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Cloud ERP Chatter: When Skill & Hard Work Meets Opportunity

Navigator Business Solutions, cloud pioneer, SAP Gold Partner, and perennial award winner within the ERP SME space, has again been in the news recently.  To better understand how Navigator drives success year over year, Carolyn Horiel from the Cloud Ecosystem and Channels team sat down with Grant Fraser, Navigator President and CEO, to learn what makes them tick and what he sees as the future of business solution industry.

Tell us a little about Navigator.
Founded in 2005, Navigator’s headquarters is based in Salt Lake City, Utah and employs 60+ staff to support sales and services nationally.  We are an early adopter of using a cloud solution, signing on as a SAP Business ByDesign partner in 2009, and making the switch to ByDesign internally here at Navigator in 2013.  

When and why did your firm become a SAP Cloud Partner?
Cloud is the future, although that was not as obvious in 2009.  We felt that we could provide better value to our customers, especially the smaller ones removing the hardware/database component.  We also felt the recurring revenue of the Cloud was attractive, although cash and margin is challenging in the initial years.  We felt that in 5 years (back in 2009) that 80% of all ERP sales would be Cloud, so we better get started now.  As it turned out – in 2009, we had 0 new customers, 20% new customers in 2010 were Cloud, 2011 it was 40%, 2012 was 60%, 2013 was 72%, 2014 was 86% and so on.  Now all of our new customers are implemented on the Cloud.

What would you say is Navigator’s niche market; what separates you from other partners?
Our focus on the Cloud separates us from most – we have more Cloud experience and provide a fixed price implementation, and off the shelf integration tools to EDI, eCommerce, Sales Tax, Credit Card, Shipping, POS, and Configurator.  We provide rapid response to prospective customers, and current customers’ needs for proposals, demos, and solutions.  We have core competency in manufacturing, wholesale distribution, and professional / commercial services.  We have developed special functionality for Life Sciences, Capital Equipment and even Cannabis.

What major business benefits has Navigator realized from forming a partnership with SAP?
Our long term competency has been manufacturing, and the SAP product line has allowed us to expand our offering to wholesale distribution and professional and commercial services.  Through the SAP Ecosystem, we have leveraged our products and abilities to winning customers in every state in the continental US, and through our development efforts and SAP extensions, through other SAP partners to every continent.  Finally, SAP’s support of the Cloud has helped drive some great growth for our business.

Okay last question, balancing so many business priorities day to day, how do you unwind?
I like to cook for my family and I have become a decent chef.   Outside of the kitchen, I do enjoy spending time on a houseboat on Lake Mead with no cell phone, and no email.  But, that doesn’t happen very often.

Thank you Grant.  Your insight into the industry and why Navigator is so successful has been a tremendous learning experience for me.   You truly run your business by your personal philosophy, “luck happens when skill and hard work meets opportunity.”  It’s not mystery why Navigator has been chosen as a perennial SAP Cloud Partner of the Year.  Navigator runs not by luck, but by your skill and tenacity while supporting SAP cloud customers. 

To learn more about Navigator and how they can bolster your business through the Cloud, click here.

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