23 March 2015

Create new IP for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, without writing custom code


Instead of committing the time and expense to write custom code to fit Microsoft Dynamics NAV to the requirements of a specific industry or company, you can use generic and highly configurable solutions, and achieve repeatable results far more efficiently. Today, we take a closer look at how this can work.

In my previous blog  post I mentioned that you can create new intellectual property (IP) by using generic and highly configurable ISV solutions. Those solutions can also help you to make projects easily repeatable. Three simple questions will help us explore this.

What is a generic and highly configurable solution?
Let me start by explaining what I mean with a generic and highly configurable solution.

“Generic” refers to the fact that a solution can be used across different industries and is not limited to one single process. It sometimes addresses a specific need such as electronic data interchange (EDI), mobility, or quality management, but could be used for a variety of business processes and often throughout Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

“Highly configurable” indicates that a solution uses the power and functionality of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform in such a way that it enables consultants to set up processes by means of configuration. At To-Increase, we have created a number of frameworks to support such configurations.

What is the value of a generic and highly configurable solution?
I have stated before that customizing a business environment by writing lots of unique code is not the way to go. At the same time, you don’t want to shoehorn businesses into a solution that does not fit them well.

We all know that every industry has its own unique business requirements for ERP systems and other software. The reason why many customers choose a specific value-added reseller (VAR) to implement and support their instance of Microsoft Dynamics NAV is that the VAR serves more customers in their industry. By supporting those customers on a daily basis the VAR has gained a wealth of insight and experience in a particular industry and knows how to translate that into valuable solutions for customers.

Consider EDI as an example. EDI was meant to be a standards-based, electronic communication method for exchanging data. By adhering to the same standard, two different companies anywhere in the world can electronically exchange documents such as purchase orders, shipping notices, invoices, and others. However, it’s worth noting that probably any EDI specialist would agree with me that no industry uses the exact same standard.

Now, to create those exact industry specific EDI messages you can invent the wheel over and over for each customer by writing custom code. But it would be much easier to use a solution such as To-Increase EDI Studio for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Many of our partners use EDI Studio to create industry-specific EDI documents in addition to those we already ship to partners and customers with the solution out-of-the-box, and produce mappings that can be reused for subsequent projects. For example, one of our partners has created mappings specifically for beverage trading companies.

EDI Studio is a typical example for a generic and highly configurable solution that can help you make Dynamics NAV projects leaner and more controlled.

For which specific needs does To-Increase offer generic and highly configurable solutions?
I have already mentioned most of these, but I would like to summarize which To-Increase solutions are highly configurable and enable you to create industry-specific IP to extend Microsoft Dynamics NAV:

This list covers a broad spectrum of possible usage scenarios, even more than you might imagine from glancing at the names and descriptions. Broadly, the solutions fall into three key areas we support for Dynamics NAV in addition to industry-ready functionality for manufacturing and food: business integration, business productivity, and mobility. In my next post I will make this more tangible by giving specific examples on how these solutions are used or can be used in a repeatable way for specific industries.

If you have any comments or questions, please get in touch. Get in touch with me or contact To-Increase.

Luciano Cunha
Luciano Cunha,
Luciano Cunha,
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

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