Occasionally I talk to someone who has experienced or heard of a failed Microsoft Dynamics GP or other ERP software implementation. The key to a successful software implementation is having a project plan in place. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of an ERP implementation and discovering you have missed a key point of the process. I have found that if you follow a few simple steps you can avoid the majority of the setbacks caused by non-documented processes. Following are some key points that will ensure a
1) Decide up front what your project objectives are. This will help you to remain focused, and keep the project running smoothly and on time. Knowing where you want the solution to take you allows you to keep your focus on the important pieces of your implementation. If there other objectives come up, you can always add a Phase II to your project.
2) The next key point is to document your requirements for the Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation. Often, you discover that you perform many requirements out of habit, making it easy to overlook something vital. Documenting your process for every project will alleviate the frustration of discovering you missed a step halfway thru an implementation. Again, remember to stay focused on the goals for the project. This is not the time to add expensive custom pieces because they look good in the moment. Design the process, and then see what can be adjusted to match the program process.
3) I believe a strong internal project management organization is one of the most important parts of a successful implementation. Even the best solutions can fail if you do not have the right internal team members on the project. A strong management team must have the ability to both manage effectively and centralize project focus. Stake holders often increase the scope of a project without increasing the budget or timeline. This can make or break an implementation. It is vital to include team project members that can both manage the scope and make clear decisions on what must be done in the first phase as opposed to what can be handled in a later phase.
4) Testing is imperative to a successful Dynamics GP implementation. I suggest three stages of testing for your new ERP solution. Begin testing early in the installation, and continue to test often. An analogy I have often heard is that testing is like brushing your teeth. To keep a clean implementation you must test (brush) often. I find the best practice is to put your best users in a lab mode, and set the expectation for them to find gaps. Making your users key owners of the system instead of passive bystanders will lead to them taking ownership of the product in a faster and more productive manner.
5) Last, but certainly not least, is the importance of training. I find that a one-time training is not enough. In most situations, you will need to train, train, and then retrain. Start training at the beginning of the project with the expectation that you will be retraining them at the end. Come back in six months to a year and train the users again. More experience in using the program will generate more detailed questions, as well as allow users to better apply the training provided.
Often, we are so focused on the big picture of a project that we forget to focus on these small details that will pave the way to a successful implementation.
Article by: Dave Bollard - Head of Marketing | 801-436-6636
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