Linking with MSoft Dynamics NAV

Hi all,

Is there a way to set up an automatic, bi-directional pipe between Airtable and Microsoft Dynamics NAV?

We are using Microsoft NAV as our ERP, but the UI is terrible, and it’s not a cloud-based instance. Effectively I’d like to use Airtable as a NAV front-end - so I’d populate an Airtable with NAV data, and configure it so our Airtable users could tweak the NAV data via Airtable.

For the changes, some degree of latency is fine - this is a pretty slow-moving retail environment, it would be fine if the data were only updated in the underlying NAV database daily.

Curious if this is possible!

@James_Weiss,

Yes. I’ve done some API work with Dynamics NAV and it can be integrated with the Airtable API.

The integration is not a huge undertaking, but bi-directional synching can get ugly. Anything involving synchronization of databases is generally non-trivial.

What sort of scale and volume of data/fields are you looking at for this project?

Have you looked at Zapier or Integromat to see if the NAV integration is prefabricated?

Hey - thanks for the note!!

The problem I’m trying to solve is that we have a dozen, not-very-computer-savvy salespeople, in a very high-touch retail environment. The interface to NAV is slow and hard to navigate, and we don’t really trust the salespeople to dive into NAV.

unfortunately that means that a) they keep new information and corrections about customers in their own files (eg ms word, google doc), rather than creating a situation where they can share it; and b) when customers visit, it’s not easy for salespeople to view the customer’s purchase history or preferences.

The use case is a customer database, with roughly 2,500 customers. The one-directional sync - data from nav into Airtable - should be pretty robust, 30-ish fields in one table (customer database) and 30-ish in a second table (invoices, which are indexed by customers).

The bi-directional is really just so that salespeople can add more information about customers. Honestly, if it were just the ability to push data back to NAV via the customer notes field, we could probably work with that.

Does that make sense?

james b weiss

please excuse typos

James,

Yep - been there. :wink:

Yep, seen that.

I mentioned Zapier and Integromat as sync options from NAV to Airtable and back. I typically work in stringent API environments where these code-free integration tools underperform or are incapable of meeting the requirements, so I’m reluctant to steer you headlong into an integration development project without first knowing if NAV integration can be achieved without code. The difference in cost for custom integration with API code vs Zapier/Integromat can be significant.

Perhaps @Justin_Barrett could chime in concerning any experience with NAV -> Zapier/Integromat -> Airtable. Zapier, for example, mentions Microsoft 365, but does not expose a specific connector for the NAV solution.

Overall, it’s my assessment that NAV and Airtable APIs are each able to provide timely synchronization and maintain the data on both sides in a seamless, maintenance-free and human-free lights-out approach.

I appreciate the tag, but I have zero experience with NAV (hadn’t even heard of it prior to this thread, so I had to look it up). While I’m all for trying new things, I’m reluctant to dive this deeply into a piece of software I’ve never touched, and which would be tricky for me to even touch at all (I’m on a Mac, and apparently there are some hoops to jump through for Mac users to access NAV). Sorry.

Bill thanks a bunch for this - really helpful. Your assessment is reassuring (even with the caveats ;)).

Thanks for taking a look Justin.

I am also reluctant concerning the lack of specificity in the current crop of connectors that don’t really suggest they work with NAV. Microsoft has a habit of creating nuanced releases that are difficult to assess (and integrate with). There was also a recent name change to Microsoft 365 Business Services, making this a bit more challenging. And then there’s Windows… :wink:

@James_Weiss - here’s an idea - a sprint to verify if an API-level integration is a smart thing to do. I’ve used the NAV API, but not with Airtable, so I’m cautious about any claims.

  • I would need access to the NAV API (API credentials and a way to view the data). Happy to sign an NDA.
  • I would need access to a shared Airtable base where I would send your NAV data as well as the Airtable API key to write into that base.
  • I would create a very minimal integration process that updates just 100 records from one of the NAV tables into Airtable.
  • We’d reconvene and examine the process and outcome before doing anything else.
  • If we decide this is too difficult, not performant, or otherwise a dead-end, pay me $250 for my trouble and we abandon the project.
  • If we determine that the approach is viable, we estimate the scope and the requirements and the billing clock starts and we complete the integration. Then we ride off into the sunset, roll credits, fade to black.

Lemme’ know and feel free to reach out - bill.french@gmail.com, 970-389-3126.