Success strategies for AX implementation
In today’s world, there is growing need to organize your business, improve profitability and achieve customer satisfaction, therefore, AX Implementation is the best investment to make to improve operational efficiency and provide better customer response. Microsoft Dynamics AX offers numerous benefits but carry certain risk of failure, not because of product but because of the wrong implementation. In fact, same is the case with every other ERP solutions available in the market. If you ever implement AX in your organization then following things you should remember for successful implementation.
- Define scope and end objectives: Companies implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX should have the clear set of objectives for implementing it in their premises. Without having clear objectives, implementation won’t be successful. Objectives could be bringing transparency to company’s operations, financial control, improve productivity and profitability to the business. If objectives are clear then next important part is defining the scope of Dynamics AX implementation project. The scope could be the number of business operations consider the implementation. With a clear set of scope, chances of successful implementation increase significantly.
- Project management: Once a scope is defined for the implementation project, it is important to constitute a team of experts who have prior implementation experience. It is important to have project plan ready in line with scope and company’s objectives. This project plan should explain to all the stakeholders of the project. It is important to organize a discussion with all the stakeholder at the early stage of the project to get suggestions for improvement in the project plan. It is also very important to have top management support to implementation team so they can have sufficient authority in the decision-making process related to project. Project funding related issues need to address at the early stage of the project and requires tight control in terms of expenditure. The successful team consist of people with the right mindset and have enough decision making power to get the job done. Failure to achieve leads to project delay or failure.
- Data migration: It is the most important part of AX implementation projects. Data can be customer data, supplier data, product data, employee data or even historical transactions as well. It is utmost important to migrating clear, unambiguous, non-duplicate data to the AX system. Also, it is very important to identify important data to migrate from legacy system to new system in order to avoid the burden on the system. DIXF module is available in AX to migrate the data in and out of the system with proper validations. In new Dynamics 365 operations, it is handled through Data management.
- Infrastructure evaluation: Infrastructure evaluation is the core requirement of any AX implementation projects. Detail brainstorming is required in order to get the list of requisite infrastructure. It depends on how big your project is and the number of users are going to logging in the system. AX has its own prerequisite when it comes to infrastructure as suggested by Microsoft. It is very important to follow all the guidelines of Microsoft when installing the servers and other related requisites. Failure to install proper infrastructure could lead to project delay or failure of the project. Infrastructure should always have the scalability along with options to update so it avoids system being outdated. Also, the regular health check is required for smooth performance.
- Customization: Though customizations in Dynamics AX is easy as compared to other ERP solutions available in the market. But it is always very important to reduce the customization as much as possible as it incurs significant cost to the project. Also, AX is developed after a significant amount of research and keeping in mind the need of the industry. AX already has processes suitable for many industries hence it is always advisable to get used to such processes than go for customization. Also, Team/Person asking for customization needs to prove the importance of customization and also why can’t use already existing processes in AX. This way we will have tight control over unwanted customizations.
- Change management: Dynamics AX implementation project brings many changes to company’s culture, working style, many operational changes as well. While implementing Dynamics AX in the organizations, it is important to involve employee and let them experience how one system can change their life. It is important to conduct series of brainstorming sessions with employees and address their questions. Management should give confidence to their employees in terms of why it is important to implement AX in the organization, how it will boost the productivity and save time. It is always good to have change management plan ready at the start of the project to generate optimal results for the company.
- Testing: Testing is very important part of AX implementation project and in fact, success and failure of the project depend significantly on kind of testing performed during implementation. Testing ensures data entered in the system is correct. It also ensures the code written by the developer during the implementation is bug-free. It also ensures the smooth execution of the different processes for different departments. The testing could be conducted by the functional consultant (Functional testing), testers (quality testing) and the company’s users (User acceptant testing).
- User training: Training is the most important aspect of AX implementation process. It ensures there are fewer issues and more success, especially when AX is implemented for the first time in the company or when the platform is changed from one ERP solution to AX. Though AX is the very user-friendly solution but still, it is important to have an effective training program for the users of Dynamics AX to ensure user acceptance and understanding of the system. The different department will have different training needs depending on the functionality they use hence effective training program is crucial. It is also important to provide an extra training session for the in-house its staff to handle any technical problems. Users themselves gain significant knowledge in Dynamics AX through online research, Reading Community blogs and get answers to their queries by posting questions in Microsoft community.
- Documentation: Documentation is very important part of AX implementation projects. It lays the foundation for quality, traceability, and history for both individual documents and entire project documentation. It is also extremely important that the documentation is well arranged, easy to read, and adequate. There are various document management tools available and we can use them for better tracking. Documents could be Functional requirement document (FRD), Functional design documents (FDD), Technical design documents (TDD), Test case documents, Issue tracker, Change management documents, User manuals, handover documents, Contract closure, lesson learned. User document is the most important document consist of information on the processes and procedure to deal with the new system when user start working on it. Without proper user documentation, it is hard for the user to work on the system and this might lead to project failure.
- Go live: It is the last phase of AX implementation projects. Once the solution is properly configured, tested and employee training is over, it is the time to go live. It is advisable to perform one round of functional testing just as a safety precaution. As a prerequisite, it is advisable to have go-live checklist ready in hand before going to go-live. Also, Key members of the projects should present on client site to handle any issue and to provide immediate assistance to the user.
- Post go-live support: One of the major differences between an unsuccessful and successful AX implementation is after Go-live Support. It is important to constitute a support team before go-live so they can get familiar with the project. Proper knowledge transfer is required for support members of the project team. A transition plan is required to be created in detail manner by considering every important detail of the project such as the number of customization and person responsible for knowledge transfer for those customizations, number of integrations and responsible person for knowledge transfer to support team. Also the list of resources responsible for specific customization or integration. It is also advisable for the project team to get involved in the post go-live support for the initial month so support team can get more familiar with the real-time issue and their solution with project team’s assistance.
These are the key suggestion for successful Microsoft dynamics AX implementation company project. It needs to follow religiously in order to complete Dynamics AX implementation within time and within budget and with utmost quality.