The Microsoft Dynamics 365 market is more embryonic than the likes of SAP and Oracle which have had more time to develop robust project processes and methodologies. 365 is growing at such a rate that project implementation lessons are currently being learnt at a cost to partners and end users however this will improve with knowledge and experience. AX2012 has brought more Tier 1 Consultancies to the 365 market as they look to capitalise on an expanding market and this is bringing stronger project assurance, business process knowledge and methodology to the channel. In time this knowledge will disseminate through the channel to more projects and partners helping the channel mature.
Partners are essential in the channel and offer industry specific knowledge, experience, and value at each stage of the project lifecycle and they also carry the responsibility to ensure that projects are successful. Projects often have better success rates by having a client-side team of internal 365 experts managing the partner and to act as a conduit between the business and partner. Without an internal team, customers can lose control of 365 implementations due to their own lack of product knowledge or previous ERP implementation experience.
Whilst the high demand for 365 candidates can make it hard to build internal teams, the risk of not having one is rarely worth taking. End users often want the perfect 365 solution for their business however common advice is to keep it simple, and implement a robust system rather than strive for a Rolls Royce version of the perfect system. This is where an internal team add value as they know the product, have seen why previous 365 implementations went wrong and whilst they have the customers interest as their Number 1 focus, they are also there to temper any over enthusiasm that can emerge in pursuit of a perfect system.
In the last 10 years many 365 projects have spiralled out of control and become too complex by being over-customised beyond what was essential – this is something that end users need to control with future projects and realise that the partner is there to deliver what is essential rather than everything that is possible. In hindsight many failed projects are the result of over customisation beyond what was essential.
So to summarise, make sure you choose a partner that will educate you throughout the process and add value rather than just implement 365, get an internal team so that your best interests are the number 1 focus and finally, keep it simple!
So, how is your 365 project progressing and are you aware of all the challenges that lie ahead?