The 7 Best Practices for your Dynamics 365 Implementation
By SAMANTHA LEMM
Have you implemented a CRM system previously? If so, you know a successful Dynamics 365 Implementation depends on the time and effort that was put into the planning. You also understand the stress and commitment that is required to achieve the deployment. Setting up a successful Dynamics 365 implementation depends on planning for user adoption, as well as business analysis and design. These tips should help you make a profitable operation with Dynamics 365.
The entire concept for your user adoption with the implementation means that everything action taken with Dynamics 365 is done through the user adoption’s own lenses. This will allow you to stay focused on the CRM support with users rather than just the technology aspect.
The 10 major ingredients to a successful user adoption:
- Scope and Vision
- Executive Leadership
- Ownership and Support
- System Function
- Data Quality
- Process Alignment
- End-User Motivation
- Training and Reinforcement
The business analysis process is similar to multiple Dynamics 365 implementations. Professionals meet with experts of technology to collaborate and design the system that will support the business processes. Some steps may take longer than others, depending on the size of your organization. The practices below will assist you in a successful implementation of Dynamics 365.
The 7 Best Practices
1. Involve Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
- Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are a major asset to the project. If you are implementing multiple Dynamics 365 applications at once, validate a SMEs time to allocate toward the work streams. They are able to provide crucial feedback on the solutions, the implementation and how the solutions will support your organization. SMEs reduce project risk and support the post-implementation. However, most forget they have a full-time job to attend to. A tip for this is to make sure your leadership team understands your SMEs involvement in the project, communication has to be made with stakeholders and the steering committee members. This will help to justify the impact they will have on the project and the overall business.
2. Encourage Cross-Practice Collaboration
- A collaborative work environment for when solutions might cross several platforms (Finance & Operations, Sales, SharePoint), is a must. Always be aware and use resources in planning ahead with workshops. Part of this calls for the elimination of duplicated meetings with different consultants from anticipating cross-functional needs. This will assist in your pre-design and solution plans that will occur along the process and it will ensure that applicable questions are discussed with your SMEs.
3. Finish Customization Before Integration
- The best case, which is not always realistic due to timelines and milestones, is waiting to integrate Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. All customizations and migrations should be complete with the Operations (AX) system running smoothly before that happens. But, like I said, it’s not always possible.
- Extending the exercise of data mapping and data script creation until most, if not, all of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is running, will help with a smooth integration process. Dynamics 365 for Sales usually will not take as much time to implement because of application complexities and requirements. It is more flexible with modifications, so you can adjust to meet integrations needs for your business, as a result.
4. Determine the “System of Record”
- When the integration discussion begins, ask yourself, which system will be the ‘System of Record” or hold the “Master Data?” Typically, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is chosen for this, but Dynamics 365 for Sales can be chosen as the “System of Record,” depending on the data it needs to store. Some businesses require that when prospects are converted to “customers.” They are then “sent” over to the ERP system, with their information now residing there. Establishing these decisions around a “System of Record” during the integration discussion can help with design options and security requirements.
5. Make Sure the IT Team is Involved in Decisions
- The right integration tools are usually decided on by the partner or consultant that is implementing the solution, but this is not how it should be. The IT department of the organization involved in the implementation process should be included in the decision-making process. Although complex integrations are done by partners and consultants, when these professionals complete the project, your organization will need to support the integrated solution to make future modifications.
6. Align Important Implementation and Business Timelines
- When do we implement? This is an important factor to consider in the initial planning on the implementation timeline. It will be a “year-end closing” month for your company, so use this time to develop an attainable deployment plan. The year-end closing month is the most important date during the implementation. It can be overlooked easily and that can result in delays in the Dynamics ‘go live’ plans.
7. Keep Cross-Functional Teams on the Same Page
- Two former product lines (CRM and AX) are now brought together by Dynamics 365. The same needs need to be done with the implementation teams. An important role that several software providers that ensure team alignment is the Enterprise Architect. They offer a cross-functional team guidance to both your team and the software provider’s team. This guides all team members toward a common goal. Food for thought – if your company does not use an Enterprise Architect, the most successful implementations occur when cross-functional teams are on the same page at each step of the project.
A successful implementation for Dynamics 365 takes an extended amount of time and effort. However, if the overall goal for your organization is to be productive and have a seamless Dynamics 365 adoption, these tips should help you to achieve that. Setting up a successful implementation depends on planning for user adoption, and business analysis and design. This will allow you to stay focused on the CRM support with your users, rather than just the technology aspect. Are you ready to try the best practices?
Contact us today to learn more about conducting a successful Dynamics 365 implementation.