The Directions conference in the US and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) has grown over the last couple of years. It was time for the first Directions conference in Asia.

The Directions Asia event is exclusively for Microsoft Dynamics NAV partners who can showcase NAV solutions and to gain inspiration from NAV partners. The goals of the conference are to build a stronger and more involved Dynamics NAV channel community, to improve the relationship and communications with NAV partners  and to enable us to provide our clients with real time, relevant and innovative information from all around the world.

Held in March, Directions ASIA 2017 was a great learning opportunity with sessions delivered by NAV experts from Microsoft and other NAV partners. Each year our team attend Microsoft hosted events and the first Directions Asia conference held in Bangkok  exceeded all expectations with over 350 attendees.

Microsoft is continuing to invest year on year to enhance the products lines, integration points and expand on the level of service offerings. With 2017 showing positive signs for the new releases around Dynamics NAV 2017, Integrated Software Vendor (ISV) add-ons and the Dynamics 365 solution.

The Directions Asia conference recapped the material that was conveyed at the 2016 Directions EMEA conference in Prague including the new enhancements and features of NAV 2017. We covered these fundamental updates in a previous blog What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017.

The Directions Asia conference provided some clarity on Dynamics 365 Financials and a sneak peak of the next NAV version, code name “Tenerife” (they always use exotic island names!). It was announced that Dynamics 365 Financials (currently only available in North America) will be released as a worldwide (W1) edition at the end of 2017 (watch this space!). Dynamics 365 Financials will share the exact same code base as Dynamics NAV and will be a pure cloud based version of NAV managed by Microsoft.

There will be other considerations too as only a W1 release will exist. Local functionality (such as in the AU version) will need to be developed by local partners.

Also, a new modern development environment was shown, used in the Application by switching to “design mode” and visually moving around fields which can create the code that can be saved and laded as an extension – so no changing the standard code. Meaning any upgrade must be simpler.

The next release of NAV “Tenerife” showed a tighter link to Microsoft Power BI.

In Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 we saw Microsoft Power BI embedded in the Role Centre. In the next version it will also be available on fact boxes, such as on customer and item cards. This will give visuals on period movements and sales history which will be very powerful. (Note: this will require Office 365 to work).

There will also be a greater link with Microsoft Flow, for controlling workflows and notifications. More advanced approval workflows and notifications can be achieved using Microsoft Flow, which is configurable without any development code.

Besides hearing from Microsoft, there were some great presentations from Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s), which offer add-ins for NAV to further enhance the out of the box experience. For example, Merge Tools Easy Security, the Agiles workflow and Kofax invoice capture services (get the Kofax whitepaper here: The Benefits of Accounts Payable automation). There was also an abundance of vertical industry solutions, so it’s good to know there are options out there.

It was a great few days and undoubtedly the organisers will hold the conference again in Asia in 2018. The Directions Asia conference is yet another way that Microsoft is empowering partners and Independent Software Vendors worldwide, to work together to create a holistic solution for our clients. We look forward to reporting back to you all next year!

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