Keep Your Vision Alive

Keep Your Vision Alive

Written By: Greg Reid

from December 10, 2014

That magic moment has arrived: Your Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation is complete. You are prepared and ready to take advantage of the new ERP power at your fingertips, and Microsoft Dynamics GP is poised and ready to deliver the value that you promised your executive team.

Three months later, your team is waist-deep in work. Reports are overdue. Trial balances are not balancing, and the aging report that the CFO wants on his desk every Monday morning is still sitting on the printer.

Maintaining the momentum of continual improvement is hard work, and many organizations struggle to have the enthusiasm and passion they had before and during an implementation project. The dynamics and collaboration that were present during the implementation are often replaced by the urgency of day-to-day work and other priorities that demand your full attention. Don’t worry – this is normal.

Several years ago, we were working with a company that had made the jump to Microsoft Dynamics GP. After a couple of years on the new ERP system, the company asked us to come in and see if we could help them realize the additional value out of the investment they had made in the solution. The company brought us to their main office for a tour, and as we walked by the accounts payable/accounts receivable department and general finance area where payroll was handled, I noticed there was an inbox. This inbox was full of papers – really full. There were invoices, receipts, purchase orders, and all kinds of different papers in the box, and when I asked what that was, the client said that was how they received all of their paperwork they used to power Microsoft Dynamics GP.

In short, this company hadn’t changed their processes at all. They were still working just as they had before the implementation.

Implementing an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics GP is an opportunity to take that next step to not only replace what you do today, but also to achieve greater value. When you think about an ERP system other than email, no other system has the power to reach out into an organization and touch every facet of your business the way that Microsoft Dynamics GP does. It has the power to influence, either positively or negatively, each and every employee in a meaningful manner.

Let’s go back to this company we visited. I had the opportunity to interview the CEO, and I asked him why his company was continuing to do the things they had done before with their other accounting system. His answer was that at the end of the implementation project, his employees were just exhausted. They had been through six months to a year of change and training while also trying to do their regular jobs. They just needed some time, he said, to reestablish that thought of operations and efficiency, and that time had grown – not just from a few months, but to a couple of years.

Exhaustion is understandable, and change is notoriously difficult. So how do organizations recover from an implementation in a meaningful way and still continue to evolve and grow?

As you look for ways to keep the ERP vision alive, these six tips can help you maximize the value of your Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation:

Maintain Visibility to Your Goals
I do mean this literally. Whether it’s a phase-two integration with your e-commerce tool or making use of an EDI solution to facilitate your work, post your goals at your desk and refer to them in your monthly status reports. You can even put them in your department plan. Keep those goals alive so that your team and management have them in their sight and therefore, their thoughts.

Hold Regular Status Reports
During the implementation project, your project manager probably held regular, weekly status reports. It’s a good idea to maintain these updates even after the project is over. Hold them monthly or quarterly. The key is to continue to report and communicate about recent improvements, needs and gaps, and training and usability.

Build Up Your Champion
Do you remember that executive or senior manager that fought for the investment and cleared all the barriers for your project? That person is still there, and if he/she was supportive before and during the initial project, odds are that he/she understands a longer-term vision for what can be done with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Maintain the relationship and keep that person aware of how the continued effort to move the project forward is going. He or she might even be able to relight the desire to move the organization to achieve the next set of goals.

Schedule Product Checkpoints
As part of your closeout, schedule a quarterly checkpoint with the key stakeholders of the project. Include managers or leaders from organizations that could benefit from future integrations or expansion in the use of the system. Measure your success and review the performance and value that the organization has realized to date. As part of the review, discuss the list of future opportunities and the status of those initiatives. Keep this steering committee alive to help drive the next round of improvements. It’s a product that needs care and feeding –keep asking yourself what’s next for Microsoft Dynamics GP in your organization.

Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Research suggests that most Microsoft Dynamics GP users are only leveraging 30 percent of the capacity of this system. I know some companies that run a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on their ERP system every year to help boost those numbers. It’s important to comb through every use, every function, and every element of how your company is using the solution. This can help you identify new possibilities (new ISV applications, for example, or benefits that could be gained by moving Microsoft Dynamics GP to the cloud) as well as threats to the system (misuse, mismanagement, or members of the team in need of training).

Leverage Your Resources
Your partner or VAR is more than just the person that you call when you need new software or licenses. Your partner or VAR can assist you in a number of ways to help in developing and executing a strategy for success. Nothing drives your partners more than the ability to help you be successful and achieve your goals. From integration packages to connections to key add-on applications, their job is to know how to make you work better than you do today. Schedule a periodic meeting to keep up on changes in the Microsoft Dynamics world and learn about new ways Microsoft Dynamics GP can help you improve the performance of your small- to medium-size business.

With a bit of planning and a focus on keeping your vision alive – and a few intentional business practices – you will be in a great position to achieve your Microsoft Dynamics GP strategic vision.