Opinion, by Mark Brummel
Continued from previous posts…
My daily driver is a Defender. You tech nerds should know enough but for those of you who don’t, a Land Rover Defender.
It’s 18 years old. I bought it a few months ago after a lot of research. I needed a car that can carry at least two adults, five kids, preferably more if they bring friends, a dog and luggage.
Mark, where are you going with this?
Some people have a hard time understanding the positioning of NAV vs. Business Central and I am going to use my car to explain this, the way I see it.
Let’s imagine that the Defender is Dynamics NAV and Land Rover is Microsoft.
The Defender has a great heritage. It’s a legendary vehicle that started 70 years ago if you include the Land Rover Series which was the orriginal version starting in 1947. What makes the Defender special is the few changes made to the concept while keeping it updated to modern road standards.
It’s a very flexible car that can be modified and custmized according to your needs. Some modifications however make it hard to move back to where you came from. You can see where I am going right?
You can buy two versions the 90 and 110. Or Business Essentials and Advanced Manufacturing.
It’s not a car for sissies. Don’t buy one if you don’t understand anything about cars. You will get your hands dirty. There are thousands of experts and a strong community. Some experts are so busy you have to book them 18 months in advance (like me). It is however very possible to make simple modifications yourself.
I bought a couple of new seats that I installed myself and I want to change the windows from manual to powerwindows. The back seat is replaced with one from a Iveco Massif which fitted after some small modifications to the chassis.
The frame had some rust and was welded by someone who knows what they are doing.
Let’s compare my Defender to NAV 2009 R2 where you can run both classic and role tailored. Older versions like the 109 Stage One V8 is pure classic and if well maintained they cost a freaking fortune.
The Land Rover Series is the Dos version. Ok? Caprice?
Land Rover updated the Defender in 2004 to what is called the Puma Edition. The price doubled and it came with a nice dash, airconditioning, leather seats, navigation system and a radio that you could actually hear while you were driving. It was updated to match environmental rules. The iconic 5 cylinder 2.5 litre Diesel was replaced by a 2.4 TD4 and more computers were added.
The more advanced cars get the more complex they are to maintain. You need to be more specialized to do troubleshooting.
The Range Rover…
Land Rover did not only build Defenders or Series. The Range Rover was introduced in 1970.
The Range Rover is a more high end vehicle compared to the Defender.
Let’s say that the Range Rover is Axapta.
The Range Rover has evolved in to something that kind of still looks like the orriginal but no living human being can afford buying a new one. Buying a used one is plain stupid because if something is wrong with the electical system you go bankrupt on troubleshooting and maintenance.
If you can’t afford a good one, you certainly cannot afford a bad one.
The new Range Rover is only for Rappers and Pimps and it has outgrown the orriginal target audience.
Land Rover tries desperately to use the Range Rover brand to launch other cars like the Range Rover Evoque, the Range Rover Velar and the Range Rover Sport. Kind of like breaking AX down into small pieces.
So what is Great Plains and Solomon?
This is fun right? So where does Great Plains fit in? Or Solomon?
Like any modern car producer Land Rover had to grow. A purist only needs the Defender but people who are not mechanics also want a cool car with the same logo.
Land Rover launched the Discovery and the Freelander.
The Discovery is a poor mans Range Rover. It will still take you anywhere you want. They are not as customizable as Defenders and don’t hold their economic value over a longer period.
The Freelander has died a while ago. It had the Land Rover logo but everybody who looked at it knew it wasn’t really one.
Back to the Defender, Navision and Business Central
The Defender ended in 2016, on 29 January when the last Land Rover Defender, H166 HUE, rolled off the production line at 09:22hrs GMT. A sad day.
But this year there was great news! The Defender is back! A special 70th anniversary edition was announced! It has a V8 and 400 bhp. It starts at 150.000 GBP.
You can guess in what colors I’m going to respray my 110.
The whole new Defender
In the same year Land Rover also announced a whole new Defender. Let’s have a look.
This has nothing to do with my Defender on which I can unbolt everything. Put the welder on and change whatever I like! This is just another modern car that stole a good brand name and reputation!
Business Central ≈ Navision
Although Microsoft is making a lot of money selling Range Rovers, Defenders and Discoveries they are desperately looking for a Golf. They envy Volkswagen. (Read Quickbooks…)
Project Madeira aka Business Edition was a big fail. Trying to make a comodity out of a customizable solution was wrong. Releasing Extensions V1 also did a lot of harm in our ecosystem. Should have never been released.
Those poor Solomon and Great Plains partners. They took a look at Project Madeira because they were forced to. And they saw a stripped down version of NAV that was incomplete with a terrible extension experience.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is based on Dynamics NAV. It has the same code base, but there is no native Windows client, only a Web Client that does not have all the features the Windows Client has. It does not have DotNet support and it does not allow you to replace code with your own code.
You can use Extensions to add functionality to it. But Dynamics NAV was never architected for this and the latest blog by one of the Microsoft MVP’s makes clear how rediculous the model is and how complicated it has become.
And you know what? It’s is still not good enough! There are 9 (NINE!!!) ways to extend an Insert and you know what people want? They want to either replace what Microsoft did or place their code in the middle.
The latter is possible with a tidious process where Microsoft will place an event manually in the code where the developer will take a dependency on that event being exactly there and the rest of the code not changing. These events are only shipped every 12 months. Which customer can wait that long?
What will we get in October?
I’m holding my breath for what we will get in October. NAV will die. 2018 is the last release ever and then we will get an on-premise version of Business Central.
Will “it” be the 70th anniversairy edition of the good old Defender? Will C/Side be there one more time? Can loyal customers upgrade one more time?
And then what? How will we move forward? There will always be customers who want to buy that special edition that they can customize.
Maybe we should all convert to the Mercedes G-Class.
Or, well… maybe… but let’s discuss that in the next blog…