General Question on Training and Software costs

I’m curious if its standard practice for all Navision Solution Centers to charge the same or more for a training manual they’ve put together themselves for a specific module as the cost of a training course. I’m frustrated that trying to obtain materials to help in setting up modules or training our people learn how to learn Navision is so complicated and expensive. We don’t have the time or the money to take the courses but a training manual would be helpful. The software is expensive in its own right and I’m having a hard time figuring out why the cost of a training manual would cost the same as actually taking the course. The manuals are very generic and it would seem are not designed to actually train someone in detail how to do more than very simplistic tasks. Anything more complicated is simply not explained. Our company is setting up most of the program ourselves, and every time we run into a glitch, we get the same response, you need to call your Implementation Specialist, and the end result is always more money. The lack of a good knowledgebase is also frustrating. I think the software is great once its setup properly, but even simple report modifications aren’t allowed without great cost. I’m blowing off a little steam this evening, but I’m really wondering if any changes are going to occur in this area.

Hi Kathy I think the simple answer is that most NSC’s do it differently across the globe, selling, implementing, pricing, training and support (although there will be common approaches) If the NSC has purposely written a manual to assist with training and the end user would like a copy of it then the price is obviously at the discretion of the NSC. The Navision manuals themselves are more detailed along the line of what the product does, flag and field specific, rather than describing possible business processes and methods of implementation. These manuals, I think, are contained on the Navision Product CD and can be printed off at your leisure (at least that is how it is distributed in the UK!), but as you rightly state, these are not designed to train end users, and hence a reason why your NSC may want to charge you for manuals designed in this specific manner. With regards to the report specification it is possible to purchase the reports design granule, so the end user can customise their reports. I would advise, however that training is undertaken on this and new reports always designed rather than replacing old ones. I think to design your own reports you need a certain level of understanding of the program and the report writer to produce basic reports, and for more complicated reports basic/advanced coding is required, which puts it beyond the capability of many end users. It would be highly frustrating to undertake this without training, and due to the complexities of report design many end users see it as financially priudent to get the specified reports designed externally as the end users time is much better served in other areas. With regards to the lack of a good knowledgebase this may only be pertinent to your certain areas of your own NSC. The Navision world is very fluid and I believe changing your NSC is relatively easy, although the timing maybe poor as you are setting the product up! [:D] You will need to contact Navision US, but before this you can always express your disappointment and frustration to your NSC, and explain why, they may attempt to improve the service to you. I am sorry you have not received the service you required or desired, but I am glad you recognise the potential of the product. Training at the outset is key, and it will reap its rewards as you go live. I would have presumed that the NSC gave you a budget for training at the outset, but I am also aware of the twisted paths implementations can take. Little else to say except good luck! [;)]

You raise several issues Kathy. First, the cost of writing training material is high. It is a time consuming business, particularly if you have had modifications and the material has to be tailored. Although I am a little puzzled as the product CD that you have used for the implementation contains a host of .pdf files covering all modules which are (in comparison to other products I’ve seen) very good. These should be available to you in electronic version FOC. More importantly, why are you setting up the system yourself and trying to cut cost by not taking expert training for your users? Did you not know the full cost of the implementation before making you product choice? Yes you do need an implemtation specialist AND good training. Trust me, swallow the bitter pill now and it will pay dividends in the future. Finally, simple report modification are just that - simple and cheap because you can do them yourself. BUT you have to have the training first. Sorry, catch 22. Good luck with the implementation, but I would honestly seek some expert help now. All may seem well initially, but in 3 months time when your VAT and inventory won’t reconcile you’ll wish you had.

Thanks for the answers. I completely agree with the answers. I used to work on the “other end” implementing, setting up, providing support for, Great Plains Dynamics. I’m familiar with this type of business,and about the costs involved, but it feels like with Navision, as an end user, there aren’t too many brick walls I’ve run into that simply don’t have a big green dollar sign painted on them, and believe it or not, I’m figuring all these wonderful little issues out for setting up the product and figuring out how to use it, it’s just much more difficult! My only saving grace has been this website and my ability to figure things out. Thanks again. Today is a new day. I just wish there were more free options, such as a knowledgebase with how to’s and common problem fixes available to the end user, such as the ones the Dynamics product uses.

This isn’t going to help you Kathy, but there is a knowledgebase that is unfortunatley only available to NTR and NSC employees. Sorry.

Yep, knew that already. I wasn’t involved in the purchase of the product, or the evaluation of the company providing us support, it was already in place when I came on board with my new company at the end of the summer. I will just have to make do with the resources available to me and keep working at working it out! Thanks for the listening ears!