Monthly Archives: July 2011

Switching to a New Dynamics NAV (Navision) Service Provider

The Disappointment…
Frustrated by the long lead time? Mad at the frequent bugs received and being billed for it? Disappointed at the decisions you made based on bad advice received? Tired of not getting responses? Angry at the billing practices? Are you considering a switch to a new partner?

I can understand the frustrations felt by the clients each time I speak with end users looking to switch. It would really frustrate me if something I paid a lot of money for didn’t live up to their expectations. Similar to buying a Porsche Carrera GT and being limited to only go 30 miles per hour.

Adding fuel to the fire, sometimes the delays and mistakes from your solution provider actually cost your business real dollars.

Making the switch to a new partner is very daunting, and personally, I don’t recommend it and should only be considered as a last resort.

What do you mean you don’t recommend it?
Why am I saying this even though I’ve made a career taking care of clients that weren’t happy with their previous solution providers? The reason is the transition to a new partner involves establishing a relationship with a brand new company. Depending on the company, it may or may not be a big deal. Establishing a new relationship will take some time and effort both for you and the new Navision partner.

There’s no guarantee the new partner is any better. They may have a great sales team, but crappy technical team. Or they may use the old “bait and switch” technique by promising you good technical people only in the sales demo.

Instead of just going out and shopping for a new partner, have you tried to work out the differences between you and your partner? Have you initiated the dialog with your Navision partner regarding your concerns? Or are they constantly giving you lame excuses?

Are your expectations reasonable? Are you expecting your partner to work for you for free? Are you not considering the work done for you “work”?

The key is the communication between you and your partner. Once you stop that communication and if you hold everything in and not express your concerns, it will naturally erupt like a volcano. And we all know that making business decisions based on emotion is often a bad decision.

If the solution provider’s attitude is poor and keeps blowing you off, then it’s time to go. Whereas if your current provider is intent on listening to your concerns and makes an attempt to at least salvage the relationship, then they may be a keeper.

Just make sure the problem isn’t you because no partner in the world can fix that.

When You Do Decide To Make the Switch…
If you just can’t stand your current Navision solution provider anymore, there’s really no point to torture yourself and your business. Make the switch. You don’t even need to notify your partner that you’re looking elsewhere for support.

Make sure you have a valid reason for wanting to switch. In fact, that’s one of the first questions I ask people when they call us for help. If I don’t believe it’s a good reason (i.e. price is too expensive, want a competitive quote, being unfairly billed), my first response is to ask the user to try to resolve their difference with their existing partners first. You can’t put a price on good service and a company that delivers.

In addition, having valid reasons will ensure the new partner will be extra careful in that area so you’re not having the same problems again.

Once you have a valid reason, make sure you have prepared a checklist of the outstanding issues that needs to be resolved. You’d be amazed at how many calls I received where the user is looking to switch, but they don’t know what they want. It’s hard to build a relationship if you don’t know what you want. Make sure your old solution provider has the same checklist so they can at least give you a response to your satisfaction.

Ensure you properly communicate your expectations for your new partner. This is very important to prevent the vicious cycle of you going through multiple partners and spending unncessary time and money.

Misconceptions About Switching to a New Partner…
Despite what the salespeople out there will tell you, there’s absolutely nothing preventing you to switch to a new partner, in another words, Microsoft does not care who you choose to help you with the software.

It’s incredibly easy to switch. You just need to sign a Change of Partner Request form and fax it in to Microsoft. Dynamics NAV belongs to Microsoft, not the service partner. The software contact itself is between you and Microsoft, who you chose to service your company is entirely up to you.

A new partner, assuming they’re technically able, should be able to pickup where the old solution center left off relatively quickly (this is perhaps one of the strong selling points of Dynamics NAV). This is also a good test to see your new partner is up to par, if they’re having difficulty getting acquinted with your system and having to constantly request more hours, it may be time to look for a new partner again.

Distance shouldn’t be an issue, however, timezones will most likely be an issue. A few hours may be okay, but if your 3pm is their 3pm, it’ll probably not work.

Conclusion
In the end, ensure that changing solution center is really the solution to the problem. There will be a lot of companies out there for you to choose from that will be fighting tooth and nail for your business, the important thing is to be prepared as much as possible so you can make the transition smooth for you and your company.

That’s Just The Way It Works

There’s a dangerous trend in the ERP service industry. I frequently encounter this when I’m speaking with client sites that’s asking to migrate to Navision and existing Navision clients asking us for support.

One of the first things we do when we walk in to a new client was to ask questions. Why are they switching? What is your current problem? Why are you doing certain things the way you do it? When going through the questions, one of the more common responses I get when we talk about their existing process in the system is “That’s just the way it works”.

Really? Is that really the way it works? Is your business not running efficiently because that’s just the way it works? Are your competitors gaining market share while you’re losing market share because that’s just the way it works? Are your customers buying from your competitors instead of you because that’s just the way it works? Is there nothing you can do to find out more because that’s just the way it works?

More often than not, the response they received when they’re processing a particular function in the system are given by their software consultant. As experts in the system that was implemented, there’s not much the clients can go by in terms of verifying whether the consultant’s response is accurate or not. There’s not much reason to doubt the reponse given.

This is a lazy consultant’s response. Your consultant is basically saying “Don’t bother me, you’re not important enough for me to find an answer so I will just blame it on the software”.

There are questions that are totally out of the consultant’s field. That’s understandable. Everyone gets stumped, even the most experienced Navision implementors and developers. There are some instances where the the consultant’s hands are tied, like functions related to the executables which we can’t modify. But it’s the consultant’s job to give you an satisfactory answer on why things are the designed the way it is, or if there’s no answer, what are the work arounds or if it can be reported to Microsoft as a future update.

Working with Dynamics NAV (Navision) a little more than 12 years, I know enough that 99% of the coding in the system are there for a very important reason related to your business and the best business practice. And with Microsoft Connect, there’s an outlet to make suggestions to improve the product that you use.

Especially with an open source software like NAV, there’s no reason that you, as a customer, should accept answers like that. That’s just the way it is.