An open letter to Microsoft from a NAV Consultant since 3.1

Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,470Member
edited 2012-09-04 in General Chat
Dear Microsoft,

Short version: please keep Classic for NAV7. Just for old clients, no need to sell new licences of it.

Long version:

Right, of course the new customers won't need it. But you have customers who are using NAV since 10-15 years, have a metric ton of developments made. Given that everybody knows your support strategy is 2 major versions back and NAV6Classic will be supported until NAV8, they could decide to upgrade to RTC during NAV6 or wait for NAV7. Waiting for NAV7 might sound a bit brash but not an irresponsible decision since NAV6Classic will be supported until NAV8 comes out, so at least 2 years after NAV7. The advantage of upgrading to NAV6RTC would have been gradual upgrade, one role at a time. The advantage of waiting until NAV7 is the non-crazy report designer i.e. actually handling data hierarchies.

The best solution for everybody would be the ability to do a gradual RTC upgrade with NAV7. Hence the continued support of Classic would be necessary.

It won't cost you much. You need to support NAV6Classic anyway, so you just set a bit to let that client work with a NAV7 database, even if we lose some new menu items or fields introduced in NAV7 or suchlike it is not big deal, we can customize that back if needed.
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Comments

  • mdPartnerNLmdPartnerNL Posts: 745Member
    +1

    First step for most old customers is to transfer to the SQL client. So forms and old reports must be supported for those customers. Next step can be RTC client with new reports. I think those steps must be done in sequence and not at the same time.
  • DenSterDenSter Posts: 8,051Member
    There has to be a cutoff point somewhere, and this is it. The statement of directions has been out for years, including when the classic client would be discontinued. If you are not prepared for it, that is because you refused to plan ahead for it.
  • mdPartnerNLmdPartnerNL Posts: 745Member
    Im talking about the current customers not being ready. They spend a lot of money for customizations in NAV 3,4,5. They want to go to the next step (SQL) but keep the customizations. There won't be such an option in NAV 7,8,9, etc. So instead of thinking which partner to use, they expand their request and look for which ERP to use.
  • ara3nara3n Posts: 9,147Member
    What is the problem with moving to sql and NAV 7 at the same time?
  • DenSterDenSter Posts: 8,051Member
    Im talking about the current customers not being ready. They spend a lot of money for customizations in NAV 3,4,5. They want to go to the next step (SQL) but keep the customizations. There won't be such an option in NAV 7,8,9, etc. So instead of thinking which partner to use, they expand their request and look for which ERP to use.
    If we pretend for a moment that it is possible to keep the classic client for NAV 7 (which Microsoft says it is not), I would argue that most of those same customers will STILL not be ready when NAV 8 comes out. Are you going to suggest another postponement?
  • Mark_BrummelMark_Brummel Posts: 4,244Member, Moderators Design Patterns
    The graduate scenario you are describing is what we currently have with NAV6 (2009).
  • jglathejglathe Posts: 613Member
    ara3n wrote:
    What is the problem with moving to sql and NAV 7 at the same time?

    Hi Rashed,

    doing a migration from NAV classic (native) to NAV7 is akin to a "big bang" roll-out project. Usually it's pretty painful. Not the least because the customer expects the "new" to being "better" as in "faster" and "more efficient", and not "barely being able to do its job" and "far more expensive to do a customization". The former will be quoted to you by every power user of the classic client. Trying to manage expectations before would bring its own problems, they will ask you "why fix what's not broken?" and they are spot on. Having dealt with this RDLC nonsense for two years now, I'm sure I would try to avoid it like hell. I simply don't recommend this type of project to my customers. I am on both sides (customer and vendor), and I am not happy. Although the NAV2013 beta looks better than I expected... which is good. It's getting less painful to use it :mrgreen:
    Like mdPartnerNL said: When confronted with the choices available, searching for alternative solutions (i.e., non-MS ERP) is a viable option. And I doubt that my customers are dumb people... depending on the level of execution, they smell a scam a long way off. And that's how they feel about it.

    with best regards

    Jens
  • Alex_ChowAlex_Chow Posts: 5,051Member
    It looks like Microsoft Europe is not doing a good job of getting partners up to speed on RTC.

    For us, in the US, users looking at RTC have been pretty well received. They do understand the impact they will have on productivity in the short run, however, they also understand it's the relationship with their partner that will make or break the upgrade.
  • Alex_ChowAlex_Chow Posts: 5,051Member
    Oh, for the record, I still think the RDLC reporting sucks.
  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,193Member
    Some people are always resistant to change. I still have old customers running on an obsolete Cobol package that someone else primarily supports. It is a good package except for all the things it cannot do and will never do without a huge amount of effort - and the list keeps growing longer.
    As technology and products keep evolving, ERP software needs to keep evolving too or become increasingly useless.
    The other problem happens when the pool of NAV professionals who know the old technology diminishes and there are not enough left to service all these old installs.
    Microsoft has taken a path that binds everything closer to the Microsoft "stack" (stack of money). No surprise here.
    The client will (hopefully) work in 3 different environments which provides more flexibility (devices) and less flexibility (display). This is why Apple has so carefully controlled its platforms - to protect the user experience.
    NAV will lose old customers along the way and gain new ones.
    Back to the future was a movie - not real life - the past is not coming back.
    :)
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,470Member
    The graduate scenario you are describing is what we currently have with NAV6 (2009).

    Look, the first rule of IT is you never use the first version of anything because normally it is not finished, or at least not for an existing client who is used to the higher quality of the previous product, maybe only for an adventurous new client. And indeed it was not finished, so it is not just prejudice :) It is no criticism, it is impossible to finish a product without feedback from the users, it was obvious that the idea is that they get a lot of complaints for NAV6 and then NAV7 will be great. And it exactly happened so.
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,470Member
    davmac1 wrote:
    Some people are always resistant to change.
    :)

    No, only resistant to change until the product is finished. Resistant to be something like a beta tester. NAV6RTC was basically an unfinished beta because it is not possible to finish a product with enough user feedback, and NAV7 is the real RTC product. This is what is safe and stable enough to start transition to.
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,470Member
    Alex Chow wrote:
    It looks like Microsoft Europe is not doing a good job of getting partners up to speed on RTC.

    It's a misunderstanding, Alex. It was not failing to learn it but outright REJECTING it by power users, by add-on developers, by everybody who matters because obviously it is was not finished, stable, customizable enough for the common requirements and production ready. The overwhelming mood of just about everyone I know about NAV6RTC was "nice beta, let's wait for the real product". It came accross as a typical Axapta: very high-tech but risky, unstable, moving too fast.

    Even with NAV7 I figure there will be difficulties with the user acceptance. I mean for example a lot of companies have their invoice etc. forms customized so that the layout looks more or less exactly like the printout, because people think of an invoice as a paper document and not an accounting transaction and thus consider the form as the entry of the paper document, and thus having different layouts confuses them. They will hate to lose this.

    Or those companies who have their quotes with a red background, order yellow, invoice green, because users forget where they are. (Although this one I think we will be able to solve so it is just an annoyance and extra cost.)
  • Mark_BrummelMark_Brummel Posts: 4,244Member, Moderators Design Patterns
    I've implemented and upgraded to the RTC and I've been using NAV7 for a while now for my own accounting.

    From an enduser perspective, to be 100% honest, there is almost no difference between NAV6 and NAV7. It's like upgrading from one classic client to the other.

    The only thing that really hit me while implementing NAV6 was the initial performance. This was much better with R2. NAV7 will completely solve that.

    RDLC is just something that you need to get used to.
  • Miklos_HollenderMiklos_Hollender Posts: 1,470Member
    I've implemented and upgraded to the RTC and I've been using NAV7 for a while now for my own accounting.

    From an enduser perspective, to be 100% honest, there is almost no difference between NAV6 and NAV7. It's like upgrading from one classic client to the other.

    The only thing that really hit me while implementing NAV6 was the initial performance. This was much better with R2. NAV7 will completely solve that.

    RDLC is just something that you need to get used to.
    I've implemented and upgraded to the RTC and I've been using NAV7 for a while now for my own accounting.

    From an enduser perspective, to be 100% honest, there is almost no difference between NAV6 and NAV7. It's like upgrading from one classic client to the other.

    The only thing that really hit me while implementing NAV6 was the initial performance. This was much better with R2. NAV7 will completely solve that.

    RDLC is just something that you need to get used to.

    Holy cow! So you mean they did not bring back the double-F2 quick revalidation for example? I thought that is for example one thing everybody is raising a lot of noise about, as this is something very often needed... or date abbreviations on request pages, which is again something everybody is using daily?
  • Mark_BrummelMark_Brummel Posts: 4,244Member, Moderators Design Patterns
    Come on, I really do hope that you don't teach end users to use F2. That's not something that they should do. The software should just work.

    As a consultant the simple workaround is to cut-and-paste the value. So CTRL-X & CTRL-V and you revalidate.
  • sendit2jasonsendit2jason Posts: 22Member
    Oh dear, I can hear the tsunami of NAV Consultants since 1.3 joining in!

    I guess you might miss the '?' feature on any Text field too?

    :roll:
    Jason Bradley
    Working with NAV since 2001

    “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” - Jimi Hendrix
  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,193Member
    It is not your grandfather's Navision any more.
    It is never coming back.

    There are companies running very old NAV that may never upgrade to the new version - maybe their next move is to Quickbooks.
    20 years ago there was not that much choice for small companies, now there is.
    NAV is now positioned as a large small to mid market package which means we will be losing some of the long time base who really need a small business package at small business prices.
    Microsoft tried to make small business versions of GP and NAV a few years ago and failed.
  • mdPartnerNLmdPartnerNL Posts: 745Member
    CTRL-X & CTRL-V and you revalidate would be ok, for the date we need to wait. What I don't like is that the Forms and Reports are going away (for older customers). The new RDLC looks so much better then Classic Reports but the Page objects are missing some options compared to Forms.

    For new customers I don't think these are problematic.
  • Mark_BrummelMark_Brummel Posts: 4,244Member, Moderators Design Patterns
    Oh dear, I can hear the tsunami of NAV Consultants since 1.3 joining in!

    I guess you might miss the '?' feature on any Text field too?

    :roll:

    1.1... :mrgreen:

    Yes, I do miss the '?' feature... this is something I teach endusers.
  • reijermolenaarreijermolenaar Posts: 254Member
    Holy cow! So you mean they did not bring back the double-F2 quick revalidation for example?

    Nope, and worse, we also lost navigating through fields with your arrow keys...
    It's an ERP solution in some kind of a web browser!!! :lol:

    But there is hope! There are all kinds of clients popping out of the ground. Windows, SharePoint, Web...

    Maybe somebody is working on a data entry client...
    Reijer Molenaar
    Object Manager
    Knibble
    TVblik
  • mdPartnerNLmdPartnerNL Posts: 745Member
    But why can't a RTC client visit codeunit 1 anymore for text, date, etc validation? I always thought that visiting it after validation of a table field was too much but from a form/page field should be mandetory...

    Going from field to field with TAB, s-TAB is easier to implement. But what is the replacement for ctrl-down/up? Shouldn't the RTC give comparable functionallity to the classic client before cancelling all forms. If not, then excuse me but I know customers who will skip 2013 as they did with 2009.
  • SogSog Posts: 1,049Member
    But why can't a RTC client visit codeunit 1 anymore for text, date, etc validation? I always thought that visiting it after validation of a table field was too much but from a form/page field should be mandetory...

    Going from field to field with TAB, s-TAB is easier to implement. But what is the replacement for ctrl-down/up? Shouldn't the RTC give comparable functionallity to the classic client before cancelling all forms. If not, then excuse me but I know customers who will skip 2013 as they did with 2009.

    If the customer is as flexible in his business area as he is in adapting to new technology, he might not be a customer very long.
    |Pressing F1 is so much faster than opening your browser|
    |MCBMSS: 5.0 intro|MCTS:NAV09 839..841|JetReports© Certified Specialist|
    |Dynamics Anywhere: Mobile Business Solutions|
  • matttraxmatttrax Posts: 2,309Member
    It's an ERP solution in some kind of a web browser!!!
    In other words, an ERP solution in a type of interface that most people are used to. Again, standardizing the look and feel across all of their products. I don't see this as a bad thing.

    As you say, though, there are multiple clients for NAV: Web, Sharepoint, RTC. And those are out of the box. The ability to build your own, for any device, is a huge plus in my mind.
    Going from field to field with TAB, s-TAB is easier to implement. But what is the replacement for ctrl-down/up? Shouldn't the RTC give comparable functionallity to the classic client before cancelling all forms.

    I hear a lot of people say this. Maybe it is different in other countries, but most users I deal with in the US don't know the shortcut keys. They are not losing functionality or speed. I would honestly say less than five percent, and I still think I might be being generous. Everyone knows F3 and F4, but past that...well. There will always be power users who are lightning fast on the keyboard, but the reality is that that is not the majority of the NAV user base. It's not a huge loss.
  • reijermolenaarreijermolenaar Posts: 254Member
    I agree, for most end users this interface is better. It's much more intuitive, shorter learning curve, etc. As long as you don't have to do heavy data entry... I've seen a couple of customers that never can go to the RTC because of this.

    Beside of the impact for customers there is the fun factor in development. After a day developing in the RTC I'm exhausted. Frustration all day long. But that may improve in future releases.
    Reijer Molenaar
    Object Manager
    Knibble
    TVblik
  • krikikriki Posts: 7,917Member, Moderator
    I agree, for most end users this interface is better. It's much more intuitive, shorter learning curve, etc. As long as you don't have to do heavy data entry... I've seen a couple of customers that never can go to the RTC because of this.
    I've seen once a customer for which sales order line entry was so heavy duty that not even the standard form could do.
    They had a special form in which they entered the item no., quantity and sometimes the price. They had their left-hand on the F3 key and with the right the used the numeric keypad.
    I saw them and they were able to insert about 1 record per second! After some records, they stopped, controlled for typing errors and went on. Just incredible!


    So for your heavy data entry-users you might create some C# application that communicates with NAV webservices or some other system. The new NAV is so open that there are a lot of ways you can use to interact with it.
    Regards,Alain Krikilion
    Use the SEARCH,Luke! || No PM,please use the forum. || May the <SOLVED>-attribute be in your title! || Read Forum Rules before making a posting

  • Alex_ChowAlex_Chow Posts: 5,051Member
    Beside of the impact for customers there is the fun factor in development. After a day developing in the RTC I'm exhausted. Frustration all day long. But that may improve in future releases.

    Sounds like me when I started NAV back in 1999 and it worked out just fine.

    I have high hopes with RTC. The only thing they need to work on is the RDLC reporting interface so the end user can do some modifications to the reports on their own.
  • davmac1davmac1 Posts: 1,193Member
    There are still companies selling 80s vintage software (Cromenco emulation on IBM AIX!) - this one floored me; 90s vintage software (RealWorld Cobol); 2000s (Visual Accountmate Foxpro).
    The problem for the above VARs is the overall sales are decreasing and the future is grim.
    If we want to be around and growing in the 2020s, we have to keep changing with the times.
    NAV has fallen behind in feature upgrades the last few years. Hopefully once we are on a "single" main platform, the focus will be on adding more functionality.
  • ara3nara3n Posts: 9,147Member
    davmac1 wrote:
    There are still companies selling 80s vintage software (Cromenco emulation on IBM AIX!) - this one floored me; 90s vintage software (RealWorld Cobol); 2000s (Visual Accountmate Foxpro).
    The problem for the above VARs is the overall sales are decreasing and the future is grim.
    If we want to be around and growing in the 2020s, we have to keep changing with the times.
    NAV has fallen behind in feature upgrades the last few years. Hopefully once we are on a "single" main platform, the focus will be on adding more functionality.

    Where is the like button?
  • jglathejglathe Posts: 613Member
    Hi,
    davmac1 wrote:
    The problem for the above VARs is the overall sales are decreasing and the future is grim.
    If we want to be around and growing in the 2020s, we have to keep changing with the times.
    NAV has fallen behind in feature upgrades the last few years. Hopefully once we are on a "single" main platform, the focus will be on adding more functionality.

    and now we're coming full circle. What (not only) Miklos wants is a longer migration path. In our eyes the RTC is not fit for business, especially not when it comes to fast data entry. Or Reporting. Or process-bound documents for that matter. I don't mind being called a doubter, complainer and hater (hear me, Denster? :mrgreen: ) when what we recommend works. I assume we're all in this business for making a living off it. So new technology is a good thing, but only if it works better than the old one. There are enough examples in this thread alone of what our issues are. If you're to sell technology that's not entirely working, and if you experience problems selling it, and your vendor (Partner!!!) doesn't listen, then what's wrong?

    Right.

    I don't mind new technology. If it works. And if the other paths that were working aren't cut off for some marketing reason or other.

    with best regards

    Jens
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