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Dynamics NAV 2018 was released in December 2017 to much fanfare from the developer community. The new release stays true to Microsoft’s aim of deeply integrating all of its products, allowing for a better user experience and as a result, significantly improved productivity for its users.

In total, there are over 600 changes between NAV 2017 and 2018; here are some of the most useful new features:

Lookup address from postcode

This functionality is a staple of businesses that require you to sign up to an account;when you provide your address, you can enter your postcode and the website will go and look up all addresses at that postcode. The inability to do this in NAV has long been a bugbear of users, so Microsoft has allowed the use of a third-party web service to do this using one of its new APIs. When you’re adding new companies on a daily basis, you don’t need us to tell you how much time this can save you. What’s also great about this feature is that the address is formatted in the Post Office’s preferred way; no more lost mail!

Artificial intelligence improvements

Microsoft is investing significantly in AI technologies and this is one area where it’s coming to fruition. In NAV this new AI feature primarily works by reading images. By adding an image to your contact cards, NAV can detect the person’s gender and estimate attributes like age. It doesn’t overwrite any existing attributes however.

You can also use this when adding new items of stock. For example, if you add a photo of a chair, the AI will be able to categorise it as a chair and as furniture, decipher the colour and even estimate the height and depth of the item. This will save huge amounts of time in data entry, as the artificial intelligence does the work for you.

Support for SQL Server 2017

As expected, the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV works with the most recentMicrosoft SQL Server. What’s really important about this is that it improves the performance significantly – we’ve experienced a performance improvement of 20-30%, which again saves us significant amounts of time (are you sensing a theme here?) – NAV 2018 is the fastest version of NAV I’ve ever used.

Customisation of the user interface

Your homepage was already customisable to show the information most relevant to you, but now you can customise account or contact fields. You can remove redundant fields like fax and telex – does anyone even use them anymore? – to streamline the user experience. You can also add fields that you know you’ll use regularly.

This change in particular marks a huge shift in control to you, the user. Previously, making changes like this would have required significant development work from your in-house development team or, more likely, your outsourced provider. By allowing you to customise your interface, Microsoft is continuing its trend of putting more power in your hands.

Staying competitive with APIs

Dynamics NAV 2018 was launched with 44 APIs, but that number is growing. This came about largely due to the availability of competitor APIs, like Sage and Quickbooks. NAV is now exposing some of its features to external programmes, allowing you to do more than ever. For example, being able to create a 100 line Sales Order in one API call instead of repeated calls for each Sales Line.