More and more Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers and partners understand that customization is not the best way to fit an ERP system to business requirements. The solution becomes difficult and expensive to maintain and upgrade. It’s more effective to keep the technology predictable, controlled, and repeatable, as the Microsoft Road to Repeatability or R2R approach emphasizes. As an ISV committed to making Dynamics NAV customers’ lives easier, To-Increase delivers R2R through industry-specific solutions and generic, configurable software products.
One reason why many of us Dynamics ISVs and VARs appreciated Microsoft Dynamics NAV so much was the ERP system’s flexibility. Because of this we were able to offer our customers exactly what they asked for. We often achieved this by making all and any customizations to meet their precise business requirements. Sometimes, this flexibility of Dynamics NAV was also a valid reason for prospects to choose it over any competing ERP solution.
Of course, hindsight helped us understand the liabilities of this approach. As Microsoft Dynamics NAV itself, its partner channel, and its customers’ utilization scenarios evolved and matured, we understood that extensive customizations don’t make for a future-proof strategy for the management of the ERP system in your business. Because of this realization, several years ago Microsoft introduced Road to Repeatability, known in short as R2R.
For the Microsoft Dynamics NAV community, the main objective of R2R is to find repeatable ways to complete ERP implementations. During Directions 2014, the large Dynamics NAV partner event, Microsoft announced that working closely with ISVs would be key to make R2R more practical and valuable for increasing numbers of customers.
To-Increase has created long-term, strategic alliances with partners across the globe to deliver repeatable ERP projects. There are two main elements to our approach to R2R, and they will help me explain how To-Increase enables businesses to make ERP projects predictable and repeatable: Industry-specific solutions and generic, configurable software tools.
Industry specific solutions are plenty “good enough” for R2R
For more than a decade already, we have invested in creating industry-specific IP that can run on the platform of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. We have developed solutions for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, such as To-Increase Industrial Equipment Manufacturing and To-Increase Food Manufacturing & Distribution, which meet most of our customers’ industry-driven requirements. Today, we are well-known for these products, which are in use by companies in many different countries. They incorporate best practices and insights our R&D and development team have documented for many years.
In our experience, our solutions fit the R2R strategy perfectly. Out-of-the-box, they meet 80 percent or more of industry- and company-specific requirements in most cases. To cover the remaining 20 percent, some companies introduce customizations into their Microsoft Dynamics NAV environment. But have you heard about good enough software functionality? This was originally a concept in agile development to express the notion that from a certain point, when the software can already meet almost all of a company’s business requirements, the value of additional features and capabilities diminishes until it approaches zero. In the Dynamics ERP world and the context of R2R, many companies now understand—and our customers would certainly agree with this—that Microsoft Dynamics NAV in integration with industry-specific software from To-Increase is good enough with only minimal additional customizations to run productive, efficient business operations.
With this approach, companies can avoid compromised ERP projects that go out of scope, over budget, or run late. Instead of demanding that Microsoft Dynamics NAV meet every single one of their needs and incorporate every stakeholder’s good ideas, these customers now use what Microsoft and To-Increase offer within the R2R concept.
Advancing R2R with generic, configurable solutions
Would you agree that customizing a business environment by writing lots of unique code is not the way to go? After all, there are good alternatives, as I mentioned. At the same time, you don’t want to shoehorn businesses into a solution that does not fit them well. There are, after all, unique business requirements that must be met for the Dynamics NAV deployment to be successful and deliver its value. However, to serve those customers, it’s better to keep the solutions controllable and repeatable rather than writing custom code. That means they need to be generic and highly configurable.
In my next blog post, I will talk more about how this actually works, and highlight solutions we have developed with this aspect of the R2R model in mind.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with me or contact To-Increase.