You need a PM

You need a Project Manager for your next ERP project.

ERP implementations disrupt business operations and place huge demands on the time and attention of company leadership, functional area leaders, subject matter experts and the IT staff. The role of a PM is to ease that burden. An experienced PM is worth their weight in platinum.

You may be tempted to  PM the project yourself.  But ask yourself “Do I really have the time or the right experience?”.

A good PM will manage the following things for you:

  • Add Value – An experienced PM will help you identify and avoid the typical bear traps, and other impediments that will inhibit your project’s success.  They will help you reduce wastes of time, resources and money.
  • Establish Effective and Efficient Project Governance – Project governance refers to those processes that provide project control support for project sponsors, decision-makers and stakeholders.
  • Manage Project-related Communications Communicating the project status helps keep the project team and stakeholders informed.
  • Manage the Schedule – Effective PMs aggressively manage the work using detailed project schedules, monitor schedule variances and recommend corrective actions to keep the project on track and on budget.
  • Monitor and Manage the Project Team’s Performance – Performance management leverages routine status checks to ensure performance issues are identified and corrected quickly.
  • Manage Risks, Issues and Changes to Scope, Timelines and Budgets – The most common reasons projects fail are related to poor management of risks, issues and scope. Good PMs identify, evaluate and communicate risks, issues and the impact of change requests to affected stakeholders.  They also coordinate optional solutions to deal with issues as (or before) they appear.

It’s clear that someone needs to ensure the project stays on track.   You owe to it to yourself to go with an experienced professional.   Contact Tridea today at info@trideapartners.com.

CFO’s often ask “Why should I renew my Microsoft ERP’s Maintenance Plan”?

The answer is twofold – 1) There’s tremendous value associated with being on a current Maintenance plan and 2) there’s a significant downside to not renewing in a timely manner.

  • You maximize the solution value with ongoing Microsoft Dynamics product improvements.If your Maintenance Plan is current, you are entitled to new software upgrades, updates, product fixes, and service packs.  Microsoft often improves or adds functionality with new releases of the software.  These all enable your business to be up-to-date with Microsoft’s innovations.  If your plan is not current, you will miss out on these innovations.
  • You protect your Investment. Stay current on maintenance and your maintenance costs will be based upon the protected system list price (the initial cost of your system).  It’s useful to have a predictable cost to plan for…
  • You retain access to CustomerSource.CustomerSource is a large knowledge database supplied and maintained by Microsoft, and can be used to get essential information such as technical support, product updates and downloads, training, events, and provide access to community forums. It available 24/7. Many of our clients use CustomerSource to aid them as they configure or troubleshot issues that arise occasionally. This saves the client time and cost when they can perform the work themselves. 

     

Important NoteIf your organization decides to let the Maintenance Plan lapse, you will be no longer entitled to any of the services listed above. In addition you will not being able to purchase new modules or user licenses. It’s possible to re-institute a Maintenance Plan, but please be advised that Microsoft does charge a penalty.  We highly recommend that you stay current on your Maintenance Plan.

Getting Your ERP Project Off to a Good Start

Because ERP projects generally deliver similar core functionality, and your implementation team is already very experienced with Microsoft’s Sure-Step Methodology, it can be tempting to skip the formal Project Kick-Off Meeting and simply dive right into the work at-hand.

I’d like to make a strong case for holding a Project Kick-Off Meeting, regardless of the size/complexity of the project, or the experience level of the customer and the implementation team.

Covering key parameters at the beginning of a project in your kick-off meeting ensures team alignment to project objectives and approach. The materials can continue to be referenced throughout the life of the project as a touchstone for the team to check on progress, identify scope changes, and verify timeline and budget. Here are suggested components for your project kick-off deck, and associated benefits:

  • Introduce Project Team Members

Important that all ERP stakeholders and project contributors are invited in advance to the kick-off meeting (or receive the materials afterward, if they are truly not available to attend in person).

On the customer side, ensure project sponsor(s), system owner(s), business process owners, and other supporting team members from Finance, Operations, and IT are invited to the kick-off (especially if they will be asked later to participate / provide support or information). Core members of the ERP partner implementation team should also attend so they can be introduced.

Benefits:

  • Customer team sees executive leadership (sponsors) at the table, backing the project effort
  • Ensures all stakeholders are aware of the project and understand who will be assigned
  • Sets a foundation for working relationship between customer and implementation team
  • Review Project Scope

A typical ERP implementation scope might seem basic or perhaps inherently obvious; however, prior to an ERP project being approved, there may have been multiple ERP-related initiatives or features discussed internally by the customer during their evaluation or budgeting process.

This means some attendees may come to the table with different preconceptions about the project’s scope and deliverables. This could seriously derail a project later if not addressed up-front.

Benefits:

  • Ensure the approved project scope is clearly communicated and understood by entire team
  • Verify the scope is correct (as per the signed agreement) – any changes needed / allowed?
  • Reinforce upfront alignment among all players: what will be delivered vs what is out-of-scope
  • Include approved project budget here also – reinforce relationship between scope and budget

 

  • Share High-Level Project Approach (Implementation Phases) and Timeline

This is a key opportunity for the implementation partner to outline and describe, up-front, the various phases of the implementation or upgrade project in in relation to the overall project schedule and key milestone dates, particularly release/go-live.

Benefits:

  • Explain phases of the project where customer team should dedicate time to design or testing
  • Answer customer questions about the process, deliverables, dependencies, and timing
  • Agreement on how project will be executed and participation needed
  • Project Team Roles & Responsibilities

Now that the players have been introduced to each other and to the overall plan for executing the project, it is good to circle back and assign specific names to the various roles on the project team. Also key to confirm for customer team members who will be key decision-makers and subject matter experts on behalf of their business area and who will be playing supporting roles on the project.

At a minimum, there should be a Project Lead (or Project Manager) from both the customer side and the implementation partner who will work together to be a hub for project communication and guide the activities of their respective players. For smaller projects, this role may be played by the System Owner on the customer side and by the ERP Functional Lead on the implementation partner team.

The Project Sponsor should also identify whether they will be the overall decision-maker for the project, or if they have identified key System Owners from the business who will represent their departmental business process decisions and needs during critical design and testing phases of the project. Depending on the size of the project, additional customer subject matter experts will play a role on the Core Project Team providing design input, participating in testing or training tasks.

Benefits:

  • Identify early if there are key contributors or stakeholders who need to be added to the team
  • Build shared understanding of what is expected from each team member based on their role
  • Re-affirm how each team member will execute their role during the phases of the project
  • Alignment on responsibilities for key decisions, design input/approval, and test execution
  • Reinforce communication needed between Core Project Team and the business areas they represent – the goal is no surprises for the project team or for the customer organization
  • Next Steps

Great! Everyone is lined up and ready to play their part. This is the point in closing out the kick-off meeting to clearly list specific tasks / activities for the next 1-2 weeks and answer questions.

At this point, it’s also a good idea to decide as a group how often the project team should meet and how project status updates should be shared across the team and to senior management.

Benefits:

  • Kick-Off Meeting attendees leave with a clear understanding of what will happen next
  • Team provides input on frequency and style of project check-in meetings and progress reports
  • Time allowed for questions that were not addressed by the kick-off materials

A kick-off meeting that covers the topics above in high-level fashion can easily be completed in 30 – 60 minutes, depending upon the size of the project and number of players involved.

The reward is that the team will all have a clear understanding of the game plan and how they will be contributing to that plan at the beginning of the project. They will also have a foundation for identifying and communicating issues throughout the project that might impact scope, quality, or timing.

It really is a team huddle and “Go Team!” moment to build enthusiasm and support for your ERP project. Take the first step toward success and team-building with your next Project Kick-Off Meeting.

This article was written by Juanita Schoen, Dynamics Project Manager for Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider.

Video: Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP Integration – Driving Productivity and Customer Satisfaction

Does your company engage in a highly transactional business with new or repeat customers? Imagine how much better your sales, service and finance teams could operate sharing critical customer data. No more data silos.

Learn how in our 30-minute webinar:

• Hear how companies are benefiting today from integration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP.
• See what type of data is being shared between departments to increase sales and customer satisfaction.
• Gain a basic understanding of how sales and finance can automatically share data on orders, shipments and invoices

Contact Tridea Partners for more information!

Connector for Microsoft Dynamics

Integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP products has arrived with the release of Connector for Microsoft Dynamics!

Integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP products has arrived with the release of Connector for Microsoft Dynamics! Customers of all Dynamics ERPs now have access to the same simple, reliable and extendable integration with the CRM product that has shipped for GP, AX and NAV previously. Out-of-the-Box entity mappings provide immediate value by integrating the key data in both systems. That basic integration can be extended by adding new maps, or leveraging the SDK to create custom integrations. Connector is ready for use today!

​Connector for Microsoft Dynamics provides:

  • A robust Dynamics-specific integration that “just works”
  • Easy installation and deployment
  • Minimized architectural overhead
  • Transparency when things may go wrong

Connector for Microsoft Dynamics supports new integrations with the following Microsoft Dynamics products:

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, 2013, 2015 & 2016 in all deployments
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, 2013 R2, 2015& 2015 R2
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, 2012, 2012 R2 & 2012 R3
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, 2013 R2, 2015 & 2016
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011 SP1

This article was written by Sandra Knight, Sales Consultant for Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider