Great news! Agiboo has teamed up with MS Business Central specialist Vasilok for the next step in the development of Agiblocks, our premium CTRM software solution. Vasilok has created a connector that will effortlessly link Agiblocks to Business Central in order to access the advantages of both tools. We talked to Vasilok founder and owner Rens van Vught to explain what that means for your daily commodity trading practices.
“Business Central is an enormously versatile package – but you do need to know how to use it correctly”, says Van Vught. “I take customers by the hand so that they get the most out of the software. After all these years, I still get happy from a successful implementation.”
Business Central is part of the Microsoft Dynamics family, and shares the same datamodel as Navision, because NAV as well as Axapta is being phased out in favor of its heir apparent. In other words, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365BC) is the successor of Dynamics NAV. It is one of the most used ERP software programs for business operations.
”Van Vught (1966) has been active in the Navision and NAV world since 1997. Or to be more precise: when Navision Financials for Windows came on the market in the mid-nineties, he was one of the very first users. He designed and developed the first certified module in the Netherlands. During the next ten years, Van Vught was co-owner of a medium-sized NAV partner and once again pioneered Navision. “In terms of content, I grew along with the package and acquired extensive experience in project management.”
“After ten years it was time to spread my wings. I have supported numerous organizations in their NAV projects over the past few years. Sometimes I did that alone, sometimes with a team of other freelancers; sometimes as a consultant, sometimes as a pure programmer. In recent years, I increasingly fulfill the role of project manager and put together the best team for each assignment. My large network within the NAV world comes in handy here; I know a lot of professionals who are excellent with this package, both technically and functionally.”
Van Vught is specialized in fast and efficient implementation of new platforms and upgrades of existing environments. It is exactly that expertise that brought us together: there’s no one quite like Van Vught when it comes to unlocking all that Business Central has to offer. Vasilok was the go-to company to create our connector, no question.
“We’ve first crossed paths four or five years ago”, says Van Vught. “We met when Jan (van den Brom, Managing Partner of Agiboo, ed.) approached me on behalf of several customers who were having issues in Navision. We’ve been working together ever since, but the current collaboration is a different one. We have set out to create a connector that will link Agiblocks to Microsoft Business Central for a convenient and reliable way to combine both tools. It’s a very interesting convergence of two first-rate systems!”
“MS D365BC is the best ERP or enterprise resource planning software out there. It houses all the important aspects to ensure that processes are automated and optimized. As a result, you work cost-effectively and do not spend money unnecessarily. In that regard, it is very much like Agiblocks, a clear market-leading tool too. And as with Agiblocks, D365BC allows you to work from the cloud. This means that you can quickly keep up with developments and, more importantly, you no longer have to look at your ICT, such as servers, backup and security. In addition, you can work from anywhere; at the office or on the road. Just from your browser on your laptop or via the mobile app. Again, it’s the Agiblocks way through and through. There’s just one thing missing in D365BC, and that is a CTRM solution.”
In the end, it is much like Erik van der Flier said when we asked him why his company Agroforce turned to Agiblocks: the soft commodities trade is unique and very specific. “Your software should reflect that and have all those variables and requisites built-in to allow you the freedom and flexibility necessary to do your job as a commodity trader.” That is what Agiblocks brings to the table, and that is what D365BC is missing. “But by the same token”, says Van Vught, “what Agiblocks is missing, is the financial specifics of billing, of in- and outgoing invoices. Business Central and Agiblocks complement each other perfectly, we just needed a means of communication. That’s where our connector comes in.”
D365BC is ideally suited to communicate with a product such as Agiblocks, you just need to ‘make a connection’. “We decided to provide that bridge; a link between a CTRM solution that is uniquely suited to a specific industry on the one hand, and all the financial possibilities and prowess of an ERP software package – specifically D365BC – on the other.”
“One of the advantages of D365BC – and indeed one of the reasons it matches so well with Agiblocks – is the international aspect, which is always the best option for the end user. It is now a SaaS solution in the cloud, just like Agiblocks. No dependence on location, end user or office tools – OSX versus Windows for example –, but simple convenience and efficiency. Nobody wants an office full of bookkeepers when a third of that manpower suffices. Lastly, it is part of the Microsoft Power Platform, so it can be matched to a variety of other useful tools. It integrates easily and is always a step ahead of the rest. It’s future-proof.”
The (not-so) technical part
Now, it is of course already possible to use both Agiblocks and MS Business Central, as individual tools. It’s just not efficient. It requires a lot of repetitive actions, wasting time and money on activities that can and should be automated. In fact, the very reason Agiblocks was developed was to enhance overall efficiency and reduce those wasteful tasks. All we needed was a way to streamline the daily use of both sets of software. That’s why we started work on our connector, which has been in development for months. “In fact, a prototype has already been put to the test, as we have approached an existing customer to assist us in a pilot scenario – which has proved quite successful.”
“Interfacing always comes down to the correct tuning of two different systems. For example, one entry field is 50 characters long, another input box is 100; it’s all about testing and adjusting until it fits. It’s not that complicated when you are trying to adapt variables to financial software, because in the end calculation systems have stayed the same and the general ledger has to balance out. It’s about smooth, clear, effective and ultimately fully functional communication between both systems. That’s what our connector provides.”
Best of both worlds
“When it comes to accounting, every organization has to comply with local or national legislation. You can do that with D365BC without any problems, regardless of the market. Take the differences between Dutch GAAP and US GAAP, or the complex VAT-situation in Italy. It’s all there in Business Central, so you already have a first-class solution for your finances. Add Agiblocks as a best of breed software for commodity traders and you have the leading packages of both worlds.”
“Efficient and easy to use technology, the global nature of both packages, a back-office that you can deploy worldwide, the benefits are endless. The best part? We expect the final version of our connector to be ready within the next two months.” Stay tuned!
Agiblocks is the first CTRM software solution that simplifies the daily practices of commodity trade professionals. It has been developed with the single goal of making your fixed routine of commodity trading and risk management more efficient. Its clean user interface is simple with fast access to key functions. For every task, from creating a contract to evaluating your risk, all required information is readily available. It is as powerful on smartphones and tablet computers as it is on the desktop, so it’s accessible anytime, anywhere.
Experience our CTRM software solution for free and get a front-row seat to all the benefits Agiblocks has to offer with our free demo. The full range of Agiblocks functionality is available within the demo environment for your browsing leisure. Familiarize yourself with the tools and features of our powerful and agile software solution and find out how you can make the daily practices of commodity trade and risk management more efficient. Fill out the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible!