-ins.
  • Support for web services
    Your extension can include a web service and configure it for the tenant the extension is being installed for in a multitenant deployment.
  • Support for default or starting data for new tables
    You can add default or starting data as part of your extension. This data is then included in the package file (.navx) and inserted into the table during the installation of the extension.
  • Multilanguage captions
    You can include translated captions and constants for one or more languages by including object language files in the extension package. A translation only extension could be built that translates strings for base objects or objects for another extension.
  • Restore and backup data in extensions
    With the two new C/AL functions NAVAPP.RESTOREARCHIVEDATA and NAVAPP.DELETEARCHIVEDATA, you can easily restore or delete archived table data during a reinstall or upgrade of the extension. Use the NAVAPP.RESTOREARCHIVEDATA function to simply copy the data back from the archive table when special upgrade logic is not required. Use the NAVAPP.DELETEARCHIVEDATA function in situations where you do not want to restore the archived data for the table.
  • Updated Windows PowerShell cmdlet for publishing extensions
    You can publish an extension to a Dynamics NAV Server instance that is configured with an Azure SQL Database using new parameters added to the Publish-NAVApp cmdlet. The new parameters are used to provide the location and credentials for connecting to an existing Azure SQL database you created.

Extensions in Dynamics NAV 2017

Microsoft provides the following extensions in Dynamics NAV 2017:

  • PayPal Payments Standard
    The PayPal Payments Standard service is installed as an extension in Dynamics NAV 2017 and ready to enabled.To enable customer payments through PayPal, you must do the following:

    • Set up PayPal Payments Standard as a payment service in the Payments Services window.
    • Select PayPal Payments Standard in the Payment Service field on the sales document in question.
  • Sales and Inventory Forecast
    The Sales and Inventory Forecast extension gives you insights about potential sales and a clear overview of expected stock-outs. The extension uses Cortana Intelligence to predict future sales based on your sales history to help you avoid inventory shortage. Note that you must set up an Azure Machine Learning instance and add the API URI and API Key to the Sales and Inventory Forecast setup.

Additional extensions may be available depending on your country/region.

Note: Use the Dynamics NAV 2017 Administration Shell and the Publish-NAVApp and Install-NAVApp cmdlets to install the extensions. Due to a bug that will be fixed in Cummulative Update 1, if you use the Extension Management window to install extensions, you can experience timeouts and code conflicts. If you use the Administration Shell, these potential issues will not occur.

Cash flow forecasting

A new chart is added to the default RoleCenter for cash flow forecasts. The interested users already noticed cash flow under finance performance chart and under financial statement – these represent accounting transactions registered in the general ledger. The cash flow forecast feature is focused on the future and used to generate predictions of a company’s cash flow.

A company’s cash flow indicates its financial solvency and reveals whether the company can meet its financial obligations in a timely manner.

Additionally, the cash flow is a general term for the state of currency assets of a company, such as cash balances, demand funds, checks, or giro funds. However, other company assets also contribute to the cash flow, such as payables and receivables. Each of those may have a payment date that differs from date when transaction was registered in the books. The other source considered by the program while generating prediction is ongoing documents, including sales and purchase orders or projects (jobs).

The calculations and predictions are based on Cortana Intelligence.

Time series library

With this release, Dynamics NAV enters the world of machine learning and the first step of this journey is to bring the Time Series API to Dynamics NAV developers. One of the most popular topics for machine learning is forecasting based on historical data. Many algorithms that can do this, but you do not have to know them, because we have wrapped them for you. We chose five of these algorithms, wrapped them in one Azure ML experiment, added logic that compares different results and returns the best one accompanied by an indicator of the prediction’s quality. There is a generic API on top of this that allows Dynamics NAV developers create their own functionality that helps customers find the business-critical information that may be hidden in their database. You can perform time-series analysis in the familiar development environment.

The time series library is used by the Sales and Inventory Forecast extension.

For more information, see How to Use the Time Series API, which is part of the readiness library for Dynamics NAV 2017 at aka.ms/NAVGetReady.