Pragmatic approach for a successful ERP migration

Nav123: Navision, Showare, OrderApp

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Hardly any other element of a company, apart from the owner or decades-old managing director, is as difficult to replace as inventory management, which has been tried and tested for decades.

And yet there comes a time for every company and every entrepreneur when technical reasons or years of accumulated frustration about the technical inadequacies of the AS/400, Siemens Nixdorf, Comet system or even more modern ERP systems such as NTS Apollo, Baan. It is also possible that your own company has grown so far and fast that Lexware, Haufe and Sage or the still widespread Excel with Word or even paper invoices are simply no longer sufficient.
Perhaps your own company has grown so far and fast that Lexware, Haufe and Sage or the still widespread Excel with Word or even paper invoices are simply no longer sufficient.

Of course, it can also be the other way around, that due to a company split or downsizing, giant giants like SAP or MySAP simply no longer fit. Or that MyFactory didn't fit your company from the outset, when all you really needed was a bill of materials.

Or the hopes and expectations of a free solution such as JTL, WeClap and Odoo were not fulfilled after all.

In short, there are numerous reasons to introduce a new ERP system, from modernization and staff shortages to costs or simply changing preferences and requirements.

And that hurts. Well-established habits, cherished or previously undiscovered errors, missing data outputs on the side to be replaced, missing import interfaces on the new ERP side, lost (or even deceased) specialist knowledge... These are just some of the birth pangs that you will experience on the way to a new ERP system.

And such a changeover is usually associated with enormous costs and an immense amount of time. And perhaps also a change of technology, e.g. from an AS/400 or Siemens Nixdorf Quattro with Comet to Microsoft Windows or Amazon/Azure Cloud.

Selection of inventory management

As a decade-old Navision Financials Attain/ Microsoft Business Central 365 "veteran", I certainly can't give a neutral recommendation here: For me, it's always NAV. And fortunately, I can't do anything else. Do one thing, do it right. But in addition to Navision Financials & Microsoft Business Central 365, there are hundreds of other ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and ERP systems in Germany alone, and even more in the rest of the world. How do you get an overview?
There are numerous TOP lists, reports, best practice studies. Customers like you try to secure all the exceptions that have occurred in the company in the last 3 generations with huge "Featureritis" lists. And in the worst case scenario, you end up with an ERP that has been forcibly bent to meet your requirements - for a corresponding amount of money.
My recommendation: Ask your competitor, if this is out of the question, at business conferences or from business friends, which ERP they have chosen and why... and above all: Would you choose it again today? A good developer, a good team behind a software solution is more important than the last bit of exotic exceptional treatment. Even if you don't get a recommendation straight away, you will definitely get a dozen systems that you can sort out - that's worth something!
I would only focus on one thing: Your system should be able to be further developed by you - even if you don't intend to do so - i.e. provide a development environment. And: Financial accounting should be an integral part of the solution, not something that is "somehow included" or "just pick one". I am writing this with over 30 years of experience with Navision - even from the DOS/OS2 era.

Selection of technology

Cloud or no cloud, that is the question here...
Is it nobler in the mind to endure the slings and arrows of raging fate in one's own cellar, or, arming oneself against a sea of plagues, to venture into the cloud after all?

With Business central, the good news is that you have a free choice - even later, during operation, a move from one technology to the other is almost painless.

This much in advance: I am not a friend of the cloud. But in the end, it's not me who has to make the decision, it's you. So I've put together a few cons, but also a few pros for and against a cloud solution. Take a cup of tea and 30 minutes... at least.

The important thing is what comes out at the back - order confirmations, delivery bills, invoices

Start with this! Go through your documents with a potential partner. What should it say, where does this data come from, how important is it? You can often separate the wheat from the chaff right here. No unit conversion, but you need it for liters, barrels, bottles? No customs tariff numbers, but you need them for certain customers? No representative tax/billing? No special prices? Multi-level conditions? Long article numbers? Customer article numbers? Your receipts reveal a lot about your company history, let your receipts tell it!

The decisive factor is what goes in at the front - importing existing data from the current system

Even if it hurts: Give your potential partner your company history and let them show you (possibly for a fee, but it's worth it!) how they can get it into their system.
"Then we'll get 20 students to start at the end and they'll quickly type in the orders"? Hands off! That won't work! And: You don't know BEFORE the real start whether it will work! "We have an import generator here that you can use to prepare and import your data." Hands off! As a rule, this requires very extensive pre-processing of your old data, which means that you can only carry out rudimentary tests with your old data before going live: Failure on the day of the changeover is practically pre-programmed.