What if Homer Simpson became a Navision consultant?

The Homer

At first look, this sounds like a rather bizarre proposition that Homer would be a Navision consultant, yet in reality most new consultants that join the world of Dynamics NAV think exactly like Homer. ;)

Take a look at the episode Oh Brother Where Art Thou? Homer finds that as a child he was separated from his brother. His brother as it turns out is very wealthy, and "owns" a large automobile manufacturer; Powell Motors.

Define the base standard.

The most common trait that most new consultants have when they first work with just about any product is to make a comment something like "But XXX should be standard, YYY product has that feature". This is not just a Navision trait.

So in reality what should be standard, and what should be left out. This balance is a very complex line and very hard to determine. Let's say you add every possible feature as standard, this implies that the client wanting simple accounting must carry the dead weight of all the functionality they don't need. On the other hand if the functionality is not there then the market for the product becomes limited.

Bring on the Add-Ons.

So in its wisdom many years ago, PC&C decided that Navigator (now Dynamics NAV) would have a core suite of functionality, and that the entire product development environment would be open for partners to develop Add-Ons or custom functionality as required for their clients. This allowed the core Navigator product to be extremely simple, fast and most importantly; reliable.

For about 20 years now, Add-Ons have been the way to get a light product that is customizable to deliver what the customer needs. If we didn't have this ability to modify the core code like we do, we would need to have a base product that contained every legal and business requirement of every country in company that we wanted to sell to. What we would have then is The Homer, a huge ugly product that is; impossible for anyone to use because of its complexity; slow because of all the dead weight it is carrying; unreliable because of all the interactions between mismatched code; and expensive, because every client would be paying for every "feature" even if they didn't need it.


Some advice:

  • Advice to new consultants entering the NAV arena;
  • Advice to those buying NAV, and asking for every possible feature;

buy the DVD and watch Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Customer it will save you a lot of money that you will otherwise spend six months down the track when you ask the partner to remove all those mods that you really didn't need. Consultants it will make your life easier, and maybe help you understand The Beauty Of Simplicity


PS I think that watching this episode of the Simpson's should be a mandatory part of Navision consultant training. Maybe Microsoft could buy the rights to the episode and put it on every Dynamics NAV install CD J

Comment List
  • Hey David, interesting blog-- even though I'm late getting to it.  The scenario you illustrate, "all features under one roof," would-- I believe-- hurt more clients than it helps.  

    To illustrate, you and I have heard from dozens of clients, "we just need basic sales commissions."  If we had a benchmark of what "basic" included we would be fine.  In reality, it is almost impossible to find two clients who do exactly the same thing.  This is precisely where NAV shines; the client isn't locked-in to an inflexible representation of what someone else thinks their sales commissions should look like.

    However, with the ability to accommodate "client reality" comes the absolute mandate of thorough planning.  Unfortunately, most prospects, clients and many solutions professionals become mislead by one-dimensional checklists of ERP functionalities.  As you know, project diligence based upon capsule descriptions, without an indication of depth-of-function requirements, has killed more than a few ERP projects.

    Have a great 2009!

  • Right on David -great article -I,ve met a lot of consultants and salespeople esp those coming from other products who believe that NAV is an inferior product compared to other ERPs.

    I like the way NAV is on overall and fully appreciate the model.

    Im not much of a Simpson,s fan but I will try and obtain the episode as well as spread the word .. :-)

  • I guess everybody agrees ;-)

  • I wonder if this Blog has scared some people off?

    150 views and no comments Wink