With GP 2013 to release here in the next couple of months, there will be many organizations that will be prepping their systems for an upgrade or brand new implementation. In anticipation of this release, ASI would like to offer some helpful tips for preparing both your systems as well as your employees before upgrading or implementing.
- Plan Ahead- you need to give your employees ample time to prepare for the implementation. This could be for various reasons: they need to finish a current project before the change occurs, they need time to back up files or transfer files that they may need to utilize while the implementation process is in effect, or because they need time to study up on the new functionality of the new system. Giving your employees a heads up notice will help ease the transition and avoid chaos later on.
- Choosing a Time to Implement- this goes hand in hand with planning ahead. You want to choose a time that is during a slower part of your schedule, whether that is during a certain time of the week, a month, or a quarter. Trying to implement during your busiest work times is a hassle you'll want to avoid.
- Assign a project manager- this will alleviate some of the headache of trying to figure out who is in charge of what (i.e. scheduling, implementation, billing, follow-up, etc.) Your project manager will be tasked with getting everyone prepared and then following through with each of the phases of implementation including follow-up and billing. The project manager can assign tasks to other employees, but the goal of this is to have someone accountable for the project so nothing falls through the cracks.
- Infrastructure Review- The goal here is to make sure your current technology and infrastructure is capable of running your new upgrade properly. Updates to ERP systems are often more robust with greater functionality than their previous versions, so its good practice to make sure that none of your existing technology needs upgrading first. This could include upgrading third-party software systems that you integrate with your ERP system. If you're not sure what this entails be sure to consult your Microsoft partner that will be handling the implementation to help you with the review.
- Back up your data- it is always a good idea to back up all your data when transitioning systems. This is also a great time to review old data. You can use this time to delete unnecessary records, archive old records that aren't currently being accessed, and update any records that need it.
- Test, Train, and Follow-Up- although these aren't steps in preparing for your implementation/upgrade, they are still just as crucial. While most implementers should test their installations, it is a good idea to look over their shoulder, and have them test the functions of the software that your organization will be utilizing to make sure everything is running properly. While the learning process should be ongoing from when you decide to make the transition, this will be your first opportunity to let your employees use this technology for the first time. Even if you are a veteran of Dynamics products there are always new functions and patches to learn. Consult your Microsoft partner for training opportunities. Finally, always follow-up. Good consultants should always follow-up with you, but that's not always the case. Following-up lets your consultant know of any trouble you are having, errors in the system, or if they did a good job. The more that both parties know about the implementation, the smoother the transition will be for your upgrade/implementation.
Taking simple steps will not only make the implementation of your new software run more smoothly, but it will also help save you time, allowing you to get back to your every day routines more quickly. For any questions be sure to contact ASI, as we would be happy to go into further detail about preparing yourself for your upgrade/implementation.
by Associates Solutions, Kansas Microsoft Dynamics Partner