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Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions

Can You Install Dynamics GP on Your Own and Should You?


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    When you receive a quote for the cost Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation services you might be tempted to ask, “Do I really need to have a Microsoft Dynamics GP partner implement my software? We’ve got smart people on our team; couldn’t we save money by doing it on our own?”

    That is a valid question because everyone likes to save money. So here is our honest answer.

    First of all, let’s break the Dynamics GP implementation process into three pieces:

    1. Installation (on the server)
    2. Setup and Data Conversion
    3. Training

    1) Installation of the Dynamics GP Software

    Honestly, we've seen quite a few companies try to do the installation of Dynamics GP themselves, but very few have been successful. The reason for this is because there are so many different options that you can choose when you do the installation, not only from what modules you're going to install and how  to enable them, but also their physical configuration.  You can install it on desktops with a centralized database on a single server or you can install everything on a terminal server so it can be accessed remotely. All this requires technically astute IT staff.

    It's pretty easy to get into trouble once you start doing the installation process in regards to what goes where, what things to turn on or turn off, and what modules you actually have purchased and how you wake those up in the installation process. Successful installation involves either an intimate knowledge of Dynamics GP.

    There are installation guides that Microsoft provides to customers. You have to watch those very carefully and have a reasonably good technical background in order to follow through on them or you will burn up a lot of hours and waste a lot of time.

    In the long run, most people wind up calling us for help when they try to install Dynamics GP themselves.

    In a sales proposal, we bundle the installation process with the actual proposal. When you install the software, there's the physical installation and then there's the actual setup of the modules.

    We normally budget about 8 hours for the Dynamics GP installation process.

    2)  Setup and Data Conversion in Dynamics GP

    The next step is the setup of the software and transfer of your critical business data. The various options in Dynamics GP have to be configured in order to successfully start using the software. It starts out with what does your chart of accounts look like, how many segments, what's the length of the segments. You need a good understanding of accounting and how you want to do your reporting in order to determine what your chart of accounts should look like.

    Then there are things like setting up bank checkbooks, payment terms, all sorts of other options that are necessary in order to use the Dynamics GP system successfully. Dynamics GP has a checklist that can take you through all the different options, but you need a really good solid accounting background and at least the knowledge of using accounting systems, in order to determine what the checklist questions are actually requiring.

    Setting up the system includes certain accounts, setting up databases and configuring users, also making sense of all the different options and enabling different components to work together. And getting a system set up so that you can integrate your old system into the new system historically speaking, with opening balances, transactions, et cetera. The setup process can actually take quite a bit of time.

    We normally budget 4 to 8 hours for the Dynamics GP set up process.

    Data conversion, which we consider part of the setup process, can take anywhere between 10 to 80 hours depending upon the complexity of what's going to be converted: how many years of data, how many companies are going to be set up, etc. This is not something for the faint of heart.

    We normally budget 10 to 80 hours for Dynamics GP data conversion.

    You can learn more about how to save money during the data conversation process in the white paper “30 Questions Every CFO Must Ask About the Cost of Accounting Software” at www.calszone.com/30questions.

    3)  Training for Dynamics GP

    The next step is training on the actual use of the Dynamics GP software itself on a day to-day operational basis. Microsoft does provide unlimited online training tutorials to every customer, available on the CustomerSource website.  But they do a major dump of every feature, every option, every field, and every screen. This can be overwhelming to the average person unless they have some prior Dynamics GP experience. Most businesses will probably use 20 or 30 percent of the actual product and the challenge in training yourself in using the system is how to sort through all of the information to find out what will be useful to you.

    Some companies take a fire hose approach to training. They view all the videos and review all the options and how to use the system. They can get very confused because in all actuality they wind up just using a very small percentage of all the system capabilities.  That's part of the value that a partner like CAL Business Solutions brings to a company.  We do a discovery process to find out what features, what functions, what screens, what reports, etc. you need in your system and we tailor it for you in the setup process and follow-up training so that you're only getting exposed to the things that are relevant to your particular business.

    We provide overview training where we teach you how to navigate around the system, how to set up users, how to administrate the system. And then there's the actual detailed training of the General Ledger, Accounts Payment, Accounts Receivable, Inventory and whatever other modules you're using. We know all the shortcuts.  You don't have to sit around and watch literally hundreds of hours of videos and try to sort through it all.  We build a custom training program for you.

    We normally budget 34 to 200 hours for the Dynamics GP set up process.

    As you can see, the amount of training we provide varies widely depending on your needs.

    Find out more about what is included in the Microsoft Dynamics implementation services cost estimate in the white paper, “Beyond Software: How to Estimate the Cost of ERP Implementation Services”.

    Can you install Dynamics GP on your own?

    So the answer to the question, “Can I implement Microsoft Dynamics GP on my own” is yes. You can do it on your own. Technically, you can repair your car on your own too, but do you really want to? By entrusting your installation, setup and training to the experts at CAL Business Solutions, you will save yourself time, money and headaches.

    However, we do work with clients that choose to do the implementation on their own, and we will support you in any way we can. At CAL Business Solutions, we aim to be the partner that is “easy to work with” in the way that fits you best.

    If you are evaluating new accounting software, contact CAL Business Solutions, [email protected] 860-485-0910 x4.

    Request a free Microsoft Dynamics GP Quick Quote including software licenses, annual maintenance fees and estimated implementation services at www.calszone.com/quick-quote.

    By Steve Brown, CAL Business Solutions, Connecticut Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner, www.calszone.com

     

     

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