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Crucial steps to take before upgrading to Dynamics 365

By December 23, 2019 January 9th, 2020

The days of traditional, isolated, data-crunching ERP are over. Global businesses are looking beyond 2020 to build an empowered workforce that can compete and make a mark in their respective industries. To fulfill this desire for empowerment, organizations require a SaaS-based ERP platform that benefits from the seamless rollout of new features and enhancements. The continuous improvement of cloud-based ERP platforms make them ideal for modern entrepreneurs and their expansion plans.

If you’ve been on the lookout for an effective ERP solution, then you must have heard the buzz in about Microsoft Dynamics 365, the cloud-based successor of Dynamics AX. Whether you’re upgrading from Dynamics AX, switching from a different ERP vendor, or implementing Dynamics 365 as your organization’s first ERP system, it’s important to know what the processes entails and what you can do to make it as seamless as possible.

Why upgrade?

The longer you delay your upgrade to Dynamics 365, the larger your opportunity cost. With its bevy of intelligent, productivity-enhancing features and secure-by-default information architecture, Dynamics 365 helps your team get more work done with complete peace of mind. You’ll receive enhanced business and task intelligence, centralized end-to-end management of your business operations, and the capability and flexibility you need to support the needs of a modern enterprise. Without these tools at its disposal, your organization won’t be able to react to challenges and opportunities quickly enough, and each delay translates to lost revenue.

Decide on an upgrade strategy

For any major update to your business processes and the digital infrastructure that supports them, start by creating a detailed strategy. A clear strategy eliminates ambiguity, keeps stakeholders aligned, and minimizes costly surprises.
Your Dynamics 365 upgrade strategy needs to describe where your organization currently stands, where it needs to be, and what it will take to get there in terms of resources:

  • Your current ERP solution: Ask yourself what your current ERP software is capable of. Identify the business processes it can handle, as well as the ones it doesn’t support.
  • Your requirements: Are there specific business objectives that you’d like to achieve after the upgrade is done? Are you trying to optimize particular business processes?
  • Staffing: An ERP upgrade isn’t a solo project. It requires a team of experienced professionals. Your strategy must address these staffing, training, and support requirements.
  • Total cost of ownership (TCO): Calculate the cost of the ERP software licenses or subscriptions, consulting fees, required equipment, training, managed support, and other incidentals across the solution’s lifecycle.

Your strategy document will help you decide whether the benefits of the upgrade outweigh the costs, and whether your team can handle the workload of the upgrade project.

Build the right team

Once you’ve your organizations needs, assemble a team of Dynamics 365 implementation experts that can ensure your upgrade proceeds as smoothly as possible. This team typically includes:

  • Power Users/Change Champions: Convey needs and deliverables at each deployment site to the team lead.
  • Project Coordinator: Verifies that all activities and artifacts required internally between different teams and units are provided on time. Facilitates activity scheduling throughout the transformation project.
  • Executive Sponsor: Backs the upgrade initiative for budget and prompt decision making. Maintains high team morale by affirming executive direction and vision.

Run a pilot before the actual rollout

To produce their advertised performance statistics, ERP vendors use typical user loads in a controlled environment, so you should expect your real-world results to vary. In the final days of the upgrade cycle, put Dynamics 365 through the paces and thoroughly test all functionality. Verify that your workflows and processes behave as expected under peak workloads. Conduct a mock go-live to discover any issues that need to be addressed before launch.

Conclusion

Upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 will improve your organization’s performance, digital capabilities, and information security, and you should begin your upgrade project as soon as possible to take advantage of these and many other benefits. For a more in-depth look at upgrade considerations for your organization in particular, please contact Visionet and schedule a complimentary upgrade assessment.