Business Central implementations and NAV to Business Central upgrades can be done in an intelligent way, which is something we have already done in the past, but now we are forced to do so. Discover the useful tips mentioned in senior consultant Remco van de Meeberg’s blog: ‘The One-and-a-Half-Meter Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central’.
Online implementation of an ERP environment such as Microsoft Dynamics Business Central is not something that arose from the corona crisis and government measures, remote implementations have been carried out for many years for clients whose offices are located at the other side of the world.
For a successful implementation, it is vital, that agreement is reached on the tools used:
- Which software will be used for video conferencing?
- Microsoft Teams
- GoTo Meeting
- How will documents be shared?
- How do you ensure that both parties will view the same versions of documents and can collaborate, for example, in a to-do list?
It is important, that both parties are able to work comfortably with the tools provided and host presentations when needed, for example, a PowerPoint presentation with respect to a proposed solution, or a live screen that displays error notifications, thus making sure that all participants will see the same. It is therefore wise to thoroughly test all used connections and tools beforehand, to prevent any first-meeting scenarios where one or more people cannot participate.
Make sure that a camera is recording all key sessions, such as training courses and brainstorm sessions involving possible approaches, allowing you to assess any non-verbal communication. Also ensure that there are no items present that unnecessarily distract attention, such as a background poster that is open to different interpretations, or cluttered bookshelves. If possible, use a plain wall as a background, or, depending on the tools used, a specific background, or blur it.
Observe proper meeting etiquette, just like in regular gatherings. Let people finish, make sure that everyone gets his or her say, repeat what it is said and take notes.
A useful incidental benefit of video conferencing tools is that in most cases the meeting in question can be recorded, thus allowing everyone to review or listen to it later. However, make sure to indicate beforehand that the meeting is recorded and ask if anyone objects.
A Microsoft Dynamics Business Central implementation setup does not have to differ much from its regular offline counterpart. The components will however have to be divvied up in smaller parts, as experience has shown that online sessions are even more intensive than regular meetings.
The format below has already proven itself in practice:
- Initial Meeting
Start with getting acquainted – the initital meeting. During this meeting, you should make agreements with respect to sharing documents, who will be responsible for drawing up the minutes etc.
- Introductory Training
Continue with an introductory training, for example, how does the user interface work?
In the event of an implementation upgrade, you will also notice that an updated or new interface give rise to many questions, which you must have answered prior to discussing the substance in further detail. Furthermore, you will also notice, that people often only use a small part of the functionality. In this session, you can already introduce them to other available functionality, either new or already present in the system.
Make sure that you are not continuously providing explanation throughout the session. Have people explore the interface themselves as well.
- Setup Sessions for Each Functional Area
When dealing with sessions focusing on setup and configuration, it is useful to divide them into disciplines. This will ensure that participants present have the required knowledge and/or experience, allowing for immediate decisions regarding setup and configuration. Schedule several sessions for each discipline and assign homework for the next meeting, to allow you to closely monitor progress and, for example, reschedule a session when homework has not been not been done.
A common setup usually involves:
- Basic setup;
- Master data;
- Training for Each Functional Area
Once the basic setup for each discipline has been completed, you can continue with training sessions for each functional area. These sessions should also be brief and make people get started with the software (homework). The test environment should be easily accessible, without (continuous) notifications about required user rights.
See to it that everyone can immediately submit questions, for example in an Excel list that can be accessed and edited by both parties. In this phase, a support portal might also be a practical solution, but make sure that it does not consume all available time or the budget. It does however provide you with the insight if the same question is posed frequently, thus implying that the part in question requires intensive and/or repeated training.
- Test Sessions with Recognisable Progress Test Sessions with Recognisable Progress
Try to schedule test sessions for recognisable business processes or a part of thereof, thus allowing users to quickly get an idea how things might work for them. These sessions will be repeated until the final acceptance test. In addition, you should also schedule sessions for testing user rights and profiles, as well as conversion.
- Acceptance Test
If all individual test sessions have been completed satisfactorily, you can organize an acceptance test. Make sure to divide into functional areas or disciplines, so that not everyone has to do the full test. It goes without saying, that the format is adapted to the client’s process sequence. As a result of which, some departments may have to participate several times, because they are part of different process elements. Conversion should also be part of the acceptance test.
- Repetition of the Acceptance Test
When the first acceptance test has taken place, a second one can be conducted over time (a period mutually agreed upon). This allows the client to assess whether the envisioned process is conclusive, or whether amendments are necessary. The vendor in turn has the opportunity to solve bugs and/or malfunction. It is possible, that only certain process elements require a second acceptance test. For example, you could skip conversion.
- Good video and audio connection(s);
- Easy test environment access for everyone;
- Agreement on tools used, prevent discussion that distracts from the actual substance;
- Provide a venue that allows for sharing and simultaneous editing of documents;
- Do not cancel scheduled meetings, even if only to catch up and/or observe that someone is not ready for the next step, thus allowing you to finish within five minutes. Make sure to discuss the needs of the client, so that what needs to be done is actually completed;
- A longer period of radio silence is disastrous.