Am I Too Big for Microsoft Dynamics NAV

[I edited this post once again. I see that it produces a lot of confusion, because people seem to think that this is what I claim, while I tried to convey that this is what some claim, but I think is false. Therefore, I strike this altogether, and redirect you to my original column at MSDynamicsWorld.com. Please, read that, not this. Thanks, and sorry for this mess.]

[I decided to edit this post and exclude all the argumentation it originally contained. There is no need for me to argue the same topics twice, and I really recommend that you visit and read my original column at MSDynamicsWorld.com]
The presentation I delivered two weeks ago at Microsoft WinDays 2008 conference has spurred interest far beyond my expectations. While my goal was to shed some light on certain misconceptions and debunk a few myths which prevail about Microsoft Dynamics NAV in Croatia, the interest for the topic went farther than planned. Last week I’ve been approached by editorial staff of MSDynamicsWorld.com, an independent authority for news and views on Microsoft Dynamics, and asked whether I would like to contribute to their Expert Insights feature. They also explicitly asked could I make my WinDays 2008 topic my first contribution.

So, I’ve got my NAV Insights column at MSDynamicsWorld.com, where I will contribute bi-weekly with content on best practices of Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementations. You may read my first article, “Am I Too Big for Microsoft Dynamics NAV”, here. I don’t want to cross-post anything, so I won’t include that article on this blog, I’ll just give you a gist of what my WinDays presentation was all about.

In Croatia, large companies have shown reluctance to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which I see as a result of several erroneous beliefs about the product. I called these myths, and I tried to debunk them one by one. These were the original myths I addressed:

  1. Big companies – what are these exactly?
  2. Number of employees is an important factor to consider when choosing an ERP
  3. Scalability of NAV does not meet the needs of large organizations
  4. Big companies don’t implement NAV
  5. NAV is accounting software
  6. NAV is not good for large companies in some verticals because some implementations failed

The last myth isn’t covered at MSDynamicsWorld.com and I will write more about it, so please drop by. And I would really like to hear from your experiences about these myths in your markets. Are these only impacting NAV reputation in Croatia, or did you have any similar issues in other parts of the world too?

In the meantime, I invite you to read my column in NAV Insights.

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8 Responses to “Am I Too Big for Microsoft Dynamics NAV”

  1. Alex Pappas Says:

    In answer to your questions this has been my experience:

    Big is Big – cut it how you will – I have worked with NAV in custoemrs like Adidas, Gamestop and Sega. All big – what definition do you want to use ?

    I think number of users is more relevant than employees – I have seen NAV handle the Finance function of a company with 9500 employees. I was also involved in the Fujitsu labs testing that Navision a/s did with them in early 2000-2001 which scaled to over 2000 NAV 4.6 simaltaneous users.

    NAV can scale well, again I have seen it handle WMS and Finance operations in a retailer with 2500 stores, across 12 countries with 6000 POS terminals. What sort of scaling are you talking about ? Technical ? Functional ? Order Entry ?

    NAV was accounting software – it covers a lot more now – and from what I see in CTP NAV 2009 even more integrated and broader functionality.

    Generally implmentation fail because of poor partners. The NAV channel has few people who can run large projects. Larger consultancies who have the skills and background have unfortunately swallowed the AX story from Microsoft and do not do NAV.

    I think with the introduction of NAV 2009 as a full 3-tier system and new development capabilities the question of scale, size etc becomes less of an issue in a market that has savvy prospects and capable partners.

    Finally an implmentation I was involved in germany was for a manufacturer with 3500 employees and over 1bn eruos turnover who was getting rid of their SAP R/3 system in favour of NAV 3.60.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Vjeko Says:

    Hi Alex!

    Thanks for proving every one of my points, I am glad that I am not the only one out there believing that what some prospects see as truth is actually a myth. My largest implementation was for a customer with 45000 employees, 9bn euro yearly turnover, and 20+ country rollouts planned. We did 5 by the time I left the company, but they are now at 10+.

    Once again, thanks for the comments, and good luck!

    P.S. The only one I don’t fully agree is “big is big”. It actually is a matter of perspective. If you are a 100K employee gigant, 10K is a small one, but it is a large one if you are 10 employee startup. But this is the easiest of the myths to debunk anyway.

  3. Vincent Bellefroid Says:

    Hi Vjeko, I would like to comment on “NAV is not good for large companies in some verticals because some implementations failed”

    “Some Implementations failed” is a correct statement. In fact, it is know that a majority of IT projects fail. This means not in budget, not in time, not in scope, … an quite often a combination of all. This is a fact and most IT vendors are aware of it.

    In my opinon, the conclusion is not necessarily that the specific IT product is the cause of this failure. I experienced that these failures (or at least a big part of it) are caused by a lack of project management. Although most IT companies claim to implement project management, lots of them fail in executing effective project management. I think that this is an oveall issue for the IT Software in general.

    The good news is that Microsoft is pushing a PMI based implementation methodology called Sure Step Methodology. This reaches effective project management tools to the MS Dynamics partners. Even more important is that this tools increases the awareness for the importance of effective project management.

    So my point here is that by increasing the awareness for and the effectiveness of Project Management in Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementations, your last point will hopefully dissapear. 🙂

  4. Vjeko Says:

    Hi Vincent,

    Thanks for comments.

    I think that I must either remove this article, or restructure it as a repost of my MSDynamicsWorld.com contribution (plus my next contribution to it, which points out exactly what you point out to me :-))

    The thing is, these six statements I listed, they are myths, they are arguments that I heard in my consulting practice, and they are mostly wrong, or based on wrong beliefs. I attacked them in my presentation, in my article.

    My last “point”, wasn’t a point at all. I hope I get time today to clear this mess, because I see that it produces the counter-effect of what I wanted to achieve. People just come, see six bullet points and immediately think that’s what I state – while on the contrary, that’s what I am trying to debunk.

    Four years ago, in Croatia, we had a terrible case of a failed NAV implementation for a very visible customer. It failed probably for all the top reasons that Standish Group’s CHAOS report lists as typical failure points of IT projects. It definitely did not go down because of NAV not being able to handle the requirements. But still, after four years, bad legacy of this failed project haunts the presales activities partners do, and every now and then a prospect asks “But what about this project?”. That’s why I included this as a last myth.

    I totally agree with everything you say. And I also had a chance to deliver a full-day Sure Step training two weeks ago, with the goal to raise awareness of the benefits of applying a methodology on projects of implementing NAV, and it was a success – the partners have reportedly got much more than expected, and started truly believing in Sure Step.

  5. Dave Roys Says:

    It’s funny but I think you actually get better comments when people think you are wrong than when people think you are right. I think the next blog post I write, I’m going to write the complete opposite of what I want to say and see if I get great comments like these that will finish the post for me.

  6. Vincent Bellefroid Says:

    Hi Vjeko, I think this was a great article. At least it resulted in great discussion. I understooth that your points were myths. So no reason to worry. Having everybody to respond to the myths is a good thing.

  7. Vjeko Says:

    Dave: Yes, that’s totally true. People are more likely to voice out their opinion when they disagree. There is no point in going me-too, me-three to the points you agree with, really.

    Vincent: Sorry, I thought about that the moment I hit Submit, but nevertheless, thanks for great comments, and for contribution. You wouldn’t believe that today I had a discussion about a prospect customer in large-customer segment, and a person again brought up the question of this infamous failed implementation I mentioned. I can now repeat your arguments at them!

  8. Kenny Says:

    choosing ERP is a very unique situation. for me, ERP is actually is border less. it is depends on
    1. software functionality,
    2. how the vendor postion it,
    3. how much the customer is willing to fork out,
    4. how much effort that the vendor willing to stretch and
    5. most important, if the customer buy the idea of how the software solving their problems.

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