I went on a RIM course on June 26 2006. The instructor renamed it a "workshop" and advised us to wait for the next release. I will do my best to answer the questions above and comment on RIM generally.
1. The tools are free and currently only provided to NSC's through partnersource. The payment by an end user should not really come into consideration, they will pay for the implementation methodology and practice of the partner, whether they use RIM or not. There is an assigned onject range but I do not believe you can purchase it, you have to run it using an NSC license (Which is great in the real world on a customers site!).
2. RIM is flawed, you have some data conversion tools that do not work and a set of questionaires in Excel format to answer setup file questions, but you need to understand the actual question as it is like the help file on the field. You have a set of permissions that are worse than the ones provided as standard. There are industry specific xml files for for prepopulating all of the data but Microsoft want every NSC to develop them in line with the verticals they are focusing upon. The standard ones create part files, so you get a payment terms code, of 30D, but they do not fill in the date calculation to get it to work. You are correct in your assumption of many many years, I do not believe I will be around when it happens!
3. I do not believe any NSC can use it "fully" in its current state. XML files for verticals could be developed, the data conversion templates do not work so NSC's will probably use dataports, and frankly giving an end user an Excel spreadsheet and saying that they must key (yes they really said this) the data into the spreadsheet for importing seems ridiculous. The questionnaires cannot really just be sent to the client for answering, you need to sit with them and go through every question, which makes "Rapid" a bit of a joke. All of that said we were assured that NSC's in teh UK are using this tool. If they are it is in selective bits. There is a progress area which can be used as well.
My personal opinion is that the areas that cause drag in teh implementation (as well as data conversion and understanding hte software) is the general ledger construction, the posting groups and dimensions and dimensional analysis. Whilst the XML ports attack the issue of posting groups from one respect (they do not populate the accounts obviously) the others are ignored. With the data templates for conversion there are error checks that are never validated, record creation does not validate certain fields, if you have two primary records it overwrites the first with the last, and the list goes on. This is meant as a simpler version of the dataport for end users, but it is less flexible and riddled with issues. They also only concentrate on static data, there is no real attempt to address sales history, although they have created journal templates to import G/L, customer, vendor and item journals.
In the Microsoft Project Plan for RIM it starts with a 15 day needs analysis and then you sit down with the client and answer 100's of questions, in Excel, whilst referencing the software, and then import the answers, this takes a few days no doubt. I refer to the word "Rapid" again.
All of that said I am not against this in any way. If they could make the templates slicker (and work) and preppulate based upon some inpur parameters, as well as getting the permissions working and cutting down on the questions then they do have potential. You can of course pick and choose the areas you want to use, and develop XML ports for your own purpose. In its current state however no one is using it fully or effectively (my opinion).
Tthe quote from the release reads:
“By using RIM, we were able to install 11 separate Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions for education organizations in just one month,” said Malcolm Roach, president of MBS partner Open Door Technology Inc. “For these 11, we also created a standard industry database complete with a chart of accounts, sent out templates for data conversion, and utilized standardized training specific to the client. Prior to RIM, it normally took two to three months per installation and we would never have been able to do so many at once.”
They used a template they created for all the same organisations, the chart of accounts they could have dataported out without RIM, and maybe they did, the data conversion tools being the same is a bit irrelevant to RIM but valid, and the standardised training which is outside of RIM. This to me is a nice marketing quote.
I hope they do get it right it would make things easier.
I believe that RIM will never work for generic customer or horizontal NSC.
RIM will be used by vertical NSC who willing to invest into developing real conversion tools for specific markets.
If i understand RIM was developed by TECTURA Germany for "Process Manufacturing" vertical solution. I more than sure that if they implemented 20-50 solutions they had enough resources to make it useful.
I think we should not expect from Microsoft anything what can work without modification. Every customer and every implementation is different.
Just a quick question. I've looked into using RIM and read through the documentation and reviewed the user guide, questionnaires, mapping data etc. They seem to have provided an easier way of generating the company data utilizing excel and without having the client run through and do data-entry in the application. This is very effective, even though it does not apply to all verticals as this threads has noted.
I am managing a Navision implementation for a client in the construction vertical and was wondering if anyone knows of any existing Questionnaires or data mapping available for that vertical? If not, can we customize these questionnaires for a specific vertical?