Michael Hartmann is CEO of QBS Group and a former Microsoft employee. In a recent article, he writes about how he thinks ERP buyers will approach Dynamics 365 Business Central (the ERP system formerly known as “Dynamics NAV” or “Navision” for those keeping score), as well what it means to the market and to resellers (like us!). We’ll share a few of his thoughts here today.
The news is really very good, Hartmann notes. From a bumpy start in a dual-world of NAV software and the new sort-of NAV D/365 platform, Microsoft has now finally moved to a much clearer path “knowing that it is not just cloud enabled, it is actually developed from the ground up to be the SaaS platform for Dynamics in small and medium businesses. Microsoft will keep a dual strategy, allowing the partner and customer to choose respectively on-premise (Dynamics NAV 2018) or a cloud deployment.”
Hartmann points out that with the new Business Central product now fully available – all based on the original NAV code base – the question arises of how quickly it will be adopted by the marketplace. He argues that some of the basic rules of the ERP market have not changed.
For one thing, despite the cloud positioning, most existing clients have modifications to their systems. Migrating these capabilities, Hartmann says, will take time and investment by capable partners, in order to move these modifications into the new “extensions” model Microsoft is providing for modifications to its cloud product. And, he notes: “customers want to work with an ERP solution that has industry capabilities and they need to mirror business processes that reflect the specifics of their industry.”
Finally, he comments on the path forward for resellers:
“Selling, configuring, deploying, and supporting an ERP platform requires specific skills. Partners will be held accountable if the ERP system does not produce the desired business impact and keep the operation up and running. It is not an easy “expand to ERP” move for an IT partner.
“As a result, generally speaking, only when the trusted partner of an ERP customer is ready to offer migration services will customers go to the new platform, such as Dynamics 365 Business Central. And it is not the type of quick upgrade that many of us have seen in the past with Office or other productivity apps. Microsoft has considered this and is now investing heavily in a program called Ready-to-Go. This program allows [the reseller] to run through a set of milestones that will make sure [an]existing NAV solution can be successfully migrated and deployed on Dynamics 365 Business Central. Hitting these milestones requires training and work from multiple resources inside a partner organization.
The conclusion to be drawn is that the move from on-premise to cloud will be a journey – something we’ve expounded on many times in the past. It’s an evolution, not an event. The great news is that current NAV clients can be confident that their solutions are going to run – either on-premise or in the cloud, at their choosing – for a very long time to come.
And that is very comforting and reassuring to everyone – customers, users and resellers alike – indeed.
You can follow the full text of Hartmann’s article here.