Bridges; taking you from ‘here’ to ‘there’
We talk to companies looking to upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central every day. Large companies, small companies, companies with complex needs, companies on 10 or even 20-year-old versions of Dynamics NAV (then Navision), or on more recent versions from Dynamics 2013 (the Role Tailored Client or RTC generation). In every conversation we can show the wonders of Dynamics 365 Business Central, but the question is how do I get from ‘here’ to ‘there’?
We are constantly refining tools to make this journey easier and easier, but some things are just hard. Some systems are so large that the task can appear daunting, and sometimes the opportunity to make gains sooner should outweigh the larger task of moving things that maybe still work ‘OK’.
If you can move in one go, relatively easy, then that’s a great thing to do. Convert data, consider modification requirements, train and go (we know we made that sound too simple!) If you can’t upgrade all in one go, maybe due to size, complexity or just because you want to solve specific issues sooner rather than later, that’s OK too. Either way, making a bridge to your future is something to consider.
What are ‘Bridges’? Simply put, ‘A structure that gets you from one place to another’ is a nice definition that works for our purpose here. TNP offer an option for our customers that takes the strain out of completing an entire system upgrade in one go by taking a department or function within your business, and moving only that section to Business Central, aiding your transition into the new world by breaking an upgrade up into manageable sections. We call it our ‘Functional Bridge’. Let’s see how it works.
If you want to get some Business Central in your life, a Functional Bridge is commonly used to move departments such as Finance, eCommerce and CRM, but the possibilities mean you could deploy any part of your business onto the new platform. You can utilise this method to solve a particular business need or requirement without hauling your whole business into an entire upgrade right away. This is also the step to getting you, if you desire, to the Cloud, be that the Public Cloud or a Private Cloud. Azure is where you should be, and a Bridge is the way to get there.
We are implementing some large upgrades for companies who could simply not consider moving the whole application at once, so choose the finance department as the first to move. In this scenario, we are operationally using the old Dynamics NAV solution, catching the integration points to finance, and moving the transaction details to a new Dynamics 365 Business Central solution where the details are posted. As an example, a P.O. is created in old Dynamics NAV, receipt is posted, the receipt is moved to Dynamics 365 Business Central to match with the invoice. Once received from the supplier, the invoice and all accounts payable activity are processed in Business Central. Posting of sales that are shipped from the old Dynamics NAV system are also passed to Business Central so that cash receipts and bank reconciliation, as well as finance reporting can all be maintained in Business Central.
Many customers require a new eCommerce solution, potentially upgrading Magento or wanting to implement Sana Commerce, but they don’t want to invest further in integration to their old NAV solution. Consider implementing Business Central to integrate to the web solution only (maybe using nHanced eComm for example), process the inbound sales orders and pass them on to the old Dynamics NAV solution, as well as pass stock summary data to the website. This idea has helped Van Hage Garden Centre implement the latest version of Sana Commerce even though they have a 2.6 (yes 1998 ish!) version of Dynamics NAV (Navision then). The old Dynamics NAV solution carries on as before, but the investment in integration and to Sana was all with the latest versions of software, and importantly exposes the organisation to some Dynamics 365 Business Central before looking to upgrade everything else.
We implemented an eCommerce functional bridge into Van Hage Garden Centre's old 2.6 NAV solution, allowing them to use Sana Commerce and capitalise on web sales, reducing man hours spent running the website, giving them a better view of sales and much more. All of these amazing benefits without having to invest in their old NAV solution! Watch the video case study here:
You can also click here to read the full written case study.
Often companies intend to exploit Dynamics NAV’s CRM capability, but have yet to do so. They know when they upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central, they need to implement its CRM capability. So why not add a bridge? Implement Dynamics 365 Business Central ONLY for CRM, bridge the necessary data from the old Dynamics NAV solution (e.g. Customers) but manage contacts, opportunities, pipeline and maybe even customer service cases (with nHanced Cases) all in Dynamics 365 Business Central. Often this is a great steppingstone to get some Business Central in front of a group of users and solve a need at the same time.
The Functional Bridge has the potential to work wonders in all areas of your business. Take Warehousing as an example: you want to connect a third party solution (like MobileNAV or Tasklet Factory) to give your warehouse operatives the ability to use handheld terminals when picking. By implementing a Functional Bridge, you provide your warehouse operatives with the functionality available in Dynamics 365 Business Central and with added online and off-line capabilities. They can then retrieve information such as picks, putaways and movements from Dynamics 365 Business Central, then passing back the picks and putaways they have completed. With the new handheld technology your warehouse operatives possess, all of this suddenly becomes mobile and live - Business Central begins transferring shipped notifications, orders received and adjustments back to your old NAV solution. The rest of your users continue working in the system they are familiar with, picking up the information transferred into their old NAV via the Functional Bridge.
If you are utilising the Service Management functionality in your old NAV system, you can utilise modern technology to improve the way your engineers track their own progress on particular jobs. By applying a Functional Bridge to your business and utilising the third party add-ons available (such as Anveo or MobileNAV), your engineers can receive items in need of service and orders that have come in from your users in old NAV. They then pass back information concerning the items they’ve fixed and all of the detail, including pictures, comments and detailed item information using Anveo functionality.
A Functional Bridge is a great way to get some Dynamics 365 Business Central in your life and solve a particular need without solving everything. Create a standard system to play with Business Central, put your data in to access live data with the latest clients, and start the process of moving to Dynamics 365 Business Central in a gradual way. A final important point, this is also the step to getting you, if you desire, to the cloud be that Public Cloud or a Private Cloud. Azure is where you should be, and a bridge is the way to get there. Whichever way you choose to move your Dynamics NAV solution forward to the wonderful world of Business Central, a Functional Bridge can help get you to the other side.