Office 365 Basics for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013: BI Collaboration, Document Management, and Unified Communications

Workers want to access business data whenever, wherever, and on whatever device they choose. And that means cloud services are becoming a better fit for more companies, according to Jannik Bausager, the Director of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Global Product Management team. 

The Dynamics NAV team's vision for enabling cloud-based access to a broader range of structured and unstructured data relies on Office 365 to incorporate elements of document management, BI, collaboration, and unified communication.  Increasingly, companies want access to those services without investing in infrastructure, said Bausager, who was speaking at a recent online meeting of NAVUG.

"That caused the NAV team to think about how to utilize some of the things in Microsoft Office 365 to get information out like getting access to information through SharePoint Online and using Exchange Online," he said.

The challenge for small and medium-size businesses is getting this access to information but at a reasonable cost, he said. The integration of the two products lets users store documents in the cloud using SharePoint Online; enables broader employee access to reporting from Microsoft Dynamics NAV; and also provides the use of Skype/Lync integration from within Microsoft Dynamics NAV, he said.

"With Office 365 you can share your Excel reporting in SharePoint Online, so you can get access to it from any web browser. You will be able to get access to it from your phone," Bausager said. "Email calendar - this area requires [a] desktop install. We have been able to send emails from NAV from quite some time, but it requires that Outlook is installed as a client on your PC so it's not pure cloud based. But now Exchange can run in Office 365, so you don't have to have the Exchange server locally, you don't have to maintain it, boot the server if the email is not working. Now all that can run through an Exchange Server in Office 365 in the cloud."

Bausager said calendars and online meetings are also integrated so if users schedule something in their calendars, it will included will be include with the online status information.

"So if you have a Windows Phone 7 or 8, then users can join an online meeting just by clicking on their calendars rather than have to go in and key in a number or a code," he said. "It's just integrated as part of the Lync component inside Office 365."

And putting documents on SharePoint Online lets users access them anywhere as well as collaborate on these documents.

"With Lync, users have the possibility within NAV 2013 to click on any telephone number and it will start up either Skype or Lync based on the user's preference for the communication tool," Bausager said. "Users can also see the contacts and their phone numbers they've created in Office 365 and use it to see [their] presence in Lync. So if you use Lync you will see a green dot in front of a contact's name meaning that person is online. So with Office 365 and Lync, users have these presence controls and it's much easier to see who's online and who's not."

About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in Massachusetts. She has written about information technology for 10 years. She has been a journalist since the late 1980s. She wrote for numerous community newspapers in the Boston area, where she covered politics and was a high-profile investigative reporter. She has freelanced for the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. She is the published author of four true crime books "Murder at Morses Pond," "An Act of Murder," "Ripper", and "Bone Crusher" for Kensington Publishing Corp. (Pinnacle imprint). She has just started her fifth true crime book for Kensington.

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