In this era of the customer where technology has transformed the ways that companies engage, connect and interact with clients, partners and suppliers, it has become crucial for businesses make use of the latest technological tools to gain insight into the needs of their customers to deliver experiences that build lasting relationships.

Microsoft has launched one of these tools – Dynamics NAV 2015 – in South Africa, with the latest version of this business management solution offering significant new capabilities to help small and midsized organisations grow their businesses in the digital, consumer-centric era.

Some of the new capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 include a tablet and touch-optimised user experience, enabling SMB customers to access their company data and processes regardless of location or what device they choose to use. New Microsoft Dynamics NAV tablet applications are now available from the Windows, Apple, and Google app stores.

Users will also benefit from a radically simplified invoice design and production through new interoperability with Microsoft Word. This means that users can now create customised, branded invoice templates on their own in Microsoft Word without having to engage a technical consultant.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 helps customers collect cash faster and spend less time managing it with new capabilities for electronic payments and automated account reconciliation.

“The new tablet and touch functionality has increased usability and has made it much easier to train people and get them using ERP. Now when one of our team members is out with a customers, they can give them real time information using the tablet app. It is more personal, it is more interactive and you can share it – and hand it over to the customer. It is a much more collaborative experience,” said Marc Gower, Dynamics Lead at Microsoft South Africa.

Microsoft also introduced a mobile-optimised point-of-sale client for Windows-based tablets and smartphones for Dynamics AX 2012 R3, delivering access to consolidated customer insights at the point of sale. This enables sales staff to better serve customers.

For example, new assisted sales solutions will consolidate customers’ purchase intelligence – such as sales history, transaction details, and wish lists – and provide this to the sales associates to better guide their customers.

In addition, customers have access to new order fulfilment features that include streamlined warehouse and transportation operations that assists companies in getting products into the hands of customer hands quicker. Manufacturing, distribution and retail companies will benefit from a Transportation Management System that flexibly supports changing and growing business demands.

Also new within Dynamics AX is demand forecasting, which is a lightweight, yet powerful demand forecasting tool that enables organisations to forecast demand manually based on historical data, adjust the forecasted demand using the familiar environment of Microsoft Excel, and import the values into Microsoft Dynamics AX forecast models.

“The recipe for cloud success is rooted in the integration and interrelationships between cloud platform, cloud productivity and cloud Business Applications—and only Microsoft offers all three of these ingredients to customers,” says Gower. “Together, Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics Business Applications embody our vision to deliver cloud experiences users love and businesses can count on.”

Cloud and ERP now more accessible for SMEs through Dynamics GP 2015 ERP
The final announcement made today at Reimagine 2015, Microsoft South Africa’s conference for business customers and partners, was that of Dynamics GP 2015, which is enterprise resource planning software for SMEs.

Updates to this solution includes an expanded set of workflows that help streamline financial, purchasing, sales, payroll, and project expense related approvals. These new native workflows enable customers to quickly customise their solutions and accelerate business approvals.

Dynamics GP 2015 also features single sign-on support through integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory to help users work seamlessly across Microsoft Dynamics GP, Office 365, and other cloud-based applications.

Like Dynamics NAV and AX, Dynamics GP has also been streamlined to deliver mobile business intelligence capabilities for employees on the go. Microsoft released the Business Analyzer R7 companion tablet app for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 that enables users to glean business insights from Microsoft’s ERP solutions including Dynamics AX, and Dynamics GP.

“Operating in today’s digitally-connected world impacts businesses in so many ways, that adapting to customer preferences with agility and speed is crucial to be able to turn solve business challenges and capitalise on opportunities,” concludes Gower.