ERP Implementation phases in compliance with the methodology

Methodology is a set of tools and good practices that secure the effective implementation of the ERP system. It has been designed based on many-year experience of Microsoft consultants and partners. It incorporates proven procedures that contribute to the faster delivery of an implementation project, its increased quality and cost reduction. 

The first version of Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology was published in 2007. It was developed by Microsoft experts. It was based on experience in worldwide Microsoft Dynamics implementation projects. The methodology provides a set of tools and templates which facilitate the implementation process substantially. In Microsoft Sure Step Methodology, the following five project types are distinguished based on their scope and complexity: Standard, Rapid, Enterprise, Agile and Upgrade. All these project types comprise 6 project phases: Diagnosis, Analysis, Design, Development, Deployment and Operation.

Diagnosis  

Basically, Diagnosis is the pre-implementation phase and it is aimed at selecting the appropriate solution that meets the requirements of the customer’s organization.  

Analysis  

This phase initiates the implementation of an ERP system. It is of critical importance to the project. Within this phase, all activities required and schedules are defined which is necessary to plan the project effectively. The phase starts with a kick off meeting of the customer’s and contractor’s project teams. In the course of this meeting and subsequent workshops with system users, the teams work on the existing and expected business process models at the customer’s organization. All requirements are compiled in the Process List document which is used to create the Gap-Fit Analysis then. The document specifies all required elements that are provided with the standard Microsoft Dynamics NAV functionality as well as the ones that need to be designed and developed. Project Charter is the primary deliverable of the Analysis phase. It covers the schedule, stages and implementation products with corresponding budgets. Additionally, the following documents are created: Project Plan, Issue Log and Data Migration List.

Design  

In this phase, the implementation team, designs the process of implementing all defined requirements. Test environments are created for the purpose of testing the required setup. At the end of this phase, a document titled Solution Concept is complied. Within this phase, an implementation team is appointed and the methods for implementing specific solutions are developed. One of the deliverables is Functional Test Worksheet. 

Development  

The goal of the Development phase is to build and test the system components that are defined and approved in the Analysis phase. Development involves the setup of customized functionalities, creation of user interfaces and migration of test data. The complete and full-configured system is the output of this phase. At the end, all modification codes are logged and application interfaces are built and integrated. The phase is completed with acceptance tests with key users of the clients team.

Deployment  

At the Deployment phase, all current processes are implemented within Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The implementation partner team provides training for end users. The implementation partner and customer teams execute final acceptance tests and validate the Go-Live Checklist. At this stage, data is finally migrated to a production version of the system. The checklist is created in this phase.

System operation  

This is the final phase, which usually follows a few months of implementation efforts. At this phase, the partner provides support for the system, transferring its knowledge and instructions to the client. Support is delegated to the HelpDesk department, then. Finally, after implementation project quality is audited, the project is officially completed.

A guide to selecting the right ERP system

Process flow monitoring

Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology requires the provider to identify the customer’s needs in detail. Typically, if an organization is implementing a system for the first time, the customer is not able to pinpoint critical issues.  Therefore, the system provider should know what questions should be asked to the customer, visit its company, find out about its specific requirements and specific conditions in its industry. Specific business requirements are of critical importance. When these requirements are identified properly, the project is likely to be successful. The methodology requires that obligations of the customer and implementation partner should be defined clearly. 

The customer’s commitment is also critical to project success. Listing all tasks for each team is a “must-to-do” step which ensures process optimization. The commitment of project teams also means discipline. Users (the customer’s employees) should be aware that with their disciplined approach, they can improve project efficiency, whereas the lack of discipline may cause delays or decrease the quality of project output.  

Additionally, Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step supports risk and change management.  

Cross Phase Processes

Cross Phases Processes include a set of activities which are performed within a few implementation phases. These activities are performed across various phases. By distinguishing cross phase processes, it is possible to define the roles and responsibilities of all project team members precisely and specify their relationship and impact on other stakeholders.  

The Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology distinguishes 9 cross-phase processes grouped based on the following three areas:  

  • Organization which involves system management, training courses and business process analysis.  
  • Solution which involves analysis and setup, specific solutions, testing and quality assurance.  
  • Technology which involves infrastructure, interfaces, integration and data migration.  

Benefits

The methodology involves several phases which can be monitored by the customer. As all modifications can be validated by the customer, the customer is assured that implementation is delivered based on the assumptions agreed upon which means the customer’s budget is also under control. 

Optimization

The Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology deals with optimization pro-actively. Therefore, it assumes the following activities: audit and evaluation of the architecture, project, project modifications and efficiency as well as project management and tests of the delivered solution and system upgrade. The project can involve one or more of these activities.

Transparent planning and communication

The methodology helps you to plan your tasks and duties for various project team members. If plans and task assignment is transparent, project communication is much more efficient. All points agreed upon and completed project phases should be clearly summarized in documentation. This way, the customer will have an insight into all activities preformed which means better transparency and communication.

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