Customizations Aren't Bad, Developers Are

Customizations Aren't Bad, Developers Are

If you write customizations that are not upgradeable, you are a bad developer. Sorry. Life is tough. Get over it and move on. Coding is what developers do. Coding is hard. Wizards that create “functionality” is not coding. Coding is still cool and it always will be. And, by always, I mean in our lifetime. C#, C, C+, CB, JavaScript, PHP, Cobol (#allcodingacronymshere). Who cares? It is all code and it is learnable. It just takes time. And, it is hard. On the other hand, it is easy. Depends on you.

All that brings me to the current state of affairs with Microsoft Dynamics NAV (now Dynamics 365 Business Central or D365 BC). D365 BC will require coding skills. The days of hacking together unmanageable C/AL code, written by “business centric” consultants/developers is over. We now have to follow principles established last century. This sounds bad, but, it is actually modern and it is the future. Until AL (VS Code), or, as I like to call the past, BBC (Before Business Central), it was easy to customize NAV. It was also easy to screw it up completely, without an exit strategy or any care for future maintainability. For 33 years, there were very smart, well to-do “experts” that came up with all sorts of elaborate documentation and versioning processes and procedures that were largely based on individual nuance, misguided discipline and human error, not truth and integrity.

Those days are over. Customers that think they can have a clever developer that can tweak D365 BC at will, in Production (as they incessantly do BBC) can put them in other roles that do not involve VS Code. They will only be a hindrance to progress, upgradeability, and maintainability. What is the annual salary, etc., of a VS Coder as an employee for a customer? Probably much more than what a customer would pay for what they need to customize and maintain their D365 BC ERP with a partner, much more. Customers that have NAV developers frequently ask me how they can keep their staff. “How can we reduce NAV developer turnover. We train them and they leave for higher paying work with XYZ.” The answer is, do not hire them. Partners exist for this reason. Use them.

Customizations are good, if the developer knows what he or she is doing. In D365 BC, Partners have to know what they are doing. They spend an enormous amount of time and money making sure they know what they are doing. Moreover, they do it with the customers’ best interest in mind. And, without custom, there is no customer, just er.

I realize this may sound a little radical; this is my opinion. We would love to hear your thoughts on this, please comment below.


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