The Business Solutions arm is now "nearly" fully integrated to Microsoft and therefore the old NSC has to gain sufficient ranking points to be awarded "Microsoft Certified Partner" status, and if they are really good a GOLD partner status, so MCP or GMCP.
So I am an MCP at a GMCP who was an NCR at an old NSC but then I had to become a MCP (different to my other MCP) under Microsoft and another couple of exams I am a CM, or MBSCM.
Clear as mud I hope, and if it is any consolation I still refer to us as an NSC, I am having enough trouble remembering to call it Dynamics and not Navision
If you feel that way you are with the wrong one
It is not so much my solution center, as it is the whole Microsoft annual maintenance. I think it provides no value, and I feel Navision’s value is only getting weaker not stronger from an end user prospective, more on that later. When, we started in Navision in 1999, there was a maintenance fee, but I felt we got some value out of it, it was 12%, and included in the 12% fee, was a set number of hours equal to 2% of the fee at a my solution centers reduced hourly rate, that we could use for bug fixes or general programming, so each year, we at least got something out of it rather then just the right to the next version. Now, I realize that the Navision fee probably was only 10%, and the extra 2% was from the solution center, but it was an easier sale to my boss. 12% and we get so many hours of development.
Over the years since Microsoft took over our fee has increased to 16%, and there is no extra fee involved for additional work and for that we have the right to the future versions, but nothing else. And how could there be an extra charge, would you pay 18% of the license cost every year.
Now, we just finished an upgrade from 2.0c with advance distribution to 4.0. During the long process SP1 came out, we still were a few months from going live, so I wanted to see what it would take to go straight to 4.0 SP1 instead. Well my solution center wasn’t actually doing the upgrade, they were contracting out most of it to another company, (so, in a way I already have used David’s services, he just might not have know who he was doing the work for. And it was good work). Well, just to get a quote to go straight to SP1 it was going to cost me $1250 to get the quote, none of which would apply to the upgrade. My solution center was giving me a break by not marking up the quote, just passing on their cost. Their best guess was it would be an additional 7 –10k to switch and go straight to SP1, because of additional work and testing that would need to be completed. I would need to give a new database copy and basically start fresh, adding a few more months to the upgrade process. So, we stayed with the original plan and went to 4.0. Of coarse a month after going live, I came across a known bug that was fixed in SP1, a bank reconciliation error. I identified it, gave the info to my solution center. Who after going back and forth, fixed the problem at a cost of around $450. So, I pay the maintenance, I have a known issued that is identified by Microsoft, but to actually get the fix I have to pay my solution center to do it. Now, SP3 is coming out, what do thing that will cost to implement? Oh, yeah it is free because I paid the maintenance, oh but wait, I need my solution center to do it and that is not free. You say these are separate issues and the solution center needs to be paid for their time, I think it should be between Microsoft and the solution center to decide how they split the maintenance fee, and I should get the hotfixes and service packs as part of that price.
Now for the decreasing value of Navision. Our upgrade cost around 48K total, of that about 10K was additional license cost for features we had in 2.0 that were now separate granules in 4.0, for instance responsibility centers. In 2.0, you had the ability to assign users to specific departments in the user setup, and they were restricted to enter only for that department. Their sales orders and purchase orders, were all filtered by the user assigned department code. In 4.0 that is gone, the only similar thing is responsibility center at a cost of $3000. Now responsibility centers may do more then the 2.0 feature, but not much. To get useful financial statements you need advanced dimensions, and analysis views, that cost extra. There were several cases just like this, were we had something in 2.0, and now we had to license additional granules to get the same basic thing. As I look back at the 8 years of maintenance fees, 8 * (average) $15,000 = $120,000 plus the 48,000 upgrade cost. I think we were dumb to every pay maintenance past the first year. We should have paid for the application designer for $8000 and $26,000 for the solution developer granule, bought double the user licenses we thought we might need. And canceled the maintenance after the first year. That first year we should have used every resource we could to learn the program and have our solution center fix bugs we found. And then use freelancers to help fix bugs we can’t figure out, or do custom programming.
And further more, if you spend any time on this forum what you will quickly find is that Navision gets slower and slower with each new release. The biggest re-occurring problem on here is this, It started back at the 2.6 release, (probably earlier but I wasn’t using the forum before 2.0)
The theme is this:
I just upgraded from 2.0 to 2.6 and the system is so slow,
I just upgraded from 2.6 to 3.0 and the system is so slow,
I just upgraded from 3.0 to 3.6 and the system is so slow,
I just upgraded from 3.6 to 3.7 and the system is so slow.
I just upgraded from 3.7 to 4.0 and the system is so slow
I just upgraded from 4.0 to 4.0 SP1 and the system is so slow.
Now imagine what we came across going from 2.0 to 4.0, is was quite a shock, how much slower and less efficient the program is, and our database doubled in size over night, just from the conversion. That is how much bigger a 4.0 database is from a 2.0 database, I repeat doubled in size. So, there is no wonder the program is slower.
Now, I really do like Navision, I just wish I had been a little smarter when we purchased it. If we had applied $168,000 toward customizing our original 2.0 database we would have a better system them we currently have with our 4.0 database. And as far as moving to 5.0, just read David’s blog on the direction of Navision toward SQL and you will be able to guess it is not likely we will be moving to a newer version of Navision. During this last year of our paid maintenance I am doing a good study on our future user license needs and will purchase more then I think we need. In fact I will probably use the estimated $17000 in next years maintenance renewal to purchase user licenses.
One last ramble, from my perspective, everything Microsoft is doing is geared toward new users, not existing, since the cost to existing user to upgrade is cost prohibitive. That is new users who will be required to have the newest of all the Microsoft server product family to run Navision, I mean Dynamics NAV, they will need SQL2005 enterprise, Server2003, Office 2007, ect. Now, before you say you can still use the native database, and server 2000, or you don’t need the enterprise edition of SQL, ect. You wrong, if you really want to take advantage of all the newest wiz bang features, and if you are buying a whole new ERP program what would be the point in not taking advantage for the newest features. You will need all the newest and most costing versions of Microsoft products.
Enough ramblings, I have to get back to work, after all I am an end user and we have to make some money, selling products unrelated to Navision.
I had to laugh, when I posted the above comment and then visited the general forum active topics the one right below this topics was
Nav 4.0 SP2 runs slow on SQL Server 2000 SP4 ,
Of course it does, and with a lot of tuning and programming, and maybe highering a skilled SQL administrator, he will be able to get a system that runs as well as our original 2.0 native database did, back in 1999. of which we had to do nothing to keep it running that well over the following 6 years. but Now in 4.0, we need to keep on top of everything to keep it running well
We killed our Maintenance after one year.
We do everything ion house now and Upgrading any further is not going to happen.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the bosses motto.
We'll probably run this version for 5 years or more before looking at a new one.