Simplify international and multisite Microsoft Dynamics installations with a data integration tool
By Henning Lund - April 07, 2017
Most companies running Microsoft Dynamics NAV/AX/GP in multiple countries or on multiple sites follow a CORE strategy (CORE is also commonly called Kernel in some countries). In a CORE strategy you build an add-on solution with your company specific requirements which is then being localized and deployed in the local countries.
Because of the statutory requirements and the dynamics of most companies, the CORE strategy tend to be challenged over time because it’s costly to maintain and often, different companies (even within the same business line in a bigger group) can have their own requirements.
The real time consumer is maintaining consistent master data across the sites. Often, companies establish an internal group function that safeguards the master data, dimensions definition, Items creation, joint customers etc. I’ve seen so many different solutions and systems over time – I even architected some of them – however, looking back, I can see that it could be been made so much easier!
Here are two examples on how multisite Dynamics NAV/AX/GP installs can be simplified, quality improved and made much easier to maintain.
Manage master data across databases and companies
The most obvious way to improve is to automate synchronization of any master data in your system, and streamline how to automatically distribute new or updated master data. With a cloud-based data integration tool like RapidiOnline , you can have master data management without changing or adding a single line of code in the system. Everything can be set up in the cloud which will connect and synchronize your systems according to the rules you set up. It’s actually nothing new – the systems has existed since 1992 (in a cloud version since 2007/2008) and is already utilized by hundreds of companies worldwide.
You can set up one company to be the master and have the data synchronized to other databases or companies. You can add the possibility for all or some of the companies to update the master data and synchronize back to the others. You can also set it up so everybody can create and update master data, which is then synchronized to the others. The possibilities for making a specific setup are endless – and it will even work between different versions – even between different systems like Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV.
With a synchronization of mater data your different companies will, for example, benefit from having the same posting groups, dimension settings, items and pricing. You can even add other entities like customers to the setup to manage group customers and share customer data across your organization (though, for practical reasons and if it is possible, I would consolidate customer information in the CRM system instead, but the possibility is there).
Isolate local statutory requirements from your CORE solution
Let’s take an example with Microsoft Dynamics NAV that is the product with the most distributed CORE driven installations. Imagine that you make the CORE solution on the W1 version, which is a virgin Microsoft Dynamics NAV version without any localizations in. This can be deployed and maintained as is with no additional changes. Locally you set up a localized NAV Finance and you set up the RapidiOnline system to receive the base data for local compliant statutory postings in a separate system which can be used for statutory reporting while the CORE system provides support for any operational requirements. It will reduce the maintenance costs dramatically and you will have a setup where you can deploy the solution much faster and utilize all the aspects of Microsoft Dynamics without jeopardizing your upgrade path.
Another way to increase the value of a multisite installation is to enable intercompany transactions between the companies: a sales order in one generates a purchase order, which generates a sales order in the other company etc.
In many cases, the biggest challenge of multisite systems is the communication between the distributed databases, however with a code-free data integration platform like RapidiOnline or our Replicator 7, this is built in the foundation of the system, thus providing a solution to many common challenges in multisite installations.