Standard vs Bespoke


So bespoke is a dirty word these days. Long term Dynamics users know that having lots of development done to their system, whether it's Dynamics NAV or Dynamics CRM means that upgrading has been difficult and everyone will disclaim responsibility for any system anomalies.

I don’t disagree that if your business is fortunate enough to be able to run with completely standard software then you’re better off sticking to that. What I don’t believe however is that you should completely compromise your process and capability just for the sake of sticking to this rule.

Going back to Navision V3/4/5, and even 2009, upgrading heavily bespoke implementations was very time-consuming and costly to the point where lots of companies still haven’t done it. The time and effort can run into hundreds of days vastly outweighing the benefits from an upgrade that largely did the same but with a few enhancements. One client memorably remarked 'I can’t justify spending that sort of money for a prettier version of the same thing.'

Now, from Dynamics NAV 2013, that’s all changed. Provided we follow the rules laid down by Microsoft we can upgrade your specific customisations just by running a few scripts and then resolving the highlighted conflicts where Microsoft have changed what you’ve had changed as well.

This was illustrated for us vividly when one client’s system that had taken over 120 days of development to upgrade from V5 to 2013 was able to be upgraded to 2015 in less than a day!

This means you can have a system which is not completely standard and truly 'fits your business' and still be able to have the annual release that Microsoft now produce implemented within weeks if not days of it coming out. Don’t get me wrong you need to make sure that every customisation is justified and not just something that someone feels is required that day. Change for change sake is still wrong but if it will provide a return on the effort and cost expended and if everyone agrees it would be beneficial then get it done.

It means your partner should be able to build that annual upgrade into your support contract as a fixed fee – smoothing your costs from prohibitive amounts every few years to just a few extra days each year. You get the benefit of Microsoft R&D quicker and a real return on your software maintenance fees.

So it’s not standard verses bespoke anymore, you can have the best of both worlds.

Author: James Crowter

I’m passionate about how businesses can improve their efficiency by getting process optimal more of the time. For the last twenty five years I’ve worked to help organisations of all sizes and types implement the ERP & CRM software that typically they decide they need when things are going wrong. I’ve seen that work unbelievably well and enabled those organisations to rapidly grow but I’ve also had some hard projects over that time where it’s felt more like warfare at times. Since 1996 (and version 1.01) I’ve been working with a small Danish product called Navision that’s now become Microsoft’s Dynamics NAV and I’ve also been using and consulting around Microsoft CRM since 2005. As managing Director of one of the longest established first Navision and now Microsoft Dynamics partners I’ve been involved in the complete history including numerous product councils and system design reviews. It’s my privilege to know many of the key Microsoft executives and product designers and have insight into both where the products are now and their future direction. So colleagues & clients have asked me to start this blog to share some of the insight that both this knowledge (obviously where not restricted by NDA’s or client confidentiality) and experience can help. Specifically I want to concentrate not on the specifics of how (there are some great blogs already for that) but why. If any user helps their business make better decisions or consultant can give better advice then that will be objective achieved. I founded Technology Management in 1992 and have led from the front ever since. Helping clients use technology to grow their business is my passion through explaining technology in terms that everyone can understand. My interest in computing began at the age of eight, long before my school had the equipment to cope. Throughout school and university I developed software commercially. I hold many IT certifications, such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV (for over 17 years), Microsoft Dynamics CRM (for over 10 years), as well as Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange and SQL. In October 2015, I was awarded the title of Most Valuable Professional (MVP), a title given to a select few individuals (31 currently) across the world specifically for Dynamics NAV. After years of working with a range of distribution and manufacturing software for hundreds of organisations, I focus on understanding the business requirements of an organisation, what it will take to deliver the systems required to maximise their potential. Follow me online via my other social channels: - Twitter: @jamescrowter - LinkedIn: Or email me directly at james[.]crowter[@]

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