The benefits of moving from AX to D365 are widely documented and many companies have already successfully made the move. However, the migration, or upgrade, from AX to D365 can be a challenging experience and the larger your organisation, the more difficult it can be. Having supported several Clients through this experience – from mid-sized companies to huge multi-nationals implementing across multiple counties and different business units – we’d like to share some of our key observations and recommendations when embarking on this journey to help ensure a better and more successful experience and outcome.
1. Time Allocation by Key People
Ensuring that enough time has been allocated for key personnel to participate in the project fully is key in order that they can conduct all necessary activities thoroughly, including process design, system validation, tests, data validation and costing.
When this is not done properly, the project invariably slows down, becomes more expensive and the final results are not usually optimal. We’ve seen this happen so often that we would say that time allocation is one of the most important elements for keeping the project on brief, on time and within budget.
2. Change Management
Involving Human Resources is really important as this is an acknowledgement that this project involves significant change within the organisation. Sadly, this doesn’t always occur.
This software migration will impact most, if not all, areas of business operation and people. New processes, new ways of doing and analysing things, and new habits to be embedded within the daily routine of most employees will be required. Changing the way people do things is always a challenge and must be managed properly.
Not involving HR to manage this as a change management process can lead to several problems: inadequate adoption of the system (total or partial); demotivation; inefficiency in operations; lack of involvement; inadequate quality of implementation; even loss of employees amongst other issues. Bringing employees along with the change and educating them of the benefits to their daily routine and role, as well as the benefits overall to the company, is imperative. HR involvement will help enhance the positives and reduce any negatives as well as help ensure the project is a success.
3. Start Small
If possible, carry out the project in stages and, ideally, start with the least complex ones.
This point is particularly applicable in companies that, for example, are multinationals, and need to undertake country-by-country migration.
It can also be an option for companies that, in certain business areas, do not use AX but use other integrated systems. In these cases, there is the possibility of integrating D365 F&O with such systems as a first stage, and then replacing them with D365 F&O functionalities in later stages.
4. Identifying Information Needs from the Start
For any implementation to be successful, a key factor is to establish a project track focused on following and monitoring information needs required for every job/role from the beginning of the project. This will include information by users of different roles to allow them to perform their daily activities properly and efficiently, as well as the information required by Management for business follow-up and decision making.
This project track continues with the customization, or development, of the required enquiries, reports, and BI panels.
Solving some information needs after the ‘go-live’ is possible, but the key needs have to be identified and catered for ideally before this, allowing everyone to properly conduct their jobs from Day 1, which is essential for an implementation to be considered successful.
5. Document Properly
Achieving a balanced level of documentation is recommended.
Documenting too much or too little will generate risks of unfulfilled expectations, or misalignment in what is expected of the system. In addition, it will make training and subsequent transmission of knowledge difficult over time.
The key personnel driving the project will need sufficient documentation to be able to validate the design of the solution to be implemented, without it being too overwhelming, and thereby facilitating study and understanding. In such projects, more documentation does not mean better.
6. Consider your Microsoft Partner as Part of the Team
From our experience, and especially given the many challenges that a project of this nature entails, there are many benefits to the company and the partner working as one team, with common objectives, and prioritizing the success of the project above all else. Working as one Team with towards one goal with a constructive attitude, helps focus on getting the task done well.
In most instances, your MSP will have undertaken this type of Project before, and has learnt how to overcome issues, know shortcuts that can be taken, and industry specific adaptations that can help. Working as part of one Team helps bring all this learning and experience in-house to the benefit of the wider Team.
Dynamo Global is a trusted Microsoft Gold Partner with 15+ years of experience of supporting mid-large corporations around the world with their Microsoft AX and D365 platforms. We have substantial experience of Microsoft implementations, migrations and integrations and can offer seamless, secure, and highly compatible system migrations to ensure they are configured to match ongoing processes and integrated, where necessary, with existing systems, customizations, and third-party applications.
Our expertise can help you maximise the benefits from your Microsoft ERP system to help you optimise business performance, as well as support cost-efficiencies.
For more information about us what we do, see here.
Additional information and advice about moving from AX to D365 can be read in our resources section.