Choosing Your Dynamics Product – Part II

In my last post, I outlined the basic differences between the three main Microsoft Dynamics ERP products with a focus on their various functionality and capabilities. In this post, I’d like to discuss a few of the other factors you should consider when deciding between Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP and NAV.

Cost Comparisons

In terms of licensing fees, AX is the most expensive, primarily because of its named license model. Dynamics AX is also more complex, which means it will take longer to implement (and thus, means increased implementation fees). Dynamics GP and NAV are nearly identical in licensing. However, total cost will vary depending on the modules and the customizations that are required.

As I’ve mentioned before, cost should not be the determining factor; it should come down to the individual requirements of your business as well as making sure you select a partner you trust. Implementing a new ERP system is an expensive venture (not only in terms of dollars) no matter how you look at it, so you need to ensure you have selected the best fit product as well.

Timelines to Implementation

As a general rule of thumb, a Dynamics GP or NAV implementation can be expected to take 4 to 8 months and a similar Dynamics AX deployment would run 10 to 14 months due to more configuration, testing, and training. However, even a longer term Dynamics AX implementation will produce a quicker timeline when compared to a SAP or Oracle implementation, which are often multi-year projects.

Keep in mind that the above are only representative relative benchmarks.

Ongoing Maintenance

Upfront implementation costs and timelines are both important considerations, but you should also take into account the ongoing maintenance of these products. When you undertake an ERP implementation, you must factor in additional costs that are beyond the initial deployment timeline. This includes taking into account how many people you will need internally to support the application and its ongoing maintenance requirements.

These factors weigh heavily in favor of Dynamics solutions because oftentimes, the answer to the above questions is that no dedicated full time resources are needed to manage the application.

Choosing the Right Implementation Partner

Regardless of what product you choose, I would suggest that the most critical decision is choosing the right partner because the wrong partner will result in much higher costs.

At Rand Group, our methodology is about helping our clients plan for an implementation and aligning the right solution with their business objectives, budget and timeline.  As such, we engage ERP opportunities without a specific ERP product in mind. Instead, we turn to our UpFront Methodology to examine the business’ current state, evaluate the goals and objectives, and understand the desired business impact before we even think about a specific ERP solution. Understanding what needs to be done and when it needs to be done are the key questions that are all too often ignored. Beware of the sales team making promises that have not been confirmed by the consultants who will be performing the implementation.

Without doubt, timeline and cost will always be a factor, but we do not consider them the driving factor. Naturally, you get to a point where that becomes more important, but what we want to be able to do for our clients is to evaluate the options and then identify the upsides and drawbacks to each of them. Because we represent multiple products, we can present multiple options, along with leveraging the Microsoft platform, without having to pressure clients into one particular solution. Whether you choose Rand Group or another partner for your implementation, remember the product decision should not come first to maximize your chances of a successful deployment.

Hopefully, the information presented above has shed at least some light on the complex nature of choosing an ERP product. If you would like to discuss your particular situation, I invite you to reach out to us. We’re here to help.


– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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William Wu

Insight written by William Wu

Executive Vice President at Rand Group

William Wu has over 16 years’ experience consulting for and performing ERP software implementations in the energy, technology, telecommunications, and service industries. With a background in both accounting and business and extensive certifications in ERP systems, William possesses both the drive and skill to move a company from where it is, to where it needs to be.

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