Paul Burnett joined the Silverware, Inc. team in 2014, after working for nearly eight years in his previous position where he was responsible for ERP implementations. Around the office, Paul is considered “The King of Integration.” Given his background and years of experience in the industry, Paul offers valuable insight since he started working at Silverware and what it takes to have a successful ERP implementation. We recently sat down with Paul to learn more.
What changes have you seen during the past five years and how has it affected the work you do at Silverware?
I’ve seen some big changes with the software. I was on the customer side when we implemented NAV 2009 R2, which was the first role tailored to the client, and arguably the worst version on NAV. When I started with Silverware in 2014, there was quite a bit of support with the classic client. Over the next few years, it moved more to the Window’s client and now, we are moving to the modern client, which is cloud-based. Adding customers, each version of NAV/Business Central changes, so it is important to keep a handle on the different versions, which, in itself is a challenge. As we look to the future, one of the nice things about the newest version is the use of extensions in Business Central. It makes upgrading and updating much easier and more uniform. It also gives all customers on Business Central a similar baseline ability and structure.
Another major change is with the office tools we now use. When I first started, we communicated through Google Chat and Go-To Meeting. Then we switched to Skype for Business and later to Zoom. We now use Teams. Each move requires some adjustment, but it is positive and gives us capabilities that we did not have before.
Today’s customers are more and more self-learners compared to the past and have a better baseline understanding of ERP systems or at least, the order entry processes. I think this is due to more and more exposure in our daily lives to online processing, e-commerce websites like Amazon.
As the “King of Integration,” what are some of the biggest challenges you see customers face during an integration and how do you help them overcome those challenges?
Haha, thank you for the endorsement! Seriously, I think the big challenge when working with customers on data integration is setting the expectation and helping them understand the process. Syncs can be very difficult due to the many factors involved. These include differences in data structure, differences in the processes, connecting to the various sources and the level of integration. It is one thing to push data from one system to another, it is a whole other thing if there are rules around when and how that data goes, and if it comes back to the original source or if there are other factors we need to consider. We are experts in Dynamics NAV/Business Central and Dynamics Sales (CRM). If we are doing an integration that involves other systems, there is a learning game to determine how it all needs to come together. We are not experts in every product out there (Shopify, Salesforce, BondPro or the homebuilt access databases that we encounter). It takes time to learn the other systems that a customer is using. We aren’t just learning the customer’s process in that system; we actually learn the system processes behind that and the structure that it is built on. Syncs aren’t going away. I believe they are going to be more common and requested more often as the world of software expands.
Can you tell us about an interesting project you have worked on recently?
One of the main enjoyments for me is working with a new customer. I especially enjoy is learning about their business and process and matching that to the systems. To give you an idea of the variety, here are some of the projects I’ve found interesting:
- We are currently working with a retailer that manufactures and sells vaping devices. Their business is in a new territory regarding regulations and rules and it needs to react quickly to the market and be as flexible as possible. The company ships internationally and in today’s economy that means there are tariffs to deal with. In addition, they sync between four programs with two more on the horizon, which is a big factor in the success of this project. It’s fun and interesting working through these challenges, although it can be stressful.
- Another project I worked on recently was with a dropship company that only buys for sales orders and never for inventory. They never see the product; it is all shipped directly to the customer from the vendor. They have a sync to an industry specific e-commerce site, and we bring orders down into NAV. We are also pushing a sync to CRM that contains all the invoicing details from NAV for the CRM user to access and view.
- We are working with a company that produces training materials for professionals. They assemble, package and ship the product all over the world, which is interesting and challenging.
What do you enjoy most or find most rewarding about your job?
As I mentioned earlier, I really enjoy working with new customers and on new projects, especially on the discovery and solution solving side of things. As issues or questions arise, providing a solution for our clients brings me a lot of satisfaction. Every customer is unique and has unique requirements. While no two projects are the same, most projects can be broken down to “I have something to sell and this is how I get it.”
We understand you enjoy traveling and riding your motorcycle. If you could take a road trip anywhere, where would you like to go and what would you want to do?
Well, the motorcycle days are done for now. I have a 4-year-old son with another little one on the way and felt that the motorcycle was not right for this time in my life. As for traveling, I love it. I’ve been to almost every state in the U.S. and seen quite a bit internationally. I’ve traveled to Russia, the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia. I really enjoy meeting new people, seeing new sights and enjoying the culture there (although sometimes it is the tourist culture). With kids, it is tougher to make the long journeys, but it is something that I want to continue to do with my family. I traveled a lot growing up with my mom and dad and want to share that experience with my sons and wife. If I could go anywhere, my next trip would be to England to see my dad, who lives there. This would also allow my sons to become duel citizens of the U.K. like I am.
When you are not working, what do you like to do to relax and unwind?
Well, we just bought a house that I’ve been remodeling after work for the last two months. I finally finished and we moved last weekend. That has been my after-work schedule as of late, but I like spending time with my son, Henry, and my wife, Jessica.
If you are interested in learning more about how Paul Burnett and the Silverware team can help with your systems integration, contact us and let’s talk.