What to expect when you are implementing Dynamics GP! 5 steps to success!
“Luck is the residue of design” – Branch Rickey
Successful ERP implementation projects don’t just happen and they are not merely the result of good luck. They are the product of good design, proper planning and project management, and the hard work of a dedicated team of professionals.
All too often, the initial decision for which ERP system will be selected is far too focused on price, and the end results of the implementation project get lost in the negotiation. The initial enthusiasm from saving some small percentage of the total cost is soon swamped by the realization that the technology partner you have selected is unable to deliver on their commitment.
There are many ways to approach the implementation of your new accounting system, and not surprisingly, some approaches work far better than others. Choices can include: slavishly mimicking the “demo company”, “following what worked at the last implementation we did”, “I read about this approach in a book” and other similar methods. Not surprisingly, these approaches produce exactly the results would expect.
Here are the five critical steps in a successful implementation of your new accounting system:
Analyze, Plan and Understand – Start at the beginning. The first step in the implementation process should begin with a thorough review of your business requirements and processes, to identify what is working well and which aspects of your business that may need improvement and refinement. These business requirements will then be mapped into your project plan, which will drive the remainder of the implementation.
Design, Develop and Build – Using the project plan produced in Step 1, your implementation team will next proceed to build your pilot system. This is used to validate those business processes and system functionality detailed in the project plan.
Train, Test and Accept – Building on the lessons learned in the pilot system and using test data migrated from your previous system, Step 3 includes teaching your staff the best practices and procedures to deliver the required functionality. Results from this testing and training period need to be reviewed and a sign-off should be secured, stating that the progress made to date is acceptable and in line with the overall goals of the implementation.
Implement and Go-Live – Working from the knowledge obtained in Steps 2 and 3, your new accounting system should now be complete. Your legacy data is migrated a final time to the new system and all of the experience and resources of the project team are on-site and ready to make the final transition to the new system.
Ongoing Support – With the successful launch of your new system, your technology partner should now continue to provide on-going support. This can be delivered through a help-desk, along with the application of any new updates. Many consulting companies cal also provide free webinars and user group sessions.
As these 5 implementation steps are carried out, beginning with a broad based and all-encompassing perspective of both your internal and external operating environments, the focus of the implementation project is then continuously narrowed to produce exactly the system that is required to meet and exceed the business objectives that have been defined.
These five steps represent distinct phases of the implementation project, and they move in succession. Equally important, however, are those ongoing activities and functions that a successful implementation must include. These are:
Project Management – All aspects of the implementation must be tracked by the Project Manager, whose responsibilities include task assignments, resource availability, project documentation, budget and timeline oversight, and communication among all of the project team members.
Systems Support – Before your project can get under way, a thorough review of the existing infrastructure must be completed. This review of the current systems infrastructure will ensure that the optimum delivery of data and analysis is met. Systems support also provides specific recommendations for the required hardware and software infrastructure.
Consulting Services – Be sure to focus on all of the aspects of your business, including Business Process Review, recommendations for Best Practices, detailed delivery of training and procedures, testing of the pilot and production systems, development of custom reports. A complete examination of your business environment my identify additional opportunities for improvements.
Development Services – Creation, testing and support for custom enhancements and applications, coordination of integrations to existing legacy systems and planned intefaces to other Line of Business systems, custom reporting, dashboards and internal web-sites.
The successful implementation of your new ERP system will not be the result of luck or chance. Managed properly, it should be the culmination of the design of the implementation approach, and the dedication and effort of the project team members. Be sure to select an implementation partner that follows an implementation approach that is based on best practices and their proven results, utilizing a methodology that is rooted in deep experience and knowledge of how to be successful.