Removing day to day problems to achieve your D365 benefits

When you created your business case for a digital transformation, you will have included a series of business benefit statements outlining what you were hoping to achieve in order to offset the cost of the programme.

Unfortunately, companies can find that even after the most successful implementations, there are blockers within the business which mean that the full scale of expected benefits is not achieved.

The temptation with business benefits is always to quietly forget about them post-implementation and not track whether they have been achieved. This can avoid potential embarrassment if there are issues which mean that you can’t actually get the value that you were originally expecting.

However, there is another way of approaching this which is to spend some time and focus on ensuring that you do meet your original benefit statements. Some of the common day to day issues that we find are listed and explained below along with recommended interventions.

Employees don’t know what they’re doing

It’s really important that this is not seen as a problem with the employees! Most of the time, if there is insufficient understanding in the operational teams as to how to use the system, it is a failure of the project in provision of adequate training.

The easiest intervention here is to create a heatmap of what areas of understanding are required in each user community and ask each employee to measure themselves against it. This will very quickly show which individuals or teams need further training in specific areas.

Disparate data sources

Due to the nature of today’s interconnected business, it’s very common to find that there are multiple line of business systems running complementary to Dynamics 365 but need to be brought into the overall corporate reporting. Disparate data sources and data siloes mean that different people can generate reports which support their own conclusions.

Organisations often suffer from reporting different figures depending on the source system that provided the data, leading to stakeholders focussing on understanding and agreeing the numbers, rather than driving decisions from insights their data assets can provide.

Richer, more powerful business insights can be surfaced by combining data from D365 and other LOB systems into a single source of truth for organisational data analytics resulting in stakeholders driving faster decision making instead of discussing whose answer is correct.

Workflow issues

This is a very specific issue but we find it very commonly in post-implementation investigations. Creation of workflows in D365 to automate areas of business operation is both easy and complex. An example workflow would be one for approval of purchase orders before they are sent out to suppliers. The two main problems we find are:

  • Business workflow is too complex
  • System implementation is badly designed

In order to remedy this situation, there needs to be a series of hard conversations with the impacted business areas to look at how complex the business process is and whether it needs to be like that. Often, the answer is that the workflow is like that for historical and not for business reasons.

Lack of support

Typically, a lot of thought is put into the implementation of the new business systems and processes. Less well considered is what will happen to support it after the implementation is complete. Symptoms of this will include a lot of emails being sent, possibly group emails, with issues and suggestions for future change. Users of the system will talk about not knowing what to do when things go wrong.

Our suggestion is that there is always a small group of superusers that can act as a collation point for anything that needs to be raised, preferably with a single email address to which they all have access. Whether you then use a systems integrator to provide your support or if it is something that you do internally through a centre of excellence, a well-publicised central point of contact will make everyone feel like there is a channel through which they can raise incidents as they occur.

Resistance to change

Change management is one of the most neglected disciplines in any programme of change and even when it is present it can be seen as finishing on go-live day. However, the first 6 to 8 weeks after 'go live' is actually the time that most employees will be going through the ‘change curve’. It is here that change management is most important to make sure that there is as little resistance to the new process or system as possible.

This is probably the hardest to impact of the day-to-day problems listed here, because the best time to start change management is about 14 weeks before the moment I’m describing. If you are still having problems with change resistance after implementation, you will need a bit of stick and a lot of carrot.

  • The whole management team – senior leaders down to team leaders – must be absolutely united in the belief that this was the right thing to do
  • It must be absolutely clear that this is the new system and there will be no let-up in this
  • Communicate often with the team from all levels pushing this message
  • Start a programme of quick wins to generate improvements for the teams
  • Broadcast improvements over the old process and system to create a feeling of progress


What we can do

Our Strategy & Advisory service can run a variety of interventions to get 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 may include:

  • Continuous improvement
    • A focussed engagement to look functionally and technically about what can be improved within your D365 implementation and the business benefits of that change
  • Change management
    • Experienced change managers can advise you on how to start to change hearts and minds across your organisation
  • Business applications service excellence
    • Help you to setup of a centre of excellence to ensure that any incidents, problems and suggestions can get dealt with in agreed timescales

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How much will it cost?

Different engagement across different timeframes will be associated with a range of costs but for the simplest of continuous improvement interventions it could be from as little as £10k.

Microsoft have created an End Customer Investment Funds (ECIF) programme which can help to fund post-project interventions. We can apply for this on your behalf and if granted, it will offset some of the cost for you.

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