Implementing a new Microsoft Dynamics NAV / Navision ERP system can be a daunting and overwhelming task that involves your entire organization. ERP implementation projects typically change business processes, roles and responsibilities for managers and employees alike so it is vital to not only select the right software package but also the right partner and implementation process. BMI has, over the years, developed “best practices” for Dynamics NAV / Navision ERP software implementations in concert with the Microsoft “Sure Step” implementation methodology process.
This methodology can be used and adapted to all types and sizes of projects, from simple add-ons to full ERP implementations to custom development projects. The core concept is to analyze and define the scope of the project in advance using standard tools through process steps and phases so that the implementation will meet the expected outcome and minimize the strain of the organization during the process.
A key element in this process is good communication and participation from all parties involved. Let’s take a closer look:
Every project is the result of some type of a need. This could be driven by expanding business requirements, new technology opportunities, etc. This calls for an initial diagnosis of the tasks at hand.In the Diagnostic Phase, BMI works with the client to define the initial scope of the project. BMI will provide information regarding the proposed software capabilities, analyze the fit to the organizational requirements and propose any special solutions that would serve the client’s future goals and address the core issues driving the changes. This Phase is highly conceptual and should give the client an understanding of its options and possible solutions so they will be comfortable making a decision to move forward with the project. In the toolbox, in this phase, we find documents like the Gap-Fit Analysis, High Level Project Plan, Budget Estimate, Statement of Work and more.
Upon formal agreement to implement the Dynamics NAV / Navision solution, BMI and the client will move to the next phase of implementation, the Analysis Phase. This phase’s purpose is to outline, in detail, the functional business requirements. This is both about how to set up the application and to scope out any custom programming that would be required to meet the expected outcome for the project. A key element in this phase is participation and involvement, from all parties affected by the solution, through meetings and training sessions. This phase will include using tools like the Functional Requirements Document, Data Migration Requirements, Infrastructure Design and more.
The Design Phase is often combined with the Analysis Phase if the analysis does not uncover any advanced development or data migration requirements that need special consideration beyond what can be accomplished in the Analysis Phase. If so, the solutions to the requirements will be specified in the requirements documents.
The next two phases, Development Phase and Deployment Phase go hand in hand. Here BMI and the client will work together setting up and testing the application. Custom modifications can be tested as they are implemented and moved into the test environment. In this phase, it is very important to use scope management tools from the toolbox. These are tools like Test Scripts, Change Control, Check List, Cut-Over Plan and Task Lists. We will also have frequent status meetings to make sure that schedule and budget goals are being managed and met. When the client has accepted the solution through a UAT (User Acceptance Testing), the implementation can move forward to its final deployment step, the Go-Live.
If the “Sure Step” methodology has been followed, the Go-Live should not present any major challenges. There are tasks that will need to be accomplished, changing business processes and new software to get used to, but when the methodology is being followed and everyone involved is prepared for the cut-over to the new system, uncertainties are eliminated. This is the reason why choosing the right partner and methodology is so important to the success of every implementation.
Finally there is the Operation Phase. BMI will not just walk away after the Go-Live. We will be your business partner and continue to support your organization and your new Dynamics NAV / Navision ERP system. Going forward, you may have new business requirements that have to be met, additional training and support needs and ongoing system maintenance to deal with. BMI will be with you every step of the way.