NAV2013 – What’s New in Reporting?

I’m grateful to Mike Glue at JustFood ERP who put together a handy summary of what’s available in NAV2013 so far as reporting is concerned. There are changes from the ‘classic’ environment but partners and users shouldn’t be too worried. Microsoft NAV 2013 will have hundreds of reports available out of the box.

Here are some common questions and answers.

Are There Any Built-In Reports?

Yes. There are built-in “native” reports that can be modified as required. These reports can be manually printed and/or be utilized within business logic. The types of reports included:

  • Documents (invoice, pick sheet, cheques, etc.)
  • Analysis (sales by customer, inventory valuation, trial balance, etc.) reports
  • Processing report – one that provides functionality but is not necessarily printable.

Is the report structure different?

No, it is unchanged. A typical report requires two pieces to be developed:

  • The data model – where you define the tables, fields, and business logic required for getting the data out of the database for the report to use.
  • The layout – responsible for the visual display that the report shows on screen/paper. (Processing reports do not require the layout piece to be developed as there is no visual output.)

Do I need to choose Classic or Role Tailored Client (RTC) report layout?

No. The Classic Client has been removed with NAV 2013, so when developing the layout for a report in NAV 2013, the only option is to create a Role Tailored Client (RTC) layout.

Is Visual Studio used to develop a report?

Yes. Visual Studio 2010 is required in order to create the layout for a report in NAV 2013. You can use the free version of Visual Studio 2010, but you must use the web developer edition (Visual Web Developer 2010 Express). Visual Studio 2010 is the only version supported currently by NAV 2013.

I’ve been creating RTC reports for a while; is there anything new for me to learn?

Yes. While the data model is still defined in the Object Designer, the way that data model is defined has been completely changed. The interface for defining the tables and fields that the report will use is an all new structure. From my own observations, though, it appears that the learning curve is not too steep for someone already familiar with building reports in Microsoft NAV.

Can I upgrade all of my existing reports to the new reports?

Maybe. If your existing reports were created with a RTC layout, then there is an upgrade process that can be performed on the report to upgrade the data model and layout to the new platform. Due to changes in the Visual Studio version, however, you may be required to perform minimal cosmetic changes to the layout after upgrade. If your existing reports were created with only a Classic layout, then the data model can be upgraded; however, the layout cannot be upgraded, and that must be further developed on the NAV 2013 platform.

What do the reporting changes mean to me as a TURNKEY customer?

Hundreds of out-of-the-box reports are still available in Microsoft NAV 2013. Although some new knowledge will need to be learned, any of these native reports can be customised as desired, just as they have been in the past. For customers who are upgrading from a previous version, you’ll need to investigate to determine the process required for moving any custom reports to NAV 2013. A certain amount of development work will be required to upgrade reports to NAV 2013.

Once again, thanks to Mike for his succinct summary!

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And so ends another year at Turnkey. A success? I think so.

In a year when the doom mongers were talking down the industry, we’ve just had our best year ever.

New customer adds well up on last year. Revenues up, margins up and levels of optimism well up. And looking forward, we’ve a steady order book which takes us well past Christmas.

So why are we doing so well when others in the IT industry all around are muttering darkly, tightening belts and predicting the end of the world?

If pushed to give a one word answer, I’d say ‘care’. We might not get it right every time but customers, both old and new, know that we care and we want to do the right thing by them. So, even when we hit a blip which is invariably caused by work arriving in the occasional deluge rather than an easily-managed steady stream (chance would be a fine thing) they stay resolutely supportive.

Thus as new sites come on board, upgrades are requested, support calls and development requests arrive by phone, fax, email and the web support portal, we can find ourselves apologising as we seek to re-schedule. But as long as we show we do care about getting it right and communicate that sense of caring, customers are very forgiving people.

Ups and downs in service are tolerated and even recognised as inevitable to some degree, but any sense that nobody cares is not.

The proof of the pudding? In the last 5 years, I can recall only one site that felt moved to take its support elsewhere and 10 times that who have moved to Turnkey. In this industry, these are exceptional statistics.

Try Curling in the Workplace! Turnkey did!

I’ve just won my first ever curling competition as a ‘skip’. 7 teams fought out a league, 4 reached the semis, and my team, with me as ‘skip’, eventually triumphed in the final. Joy oh joy unbounded!

If you’ve ever chanced upon a curling match on television, you’ll have seen the skip. He’s the guy standing at one end of the rink calling the ‘plays’ and screaming at his team to sweep or not sweep the stone as it slides down the ice towards the ‘house’. The house being the various coloured circles in which your stones and the opposition’s stones nestle. The more stones you have nearer the centre of the house, the more points you gain. ‘Marbles for grown ups’, my wife calls it.

There are four players in a team. The skip is normally the best player, and the first or ‘lead’ player is generally the weakest in the team. Though, whenever you play lead, a good skip will always enthuse about the key role that the ‘lead’ plays in building each ‘end’ i.e. each player throws 2 stones, 16 in all, makes one end of curling and a match will consist of 7 or 8 ends.

Why on earth am I blogging about this, rather than some business thing? Well, because there are parallels with coaching the sales staff and building their skills and confidence. This particular league competition is about reversing the normal rules of curling so that the not-so-good player has the opportunity to skip the team and develop his skills. I might normally play at lead or at second which, within my club of very experienced players, is my real level. But, by letting me skip and giving me a very experienced skip to play at 3 alongside me and offer advice, my playing skills and overall understanding of the game are improved. And, who knows, maybe one day I will be a ‘real’ skip?

We should all be looking for opportunities to take this into the workplace. For the next sales meeting you have with a prospect, take along one of your sales team and see if you can sit back, bite your tongue and let them lead the meeting.

And, only if things are going slightly awry should you find yourself screaming at the top of your voice – SWEEP!!

Should we be so surprised when someone says to Turnkey.. ‘thank you and well done’?

While out of the office earlier this week, I picked up an email on my phone letting me know that I had received a letter from a customer. Immediate reaction – something’s gone wrong!

How pleased I was to read an extremely pleasant letter congratulating us on a job well done. The letter went on to highlight the fact that our perfomance had been measured on how well we had reacted to a difficult start to the project. To quote “The true value of a company, and the reputation it has, can often only be measured when things go wrong and how the company deals with the situation.”

Now, you can probably read into this that we didn’t exactly cover ourselves with glory early in the project but two key actions saved the day. First, we put our hands up and advised the customer we had made a mistake with the initial software proposed for them. We were wrong and we would now redouble our efforts to put things right. And second, we delivered on that promise such that the customer is now doubly impressed with us.

We all make mistakes and doing the right thing, being honest and accepting the blame is the best starting point for sorting things out. However, it is a sign of the times that so few customers do stop and sit down to write a well constructed letter, never mind a brief thank you note for a job well done.