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Partner or an end user? Who would you choose?
Can you be a level more specific in your Question?
For a career in dynamics field, would you choose to work with a partner or an end user and why. Just gathering opinions.
Normally depends on the Individual, Working as in Partner you will get ample opportunities to work in multiple Projects while its not the case as an end user. But once you have a way more experience then you can choose be in end user and handle full ERP. It all depends on Individuals thought what is he planning next in hi carrier.
It's a bit like whether you want to be a generalist or a specialist. At a partner you would probably be more of a generalist, especially if you are involved in a big variety of projects. At an end user you would develop very deep skills in a single implementation. At a partner (but only if you pick a good one) you would have a better chance to keep up to date with the latest technologies, which is not always the case at an end user. There are pros and cons for both. Personally I like the diversity of projects working for a partner, and I am lucky to work for one of the most forward partners out there. On the other hand, I have always felt that it would also be cool to really know everything about a single implementation.
RIS Plus, LLC
MVP - Business Apps
I worked 9 years for partners then 6 and counting at an end-user. DenSter is very close to being right here.
- You absolutely must start at a partner, you can never develop a proper skillset at and end-user. Partners are excellent for learning. This is the primary good thing about them. Another very good thing is the in-house camaraderie. There is often a far better team spirit than at end-users, because you all do the same thing and face the same problems. But by far the best aspect of working for partners is learning about so many things so quickly and in so many industries.
- Three things suck for working at a partner.
1) Travel. I mean, travel can be fun, but we are not executives leisurely travelling on business class. We are worker bees. Getting up at 3:30, catching a plane, economy class, working 8 hours then either flying home and getting in bed at midnight, or staying there in a hotel room the size of a sardine box and not seeing your loved ones, both has drawbacks.
2) Because your boss charges and charges expensive for every work, projects are often not properly finished. If it takes three days to develop something, and it saves one person two hours every weeek, often it is not done because paying €3000 for that? But then you have to deal with the complaints that the software is stupid because it really should do it out of the box and indeed it feels like you are not doing a complete job. And the budget runs out and basically nothing is documented. Who will pay another €10K for just writing? Nobody. So things are not documented.... You can often feel that you are not allowed to do a good job and it can eat into your job satisfaction.
3) You or at least someone else at your company is expected to know everything. You are charging for expertise. OK for a large consulting company. But I often worked in consulting companies where we were 2-3 employees. The customer needs EDIFACT. Nobody knows about it out of us three. Then what? Hard to not lose face.
Then after switching to the end-user:
- The good things are:
1) You can actually do a proper job. You can really 100% finish the project. Everything that can be automated, will be. Every T crossed, so to speak. You can really afford to do quality work and produce a software that never ever asks a question that it can figure out itself. You never have a TESTFIELD error message, you have "Please fill out field X, it is important for such and such business reason." A real proper job.
2) The pressure is often lower. You don't have these constant conflict why can't this stupid software do X. You want X? OK I spend two days on developing X. I am on a salary. It does not cost that much but nobody really even counts that, I mean some companies have strict time reporting and cost accounting software, thankfully ours not, but at the end of the day as an employee it is okay to help other employees without having to ask permission to spend your time on what they need.
3) You actually understand how a business works and how end-users think! Seriously, it is hard to learn if you go to a partner right from college. In this sense you will become a much better consultant afterward. Ideally people would work as an accountant or something a year or two before going to a partner... now I would make a MUCH better consultant than I was. Before, when users asked a question or request I interpreted it fairly close in software terms. Now I understand much better the distance between requests or questions and software, because there are things like process and organization and so on in between.
4) You have time to experiment with things outside Navision. I built myself a reporting framework in PowerShell that takes any SQL Stored Proc that returns a table and generates a nice looking Excel table, even Pivot, and emails it.
5) You are not so expected to know everything and can rely on external consultants.
6) Less formal dressing and talking. The partner is like "Yes Mr. Customer we will implement your business need", the employee is like "Okay Bob yeah I'll set things up so that Alice can import these Excel files. Lunch?"
The bad things are:
- Your skillset really deteriorates, and hard to keep up with new tech. Case in point: I can migrate Classic to NAV2018 all right, albeit pretty much manually, but I don't understand how this PowerShell automated migration from say NAV2015 to 2018 works. Also you forget things you learned from other industries. What was that construction stuff I did a decade ago? Er...
- You feel out of the loop and information does not reach you. How do I find add-ons whenever we have a new idea for a new kind of doing business? Somehow this info reaches the partners but us not, we can ask them and just hope they know a relevant one.
- Licencing is really not optimized for end-users. Buy Solution Dev for €30K ? LOL nobody does that. Buy App Builder for €6K. So how do I fix something in write-protected tables? Um, maybe in SQL. Oh and it is in the licence of Company A, the headoffice. What if I want to add something to a localization range table in another company? Cannot. Licencing is part of the reason it is hard to keep up technical skills. I cannot use the MergeTool with an end-user + App Builder licence.
The big takeaway is that at an end-user, you learn more about business processes from the inside, at a partner, you learn more technologically.
I've had a similar career as Miklos and he's spot on. I just want to add that joining a really big end user where you are part of a team responsible for Navision invalidates the bad things he mentioned. But of course there are other trade-offs, like bureaucracy.