The Dynamics GP Experience – A Project Manager’s Perspective

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a right-sized business solution designed to meet the demands of your small to medium-sized business.  In today’s fast-paced business environment, our clients find themselves wearing multiple hats, multi-tasking, and being asked to increase throughput quickly with much smaller staffs.

A successful Dynamics GP implementation can of course be measured in terms of feature-rich functionality, or sound and scalable architecture, but I believe the best measure of a successful implementation is user adoption and satisfaction.

What drives user adoption and satisfaction with their Dynamics GP system?

First, a little about my background…

I’ve been an IT Project/Program Manager since before the Year Turned 2K, responsible for building and managing client relationships, and rolling out many different technologies on almost as many platforms.  (I cut my IT teeth on VAX/VMS systems, swapping out HUGE hard drives bigger than a pizza box, and before that, one of the first IBM workstations that actually had truly “floppy” 8” disks for loading the O/S and program every time you booted up.)

Technology has improved a thousand-fold since then (or even more if you like to measure such things), but from my center court vantage-point coaching users and technical teams, here’s what I’ve learned contributes to user adoption and satisfaction, from the client’s standpoint:

  • Did the system deliver on our fundamental problem statement?  Learning our client’s underlying business objectives is the key to ensuring your Dynamics GP configuration delivers value.  This means asking clarifying questions and seeking to understand the corporate goals and drivers that prompted this investment. A client’s business objective does not prescribe the exact technology solution or design, but instead provides high-level guiding vision and touchstone for the team to ensure they are on-track throughout the course of the project. (Sample Business Objective:  Reduce Amount of Time to Perform Month-End Close.)

 

  • I don’t know exactly what I need – help me see what’s possible:  Our Design Workshops are led by skilled Functional Consultants to provide a structured tour of Dynamics GP on a development system configured per Microsoft and Tridea’s combined best practices. This forum allows the client to see the features the system provides, while the GP Functional Consultant actively interviews them about their current process, pain points, and offers suggestions about configuration parameters.  By this means, we can collect a complete and comprehensive set of configuration requirements, while also beginning to train users on the Dynamics GP experience.

 

  • Involve End-Users in Testing: Encourage your client to include members of their team in User Acceptance Testing phase.  Not only do the end-users provide valuable testing results and insight, but the testing process offers an early stage for training and helps the users gain familiarity with the end-to-end process and user interface before the go-live date.

 

  • Help with Cutover Preparations: Implementation projects can be very stressful because there are many tasks that the users need to perform in order to prepare their data and underlying processes for the new system. (For example, GL, Inventory, Item ID clean-up.)  Developing checklists, providing current system data exports and providing best-practice input are aids to busy clients to help them complete the pre-migration work to ensure clean and organized source data for the new system.  This up-front investment results in a healthier dataset in Dynamics GP, so time can be spent using the new tools, as opposed to performing data QC.

The foundation of trust in the new system is earned when we partners closely with our stakeholders from the beginning, actively soliciting and listening to their needs, and supporting them throughout the testing, training, and cutover process.

This article was written by Juanita Schoen, Dynamics GP Project Manager for Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider serving CA, AZ, UT, CO and surrounding regions.

 

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