Today I was lucky enough to attend the Sydney launch event for NAV 2009. From my perspective I expect an ERP system to do the basic accounting processes and when I evaluate it – I look for the value adds & differentiation factors. Looking at NAV 2009 today there were a few stand out features:

Role Based Experience: There are 61 predefined roles available within NAV 2009, each based on the research that was performed on the people that were already using NAV. It was found that there were common job roles performed by all users – some even performed more than one role. And don't worry, if you have a role that's not included, you can define your own.

Personalisation: Coming from a CRM background, I now expect all Dynamics products to be user customisable and NAV was no exception. Forms, reports & screens could be customised both at a system wide level and at an individual user level. 

Reporting Services Integration: The traditional NAV reporting engine has been extended to now integrate with SQL reporting services – which includes the Report Builder Visual Studio tool to allow the creation of graphically enhanced reports & charts.

Web Services for Extending/Integration: And as my other interest lies in working with companies to obtain a single version of the truth – I am always looking at any key LOB/ERP system for a way to integrate with its data. The introduction of Web Services gives a standard way to do this, ensuring business rules & user level security requirements are adhered to. During today's session we saw some very cool ways to integrate with NAV, and I have managed to convince Johan to do a few guest posts on writing an RSS viewer, and a Vista Sidebar Gadget for notifications which will be cool so keep an eye out for them! I also got to chat to some of our partners about what they were working on – and there’s some exciting integration projects in the pipeline I look forward to seeing completed in the near future.

Dashboard: The front landing page that users see has had a full makeover – and from what I can see, its for the better! In one quick view you can see by default your role activities, your outlook Inbox calendar & tasks, Customers, items, notifications, and charts. You can customize each of these areas to show more or less detail, or even completely replace areas to suit your individual needs:

Hat tip: http://dynamicsuser.net/blogs/waldo/archive/2008/09/25/marketing-beta-for-microsoft-dynamics-nav-2009-is-available.aspx

Outlook Integration: Ok so this was included in NAV 5.1 – but its really come to life in this version. The Microsoft Outlook integration works! Its shown and accessible via your front dashboard so is seamless.

How do I get my hands on this & play with it? Well luckily, there is now a VPC available for download that you can play with available on Partner Source so get a copy & start to have a look around!!

Release dates in other Australian Cities: if you missed the Sydney release – don’t worry there are 2 more coming up:

Melbourne: Monday October 20th 2008 (Microsoft Melbourne Office, Level 5, 4 Freshwater Place Southbank Vic 3006)

Brisbane: Monday November 7th 2008 (Microsoft Brisbane Office, Level 9 1 Eagle Street Brisbane QLD 4001)

And if you miss those – check out the other Launch events we have coming up: http://www.microsoft.com/australia/dynamics/launch/Dynamics.aspx