Well the results are in and I have to say that some of them are not quite as I expected!
I closed the survey a while ago with the intentions of writing up the results straight away but as usual work pressures and the daily grind helped by getting in the way.
Well in that time we had a grand old total of 130 responses to our survey so a big thank you to everyone that took the time to answer.
Question 1 - What version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV are the majority of your customers on?
Ok, so firstly, and a little worrying was that about 4% of you still have the majority of your clients running 3.70. Now I loved 3.70, but come on guys, there have been many different flavours of NAV since then and it really is time to get the upgrades kick started!
Just over 26% of you were running either NAV 5.0 or NAV 5.0 SP1 with 23% of that combination running the SP1 version of NAV 5.0. Still, that is quite a high number as the move from 5.0 classic to NAV 2009 classic really isn't much of a step to be honest.
NAV 2009 SP1 was the clear front runner with over 38% of you having the majority of your clients on this with R2 creeping just over 15%
NAV 4.0 (including all SP's) and NAV 2009 (non R2 and SP1) were neck and neck with just over 7% each.
Question 2 - Have you only ever developed in Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision)?
The result here was quite interesting. I had thought the result would be something like this but I was surprised to see that just shy of 70% of you responding to this post had only ever developed in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Now for me this is something that Microsoft must then take quite seriously. I mean you want to protect this 70% of Dynamics NAV developers quite closely in terms of skill sets, especially if only 30% of you have developed in anything else other than NAV.
I have been to a few Microsoft events and meetings this year, and it is clear to me that Microsoft are taking this fact quite seriously. I think when they released NAV 2009 they had underestimated the fact, let's say, 70% of us are comfortable in a NAV application domain and not comfortable being stretched outside of that. Speaking to other Partners they would agree with this sentiment.
Question 3 - Are you primarily running - RTC or Classic Client?
Well I wasn't surprised by this result. However, I think if you spoke to someone at Microsoft they'd be quite surprised! Over 84% of you are primarily running the Classic Client. That is not great news for Microsoft seeing as how the RTC has been out for some time now. So why is this? Maybe the change over is too hard for a number of Partners? Perhaps they are struggling to convince their clients to dedicate time to the move? We would also fall in to the Classic Client category, although we are working hard towards the RTC. Perhaps some of you are waiting for NAV 7 where you know you would have to do a small amount of re-engineering even if you were on the RTC now - particularly with regard to reports.
Question 4 - Do you have any experience in any of these products in addition to Microsoft Dynamics NAV (AX, CRM, GP, SL)?
Well I'm pleased to report that nobody had any experience in Dynamics SL! Ok, ok, not big news. 11 and a bit percent of you had experience of GP with nearly twice as many as that having experience of AX. The clear front runner was Dynamics CRM with over 66% of you having experience with CRM. This would suggest that Dynamics partners, and particularly NAV partners are starting to look to provide CRM. We definitely fall in to that category where I work and deploying/developing CRM is not as tough as some might think. Interestingly, these days you'll here Microsoft say "if you want Enterprise go for AX" however this would suggest that most NAV Partners have very little experience of AX and moving to such a different platform is simply not an option.
Question 5 - Would you say that you are a capable developer in Visual Studio?
65% of you answered No to this question. I'm not sure how important Visual Studio is to NAV these days as it appears that the replacement of C/AL is not going to happen at present and it is here to stay for now. Where Visual Studio is great is where you really want to get in to the Web Services, SOA and custom add-ins. On the latter, custom add-ins are a great feature of NAV, but I would suggest that most Partners at present are waiting for Microsoft and their developers to bring these to us. Most NAV developers are not capable in Visual Studio and as such are not comfortable, or have the time (or company budgets) to up-skill in this area.
Question 6 - Do you worry about the future of C/AL code?
It was a dead heat with 50% of you worrying and 50% of you care free about the future of C/AL. Only recently have Microsoft started to say they are not working on replacing C/AL. This is a different message to a few years ago. I think Microsoft are likely to put more time in to the core development environment rather than replacing the language. I think they will add to C/AL, such as the ability to overload functions, however I for one am not worried about the future of C/AL. It will take some time I think for developers to relax about it though...
Question 7 - Have you developed any applications using the Dynamics NAV Web Services?
Over 66% have developed applications using the Dynamics NAV Web Services... That's a bit worrying seeing as how 65% of you weren't feeling capable in Visual Studio! Perhaps you were doing everything in Java?! ;o)
My word I was looking forward to the results of this question! I have heard so many different numbers from different Partners. And of course, it does depend on your servers, setup, NAV vertical market etc. However we had a real mixed bag. I spoke to someone at Microsoft recently who told me on an average install they tested on they were getting a ball park of 40 users through an NST instance with plans to raise that to 80+ in the future! WTF I here you cry?! I know... I thought that too. This is a classic case of Microsoft living in their own bubble. Realistically we can't get anywhere near those numbers and I have tested this A LOT!
So what figures did this question throw up... Well... Just shy of 20% (one fifth!) of you would put somewhere between 1 to 5 users through an NST instance with just over 23% of you opting for 16 to 20. I personally fall in to the 11 to 15 bracket... I'm a cautious fellow. 30 and a bit percent of you were happy with 25+, however I prefer to think... you haven't tried it... ok only joking...
Still though it is quite interesting that circa 20% would go for 1 to 5 users and circa 25% would go for 25+.
I am still none the wiser.
Another dead heat with 50% having struggled through the 3 computer install and 50% of you sticking for 2 computers... Pleeeeaassse go for 3 computer installs if you haven't. There are so many benefits, although you may take a year off your life initially trying to get your first install working... ;o)
Over 69% of you did not know what a Partner Services Account Manager was with only 12% of you having access to a PSAM.
Over 69% of you did not know what a Technical Services Account Manager was with 20% of you having access to a TSAM. I was surprised that more of you had access to a TSAM than a PSAM as usually a PSAM costs you nothing and often you are having to pay for a dedicated TSAM.
50% of you agreed with this statement with over 30% of you neither agreeing or disagreeing with this statement. That left 20% of you not agreeing with this statement - presumably that must be either people installing only over 2 computers or people providing ISV re-seller solutions?
61% of you strongly agreed or agreed with this statement with only 8 % of you disagreeing with this statement. This is an area I think Microsoft could have supported the Partners better in. It was quite a shift, not an impossible shift, (especially not for us super smart NAV boys and girls) but it was more than we'd been used to over the years and there wasn't a great deal of readily available support out there. Thank God for forums such as mibuso and dynamicsuser where we could help each other out.
14% of you are not confident with the future direction of Dynamics NAV. I found this number to be a lot lower than I was expecting, but I was pleased to see that over 77% of you either strongly agreed or agreed with this statement. We are a positive bunch!
Surprisingly 65% of you find PartnerSource useful. I personally find it useful if you can find what you are looking for. In general Microsoft websites, like PartnerSource, MCP etc are quite bad. 35% of you agree with that sentiment.
Well, well, well. Only 29% of us keep our clients up to date on the latest NAV hotfixes. With a big 41% of you either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with this statement. Why is that? Is it the hassle of rolling them out and testing them to all your clients? Is it that they are quite frequent at time and you'd prefer less of them with more fixes contained?
62% of you have been working with the platform for 3 to 10 years. Still not a bad showing there.