The Changing Face of Navision through the Ages.

Many people are surprised to hear that Microsoft Dynamics NAV is not far from reaching its 20th birthday here in the UK!

At Turnkey, we have been selling Navision since 1996 when the first ‘proper’ Windows version appeared in the UK. A small team of people in Borehamwood led by Yash Nagpal, and supported by the likes of Sandy Giddings and Hynek Muhlbacher, had believed enough in the product to take on the established UK players from scratch.

Things were a little erratic at the time. VAT didn’t really work properly. You didn’t ask for remittance advices (not needed in Denmark apparently) and all of the training material featured Danish Kroner and was delivered by European trainers. There was a sense that we were all at the start of a rather exciting journey with an incredible new product.

Along the way, Navision (UK) cashed in its chips with the Danish owners in what turned out to be the first stage of the process of the Microsoft acquisition Those of us who were lucky enough to be successfully selling the product at the time benefitted from the incredible generosity of UK MD Yash Nagpal who rewarded his loyal partner base with trips to Thailand (regrettably work commitments prevented me attending so my wife gallantly went along instead) and, perhaps the best of all, a 10 day whirlwind trip around the best that India had to offer. The latter trip included visits to all of the major sites, participation in an elephant  polo match and an overnight cross desert camel ride.

Screenshots of the product through time show how much the product has changed but it’s a credit  to the original development team that the underlying functionality remains much the same. And, of course, the products great strength has always been its inbuilt development toolset. Who knows how many exceptional systems have been built over the years with that fantastic product.

Here are a few of the screens which illustrate the development so well:

Navision circa 1996 – not quite the look and feel of Windows-

NAVISION 1996

The Windows-like version was originally called Navision ‘Financials’ but then had a brief period, for no apparent reason, as Navision ‘Attain’ –

Attain2

The influence of Microsoft was apparent in this first new-style release post their acquisition. The Outlook style interface –

NAV5

And finally, we moved to the ‘Role Tailored Client’ which originally saw the light of day in NAV2009 but has been finessed into NAV2013 –

NAV2013RTC2

Sadly, Yash is no longer with us but many who knew him were pleased to hear that he was indulging in one of his passions, golf, at the time of his passing. I’d imagine he would be proud to see how far the product has come from its humble beginnings in Borehamwood all those years ago.

How to Select an ERP System – Part 2- Ballpark Costs

Continue our series which started with ERP Selection Part 1 – the Selection Process

Ballpark Costs 

Once the suppliers have been provided with the essential information, it’s not unreasonable to ask for a ballpark figure for the cost of the proposed solution. This is a win-win in that neither side wants to waste the other’s time going through lengthy demos and detailed scoping exercises when the likely cost of the system is so far away from what the business is likely to spend.

Costs should normally be split between the upfront capital cost and the on-going annual support cost. But, remember that support will usually also be chargeable in the first year. If the system is being hosted, it should still be straightforward enough to do some number crunching to create a cost over, say, 4 years for comparison.

Costs would cover –

Software licences – remember that you might save some money by differentiating full and occasional discrete users; by delaying the rollout of users until needed; or delaying some extra cost modules that won’t be required until later in the project;

Services –these cover Installation, project management, development or customisation, changing document layouts e.g. invoices and purchase orders, integration e.g. to your bank, data cutover of customers, open invoices etc., training and assistance on the ‘go live’ day.

These will be guide costs and guide days. Remember that you shouldn’t complain if fewer days are spent than were budgeted in one area e.g. training if more days were spent elsewhere on the project. Suppliers are being asked at an early stage to provide a ballpark only. Generally, barring a major change to the requirements provided to assist with the cost, the overall figure should be within 10% or so of the final quote.

Another area to seek guidance on is infrastructure. If you need to replace or upgrade any of your equipment such as PCs, laptops, servers and communications, that can be quite a significant sum. Make sure what you have can support the proposed new system or establish a cost to upgrade.

You should also have an indicative annual support charge for software (and infrastructure, if required) and understand fully what is covered. Be wary of signing an extended support deal, e.g. three year, just because some advantageous terms are offered. You will not have experienced the support yet, so committing to a long term deal could prove foolish. Many such contracts are difficult to break.