Accepting Dynamics 365 Business Central as a Mediocre Solution

Overview

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of an old school person when it comes to implementing Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly called Dynamics NAV).

I believe when you make a decision to implement Dynamics 365 Business Central for your business, the transition should be smooth with minimal disruption.

In fact, these transition often make your process better as it sorts out (and eliminates) processes that are convoluted. It forces everyone within the company to at least take a hard look at what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

I believe the transition process should be fully planned out and accommodations be made based on the individual circumstances for each company.

Furthermore, during the implementation process, there should be full understanding of:

  • What’s being done and what changes are going to occur
  • What’s being delivered by your Business Central partner
  • What’s being prepared by your own staff

But lately, I’m noticing a disturbing trend in our industry.

Disturbance in the Business Central Force.

When I speak to people that have implemented Business Central, they’re less than enthusiastic about going live with the software.

Digging deeper, I find a lot of common issues on why these business were less than happy with what they got. Here’s a list of the few common comments:

  • Received little to no training (online training was not sufficient)
  • No audit or testing on data being converted
  • Balances transferred over did not match
  • Disconnect between the users and the implementers
  • No response for requests for enhancements or modifications
  • No response for questions they have about the usage of the system

I think the cause of this is the current trend for implementing cloud based software is the automated or templated approach.

The idea is you list out all of the steps that are required to implement a new software, in this case, Dynamics 365 Business Central and you systematize it. In another words, it make it repeatable so anyone can go through the checklist and implement the ERP software.

The goal is so the solution center can hire anyone off the street at a discount, give them minimal training, and just have them follow the template with the customer to get them running in Business Central.

All this so the solution can offered at a lower priced to attract new customers who has no idea what’s going on.

Unfortunately, these low cost implementation trend is a race to the bottom. There’s always going to be the guy that can offer something at a lower price.

In most cases, to lower the price of implementation is to cut corners.

Sure, you can start using Dynamics 365 Business Central if all of your requirements are part of the template (which is the bare minimum). For anything else, you have to wait or you’ll need to figure out how to go around it on your own. The person that’s hired or contracted to help you will certainly not know the answer.

Accepting Less Than Mediocracy

I mean, I wouldn’t be as shocked if the people I spoke to received mediocre service and support. I’m more shocked that people just choose to accept less than mediocre service and support.

Some of the problems the people I spoke to seemed indifferent  to their situation:

  • Accept that requests for modifications takes weeks (sometimes months) to deliver
  • Accept no answers to their questions
  • Accept that they should hire internal staff to maintain Business Central
  • Accept the inconsistencies of working with contractors to the solution center
  • Accept their numbers are off right from the beginning
  • Accept the lack of training
  • Accept that you cannot have a deeper discussion about your business problems and how it can be addressed

I can go on and on, but I keep wondering…  At what point in time was this considered acceptable? Did I miss something?

Everyone talks about the destination. Nobody talks about the process.

Companies are excited about Business Central. It is the best mid-market ERP software. The number of improvements Microsoft has made is astounding. This is not including the strong integration with the existing Office 365 suite.

It’s exciting even for me, as a partner, to see what a fully deployed solution can do. We use it internally, and let me tell you, it has made deployment of these features a whole lot easier and a whole lot palatable. Not to mention how quickly and how organized we can operate as a cohesive team.

No one really pays attention to the question “exactly how do we get there”? Sure if you get a check list and go down the list to see what’s on the template and what’s being delivered, but is your business transformation really off of a templated checklist that you didn’t even create?

Conclusion

I’m not sure why companies are so accepting of their situation.

Do they feel that they’re trapped because they’re scared of what will happen to their data  in the cloud (which is managed by Microsoft) if they switch  software vendors?

Do they feel like it’s expensive to get a new vendor in?  Too much hassle since they’ve gone through it once already?

Do they feel that these problems are just temporary and they’ll just magically go away?

Or worst, do they feel every software vendor is the same and “that’s just how it is”?

Whatever it is, I sincerely hope that this is just a phase. And I hope we, as an industry, can do better.