Types of Training in Dynamics NAV

Overview

Often, we get calls from companies that asks us to help with their Dynamics NAV implementation. The conversation would usually start off about a little history of their implementation, the problems they’re running into, and what they’re looking to resolve.

Inevitably, the request will lead to training the users on how to better use Dynamics NAV.

This is a tough question to respond to.

With every release of Dynamics NAV, the software has become more intuitive and easy to use. In addition, Microsoft has released the full manual on their MSDN site. In addition, there are great step by step examples on how to process, for example, a sales order. So whenever I hear this request, my sense immediately goes into overdrive.

Of course, the customer will want an estimate on how long that will take.

Tough Question

What makes the subject of training a tough question is that the training, in itself, is not what the customer is looking for. What the customer is really looking for is, by the end of our task (whatever that may be), their users will have thorough understanding of their job responsibilities within the company and how Dynamics NAV can better their ability within their job roles.

They’re looking for their users to have an A-ha basically saying “Wow! I fully understand my job and can do my job 300% faster now!”.

The Response

Being a terrible salesperson, instead of giving them some numbers and try to close the deal, will naturally ask a ton of questions on their request. I will even question their question because I just find this request (although challenging) very fascinating.

Most of the time, the people that are reaching out are not the managers or the people that are responsible for the task. They’re just “forced” into it by their boss or owners. Instead of a number so they can create a list to find the cheapest one, they get more questions.

On a side note, the calls we get where the person has to hang up and ask their boss or other people for more information ususally never calls us back. Subsequent follow up calls are ususally unreturned as well.

Not All Training Are the Same

There are many aspects when we talk about training. To keep things simple, we’ll just talk about 2 types of training. One is just learning how to use Dynamics NAV, the other is learning how to use Dynamics NAV in conjunction with your job roles within your organization.

In my opinion, training just how to use NAV is not worth to company to spend their money on. The reason is, as mentioned above, there are plenty of resources (such as MSDN site mentioned above) that are free for the user to learn how to navigate around Dynamics NAV.

The training that I would always recommend is the implementation type of training is where the training covers the details of their job on how Dynamics NAV can help them do their specific job. The training would be how to better do their job with Dynamics NAV, instead of just using NAV.

The Challenge

The challenge is how to explain this to the customer who is tasked by their supervisor to “get more training”.

They would need to understanding their internal business process for each department and how NAV will fit into each part of the business process. They will need to fill the consultants in on how things work for the consultants to devise a training plan.

If the customer does not do , they will need to spend the money to have someone else to do so. Very much like an implementation.

Conclusion

Of course if the users do not have time to learn the product or they prefer to learn in a classroom environment, consultants like us would step in and help out. Even then, the training shouldn’t be just how to use NAV. Rather, it should incorporate what their job functions are within NAV.

Sometimes the training should just consist of a big Q&A session where the users can bring up what they’re doing and how to better utilize their job function in the system.

Understanding what type of training you require will save you a ton of time and unnecessary costs from consultants like ourselves. It does require some work on the end user to determine what kind of training is needed.

Better to put the work up front than having to pay, a lot, later.

  1. You make a very good point. I think the wrong type of training is often sought. I think the greatest efficiency is gained with expert training of people who are above the threshhold of knowing the basics but have stopped trying to learn.

    There is a lot of grey area between learning to use and learning to master. Anecdotally, I have found that people tend to get to the point of being “good enough” to do the job at hand and promptly stop learning. This isn’t only a phenomenon with learning software, it can be seen everywhere. One example where people stop learning is raking leaves.

    Every fall, I see people struggling to make a giant pile of leaves that they then struggle to fully clean up. These poor leaf rakers do the same thing multiple times per year, forever. They aren’t gaining insight through repetition. They don’t need MSDN to explain how to rake properly, they could just watch a neighbor. But, at some point, they started doing it the way they do and stopped trying to learn.

    To tie the giant pile of leaves back to NAV, there are plenty of things that can be done without thinking in NAV that create a mess later. Too many G/L line items on purchase/sales documents could be an example. Overuse of the item journal (or any journal) might be another. On the administration side, having inappropriate inventory items, the wrong base units of measure, reckless copy document/copy item/copy BOM/copy general posting setup row could all be examples. In fact, while I’ve read quite a bit about bad practices in C/AL, I don’t recall there being a list of bad or potentially bad practices using NAV. Is there such a resource?

    Thanks for this post. I am glad you are not that good of a salesperson… someone needs to ask the questions.

  2. That’s a very good point about list of bad practices from companies using NAV. Great idea to start thinking about in future articles.

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