At Inciper, our Strategy & Advisory team often carry out continuous improvement engagements at clients who have implemented the Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite but are struggling to demonstrate the expected business benefits. As a part of this, we propose interventions to improve the efficiency of operations, which can range from quick process or configuration changes to longer term mini projects. Below (in no particular order) are 5 common interventions that we find make an impact over and over again.
Automated invoice processing
Most finance departments will have a large accounts payable team which exist in the main because of the volume of invoices being received – this will only grow as the organisation scales up. There is no reason for invoices to be repeatedly keyed in when the important information is the same across each one and is located in predictable places. With optical character recognition and machine learning technology, invoice processing can become 90% automated.
Integrating CRM and ERP systems
All data should be entered once and only once within the organisation, with no exceptions. We often find that there are artificial walls put up between the CRM and the ERP systems which mean that information is created twice, once on either side of that barrier. The potential for information to be incorrect because of this is huge and it is commonly pricing that is impacted – a key area for any business. We would always recommend integration between major operational systems.
One area that very commonly impacts on operational efficiency is a poor warehouse setup either physically or within the system, or both. There are commonly a lot of gains to be made by reorganising and ensuring that the way that items are picked, moved to production, packed and dispatched are all set up well in the operations system. We also find that introduction of handheld devices is put in to the ‘too hard’ bucket, often for fear of change, but can provide huge benefit.
A poorly designed delegation of authority matrix can bring an organisation to a near complete standstill. There is a tendency to make the approval steps increasingly complex particularly in larger or older organisations. Some SI's will not provide a challenge to this during implementation which means that you may have a procurement approval workflow which is not working, or not fit for purpose.
The automation of the creation and distribution of key reports is an area which almost seems too obvious. However, at many organisations we find that there can be multiple people whose full-time role has become the production of very complex reports, particularly for the board. This can be streamlined in a couple of ways – analysis of whether your report is still providing useful and usable information to the right people and automating the report creation.
What we can do
Our Strategy & Advisory service run a continuous improvement engagement which gets to the heart of any problems that you may be facing with your D365 system. The actual steps that we will go through are tailored to you but will probably include the following:
Business benefit appraisal: checking in on what business benefits were originally stated for the implementation
Operational discussions: deep dives in specific operational areas to understand the inefficiencies and propose specific interventions
Solution architecture review: looking at whether the setup of the system is optimal to facilitate your goals
Deliverables: a co-created pack to explain at a board level what the recommended actions will be and the expected value outcome of each
How much will it cost?
We will be able to give you a better view when you get in touch and we've understood the scope of our engagement but we would generally expect between £10k and £30k depending on scope and scale.
To assist, Microsoft have created their End Customer Investment Funds (ECIF) programme which can help on certain activities post-project. We can apply for this on your behalf and if granted, it will offset some of the cost of our engagement.