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Support Superstars: Dave Whitham

The list of criteria for picking a support provider is a long one. When choosing your Microsoft Dynamics support partner, you want to engage in a partnership with someone you know you can trust and rely on to get you out of a pickle. We recently surveyed our customers about choosing a support provider, and one of the key areas that swayed them to join Advantage was our amazing support team.

We’re definitely blowing our own trumpet here, but we sat down and had a chat with our very own Dave Whitham from our Dynamics NAV team, to find out his astonishing story.

Dave moved to the UK from Southern Africa in 2001 and has been on a startling journey to become the NAV expert he is today.

Q: When did you join Advantage?

I joined Advantage in October 2014. I’m coming up to my 2 year anniversary soon!

Q: Tell us a little bit about your experience before coming to Advantage

I finished school after getting my A levels and became a sports coach; specialising in Rugby and Cricket for a couple of years in Southern Africa. During this time, I also volunteered at a church for a year, helping children orphaned by AIDS. I moved to the UK in 2001 and immediately got a job stacking shelves at a supermarket to make ends meet. I finally got an opportunity after some time to work in IT. I was thrilled! I always knew growing up that I wanted to be involved in IT.

Q: How did you get involved with NAV?

My involvement with NAV started when I joined the IT sector. I started off as an end user and gradually moved to the implementation side of things. I worked for three different Microsoft partners as a NAV functional consultant, picking up additional skills.

Q: What’s your biggest strength?

Touching on what I said earlier – because I’ve used NAV as an end user and actually implemented NAV, it puts me in a unique position to understand my customer’s pain points, frustrations and see things from their perspective.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your day to day?

It’s honestly really varied. At some points, I’ll be walking through a technical demo with a prospective client to support our sales team. At other times, I’ll be hands on with our technical teams, designing various aspects of a new system prime for implementation. I’ll often serve as a point of contact for clients, as we handover to our support teams for post-implementation care. My technical background really helps put our clients at ease during this process.

Q: What skills do you think you need for your job?

Gosh – A huge variety! I think passion and understanding of NAV is pretty crucial. You also need to have a great deal of empathy and understanding too. Most of my clients when they first come on board are rudderless, confused and pretty damn frustrated! So putting yourself in their shoes for a moment really helps. As clichéd as it sounds, you definitely need to be a team player too – you need to be able to work closely with your client and internally too. Implementing NAV is a bit of a herculean undertaking. (One I love though!)

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Fixing customer issues. When I start a project with a client, things are typically in disarray. Systems aren’t working, processes are inefficient and people are generally frustrated. It’s a great feeling that after a couple months, I can walk out of a business knowing that the work that I’ve done, has helped to transform the fortunes of a business. I’m especially proud that the work I do helps people with their day to day lives.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

It has to be managing client expectations. NAV is one of the best ERPs out there in my opinion and more than often during an implementation process, clients begin to realise the actual capabilities of NAV. This can sometimes lead to a revision of plans made during the initial scoping process. This is totally fine, but it can lead to additional costs and time spent implementing NAV. It’s about working with your client to support their needs and helping them understand how different features and functionality will impact their business.

Q: Tell me about Advantage’s support in your own words

I really care about Advantage’s support. Before I joined I heard really positive things about the level of support Advantage offer. Whilst Advantage isn’t as big as some Microsoft partners out there, they’re especially great with the personal touch. I was pretty astonished by the number of ways a client can get in touch with Advantage. You can email, phone or use remote tools. I also know that our support teams are very proud of their SLA and strive to resolve issues as quickly as possible.

Q: What would you be doing if you hadn’t decided to follow this career path?

Oh, I’d absolutely have been a fighter pilot. If not, then I fancy myself as a musician!

Q: How do you relax when you’re not at work?

Family time is really important to me. I have a beautiful wife and 2 children and they mean the world to me! Outside of that, I have a couple of hobbies which includes playing and recording music, gaming and building model kits – I’m a total geek really!

If you’re interested in hearing more about our Support Superstars, subscribe to our blog. We’ll be featuring more of our Superstars in the very near future!