Although Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP implementation projects offer numerous benefits, they typically carry a certain degree of risk, as any ERP solution would. According to Gartner, approximately 75% of all ERP projects fail. This is largely due to implementation issues rather than the product itself. Inadequate budget, lack of disciplined project management, low involvement of important decision makers, lack of preparedness, and implementations done by inexperienced professionals are some of the reasons for costly Dynamics AX ERP implementation failures. So how does one overcome such challenges and ensure a positive outcome? Let’s look at some of the success strategies that are essential if you are taking the Dynamics AX ERP plunge:
Choosing the Right Dynamics Software: The best way to begin is to first evaluate ERP requirements and select a solution that best fits your needs. While you may feel that any of the Dynamics software options will work and that your organization will seamlessly conform to the functionality of the software, a one-size-fits-all approach can prove disastrous for your business. Expert consultants with extensive experience in Dynamics AX ERP implementation and knowledge of factors that lead to ERP failure can help in choosing the ideal software for you. Such experts can help conduct a process review, evaluate the technical fit, and help you understand the total cost of ownership and the benefits that the system will offer.
Robust Organizational Change Management: Massive greenfield implementation projects like Dynamics AX ERP can mean a drastic change in job responsibilities for several employees in the enterprise. Leadership must try to dispel any apprehensions that employees may have about their future in the organization. Organizational change management is important as it helps build trust between all stakeholders. This leads to superior communication of project goals, helping you categorize people who support the project and those who may hold the project back. An effective change management strategy also helps set a strong foundation for training and testing, increasing the chances of a successful implementation.
Strong Project Management Team: Involvement of top management in every phase of the implementation is essential for a successful ERP implementation. In addition to charting out a vision and a concrete plan for the implementation, executives must be present during all stages of the project and act as mentors, steering the project and motivating stakeholders along the way. Good visibility and regular communication from the project management team on project progress and roadblocks is important not just at the beginning of the project, but all the way through.
Having a Good Relation with Microsoft: While in-house support and strong leadership is essential for ERP project success, a good relationship with Microsoft is equally crucial. Having regular meetings with the ERP vendor will ensure they are fully engaged throughout the implementation process. Such involvement will also help in situations where things are not going as per the original plan; Microsoft will be in a better position to understand the problem area and develop steps to escalate issues, mitigate risks, and reduce the chances of failure.
Effective Training: Having an effective training program for future users of Dynamics AX ERP software is important to ensure success. Different departments will have different training requirements based on the functionality and system they are going to use. Training the core team and a small group of initial users or superusers can work as a pilot training session. By bringing in more people and training a larger group, you can reinforce training guidelines but make sure to keep the content and format diverse, so as to ensure widespread acceptance and understanding of the new system. In order to be effective, training needs to be an ongoing process and should continue even after the system go-live date.
Efficiently Managing Customizations: While some amount of personalization is essential to ensure Dynamics AX ERP best fits the needs of your organization, ad-hoc customization may result in additional consulting hours, leading to project delays and budget overruns. Out-of-control software customizations and configurations can be eased with strong project governance practices, a concrete project plan, and a strong escalation path for customizations and configurations.
Dealing with Unhappy Staff: Although Dynamics AX ERP project implementations offer a positive ROI after a specified period of time, there might be workers who are resistant to the project. While such workers might pose hindrance to the successful acceptance and usage of the system, it is a good idea to deal with them from the beginning. Very often, such workers voice concerns with the project that have previously not been considered, so it is important to listen to them and ensure their apprehensions are addressed and communicated.
A positive outcome from a Dynamics AX ERP implementation is a result of streamlined processes. While Dynamics AX ERP systems result in extraordinary business benefits, they also can require substantial changes in employee attitudes and the overall culture of the company. By having a strong change management system in place in addition to a strong project management team, effective training, and a good relationship with Microsoft, you can ensure a positive ROI for years to come.
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