After doing ERP implementations with Dynamics NAV (aka Dynamics 365) for almost 2 decades (18 years to be exact…), you kind of know how to get things done.
Usually, when you prepare for a go-live during a software conversion, there are certain tasks and steps that absolutely have to be accomplished in a certain manner. There are certain things that you will also postpone until after you go live with the new system. Balancing what are absolulte musts and what can wait are what every legitimate project manager should do.
Another pitfall is spending countless hours talking about the exceptions and the wrong business process that ensues. Again, a legitimate NAV project leader should not take you down that path. From my experience one of the guarantee failures of taking a customer live is trying to “do too much”. Focusing on things that does not really matter to the business. As a legitimate Dynamics NAV (Dynamics 365) project manager, you should be well aware of what to be done and what shouldn’t be done when going live. On this subject, this is probably a separate article.
A week prior to, you begin to feel the nervousness about switching to a new system. Despite my assurance on how everything will be fine because we followed the plan, they will still feel very anxious. The anxiety in the air is so thick you can scoop it with a spoon.
When the live date approaches, we do our thing to do the final cut over to their legacy system to Dynamics NAV. Run through our check-list and have the customers go through their check-list.
The next day when people come in for work, you can tell they were ready. They were ready for this because that’s what they’ve prepared for.
About a few days after the customer is live with the new system, the most frequent response I get is:
The Real Challenge
“Yes, that’s it. You’re live with Dynamics NAV.” That’s the response I typically give in response with a smile. As I mentioned, going live with Dynamics NAV is the easy part.
This is the point where my anxiety begins to increase, little by little.
If the customer just transacts with their normal business process and their customers and vendors behaves the same way, then everything would be okay. But it never happens that way.
There are always new problems and challenges as time progresses. Businesses do not stand still.
A couple of of these issues after go live that will begin to raises my blood pressure are, but not limited to the following:
– Exception problems or problems that are just weird and unusual
– Things that were allowed from their old system that are no longer allowed in the new system (i.e. just deleting a posted transaction)
– People circumventing the agreed upon process
– Wanting to turn on new features
– The “I didn’t mention because it’s not that important” processes. Well… It’s important now.
The toughest portion for the end user is after they go live for about 2-3 weeks. This is when all of the weird processes and exceptions start occurring and they have to deal with problems using the new environment and new thinking. Problems where they could just change a few numbers or transactions in the old system quickly, but they can’t do that anymore.
This is the part where the problems gets interest, and quite frankly, more fun. This is also the part where most solution center do not focus on because it’s not as lucrative.
Good Business Practice is a Lifestyle
What you resolved with your NAV partner during a new implementation is what you’re currently doing and where you want to go. These are known problems that has been brought up and addressed during the design of the software.
What challenges you going to face in the future are what we haven’t spoken about. It’s tough to plan and have a solution for something that you don’t even know about.
Dynamics NAV is a very good system. It’s also a very strict system. When you have an accurate system, sometimes problems come up where it was not apparent before or been swept under the rug. The reason is because it’s not important enough to deal with on a daily basis. i.e. inventory inaccuracies on the bins or returns processing.
With an accurate system, all of these normal process that no one wants to deal with will become apparent and will require a correct process and procedure for. Sometimes, when addressing these annoyance, owners will be surprised that they need additional resources to manage those processes.
Most of the time, when left unaddressed, those problem will blow up like a huge volcano. Implementing Dynamics NAV prevents these volcano type problems because it needs to be tracked.
Compound to real problems arising after 2-3 weeks is that implementation consultants will have already left by then, patting themselves on the back on a job well done.
As much as I advise on budgeting enough time and money for post implementation support, they always go unheard. Most of the quote that they receive for new software implementation are only enough to take them live, not to address these more interesting problems after they’re live.
Going live with Dynamics NAV (aka Dynamics 365) is the easy part. What comes after will be the core of the challenge during the implementation lifecycle.