For many companies, finally getting the final green to migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 feels like the starting gun at the Indy 500. By the time that green light is received, it often seems like the entire organization had to weigh in, with the caveat that somehow the hard-won decision could just as quickly be rescinded due to internal factors (strategy changes, organizational changes, stakeholder attrition, etc.) or external factors (competitive threats, new technology announcements, economic factors, etc.).
For all these reasons, by the time the migration decision is finalized, there can be a great deal of organizational urgency to do something, almost anything, at speed. The organizational inertia can take on a life on its own.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to hit the pause button, as difficult as it might be. Moving forward prematurely can lead to organizational confusion, misapplied resources, frustrated stakeholders, rework and cost overruns – not to mention an implementation that doesn’t fit the needs of the business. Instead, it’s time to do one final check of the key actions that must be completed before starting your migration to Dynamics 365.
Confirm Your Business Justification
The final business justification of undergoing the transformation to D365 should be documented and confirmed among the major stakeholders. This is important for several reasons. First, if the migration to Dynamics 365 doesn’t have the required return on investment, the budget should be allocated elsewhere to projects with a better return. Second, change can cause stress, and it’s important to refer to the business justification to help keep everyone focused on the prize.
In confirming your business justification, a good resource is a Forrester study commissioned by Microsoft. Forrester Consulting conducted a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to evaluate the potential financial impact of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations on typical user organizations. The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Dynamics 365 For Finance And Operations examines the benefits, costs and risks associated with this ERP investment by interviewing several customers using D365 F&O.
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Set Your Go-Live Strategy
Before embarking on an ERP transformation, stakeholders must choose between two major approaches: 1) a tiered, more phased approach or 2) go live all at once through a “big bang” approach.
With a tiered ERP implementation, several smaller but significant go-live milestones are established for different phases of your ERP transformation. While the tiered approach can consume more time in aggregate, it can reduce risk and increase and employee adoption as employees have more time to become comfortable with new processes and new software incrementally, with less risk of becoming overwhelmed.
In a “big bang” ERP implementation, all the company’s locations and ERP modules go live simultaneously. Companies using a big bang approach can often achieve a faster and therefore lower cost approach over companies using the tiered approach. However, as the scale of the big gang implementation increases, so does the risk. Testing, training and data validation become even more important in order to mitigate risk and avoid downtime during go-live.
Develop Your Risk Mitigation Plan
Even though the ROI of successful Dynamics 365 transitions is high, there are many risks that must be mitigated. These include managing stakeholder expectations, inadequate testing, training, user buy-in, turnover and more. How can complex risks like these be mitigated? There are many aspects to this subject, including having a strong executive sponsor, executing a change management program to secure team commitment, regular milestones and readiness assessments, and thorough training to ensure user ownership.
Choose the Right Implementation Partner
In choosing the right implementation partner, several key criteria come to the forefront, including track record, industry experience, methodology and organization fit.
Choose an implementation partner that combines Microsoft Gold certifications with proven industry experience across manufacturing, retail, commerce and logistics. This will help ensure that your Dynamics 365 transformation takes full advantage of leading practices across your end-to-end supply chain and across digital and physical commerce.
Ensure that your implementation vendor has a proven methodology to review your existing processes, find ways to optimize them and provide best practices moving forward.
Organizational fit is also extremely important. Look for a partner with strong emphasis on client ownership and end-user testing before go-live to provide end users with the ability to use, troubleshoot and own the platform as desired.
These are just a few key actions to consider. A deeper view can be found in the white paper, Five Key Actions to Take Before Starting a Microsoft AX to Dynamics 365 Transformation. For more specific information on achieving Microsoft AX to Dynamics 365 transformation success, please contact 877-684-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.