Company Core Values: Learning and Always Challenging Ourselves Benefits Us and Our Customers
2022 is a big year for us; ArcherPoint is celebrating our 20th anniversary as a Microsoft Dynamics Gold ERP Partner for Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central. We believe our success is in part due to our strong core values, which we intentionally incorporate into our culture. In several articles, we discuss those values, how we decided on them, and what each looks like in daily practice. We have covered Building an Enduring Tribe and Delighting Clients with Amazing Work; today, we dive into the core value of Learning and Always Challenging ourselves to build a better business and helping our clients to do the same.
I talked with Matt Traxinger, an ArcherPoint veteran and Microsoft MVP, about this core value. Why? Because once a year, our employees nominate and vote on individuals within our organization who embody one of our core values, and we recognize them with our Core Value Awards. Matt has been the recipient of the Learning and Always Challenging award twice!
Suzanne: Matt, you’ve made huge strides and really driven our company and our developers on the whole idea of embracing new technology and new standards. You are very passionate about it. Tell me about what learning and challenging means to you.
Matt: In my position, I try to pay attention to what’s going on in the development ecosystem because we need to stay fresh. Our developers have been working with NAV and Business Central for a very long time, so it’s easy to get accustomed to doing things a certain way. And they’re also very busy, so they don’t always have time to explore new ways to approach issues.
For example, when AL and Business Central came out, there was a big developer reset; everyone, regardless of their experience, was suddenly at the same level. We all had to essentially learn a new job while doing our current jobs at the same time. That leaves no time for finding, reading, and absorbing new information.
So, what I try to do is look at everything that’s going on and condense it, then share it with the other developers so they can learn everything faster and start putting what they learn into practice.
Suzanne: There is so much information coming at them so fast, and everything changes so quickly that they probably don’t even know where to start. What you do makes it easier to bring the team along.
Matt: Yes. Microsoft has well over a hundred R&D teams for Business Central alone, and if you combine all that information with lean development and their continuous improvement process for improving the product—which is great for customers—it just means we’re advancing quickly in all areas of technology.
Suzanne: It’s hard to keep up. So, having a method for condensing it all down, starting with “need to know” and moving out from there, is a good way to make sure everyone gets it.
Matt: Yes. For example, people think there is only one minor release per month and one major release every six months for Business Central, but there are actually more like three to five releases every day. They’re often very small changes that don’t impact developers, but that just gives you an idea of the pace at which things change.
Suzanne: And then that impacts customers, especially those that have not moved to BC from NAV yet or are behind on a conversion. There has always been a challenge around a fast rate of change for ERP systems because they’re massive and complex.
Matt: We’ve run into this even with our developers and consultants. With all the new developments and technology, it’s harder to keep up with both the functional and technical sides of the coin.
Suzanne: So, we have specialists on the technical side, and then we have more specialists within the functional areas of the product. We have finance people, manufacturing people, EDI, eCommerce, API people, etc.
Matt: Exactly. You start to get the same on the technical side. It’s impossible for one person to know or learn everything. But we have to stay on top of it. Continuously learning and challenging ourselves is just a given because of the state of the product that we represent. But then we have to also consider how we change our processes. How do we build tools to take advantage of that technology? We see this a lot with upgrades; they have developed scripts and so forth to make upgrading more efficient.
We also have the new concept of the citizen developer. Although customers will most likely reach out to their NAV or BC partner for big customization projects, the advent of no-code/low-code tools like those available in the Power Platform offered by Microsoft give them the ability to do much of the less-heavy lifting on their own. This compels us to improve our processes so we can, in turn, better help our clients improve their business processes. It’s important that we invest in this area for three reasons.
First, cultivating solid citizen development can save customers a significant amount of money. Second, one of our goals at ArcherPoint with every customer is to ensure they are as self-sufficient as possible. And finally, the better our customers understand the product, the more confident they will be about exploring its vast capabilities and be willing to do more.
Suzanne: That speaks to one of our core values, Building an Enduring Tribe distinguished by collaboration and always putting the good of the community, clients, and colleagues above self-interest—an award you’ve won on multiple occasions because you understand the importance of sharing knowledge with customers as well as our development and consulting teams.
Matt: All three of those reasons contribute to our customers getting more from their investment in the technology we provide. So, it’s very important that we have the skills to support them—actually, to work together with them, side by side—in their efforts to do their own development work.
Suzanne: And with the “Great Resignation” going on right now, customers need to take advantage of every opportunity to operate more efficiently by automating workflows and creating apps for specific tasks to they can get more done with fewer people across the organization. We can help them with that by learning and challenging ourselves.
Matt: Yes. When we talk about the concept of a modern workplace, I don’t think of ERP as being the center anymore. For some organizations, the CRM system is more important, for example.
Suzanne: It’s more like CXM rather than ERP or CRM or …
Matt: In some ways, there really is no “center” anymore. It all just needs to be connected, which starts with everyone being on the same page, part of one team, which includes the customer and the partner. In fact, with customers taking on some of the development effort, their partner developers can focus on big, complex, serious issues like preventing cybercrime.
Join the ArcherPoint Team
Does this core value sound compelling? Would you like to work for an organization that values continually learning and and challenging yourself and then sharing it with others? We invite you to explore employment opportunities with ArcherPoint.