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Can You Implement Dynamics 365 Business Central On Your Own?

December 17, 2020Mark Rhodes

New View Huddle, December 2020 – Part 4

In early December 2020 I convened members of New View Strategies’ Strategic Partner Program for a panel discussion around Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Now that the product has been out for a while, it’s a good time to reflect on the current state of the product, and in particular how it is similar and how it is different compared to Dynamics NAV with regards to implementing and upgrading. Following is part 4 of 5 of the transcripts from that discussion as we get to the $50,000 question – whether you can implement Dynamics 365 Business Central on your own. To view the recording please visit the New View Strategies YouTube channel, and to listen or download the audio file please visit our website.

Mark Rhodes, New View Strategies:

I mentioned the Microsoft stack earlier. That's a whole separate conversation. But the possibilities, it's so exciting in terms of what else you can do and what you can integrate with, what you can bring data in from to provide increased insights and make everybody those... And I can date myself because I'm in a good crowd here, an information worker. You remember that term from the '90s, right? I think we're finally starting to see some of that. So I'm going to get to the nub here. And it's really interesting in this conversation, what I'm hearing is that there have been some changes, some adjustments over the past couple of years in terms of what your role is as a partner, what a partner does and how they work with a customer. So some adjustments, but I think the importance has not been diminished in any respect. And so I'm curious how you've seen that change, what's still the same and what's changed a little bit in terms of your role as a partner and how a customer should be working with you.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

Well, for us, I think that it's about understanding the nature of the relationship, and not every customer... Innovia is not going to be a fit for every customer. And we want to just be really open with each other as we get to know each other and determine, can we help you get where you're trying to go? And in some cases, that answer is yes. And in some cases, that answer is no. And that doesn't mean that we haven't helped some of these folks that wanted to self-implement and they've been successful. But we've learned along the way how to help them be successful, or at least try to discern the folks that are willing to be self-aware enough to acknowledge that we told you when things don't go the way they hoped.

Ben Baxter, Accent Software:

I would reiterate that. It is very much dependent on the customer. The software, yes, you could self-implement. You better take full ownership of that and get in and grind and learn the software and look up and find all the resources you can. Most clients are still going to need some guidance on it. There's base tools and templates to make things easier, but you've got to know what needs filled in, what boxes need checked. There's still a lot of knowledge that partners maintain to help set this thing up. It is not a little package. It is a very strong ERP package that has a lot of moving pieces. I mean, going all the way back to setting expectations, you got to know what's phase one, what's phase two, what's phase three, and you want to have them all documented so you can get there and you can make it sing. But you got to take the right steps and get the foundation of the software working so that you can build on it and get to that next level.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

But what has changed is actually - I can see that the lineup, the composition of resources, at least in our company, is much more focused on actually directly delivering values for the customer. Because we have no technical people who goes out and installs a server or messes with a printer and all that stuff. That has been cloudified. So the E Foqus line up is very sharp. Consultants, some are best at finance, some are best at inventory and whatever it is, and developers who are laser focused on AL code. That's it. And we don't need anybody else. We have no need for somebody who can install Windows 10 because we're never doing that anyway,

David Gersten, Dynamic Consulting:

Very similar with us, our consultants are all senior consultants. Several of them have worked back at Navision. So they have true hardcore. But then some of them picked this up over the last 5 or 10 years, but through my other experiences earlier on in the process, taking a GP consultant and making them a Business Central consultant was very unsuccessful. It was a different mindset. It was easier to take a business analyst out of college at 25 years old that knew how to use technology really well and teach them how to develop or take someone out of finance that knows finance and accounting and out of college but wants to apply it to technology. That was an easier move than taking direct resources. But the coaching of the customer is still... There's a reason Microsoft has the customer have to buy the license from a partner. They know deep inside, even though they started this, Tom, you're absolutely right. Madeira, oh, it's $40. Click buy, try, whatever, you still had to buy it from a partner. There's a reason there's competencies out in spring of next year. The complications of the solution and the potential of the solution is endless. And to have a Business Central cloud competency program coming out and bringing that back into this space I think is fantastic, where Microsoft is like, yeah, you do need credible people implementing these solutions. And we can provide them the guides, the books, the videos and stuff. But without a support model in place you know, you're going to have an unhappy customer.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

And last piece of history, and I think all of us were here. Maybe Ben came in at the very tail end. But they used to make us go to class, like 8 or 10 people had to go to class for 11 days, a week and a half, just to sell this stuff. They wouldn't even let you sell it until you had really gotten some base level of knowledge. Now anybody that checks a box and fills in a form can be a reseller.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

Less than that.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

You don't have to check the box anymore?

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

To become an indirect CSP is basically just hand over a credit card number and then you're a indirect CSP.

Mark Rhodes, New View Strategies:

Boy, I've got to say, that burns a little bit under my skin. I get really concerned with that. I, like all of us here, love the product, care about the product, care about our community. And when I hear that newer partners don't have the background and the experience and can get in the game pretty easily and then leave a trail of tears as it were and people that can't close their books at the end of the month, that scares me. And so part of the reason I wanted to have this chat today, it seems like, based on this conversation, based on what I'm hearing, it's as important, if not more so than ever, to have a partner that's got the experience and knows how the software works, what are the options for it? And making sure that it's optimized to support the business properly so the business can improve, can grow and so forth. Do you guys agree with that statement?

David Gersten, Dynamic Consulting:

Oh, absolutely. My favorite thing though, is recovery projects from MSPs that thought they could sell it. So you flip that around...

Mark Rhodes, New View Strategies:

You're building a service line out of this. Okay. That's good.

David Gersten, Dynamic Consulting:

Or you flip it around and you become a strategic partner to an MSP, where Erik, you don't want to do a Windows 10 server anymore, but someone does and you find those partners and keep them out of it. And then you arm wrestle for some licensing revenue. But there's a reason, like our name is Dynamic Consulting. It's not Dynamic Software. I mean, at the end of the day, we don't care about... We love the software revenue, don't get me wrong, but it's a service. It's consulting. And I think you're absolutely right, having the right people, having the competency. There was a comment on Twitter last week, are people learning on their first implementations? And that's really a scary thing. Because one of us on this call will probably end up with that customer at some point.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

I am shocked at the size of the deals some of these people are taking down. I mean, somebody that's never sold this software... We're helping a company right now. I mean, it's a huge company. And I don't know who made that purchase decision, but I bet they don't work there much longer. Because they bought it from somebody MSP... I mean, it's an enormous implementation and it's a mess.

 

Click here to read Part 3 of the discussion and subscribe to the New View blog to be notified when the next part of our discussion is posted.

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The experts at New View Strategies are experienced Dynamics NAV and Business Central trainers and business process consultants who have walked in your shoes as former Corporate Controllers, Directors of IT, and Solution Architects, and believe increased utilization of your business systems is critical to the continued success of your company.
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