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Crestwood Associates

Dynamics GP Training –Why it Really is THAT important – Part I


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    A key part of any new Dynamics GP implementation is end user training.  You might remember from our previous post on keeping your ERP budget on track (How to Blow Your ERP Budget in 6 Easy Steps), that not providing for adequate training can lead to many problems.  And the importance of ongoing end user training is critical for companies already running  Dynamics GP.  It is both important and valuable to maintain the skill levels of employees, train new employees, and ideally cross train staff to provide coverage in case of emergency in loss of staff.

    The question then becomes how much training and what type of training to obtain.  There are two trends that impact how much training is needed.

    • Intuitive Interface.   Dynamics GP is becoming easier and easier with each release.  Microsoft has spent a lot of money to analyze how people work and the inherent processes that are needed as part of any financial system, and have made the product more intuitive than ever.  They have done a great job in improving the user interface, providing context-aware menu options, and minimizing the clicks and keystrokes needed to complete a task.  This is especially the case with Dynamics GP 10 and its use of the Ribbon Interface and Action Panes.  Additionally, Dynamics GP continues to look more and more like Outlook (as are all Dynamics products).  This adds yet another level of consistency in look and feel, which greatly reduces the time to ramp-up.  So with such an intuitive, evolved product, why would you need to factor in training with such emphasis?
    •  Robust Functionality.  While Microsoft user-analysts continue to improve intuitiveness, on the other side of the cubicle wall, product developers march on adding rich new features to the product.  As the product continues to evolve, the built-in capabilities continue to grow in both number and complexity.   This leads to the critical need for training to show users how to accomplish the ever-growing functions and processes, and get the most out of their product.

    It’s kind of like visiting an exotic locale for the first time – could you play the tourist and muddle through on your own?  Sure.  Would it be a better trip with a knowledgeable insider at your side?  Absolutely.  And just like that vacation, you want to squeeze every last drop of value from your investment.  You’d be astonished how many people still try and do it the hard way.  We hear from a lot of customers that they just can’t spare an employee to send to training class.  But if you got down to the dollars and cents of it, what makes more financial sense:  having an employee spend double the time every day for weeks (or months) fumbling through tasks, or sending them to a class and having them whiz through them from that point forward?  The key to being able to make employees available for classes is to plan for the training, and view it as every bit as critical to your operations as closing out the month or running payroll.

    The bottom line is that the proper training of your Dynamics GP users (and support staff) is a critical component of any successful implementation.  It will not only help you maximize the return on your investment, but develop “ownership” of the product by the end users, increase their self-sufficiency leading to reduced future consulting costs, and maximize their efficiency with the product allowing you to do more with less people (something in today’s economy that has become a necessity).   Don’t go it alone, and don’t skimp.

    So now that you know that you must plan for training, what training options make the most sense?  Well as the product has evolved, so have the options for training content and delivery method.  In Part II of this entry (due out next week), we'll discuss some of the options available and how to choose the best approach. Stay tuned!

    Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have: Rick Feterick, Crestwood Associates LLC 847-394-8820 x48, or [email protected].

    by Crestwood Associates LLC -  an Indiana Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner.

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