What are Nav24 Products, who creates them, and how does the entire process of their creation look? To answer these – and a few other – questions, we interviewed Mateusz Ruciński, Business Central Product Manager at Nav24.

Let's start by introducing the Products Department. What does it deal with and who forms the team?

The BC Products Department is primarily engaged in creating solutions or extensions for the Business Central system. These solutions arise from the ideas of our project teams and, most importantly, our clients. Our goal is to enhance the system's accessibility for all users. We reduce implementation costs by distributing ready-made solutions in a more affordable financial form. This is possible because they are delivered to many clients as subscriptions. Additionally, we strive to make life easier for all Business Central users. The changes introduced are sometimes minor but facilitate specific operations within the system. Besides the BC products themselves, we are responsible for various tools that support the work of other teams in Nav24, such as a solution that assists in managing SaaS environments, a set of service tools for handling common service ticket scenarios, and Microsoft Application Insight or Telemetry, which allows us to monitor activities in our environments as well as those of our clients. This enables us to verify for errors and assess how clients utilize our products. This information helps us implement further improvements.

Currently, the permanent team consists of 3 people, including myself, and we dedicate 100% of our time to Nav24 Products. Frequently, we engage individuals from other departments such as consultants, salespeople, or marketing in our activities.

Where do the ideas for your solutions come from?

Primarily from the experiences of Nav24 employees and discussions with our clients. We try to identify common elements in our implementations that result from conversations with clients during the presales phase, and we transform them into ready-made solutions. Some ideas also come from Microsoft itself as they continuously release new Business Central features and enable more interactions with other Microsoft 365 solutions.

What is the process of creating a product, from idea to finished solution, like?

With experience from dozens of implementation projects with clients from various industries, we often have the "market recognition" phase behind us. Therefore, when an idea for a new solution or enhancement arises, we may have encountered similar proposals previously. However, if doubts arise, we collectively contemplate them with other teams or ask clients for their thoughts on the idea.

When we decide to implement a particular idea, we proceed to design the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the new solution – the minimum that needs to be done to ensure sufficient functionality initially. This is always with the assumption of further development. Then, we move on to coding and programming the new solution.

As we approach completion, materials in the form of offers, price lists, or documentation start to emerge, which are presented to the first clients.

Simultaneously, testing of the new functionalities takes place. When everything operates as planned, we officially release the new product: we send internal communications along with complete information, and we reach out to clients through various marketing channels or, if we've already discussed it with them, we contact them directly to share the good news.

Who can benefit from your products?

Any customer with Business Central version 15 or newer, both in the SaaS and OnPremise models. However, there's a difference – in OnPremise, our solution updates occur on demand or during significant Microsoft updates, whereas in SaaS, changes are essentially distributed to clients in real time. Unfortunately, due to technical issues and differences in software language, our solutions aren't compatible with Business Central version 14 or earlier Dynamics Nav.

Could you point out one solution that you're most proud of? Something that was a challenge?

It's hard to pick just one. When it comes to client products, I believe it could be our Integration with couriers solution, but given its early stage, I'd rather not reveal too much. Among the already functioning solutions, I'd highlight the Core Prints solution, a tool comprising several prints primarily from Sales, Purchase, and Service areas. This tool presents a uniform look and functional scope. Prints, due to their numerous requirements, have always been a challenge in every project. The mentioned tool is the result of several years of development and collecting feedback from clients; currently, it's our most popular solution.

Another element I can point out is the automation that we've managed to implement in our team in recent months. It allows us to automatically issue new versions of products. In short, after completing work on a new feature in a product, we initiate a process that updates our product documentation website, updates our internal company Sharepoint, checks if the change is compatible with the current and subsequent versions of Business Central, and finally prepares client environments for product updates to the new version. What was once a manual process taking sometimes even hours, now takes a few minutes and doesn't require human intervention.

What are your plans and ideas, and what are you currently working on?

Currently, we're heavily focused on the aforementioned Integration with Business Central couriers via the GlobKurier platform. This solution will enable the entire shipment ordering process directly from the Business Central system, without leaving it. A significant advantage will be the option to choose any courier and service from dozens of available companies, without any prior declarations. The solution will be available soon on the AppSource platform.

Soon, we'll begin work on a new solution called "Nav24 Assistant," which aims to provide clients with various tools for self-solving certain issues in the system, such as improving specific data. The final shape and scope are yet to be determined. Currently, our ideas cover various solutions, from additional auxiliary information in the system and simple data improvement tools, to incorporating AI solutions that directly assist users within BC.

Let's talk about the people behind your team. What traits and skills should an employee in the Products Department possess?

We often assume that the things we work on and the ERP system we work with are rather niche topics in Polish universities, and the number of people with professional experience is quite limited. Therefore, we assume that everyone needs to learn certain things when they join us.

For this reason, we primarily focus on the approach that a person demonstrates. Do they show interest in this subject matter? Can they handle problem-solving? Are they quick to learn new things?

In the team, we encounter many Microsoft solutions and technologies, allowing everyone to specialize in the area that suits them best. Apart from Business Central and the AL programming language, we work with tools like PowerBI and PowerApps, where we create various solutions for the internal team and the entire Nav24. We utilize numerous Microsoft services in Azure, such as Application Insight (Telemetry) or the documentation website itself, which is hosted on the Azure platform.

If you're interested in Nav24 Products and are looking for a solution for your company, feel free to contact us! Also, be sure to check out our article "Everything You Need to Know About Business Central Extensions".