In Part One of our series about the benefits of upgrading to DynamicsGP 2018, we proposed a useful strategy for software upgrades: use the upgrade as an opportunity to investigate if off-the-shelf solutions can replace existing customizations. For over 20 years, the DynamicsGP ISV community has been developing and offering solutions targeted to either vertical industries, such as our own solution for process and mixed mode manufacturing, or focused on specific disciplines like our quality control solution. This makes it highly likely that an end-user organization can find just the solution they need from the ever-growing list of available ISV solutions. Replacing existing customizations with these products will likely improve user experience and make future upgrades easier. We highlighted a few solutions that we know our manufacturing customers have found useful.
Why Winning Hearts, Minds and Budgets Really Matters
We don’t have to reiterate that upgrades are challenging. To be successful, they require either leadership support or a big stick. Sometimes they require both. But if users and management fully understand and appreciate the expected benefits, then the whole endeavor will be easier and more likely to reach completion on-budget and on-time with hearts and minds intact. Speaking of which, there does need to be a budget and it is really difficult to get the dollars you need if the outcome of the project is not valued. Here are some of the benefits of upgrading to DynamicsGP 2018 and few ideas ideas to help you win the hearts, minds, and budgets.
Look Beyond the Obvious
If we are aware of one or two or even three high-volume, high-impact tasks that seem to take a disproportionate amount of effort to execute and we can promise to significantly reduce execution time and effort after the upgrade… BINGO – hearts, minds and budgets won.
But, let’s face it, fixing the big things or executing the most obvious tasks, like integrating perpetual inventory (if you are a manufacturer), is the leverage that was used to deploy the business application in the first place. What we are probably looking for now is something less obvious but clearly as important. We probably have to consider who our upgrade champions are going to be and find something to get them really excited.
Why Fix What Ain’t Broke?
At Amplify this year, while cataloging many of the great benefits of upgrading to DynamicsGP 2018, I came across two solutions that were really iterative improvements on common tasks. One was for reporting – and who doesn’t want other reporting options – and the second was for budgeting. These are pretty common activities and there are existing tools to support this tasking, but sometimes a new tool comes along that can be a game-changer. It may be easier for users to learn and understand. Perhaps it is simpler to use because it reduces the number of clicks or has defaults that are widely applicable. Here are two solutions I think are worthy of consideration:
If you find CPM (Corporate Performance Management) Suites too painful to manage, too complicated for end-users, and too expensive, take a look at Dynamic Budgets. It is a feature-packed budgeting solution for the mid-market. It allows unlimited users, making it a more affordable solution, and it has a faster implementation time than other products – try days, not weeks.
Reports can be launched from any button or window inside DynamicsGP and can be made available on web and mobile platforms as well. The solution includes the report designer tool from DevExpress that is easy to understand and very user friendly.
Another way to win hearts, minds and budgets is, of course, to ask your team to be creative. Begin by developing a diverse team of users that is representative of the functional needs of your organization. Provide some training on digital transformation with definitions and tools, then discuss examples of how other organizations have achieved positive outcomes. Now, give your team an opportunity to use formal brainstorming and other techniques to identify key business and process challenges that they would like to see the business application solve.
Try not to put too many limits on this imagination-based activity. Then use some tools like business process mapping to help your users understand priorities and dependencies. Try to identify, as benefits of the upgrade, two or three outcomes that can be measured in either cost savings or revenue increases. Then be sure to communicate these outcomes broadly so that even those individuals or departments not directly benefiting can be aware that their efforts are contributing to a larger goal.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
As strongly as we all believe in its importance, effective communication proves to one of the more challenging tasks of any software upgrade endeavor. This is particularly true as the final days before the upgrade approach and there is just so much to do. Educated, prepared users are less fearful and more willing to adapt if things go off track. This is because communication builds trust and confidence.
Too tired when it’s all done to go back and ask your users how it’s going? Don’t forget that the first step in preparing for the next upgrade is knowing and documenting how everyone fared after the last upgrade.