By Nicola Wright
When it comes to picking the right CRM or ERP for your business, there are a lot of reasons why Microsoft Dynamics 365 could be a winning choice.
A powerful but flexible solution, Dynamics 365 can be an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes, providing scalable systems that grow with your business.
The effectiveness of any business solution can live and die by its implementation, so getting it right the first time can save a whole lot of headaches. As part of our latest Nigel Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft Business Applications Edition 2022, we asked Microsoft Dynamics users about the biggest challenges they faced during Microsoft Dynamics implementation. Let’s take a look at some of these trials, and find out how your business can avoid them.
Difficulty finding the right skills needed to execute an implementation is now the biggest hurdle faced by Dynamics users—48% of users cited this as a major challenge, up from 35% the previous year.
Implementing a new CRM or ERP system is not a straightforward IT project. Rolling out a new solution isn’t something that’s done often, and although your IT team may have been involved in an implementation at some point in their careers, they probably won’t be specialists. Heaping an implementation on your team alongside other IT projects can not only prolong the implementation process but may disrupt your other IT needs with its complexity and scale.
As tempting as it might be for an SME to try and implement in-house, having a Microsoft Dynamics expert on hand to analyze your business’ needs, and oversee a smooth execution, will pay-off in the long run. A well-implemented business solution can provide a huge ROI, but if executed incorrectly it can take months of backtracking and fixes until you start seeing a return.
Being vastly customizable is a huge advantage, but it also means there are a lot of different paths to get to where you want to be, making it all too easy for a non-experienced implementer to get lost.
Even the greenest of businesses are going to have some data to carry over into their new system, and no one wants any business-critical information to fall through the cracks. To help ease your data into its new home, you might want to consider doing a bit of housekeeping before the move, which will help minimize potential issues during migration.
Every implementation is different, and how much of the total project will be taken up by data migration will depend on which systems you’re moving from and to, how much data you have on your old CRM or ERP system, how much legacy data you want to load into your new solution, and what method you’re planning to use to migrate it. However, it’s a good rule of thumb that data migration will make up around 25-35% of your overall implementation time.
Having a solution that integrates processes is incredibly useful, but it also means if your data isn’t migrated correctly, it can have a knock-on effect in other areas; you don’t want to contaminate one well and poison the whole village. Instead of porting all of your records and then testing them for accuracy, take a small sample set of data that’s representative of your entire databank and migrate that first to flag up any issues that could affect your data on a large scale.
When it comes to the cost of Microsoft Dynamics implementation, the adage really does apply: you get what you pay for. Committing to a well-planned, meticulously-realized implementation will save you time, money and a lot of hassle. Forking out now will see you enjoying your newly-streamlined processes, and enjoying a return on investment, much sooner.
Harking back to the data migration issue, ironing out any untidy data before you migrate can save you heaps of cash too. It’s on average ten times more costly to rectify duplicated or incorrect data after it’s been loaded into your system, and can cost you over 100x more in lost time and revenue if left unresolved in the long term.
User adoption climbed into second place in this year’s survey when it comes to the most difficult aspects of implementation; a dubious honor which illustrates just how problematic user resistance can be when dealing with a new system.
The introduction of any new platform into a business can often be met with misgivings, especially with technology moving at such a fast pace. Gone are the days when the only things staff had to get to grips with were Microsoft Office and a digital inbox. Even when new programs, services, and updates can make workers’ lives easier, the frequency with which they’re rolled out can create a kind of innovation fatigue, and users can become hesitant to change their habits.
One of Microsoft Dynamics’ greatest advantages, however, is its resemblance to, and easy integration with familiar Microsoft products, offering a more gentle learning curve for new users. With some robust, role-tailored training, you can get your users on board and using the platform effectively.
Extolling the benefits of the new systems, and the positive impact it will have on the daily processes of your staff, can help promote user adoption and ensure all of your system’s new users are on the same page. Nominating a Dynamics “champion” can also be useful, presenting your team with a familiar face to help guide their colleagues through the adoption process.
Although it works seamlessly with other products in the Microsoft family—like Office 365 and Power BI—getting Dynamics to work together with other platforms can be a little trickier. Its ability to analyze customer data from social media services such as Twitter and LinkedIn can provide invaluable insight, but getting it to sync up with other systems can take significant tinkering.
Proper system integration will also help drive user adoption; your staff will take to your new solution much more willingly if it works well with everything they’re used to using on a day-to-day basis, and allows them access to all the data and processes they need.
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