With any ERP implementation, including Business Central, there is the risk of not seeing the results that were initially sought after, even after spending lots of time and money. Probitas over the years have taken over many implementations that haven’t reached their potential. In doing so, we’ve developed a strong understanding of the common themes in failed projects. This post is going to cover a collection of these reasons and how to prevent them.
Time and resource
When it comes to implementing an ERP system, it’s vital both the implementation company and the customers dedicate as much time as they can to it.
If the implementation company doesn’t dedicate the required level of care and understanding, the nuances of the customer’s business can be missed or misconstrued. This has the knock-on effect of inputting incorrect data or not doing what’s required to mirror the desired business process. In turn, this can lead to a less efficient system than before. The aim of getting a new ERP solution is to iron out past issues and better the users’ experience. If customers end up forking out more time and money to resolve issues which weren’t managed there’s an issue. In essence, it’s best to get it right the first time round!
Remote meetings and recordings
One important training factor which has become increasingly prevalent in the past couple of years is the use of recording. On paper, recording calls on Teams and other products is a huge step and a massively beneficial tool. For those not writing notes, absent or just in need of a reminder, it offers a seemingly unparalleled remedy. But there are lies a couple of issues…
The problems with virtual meetings
The unfortunate reality with on-screen meetings, especially with the knowledge that recordings are made, is that people feel less obliged to attend. This is problematic as whilst you can hear everything that’s happened, you can’t ask questions. The whole dynamic of the session changes based on the questions raised and the requirements given. The team delivering the session need to be able to answer questions and show the available options open to users to improve their quality of life. The customers need to be able to ask the right questions and decide upon the processes which suit their requirements.
If the relevant personnel aren’t present, it’s so easy for questions to be lost and never relayed back to the implementation team. The second issue is the re-watching part itself; how easy is it to say ‘I’ll watch that later’ or ‘it’s recorded, there’s no rush, I can watch it anytime’ and then never get around to it?
Since COVID, the Zoom and Teams calls have become integral to day-to-day meetings. Whilst you lose the face-to-face element of business, it can be handy having training or implementation sessions organised at shorter notice. This can be an issue. Here’s why: with relentless invites to this and that, our email calendars can become extremely congested. The knock-on effect of this is absence from sessions.
It’s all too common for people to hit ‘mute’ and ‘camera off’ almost immediately. As an ERP implementer, this makes it incredibly difficult to gauge users’ reaction to different features of the system. It often means that one or two people make the vast majority of the decisions. This might not properly reflect the thoughts of the business. It may even result in changes being required to resolve issues or reverse decisions which weren’t unreservedly communicated by relevant parties.
What makes a successful implementation?
A successful implementation requires resource, time and a plan. If you don’t commit to a plan or have a go-live date in mind, it’s easy to go off-piste and find the project stalling. Without aims, it’s natural to prioritise other things, leaving the project to feel like a task to be completed ‘if I have time’. Probitas realise people have their day jobs to attend to and can’t focus on the implementation all the time. However, consistency is key to saving time and money in the long run. Putting in several hours a week to learn the system, generate questions and understand what it is each process must do is an astronomical help to advancing the project. Bringing those questions and ideas to the following sessions stimulates interesting discussions, aiding both parties in learning what’s possible and what’s not.
A plan should consider every element of the system, decide upon its usability or need for change. Training should be a huge focus. Whilst partners can teach users their relevant areas of the system, it’s far more resource-effective to simply teach the steering group of the project who can pass on their knowledge to the rest. This reinforces their own knowledge whilst bringing everyone else up to speed.
Rapidstart and Master Data
Another element of training which is typical of an system implementation is the movement of data. It’s worth mentioning, you aren’t limited to using Rapidstart here, but it’s very frequently used. Rapidstart is a way of moving data from one system to another using ‘configuration packages’. In essence, you create a template in Business Central. This will be the skeleton for your data. You then strip the data from the old system and place it into this template, matching the fields from the old and new system. Finally, import the configuration package, validate and apply it within Business Central.
We will typically hold training sessions dedicated towards teaching users how to use Rapidstart. However, it’s not unusual for businesses to ask the partner to do it instead, perhaps in the interests of time. It can also be tricky for users to use. Whilst the concept is straightforward, in practice, it’s often easier to have a helping hand where needed. Even if Dynamics consultants rapidstart the data, I’d argue it’s still important users are aware of Rapidstart’s functionality. This is so they can utilise it where necessary in future.
Even with recorded sessions, a live-time recap can often be a huge benefit for users. Certain elements of Business Central are not straightforward. It may take a few attempts to get everything where it needs to be. Whilst this perhaps seems tangential, finding a partner that can spare the time to provide extra assistance, whether that be before or after go-live, can often save yourself a lot of time and headaches in the long run!
What I’ve tried to stress in this fairly long post is that the responsibility for making a project go smoothly is in both parties’ hands. There are key themes we’ve noticed over the years in successful and challenged projects which I thought were worth sharing. I hope this hasn’t been too daunting! Interested in switching partners? click here. If you would like to contact us, click here.