Our expert Paul Faulkner has over 20 years’ experience of working in the IT industry, specialising in business software and software development. Here he offers his 8 top tips for implementing Microsoft Dynamics NAV and making the project a success.
Clearly define your success criteria
Clearly define and document what the key success criteria for your implementation are. Ask yourself which items need to be ticked – this could be to have full visibility of all information sent and received from a supplier or to reduce stock take variances to below 10%. Consider whatever is right for your business and document it.
Allocate time for key users to spend on the project
Make provision for your key users to commit time to the project. If not factored in at the beginning these users will continue to do their day job and will not find the time to complete the project work successfully. On average allocate them between 15 to 20 extra project days across a 4 to 6 month project period.
Make sure your IT partner knows your business
The team put forward by your IT partner needs to understand your business. Validate that proposed team members truly understand the language and processes in your business. A lack of understanding will lead to poor implementation and a lack of credibility of the IT partner with your users.
Know the solution before changing it
Microsoft Dynamics NAV has much of the functionality you need out of the box but still insist that your key users are trained on the core functionality before any gap analysis is undertaken. It is only by applying a ‘training first/analysis second’ approach that you can take advantage of all that the software has to offer and stop unnecessary and costly developments being made.
Involve your most knowledgeable and influential staff
Make sure you involve your most knowledgeable and influential staff. Make sure that everyone in the business understands the reason why you are making the changes. Have a communication plan that tells the whole company what to expect and when and then keep them updated throughout the process.
Keep it in scope
Once you have defined the scope, make sure you stick to it. This will only happen if your IT partner has strong project management expertise and a robust change control process. Dynamics NAV is endlessly flexible and your users demanding. Make sure everyone understands the 80:20 rule and considers it every time they ask for a change.
Prepare for the unexpected
It doesn’t matter how thorough your planning or how fantastic your IT partner, prepare for things to go wrong. Build contingency into the timeline. Plan to go live a few weeks ahead of when you really need to, this way, if you are hit by the unexpected, you will still go live within the business.
One step at a time
If your requirements are complex, take an agile approach. This way the project can be broken down into ‘bite sized’ chunks. As small phases go live quickly the project team can appreciate its success and the quick wins will help to build momentum.