Pimics for Business Central version 2.0 released

The world is moving to the cloud and Microsoft Dynamics solutions are not different. Microsoft has been working on Business Central hard for the last several months. The Business Central October '19 release is the first version without windows RTC client. Everything runs through a web client or mobile application. So at least from my view, it is the first version which is fully cloud based. Yes, there is still an on-premise version. But the movement to the cloud is quite well visible.

Also we with our PIM solution need to move forward and follow Microsoft steps. We released Pimics for Business Central in version 2.0. This version is currently available on AppSource and it is compatible with the latest Business Central version. 

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posted 05.12.2019
Martin Opršal
Martin Opršal
Article Author
He is the product manager for Pimics. His responsibility is improvement and usage of the Product Information Management solution.

A couple of things have been changed since our first version for Business Central in AppSource. Mainly we focused on stabilization of the solution and getting a stable version based on new technologies and user experiences. We as well as Microsoft are getting familiar with new architecture so lots of things move better way.

Anyway, these words are not enough to show that we are moving forward with our PIM. Here is a couple of things that we can call new functionality. 

SharePoint integration 

Since we moved to the cloud, we have been facing an issue of how Pimics can manage and store files. The previous version contains functionality to store everything in the Business Central database, but honestly, I do not think that it is a usability solution. So logical consequence for this is to use another Microsoft product available in Cloud and well-known. We introduced SharePoint as a platform where all pictures, documents or whatever can be stored. Using SharePoint, we have got under knees a strong platform to manage files. The platform can be easily extended by you or any other solution.

In the current version we have integration from Pimics to SharePoint, so when a file is uploaded into Pimics it is automatically created in the SharePoint library. Or you can design your libraries with folders and use Microsoft’s Flow to exchange pictures with Pimics. This feature gives you the ability to manage pictures as you need to and also use all the capabilities from SharePoint like integration with a local drive using OneDrive application.

In the end, we will continue with this topic to establish a SharePoint as Digital Asset Management (DAM) for Pimics. 

API 

These days terms like Data as a Service or Content as a Service are being more important. Lots of companies want to present product data in different online channels. To be able to provide a solution for this we needed to extend our API a lot. 

Because we have Business Central under the knees, so all data can be published through the OData web service. (OData is a specific format of REST services). But usually a channel needs to read different kinds of data (for example item with pictures and features) and we should be able to return all data in one request/response call, the channel has not to ask many times to show data which is on the same screen. We follow Microsoft's best practices and provide these services, more details are for example here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/odata/.

We will also extend our documentation to provide more details about it. 

Next Release 

We have decided to split Pimics into more extensions. Such functionalities will be available in another extension on AppSource. It helps us to keep separate extensions updated because not every time we need to upgrade the whole functionality. It the end we should have a shorter developing cycle to fix bugs or add new functionality. 

Currently, we are working on extensions that cover BMECat export and import and extensions for managing incoming data from suppliers or vendors, we call this part Vendor Catalog. We plan to publish these two extensions latest in January.  

After these releases we will focus on another data exchange, so DataNorm will follow in Q1 2020 and we are talking about Excel, how to bring easy import and export to the Business Central. 

Meantime I am pretty sure we will release hotfix versions and focus on performance and user experiences in Pimics. 

Is Dynamics Nav dead?

The short answer is no. Still, we want to publish versions of Pimics also for Nav. But these Pimics versions will be not published so often as new versions for Business Central. There is a couple of reasons. Microsoft works hard on Business Central and it plans to release a new version of Business Central twice per year. We need to follow it.

On the opposite side, Nav will not get a new version, so the platform will not be changed and we just need to focus on improvements in PIM functionality. Still, we have important customers who will stay in Nav for the next couple of years and we want to bring new things also for them.

Martin Opršal
Martin Opršal
Article Author
He is the product manager for Pimics. His responsibility is improvement and usage of the Product Information Management solution.

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