Difference between Functional/Technical consultant

Hi All, I am guided to initiate this topic by the realtive high number of technical posts on the site. What is the most advisabel role for any body wanting to make Navision a career?Functional; Technical or Technofunctional. I have observed that even in the certification procedure for consultants, little importance is given to purely functional consultants.Their certification/license controls nothing. Other way round, technical consultants having a Developer’s license are having kind of a higher importance. I request the senior members to give their views, opinions, Suggestions and observations. Regrards, Dharmendra B. Desai

An appropriate response to your question will depend partially on what type of clients you plan to work with and what type of organization you want to be part of. For smaller clients and generally for smaller consulting firms, you need to have a broader range of skills. For larger clients and when working within a larger consulting firm, it is often appropriate to have more depth of knowledge in a narrower area. That said, it is always good to have some of both (functional and technical) sets of knowledge. My belief is that technical knowledge is more easily learned through study (classes and reading documentation and code) while functional knowledge requires some study but more experience. If you want to work hands-on with the product (Navision in this case) you will likely want to focus on the technical side. But if you want to consult with the client about their business problems and guide someone else in the hands-on work, then you should focus on the functional side. I believe this site is focused more on the technical issues because these require specific, often in-depth knowledge of the particular tool set. That kind of knowledge is harder to find (about a specific product) than in-depth functional knowledge (for example about manufacturing information flow or warehouse management systems). Being harder to find does give the knowledge value, so long as there are a sufficient number of firms who need the services of someone who has that knowledge. And whether we like it or not, there are a lot more firms who need help with their manufacturing information flow than those who need help with their Navision. On a personal basis, I find the more I know about both technical and functional areas, the more satisfying my work life is. But, in general, my customers seem to be more concerned about my functional knowledge because that is what allows me to communicate with them about their problems. Of course, then the technical knowledge helps me to address those problems. One man’s opinion…

David - so perfectly sitting on the fence then! However I agree with everything said, just one addition from someone more funcitonal than technical - if you understand the requirements and the software from a functional perspective it is possible that a technical respective is not required!

Good question. The most advisable role to adopt is the one that you are best at and enjoy the most. Dave is right that the technical/development side is more quantifiable. With time you can take the courses, sit the exams and gain the license rights but many of the skills required to be a good functional consultant are not taught on Navision/MS courses. For example I can not imagine tackling functional consultancy without being comfortable with accounting practices, knowing your debits from you credit and all that… Also to work with any credibility with a customer in vertical markets you will need to demonstrate that you understand their industry and their requirements. Do you also want a client facing role? There is no doubt that the technical side is more removed from the client while the functional angle is very hands on. As a functional consultant (or System consultant as we call it) I have gone someway to understanding the technical side and done some of the courses. But I have no intention starting development. It was purely to understand the capabilities so I can perform the functional and design role better. Likewise if you take the technical angle you will find it hard without some functional knowledge. I know some excellent technical people, and some excellent functional people, but I don’t know anyone who does both roles together (technofunctional as you call it) with any deal of success. Horses for courses.

I agree in general with both of the preceding comments but my ego requires that I believe that I actually do a pretty good job for my clients on both the technical and the functional side. It is true that at any point in time you are almost surely leaning one way or the other in your focus. And my ego has no problem admitting that I regularly call on others for assistance in either technical or functional areas, depending on the type and degree of difficulty of the problem at hand.

Hi All, 3 Answers indeed are very much elaborative.I feel i am on the right path as advised by Adam. Dave has been very frank & solution oriented. IT is not the nature or capability of the consultant but the client satisfaction & delevering value for his money which drives everything. At the end, We should know how to do it or we should know the one who knows how to do it. Regards, Dharmendra Desai

Hi! well said mr. desai, I agree with you…though i donnt have much experience of an implementation but what i personally feel that a functional knowledge of Attain is must even for a technical consultant…as well as the technical knowledge is required for a better understanding of the clients requirements…so one needs to have exposure to both the fields while expertise in one…thats the way to excel…thats what I believe… Regards,

Both are important… and i’ve to disagree about that if you have a good functional knowledge you almost don’t need a technical one. That way of thinking is what makes a lot of consultant getting into trouble when they start promising their customers some “easy” modifications to the program because they think that it won’t need much to modify on the standard as they don’t really know how the program internally works (what codeunits it requires and the internal (non-functional) flow of the process), so when the customer asks for those “easy add-ons” and they’re sent to development, where the guys at development reply with a hours quote that shows it’s not as easy as the consultant though… it comes the problem… specially if the consultant was so “brave” for pre-estimating the time it will take with phrases like “it will be just one or two hours doing that”… Also knowing how the program works internally (not only functionally), gives you a lot more knowledge on how you can solve new problems the customers can have, as if you know how navision works internally you can use that working system for adding LOTS of functionallity out of the box without much cost for the customer. Regards,

A Developer can deliver-in the functionality/change required if possible & guided by a Functional Consultant. But the Functional consultant need to understand in general the capabilities/limitations of the System so as to convince/give commitment to the Client. Sometimes, the Functional Consultants won’t be much interested in how the things are going to work at the back-end(the codeunits,functions etc) but whether a particular thing is possible and when can it be delivered. I personally think that a Developer/Technical Consultant with good experience working with Product & having an aptitude/capabilities required of a Functional consultant can become one comparatively faster than the other way round. The topic is really a debatable one like the one below: “Is Management an Art or Science?”

management is an artistic science…