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What’s the Key to Being Successful With Dynamics 365 Business Central? (Dec '20 Huddle, Pt. 2)

December 15, 2020 | Mark Rhodes

New View Huddle, December 2020 – Part 2

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 2 of 5 of the transcripts from that discussion where we continue to identify keys to success when implementing Dynamics 365 Business Central. 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:

Any other gotchas or big lessons learned with your experience with Business Central over the past couple of years?

Ben Baxter, Accent Software:

Setting expectations. So if they look it up online and they watch some videos online, there's a good chance that they watched some ISV video on YouTube and they expect the software to do that when they buy it from you. So you need to make sure their mindset aligns with what you're delivering so that everybody's on the same page when you agree to move forward.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

And I would add, Microsoft hit us. I mean, I think most of us were in the room four years ago with Madeira and sense. I mean, Microsoft really painted a picture and went to the market with the picture that you can just deploy this thing. And we had some people in Denmark helping with the development group and we're like, "Okay. Show us. You do it." And you should have seen their faces when they tried to do it. They're like, "Oh, hey, this didn't work the way we thought." We're like, "Yeah, no kidding." And so just making sure that we help those folks that are coming from QuickBooks. If they're a NAV customer doing an upgrade, no problem. They're all ready. We're good. But if they're a QuickBooks customer, there is some management that we need to do around helping them understand what is successful. One of our failures... I won't call it a failure. It was a lesson. Microsoft said, "Look, you got to have a low price. You got to have a fixed price." And we did that. We were out with a sub $10,000 fixed fee. We were clear on the scope. What we got were customers that were not happy. They wanted more help than what the scope that we sold them contained. And they didn't care what the scope statement said. What they said was, "Look, we're not ready." So back to setting expectations.

David Gersten, Dynamic Consulting:

Yeah, you're right. Trying to do that, it's like every day in marketing and sales. I want to make these customers happy that have those little budgets, that only want to spend the $5,000, $6,000, $7,000, $10,000. But really when it comes to, what can you deliver for that? And what are they going to do? It is really hard to get a happy customer. I mean, we get 10 leads a week that are coming in with that expectation. And it's so hard to say no to them or spend all that effort to convert their mindset. Because at the end of the day, it's going to be hard for them to be happy. We could manage by exception. And there's definitely those that we provide a coaching model, where we point them to Erik's book and say, "Use this. And we'll keep you alive for a couple hours a week to manage you through it to make sure you're accountable, like an accountable coach." But it's either real small, that middle size that Tom was talking about, that quick pack, that fix thing. We have it out on AppSource also, but it never sold like that. You're not going to have a happy customer.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

We were having a conversation, so it's about how complex are your business processes?

Mark Rhodes, New View Strategies:

Bingo.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

And I joke, and Ben will attest to this, I'm not that bright. I figured this stuff out, but it was my job to figure it out. I made it my business to understand what this software does. Now, as a business owner, or whoever's in charge of implementing, you had a job before you bought this system and you're going to have a job tomorrow while you're trying to implement this system. And so who's going to take responsibility for mastering the software? If they're to take that ownership and truly master the software and get Erik's book, study online, do some homework, practice, you can be successful.

David Gersten, Dynamic Consulting:

That's that exception. But yeah, they have to have that simple business needs and that commitment.

Tom Doran, Innovia Consulting:

We had a very complex one go live with virtually under $20,000. And they were very complex. But they knew it, they owned it, they did all the things. They took ownership of their system. Julia Baxter taught me this, whose software? Not my software, your software. This is your system and you need to take responsibility.

Erik Hougaard, E Foqus Canada:

But I think it's important to understand that Business Central may be in Microsoft's marketing department being sold as a simple system for... That's the wrong word, but you get my point. Business Central is a chameleon. You have so much configuration. You can turn it into anything. And the most successful NAV and Business Central stories for that sake are these companies who have the weird business processes, stuff is complicated, and we can make Business Central work for them. Those also all the success stories. The success story is not the mom and pop store who just sell and buy stuff. That's not the success story. The success story is that we have this chameleon piece of software that we can really make work for any type of complicated business. A word I really hate now is the word enterprise, because enterprise is strictly defined as some sort of size. But you can have a very, very simple business that just is big. But you can also have a small business that's really, really complex. And from that aspect, I love redefining the word enterprise into being about complexity instead. And with that mindset, Business Central is really one of the future tools that can deliver. The traditional competitors that we have cannot deliver because the flexibility is not there. It has been such an interesting journey to see all the GP people coming over to BC. I did a seminar in Bremond I guess two, two and a half years ago, something like that. And I had a room full of GP people for two days, and we talked about development. The mindset of the people that come from GP channel was that, well, it's kind of an immature product, but I guess it's on the cloud and there are some development stuff. So we better learn it. But now with the people I still talk with, some of them daily, they discovered the depth of what the product can actually do. And I think that's the secret sauce, the gem that might be a bit hard to approach at some point, but it's such a powerful piece of software. But it's not designed for mom and pop store. It never was. Before Microsoft purchased it, what we call now NAV and AX, were Navision and Axapta, and those two products were going head to head. They were competing products for the same customer. So it was not one is enterprise and one is SMB. That's something Microsoft labels they slapped on the package. And of course, almost 20 years that has passed has influenced the products greatly. But from a feature perspective, they started out at the same spot, competing for the same kind of customers. And they were not the small customers they were competing for.

Mark Rhodes, New View Strategies:

That's great history there. And Erik, that's the core point for me as well, is Business Central, NAV before, businesses with a three and four users run it, businesses with 250 or 500 users run it, right? It runs the gamut. And that means it's a complex software. It can be complex to implement it simply. You have to make a lot of quick choices. You have to go with the standards. And like Tom was saying, it can be done. But gosh, the underlying functionality and feature set in there can be very complex and support a complex business.

 

Read part 3 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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