One of the biggest selling points for selecting and purchasing Microsoft Dynamics NAV is its flexibility. As a leading global mid-market ERP solution, Dynamics NAV is used by diverse companies across a broad spectrum of industries. From distribution to utilities, it is a pliable solution with two options to shape and fit your distinctive business operations.
How to Enhance Your Dynamics NAV System
One option is to extend the system’s functionality with the purchase of additional modules. If you needed additional payroll capabilities, for example, your partner would recommend one of the ISV-owned payroll software solutions specifically developed for Dynamics NAV. Additional functionality and add-ons like this can be deployed at any stage of pre and post-implementation as your business requirements evolve.
The other option is customization, which is really where Dynamics NAV shines. While every ERP solution is designed to deliver comprehensive business functionality and automation across an enterprise, the base models are not for everyone. Many businesses have distinctive business processes or nuances that can only be addressed by custom development. Typically, if a feature, functionality, or workflow doesn’t already exist in the ISV world, you require custom programming.
Dynamics NAV uses a programming language called C-Side. As one of the more mature ERP solutions in the world, there is a huge talent pool of C-Side developers available to build, fix, and change customizations.
Compared to purchasing and installing a pre-built module, customizations themselves can come with some baggage depending on the requirements. Some customizations are less invasive while others have a bigger base code modification footprint. Regardless of size and complexity, customizations do carry an additional layer of costs to consider. There are upfront costs to license, develop, test and deploy the particular customization required. There are ongoing costs required to maintain and support code changes. And, there are future costs that will hit you when it’s time to upgrade your Dynamics NAV system.
Are Your Customizations Putting You at Risk?
The ability to customize an ERP solution can add remarkable value to an organization, specifically how the end users adopt and use the product in their work life. The trouble is, there are definitely common situations where customizations don’t consider scalability and upgradeability, and eventually have major long-term impacts on your system and your wallet.
Most of our Dynamics NAV customer base has experienced large-scale project implementation failure in some form. Dynamics NAV projects are complicated where it impacts your entire business and it can be very overwhelming to an organization with no experience or familiarity working with this type of software implementation project.
When it comes to customizations, it’s pretty easy for a customer to go along with what they are being told by an experienced partner. And that’s part of the reason why many customers get into situations where they agree to extensive customizations that they don’t need. We have been involved in quite a few situations where a partner has become “customization-happy” and the customer has no way of managing or maintaining it without their help. To us, that means your Dynamics NAV solution is a ticking time bomb.
Consider this: the average Joe is not aware that Microsoft makes underlying code changes to their products every 6 months. Any change they make to Dynamics NAV could disable the customization you have made in your current system. When you don’t have expertise on staff to manage and maintain your customizations, you are forced to rely on your Dynamics NAV partner 100% forever. Yes, forever. There’s never a ‘one and done’ situation when dealing with customizations.
And that doesn’t even address the issues you will face when it comes time to upgrade your Dynamics NAV solution. Depending on how the code was written, either outside of the core database as an extension or event or major code changes to the core system, you could be in for a whole new re-implementation. We have seen situations where the cost to upgrade the customer’s customization is similar to the cost of implementation. To summarize:
- You’ll never have independence from your partner
- You’ll constantly be paying for maintenance
Is Your Dynamics NAV Up to Code?
There are many cases where customers feel like they are being nickel and dimed by their Dynamics NAV partner . If your instinct is telling you that your partner is recommending custom functionality that you don’t need or are not currently ready for, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your project plan. Always make sure to ask for documentation and always make sure you know how the code is being written.
We typically get a call for a second opinion or advice when a customer hits a point where the project stops moving forward but the bill keeps getting bigger. We don’t want you to get into a situation where your budget has exceeded your expectations and your system is not ready. For a second opinion, book an assessment with our seasoned team of Dynamics NAV experts. We can help give you the peace of mind you’re looking for – and the path forward to Dynamics NAV success you need.