About 20 years ago Microsoft started to enter the enterprise application space. They acquired a few standalone ERP solutions and brought them under the umbrella of Microsoft Dynamics.
This evolved into their current flagship offering that is Microsoft Dynamics 365. They took the best parts of the solutions they acquired to create a more widely accessible platform. Microsoft Dynamics has open architecture as it is built on the .NET framework which makes it flexible, highly customizable, and easy to integrate with third-party solutions.
The focus of this blog is to discuss the challenges while implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365.
1. Not Selecting the Right Partner
Microsoft Dynamics is not directly sold to the customers. They rely on partners who sell the product and help deploy the solution.
There are several partners with different capabilities. It is difficult to evaluate and select the right partner who can fully comprehend the problem that you are facing.
Then there are ISVs that implement and build unique capabilities on top of Microsoft D365. These types of partners provide industry-specific solutions and they are exciting prospects but the downside is that the solution and the support for the solution are only provided by them.
If you are not satisfied with their approach or services, it becomes really difficult to find any other ISV that provides similar capabilities and support.
2. Lack of Compatibility
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a highly complex application and needs expert guidance for successful implementation. Relying on your in-house IT support is not a bad option but expecting them to execute it without error is not realistic as they have to figure out the nuances involved in the implementation.
They can consume a lot of time for the execution and the probability of success is also very less. The complications of D365 can also burden the IT team, wasting their time which can otherwise be spent performing higher priority tasks.
It is important to hire or consult a Microsoft Dynamics expert who has specialized in your field. They will understand your business processes better and efficiently create a strategy to successfully implement D365.
The IT team can support the SME to reinforce the strategy. Having an expert by your side will ensure smooth execution of the process and boost ROI in the long term.
Executing a project without expert guidance may cause implementation failure, and backtracking the problem may take months.
3. Data Migration
The larger the amount of data, the more complex the data migration process is. The time taken to migrate the data is determined by the amount of data that is being transferred.
An unsuccessful data migration could lead to implementation failure. Every Microsoft Dynamics implementation is unique and the time taken is different depending on the following factors:
- The amount of data that will be pushed from the old system to Dynamics 365
- The framework that will be used to migrate data
- The capability of the consultant and implementation partner
- The compatibility of the new system to hold new data
- The capability of the tool that will migrate the data
Irrespective of the size or complication of the project, an organization usually takes 1/4th of its implementation time to migrate. It is important to test the water before going all out. Check the data compatibility and its usage within the new system with a small set of data. If it becomes successful then scale up the data migration.
4. Unnecessary Customization
At first glance, the flexibility and customization offered by Dynamics 365 may make it seem like a better choice but it often causes confusion. The project team is presented with so many options that they can’t decide where to start and what type of approach to take. This decision in the early phase will determine the success or failure of the project.
The flexibility creates another problem. Employees that resist the change customize the processes to make it similar to their existing way of doing things. It defeats the purpose of implementing Microsoft D365 as the same old wine is presented in a new bottle.
It is important to understand that flexibility or customization should not overshadow your existing change management challenges rather it must address them.
If the Microsoft D365 implementation is going to replicate the same processes then it is just another application implementation and not a change initiative.
Another problem that comes with customization is that if you customize the D365 to match all your complex processes then chances are, it will be a completely different product. This may deprive the organization of the ability to leverage new updates.
5. Not Robust
Microsoft D365 is not a robust solution in comparison to other ERP vendors. It may not affect many industries but some niche operations or industries need that missing robustness to manage their processes.
If you have different manufacturing needs, Microsoft D365 might not be the best option for you.
6. Lack of Support and Training
The strongest selling point of Microsoft D365 is its drawback too. The open integration, architecture, and customization prowess of the application make the organization focus on the technological aspect of the change. As a result, the flow, shape, and look of the platform change a lot in comparison to the original version.
This demands a lot of support and expertise in creating documentation and support systems for both employees and leaders.
Lack of training is another problem as employees are dumped with information that they cannot process in one go. Regular training using traditional means does not add any value either. Moreover, every department and job role demands customized and personalized learning since spending time learning every aspect of the application negatively impacts the time and ROI of the company.
7. Implementing at One Go
When an organization deploys Microsoft D365, they are not just deploying another application. There are numerous elements that will change within the organization. From supporting applications to the job functions, everything will get affected.
So, deploying the application at once will only result in failure. The systems, integrated applications, processes, people, ROI, and business continuity must be taken into account while deploying the D365 solution. Ignoring any of these will disrupt the business and have a long-term impact on your bottom line.
8. User Adoption
Microsoft has a wide range of products that can be easily integrated with Microsoft D365 but as result, with any new update from Microsoft, changes in the integrated application can affect your defined processes.
Each year, organizations invest in more and more applications. Enterprise applications like Dynamics 365 contribute to this as they need other applications to support them.
This creates digital fatigue among employees and as result, they resist the digital change. The problem is that they lack clarity on how to approach this problem.
This leads to user adoption problems that could put the whole Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation at risk of failure. An organization must plan and strategize during the change phase and only invest in tools that can ensure successful user adoption.
We have provided a guide on how to solve these challenges in a separate blog for a detailed analysis.
Any ERP solution is difficult to deploy but with Microsoft Dynamics 365 the challenges are even bigger because of its high flexibility that acts as a double-edged sword.
This is where Apty comes into the picture. Apty DAP helps employees steer through any complex process by providing on-screen guidance. It also helps maintain business process compliance.