I am always struck by the similarity between Harley Davidson and Navision. Both are fantastic products with devoted cult followings.
Both also have had trouble lately having to adapt to the new World. Navision struggled in a world that became increasingly cloud and mobile oriented. Harley Davidson struggles with increasing environmental regulations and an aging demographic. Both recently also released amazing new products. Microsoft Released Business Central. Harley Davidson released the LiveWire. Both also risk alienating their cult following with their latest releases.
I’m told that on twisting the throttle of a LiveWire it slips quietly into hyperspace miraculously reappearing a 100 miles down the road carrying a rider with a stupid grin on her face feeling that somehow she glimpsed the very fabric of reality. If it is anywhere near this description then I want one.
I will go one step further though and claim that the LiveWire is the only viable mode of transport for the future. we must all buy one or we won’t be able to move from a to b at all. Obviously all older Harleys must be traded in immediately. Cars, buses, airplanes, and rockets will all be obsolete. Sorry Elon.
Sound familiar much? I often get this same idea when people talk about Business Central. The truth though is that we have never been more spoiled for choice. Gas or electric, cloud or on premise. Customized or not customized, old or new. Just as a Harley Knucklehead is still a serviceable motorcycle NAV2009 is still a working product. Both just require a lot more maintenance, parts are hard to get, and there are less people who can work on them. But that does not make them unusable.
Let’s talk about accessories. Harley Davidson’s accessory catalogue has it’s own gravity field and it is orbited by moons made of discarded wish lists. Same thing with Business Central right? I dare not descend into the depths of Azure without leaving a trail of pebbles so I can find my way back. Making matters worse is the fact that by using modern development techniques you can interface Business Central with everything. Where do you start?
What we end up with is complete chaos. Where once we had one ERP that did everything we now have so many choices to make many people don’t know where to begin.
The only way out of this mess is to bring order into it ourselves. We need to do this by going back to our roots. Our customer and their business processes. Let’s start with the basics. We need to add value for our customers by efficient automation and reduction of technical debt.
Don’t just build and don’t just buy Azure or PowerApps or anything else because it is hot or you just had a slick presentation on TechDays. You need to think critically. Before you build or buy something you need to think about if there are enough developers for that technology, security, ease of use, and how hard it will be to keep it up to date. Remember that it is not just Business Central that is updated automatically, everything is. Every API in the world faces breaking changes and what you develop now will be broken at some point in the life cycle of your product.
The purpose of this story is not to scare you into doing nothing. The purpose of this story is to think critically and give your customers something that is of lasting value. Something that is safe, secure, and easy to use. Something that is kept up to date as a matter of course.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Business Central, Azure, Power Apps, and the LiveWire are cool and, more than that, that they can add value to your customer. But so can other things. We cannot rely on the old gods of Danish sensibility to bring order to our world. We need to do that ourselves.