This week we held our annual client event. As usual we combined it with our team summer party. Unusually we did not combine it with an update on the world of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The general brief for our client event is to provide information and thank them for their continued, valued custom. So why was it that this year we focused on the latter? Could it be that there was no news to give?! Could it be that with the partner channel turning into a feeding frenzy of piranha tactics we thought that schmoozing was the more important aspect?! Probably a bit of both, although only hindsight has made me consider that this may have been the case in terms of the latter point. Last year we provided an update on NAV 2009 R2, we reminded clients of the key changes (three-tier architecture, web services, role tailored client and SSRS etc) and the benefits these would have for them. We demonstrated add-ons such as Agiles Workflow, Zetadocs and Business Intelligence tools from the simplicity of Jet Reports to the complexity of TargIT. We also profiled client stories such as Enotria’s success with accessing NAV via the sales team’s Blackberries. What else was there to say? We could expand on the benefits of Cloud computing and what it would mean to NAV users but as mentioned earlier, the second objective of our days is to thank clients, not bore them silly with a load of IT hype! Whilst we eagerly await firm release dates for NAV v7, we decided that we would make hay whilst the sun shone. And amazingly it did! The evening was a great success, as a number of the clients have been kind enough to feedback already. It enables clients to meet members of our team who they have only had email and phone contact with; especially with the support team as they are pretty much chained to the desk. We’ve always subscribed to the “people make technology work” school of thought. By meeting the team, by the team meeting the clients, it becomes far easier to build value into the relationship. So, what if you’re not lucky enough to build a great working relationship with your partner? It seems this month that for some partners business is slow and so they are turning their attention to “poaching”. My view is that clients we work well with will not want to leave. Those who may be enticed to switch partners are either being neglected by us (unlikely!) or we’re just not right for each other. Falling into that last group are those companies who apply a traditional purchase manager approach to selecting partners, they are looking for more service at less cost; we may as well be office supplies to them. It can be difficult to benchmark partner performance until you’ve tried them all. If you are tempted to move, look for references, depth of knowledge and dedicated staff, visit the offices and the team. You need to meet the support staff, they may be shy and not as engaging as the smooth sales people (our Tomas, the Czech Joey from Friends notwithstanding!) but they will be the people your business may come to rely on. If you are a NAV user you will probably get a couple of calls or emails encouraging you to look at greener grass on the other side of the fence. You won’t get one from us. We are always happy to talk to users who are genuinely seeking to improve their investment in NAV, but you won’t need us to tell you who you are, you’ll already be deciding whether or not you feel TVision is the partner for you. Maybe we’ll see you at next year’s summer event! Also expected at next year’s event, if not sooner, is NAV v7. We know what to expect based on the Statement of Direction and the buzz on the techies forums. As soon as we have something to show, we will be organising an event to translate the buzz into solid business benefits. Will keep you posted.