In our last post Are Project Managements Fees a Sneaky Way To Increase the Cost of Dynamics GP? we stressed the need to have a Microsoft Dynamics GP Implementation Project Plan. This is an outline of what that plan would include:
- Discovery Phase - A good Dynamics GP partner will already have a standard project plan template. In each Dynamics GP project, there are some tasks that are the same from plan to plan however every project has areas that are unique. For example, what tasks will be done by your company versus by your partner could be different depending on your skill level and the resources available. During the discovery phase the project manager identifies what work has to be done to make the implementation successful. That includes uncovering the business processes that are necessary in their current system and how these processes may change or improve with the new system.
- Installation Phase - Next the software is actually installed and configured on your server, workstations, or in a cloud.
- Navigation Training Phase - After installation, we provide initial training to familiarize you with the basics of how to navigate Dynamics GP (how to move around in the system and use some basic functions.)
- Set Up Phase - During the set up phase you will be guided through inputting core information such as user names, bank accounts, payment terms, chart of accounts structure and many other administrative type functions that are required by the system. This phase typically involves heavy interaction with the customer’s administrative staff. Day-to day GP Dynamics user have almost no involvement in the installation or setup phases.
- GP Module Training Phase - Next is the actual hands-on training for each Dynamics GP module. During this phase we will train you how to accomplish specific functions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, banking transactions, general ledger and journal entries, and other activities depending on what modules you have elected to implement in Dynamics GP.During the module training, you will need to schedule a substantial amount of time with the GP Dynamics users responsible for each area of your business operation. With a good, well thought out project plan, you will have already identified the details of this phase and allocated adequate time for each person involved.
- Data Conversion Phase - Unless you are a startup, companies usually have a legacy system that is being replaced by Dynamics GP. During the discovery phase we will map out a strategy for how egacy data is going to be migrated into Dynamics GP. CAL will provide the necessary technical resources that can assist in the actual conversion process. You will be asked to provide the conversion data in spreadsheets or CSV files. When necessary, CAL can assist getting data out of the old system and creating the necessary conversion files. Typically conversion items include: chart of accounts, vendors, customers, general ledger and financial history, open accounts payables and open accounts receivables. In the case of a distribution company, the data conversion may also include inventory items, sales order history, and other items relevant to this industry.
- Testing Phase - Testing is very important to make sure that you become comfortable with the system, everything is configured as needed, legacy data has been converted correctly, and the training has been done to your satisfaction - up to this point. The Testing Phase acts as a quality control (QC) process to make sure we've got it right.
- Pre Go Live Phase - Now you are almost ready to go live. But first we have a set of pre go live activities. This includes moving the test database to the live environment, doing final conversions (since the initial conversion took place for training and testing, making sure any required interfaces to other systems are set up and tested, and complete any remaining training.
- Go Live Phase - The go live phase should really be a non-event given that the testing and pre go live phases were successful. This is when we turn the system on for live use and the legacy system becomes inactive. In this phase the customer is using the new system to key in transactions or interface with other systems, producing accounts payable checks, posting cash from receivables, generating invoices, running financial reports, keeping track of inventory or whatever is required. We provide critical support as needed during the go live phase to make sure the transition goes smoothly.
- Support Phase - During and after the Go live phase we will provide continuous support as needed and requested as the customer begins to use the Dynamics GP system.
So the project plan is a controlled & scheduled list of activities and dependencies in each of the project phases where we track the resources are allocated to the time it takes to get a project activities completed and that the project budget is on track. If everything goes as planned, as it typically does when you have a good project plan, then you can expect to hit the timelines and budgetary within 5 -10% of what was planned.
Sometimes we discover that there are things that are out of scope. These typically include additional tasks that the customer asks us to perform that were not part of the original sales agreement or discovery process. Things like this are quoted as out of scope items and are updated into the project plan as needed..
The end goal is to have a solid project plan that manages resources, costs, timeframes, and successful completeness of activities so there are no surprises during the Dynamics GP implementation process.
If you are evaluating Microsoft Dynamics GP and want a partner that will stick to a solid project plan to finish your project on time and on budget, contact CAL Business Solutions. 860-485-0910 x4 or [email protected]
By Steve Brown, CAL Business Solutions, Connecticut/Massachusetts Microsoft Dynamics GP partner,