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Is Dynamics 365 Business Central the Last System You’ll Ever Buy? (Dec '20 Huddle, Pt. 3)

December 16, 2020 | Mark Rhodes

New View Huddle, December 2020 – Part 3

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 3 of 5 of the transcripts from that discussion as we touch on the ability for Dynamics 365 Business Central to support a business. To view the recording please visit the New View Strategies YouTube channel, and to listen or download the audio file please visit our website.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

I was talking with a prospect just the other day. They're making a switch from a mid-level system. And where I tried to position is I said, look, if you want to buy the last system that you're going to need while you own your company, Business Central is it. You may not need everything that we're capable of right now, today, but based on the growth path that you're talking about, this is the horse that's going to take you to the finish line. You buy one of these other systems you're looking at, you're going to have to switch again in another four or five years.

David Gersten, Dynamic Consulting:

Yeah. I love that. I love sharing that thought term with customers, like this is your last system. You will never outgrow it. It will not outgrow you. It will do whatever you need. We like to say we can make it sing. One day we're going to make Business Central sing.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

I did a video on that.

David Gersten, Dynamic Consulting:

But you can build an extension to make it sing, if someone's willing to pay for it.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

Well, just to put it in perspective, I had, back in Denmark, and this is quite a few years ago, the world's biggest shipping company running on NAV with three and a half thousand users.

Mark Rhodes, New View Strategies:

Wow. That's the largest I've ever heard of. I've heard up to 2000. So wow.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

This was running on 2.6. We're doing an upgrade from 1.0 right now.

Mark Rhodes, New View Strategies:

And now I don't remember who kind of keyed me into this, but I used to be fond of saying the great thing about NAV in that day was you can make it do anything. And the bad thing about NAV is you can make it do anything. So with Business Central, in the effort to make the ongoing maintenance and upgrades much more straightforward, much simpler, they've locked down a lot of the architecture and how code is adjusted. And we touched on that already. Along with that, again, comes the ever-present pressure on a business to adapt their processes to the best practices and what's in the system and take advantage of the functions and features in the system and not demand that it matches their business exactly, which necessitates customizations and so forth. Are you guys seeing a transition to where the businesses, especially if they've got in their mindset it should be a fairly simple implementation. Are you seeing a mind shift to adapting to the best practices that are embedded within the software?

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

Not really. I mean, what we're seeing is a maturity as users have become more familiar with software systems in general. I think that they acknowledge that some things, how I post a check, I should adapt my process. However I posted it before, I should just post my checks the way this system does it. But when you get into production or advanced distribution, or some of the things that are truly strategic to that business, then they don't want to adapt nor do we think they should adapt. To Erik's point from earlier, this is why you should buy this system, is because we can help leverage your strategic advantages with the software.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

But we are doing that very differently now in Business Central on the cloud than we used to do on NAV. But the complexity of what we're creating with, now it's called extension. But as customizations are just as complex as what we did in NAV, but it's different. It's done differently. And it's done in a way now that is resistant to the ever-changing base app. It's resistant to what other app. Because if you create a customization on Monday, you need to be prepared that on Tuesday the customer installed some random app from AppSource and that still has to work. So it's a whole different mindset. But it can be done. Mark and I are actually sharing a common customer and they have tons of customization. The last time I counted, I think it was close to 35,000 lines of AL code. We upgraded for them. The upgrade from 16 to 17 was two lines of code that has to be changed in our customization. But the mindset of how you do customizations now compared to how it was done in NAV has totally changed. We have to accept the base app. We have to accept that this is the way it works. Don't try to bend it into something that it was not designed for. If you need special transactions, then you create them on the outside and have the special transaction create standard transactions so everything still works. But you can do just as complex customizations and add-ons and all that as you could with NAV, but it's just done in a very, very different way.

Ben Baxter, Accent Software:

And different is not bad. Different in this case is good.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

Better.

Ben Baxter, Accent Software:

Extensions are standing outside the base code. We're talking much better maintenance and upgrade path for people that are on pure extensions.

 

Read part 4 now or watch the full talk here.

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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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