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How Columbus and Dynamics NAV meet top 3 SMB Drivers

5 October, 2017
cloud technology blog
How Columbus and Dynamics NAV meet top 3 SMB Drivers

Today at Direction EMEA, Microsoft revealed the results of a recent customer survey. The research explored the drivers for changing ERP and business systems in general. The results highlighted the top 3 concerns of companies across all industries, throughout the world.

#1 Security

With new GDPR regulations coming into force next year, it’s no wonder security has been pushed to the top of concerns. It’s also the flip side to data visibility and integration, leading rise to the dilemma: how to make data more accessible and linked without leaving openings for potential abuse.

Microsoft solutions have tighter security than ever before (for example, look at latest versions of Office where you can prevent email attachments from being opened by anyone but the intended recipient and trace forwarding activity). We help our customers understand and implement the security tools available in Dynamics NAV, Active Directory, SQL, Office and Azure; we can advise on how to set up the networks.

#2 Reporting

Reporting links with other top concern around data. The drive for great reporting is too often hindered by poor data. Data issues include accuracy, duplication and accessibility (no good having great data if you can’t access it for reports!). Too much data can also be a mixed blessing; in NAV all data is available for reporting so how do you sort the interesting from the useful / urgent?

Dynamics NAV offers standard reports and insights from within the application, exports into Excel and leverages PowerBI to build data analytics, often combining with data from third party sources. At Columbus, we have a team focused on data analytics; be that making sense of big data across multiple sources or simply producing a trial balance.

#3 Integration

Another business dilemma, should you go for best of breed solutions and integrate or a single, fully integrated ERP? Two points to consider: no ERP solution can do everything (you want to link eCommerce, Field Service Management, social media feeds etc) and integration is easier than ever. Sometimes integration is an interim solution whilst managing a roll out and so crucial to ensure smooth change management. Top consideration is to remove the need for manual effort (see #1 about data, not to mention efficiency!).

To work effectively, integration needs the bridges between systems, the ability of data to flow between and the workflow to highlight any exceptions and route accordingly.

Dynamics NAV has many tools to build the bridges This week Microsoft announced Common Data Services for Dynamics NAV; this is a step to normalising data and make mapping that flow much easier. Finally, we have workflow within Dynamics NAV and the integration with Microsoft Flow, a tool that pushes the workflow through applications and to non-NAV users.


Each year Microsoft invests some $8 billion dollars in R&D. Often the focus at events such as Directions EMEA is on the result of the “D”; it was really interesting to hear about the “R” that goes into delivering great software that meets real business needs.

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