Navision Classic Client versus Role Tailored Client; Should You Upgrade?

In preparing for this article I had to do a lot of research on this topic because I had little knowledge of the Classic Client. Microsoft Dynamics NAV was introduced to me after the Role Tailored Client (RTC) was standard to the product. I studied and studied to gain all of the knowledge that I could in order to have the ability to give you the best and latest information so that you could make an informed decision.  Then the question came of how to present the information to you without just giving you a lot of facts; something that would be meaningful and helpful to you. I decided to use an example that we all know about, purchasing a new car.

As a sales representative my car is one of the most important tools that I have.  Recently I had to make the decision to purchase a new car and I was debating if I really wanted to purchase a new car because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to add the monthly expense of a car payment and an increase in my insurance premiums.  I thought that I might just hang onto the car that I had because it gets me to where I need to go and there really wasn’t a monthly expense tied to it anymore. Although it didn’t have everything that I might want or need, it worked for now.  However, I do depend on the car daily and there is the wear and tear on the car. Over time the car had become more unreliable and needed more and more maintenance and repairs thus more trips to the shop and the repair dollars start adding up. The car also need premium gasoline, a cost that was adding up on a daily basis so I was faced with the option of replacing the car with a newer model that is more up to date and equipped with features that fit my situation today.  Five years ago cars weren’t equipped with the same accessories that are available today; technology has changed giving us more and useful accessories.  In today’s car the dashboard is full of new features, built in iPhone/iPod plug-ins, voice activated navigation systems, etc., and these are features that can make life easier while bringing my costs down.  When driving a car everyday like I do, these features become very important.

Let’s say you’re a sales representative as I am and your job is to get from point A to point B and back to point A again at the end of the day.  Wouldn’t a built-in, voice activated GPS system be a wonderful thing to have?  Not too many years ago I was using a Thomas Guide Map book and if you were in my line of work you had to have several of them because you crossed county lines on a regular basis.  Do you remember looking up the name of the street in the index and then being directed to a page number, a row number and a grid position?  You then had to navigate yourself from there. Not to mention that you had to purchase these every year because new streets were being added annually.

Then there was MapQuest, what an invention! I could actually go to the internet input my starting from and going to locations and print out directions and get there with ease. Then came the Magellan GPS, wow what a change!  You could actually find a location by several different methods, by city, by zip or type of business, all of that from wherever you were. No-more finding a computer and looking for a printer, no more carrying several pieces of paper around with me. However, I did need to make sure that you had the Magellan available to you at all times and had it fully charged.

Today I can get a car with a GPS in it.  You have a built in screen located in sight and a voice that directs you on how to get to where you are going to how to get back; all of this at your fingertips, no clunky books, no extra parts to carry, the dash board of your new car has all of this equipment built in for you.

You might be asking what all of this has to do with your business software.  Well the new GPS is the Role Tailored Client.  You can access many pieces of data from one screen.  You don’t have to have stacks of printed data, reports and you don’t need to go outside of the program and into another program, Excel, Word, Outlook, to obtain information; you can do it right from your personalized desktop.  You get to choose the information that you need when you need it. You have the ability to access multiple documents, pieces of information and reports all from one screen.  You have the ability to see how many emails you have waiting for you, any important notifications or request that need attention.  All of these changes can be made on an individual basis without our help.  You get to choose how you want to view the information that you need.

If you are using the Classic Client, it is like using the Thomas Guide; you need to navigate to the right page, the right card to get the information that you need.  If you make a change on a page or card, the change is for everyone and this generally requires coding or customization.

The Classic Client is based on a traditional two tier concept, and the new client is based on a three tier concept.  The two tier concept has two elements: the client and the database server.  The three tier concept has an application server between the database and the client.  The role tailored client is a .NET application and introduces many new features to the NAV experience including a Role Center page that displays stacks of documents representing the number of items that need to be handled such as open sales orders, detailed customer information, payment status, a notepad and much more.

The Role Tailored Client makes finding information faster and easier.  For example to search for all open sales orders in the classic client you must go through approximately eight steps, however in the Role Tailored Client there is just one step; you are one click away from the information that you need.  In order to obtain information about a customer in the Classic Client requires six steps and the Role Tailored Client takes only one step.  It is not possible to send NOTIFICATIONS from the Custom Client, if you don’t have a customized program like bcNotifications, but in the Role Tailored Client you can send and receive notifications from your personalized home screen.  The bottom line is that the Role Tailored Client gives you the information that you need most often with just a click; this saves you time and money.

The Role Tailored client can be run from a remote location over a VPN.  The Classic Client needs to have Citrix or Terminal Services to be run from a remote location. Moving to the Role Tailored Client eliminates the costs of purchasing and maintaining license fees of Citrix or Terminals Services Software.

The Role Tailored Client helps you by lowering IT costs, gives you more “out of the box” functionality, less customization, better integration into other software, tighter integration to information in your company and more user productivity.

Only you can decide if the time to upgrade your business software to the next level is right for you and your organization.  I did decide to purchase the new car and it was well worth it. I have everything that I need at my fingertips.

If you are interested in taking a closer look at what is available to you, please call us.  We are happy to discuss what options are available to you and to assist you in developing a timeline and a plan for taking your business system to the next level.