Customers planning to implement Dynamics AX can save time and money on an implementation by pursuing a number of before implementation tasks.

  1. Create an IT Steering Committee if one does not exist.

  2. Designate a team of Subject Matter Experts (SME) from each major functional area (e.g. AP, AR, GL, Inventory, Production, etc.). Refer to Microsoft Sure Step for a definition of SME. SMEs need to be onboard with the implementation. Replacing an intransigent SME in the middle of the implementation can set the project back.

  3. Establish and agree upon a daily time commitment the SMEs can dedicate to the implementation. Make the work load adjustments. In most cases SMEs will still have some of their regular job to perform as well during the implementation.

  4. Provide the SME’s with training on how to document functional flows in software. This training provides the foundation for creating “as is” and “to be” documentation. Additionally the documentation skill is invaluable for creating acceptance scripts and user guides (for end users). Screenshots and narratives are huge. Your partner or Microsoft can provide this training. I’ll write on this in a future blog.

  5. Have the SME’s create “as is” functional flow documentation on the legacy software (e.g. a check run from beginning to end or creating an item) on all existing transactions. Break down functional roles into specific tasks and then break each task down into steps. This is a time consuming process.

  6. Consider funding development (X++), Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Microsoft SharePoint training.

  7. Take a first pass at identifying legacy data that may need migration to Dynamics AX. This data should be cleaned. Focus on fairly static data like customers, vendors, items, units of measure, decimal precision, etc.

  8. Take a first pass at cleaning up processes that could bog the implementation down later if not resolved.

  9. Set up a project room (a.k.a. “war room”) with white boards, free wall space, projector, printers (barcode printers too), scanners, and training work stations (with Microsoft Office). Book the room for the duration of the project.

  10. Set up the consultants with security badges, domain accounts, email accounts, etc. Create a project email distribution list.

  11. Set up a project resource site to hold project documents (e.g. network share, Microsoft SharePoint, etc.).

  12. Provide regular updates to the consultants before they arrive so all parties remain in synch. Share existing project documents.

  13. Share existing hardware specifications with the consultants and investigate if new hardware is required (usually it is).

  14. Provide regular internal updates within the company to avoid wild speculation about the project.

  15. Establish an arrival date and time for the consultants with the partner.

  16. Source hotels for the consultants to stay (nice restaurant and a good gym are big).

  17. Realize that implementing Dynamics AX is an opportunity (generally once or twice in a lifetime) to change the way you do business.

  18. Realize that documenting all decisions (e.g.customer is responsible for cleaning and migrating data, partner is responsible all custom code and specs, etc.) is key to minimizing later issues.

Thanks

Dave Phillips