In my last article I looked at some of the essential planning that should go into a Microsoft Dynamics AX project. The goals set out for the project can only be achieved with the right implementation team.
In this article I will focus on the execution team responsible for delivering a working Microsoft Dynamics AX solution. This execution team consists of SMEs and key users from customer side, as well as a consulting team’s application and technical consultants. Together, these groups represent one team working collectively throughout the project lifecycle.
The Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step’s Project Charter Document identifies the implementation team in the Diagnostic phase, and it is a critical early milestone to starting the project execution. The implementation team is organized and managed through a mutual agreement between customer and consultation partner. The customer names the project sponsor, a “customer project manager”, subject matter experts (SMEs), process owners, and key users. On the other hand the consultation partner names the project manager (this is the singular role for managing the project’s daily progress, resources, methodology, and goals), the lead consultant, and the rest of the consulting team.
These two teams – the customer team and the consulting team – are engaged together throughout the implementation phases with a hierarchical relationship within and between them, handling different level of details of implementation tasks, and activities.
SMEs are typically senior managers who can explain the company’s business domain, address requirements, and frame the “to be” business processes. SMEs should attend all business case workshops during analysis, design, deployment, and following up on the operations until they are stabilized. They must get a clear understanding from the consulting team of how the business will be mapped in the application, considering all the available alternative options for a business case in order to choose the best fit solution. SMEs should also be expected to explain in detail the integration points between company departments and the reports required by managers. SMEs can also identify the key users who will absorb the “to be” business processes and any new changes that will cascade down to end users.
Key users play a key role in validating that the new solution achieves the tactical goals of the “to be” business processes and ensuring the new solution is executed as required since the end users execution will affect the required results. The key users should understand the transactions executed in the ERP system, integration points at a business level and application level, as well as being the trainers for end users
The Consulting Team (Business/Technical) is the liaison between application and business requirements. They are bridging the gaps between gathered business requirements, and application functionality.
Application consultants focus on the business requirements and how they are mapped to the application. They construct and document the business process procedures, process maps, and the design on the application. They convey the application logic to key users and SMEs to educate them on how and why transactions are executed as planned. Application consultants lead the workshops from analysis to the final sign off and gain agreement with peers on the procedures for gathering the required master data, the needed cleansing, and opening balances upload. The application consultant delivers the technical specification documents to technical consultant in case of there are required modifications, customizations, and/or reports to develop.
Technical consultants focus on the Microsoft Dynamics AX architecture, including areas like server topology, user access options, third party applications integration compatibility, modifications, report development, and customizations.
The final product for the organization should be an ERP solution that incorporates policies and procedures, roles, responsibilities, segregation of duties, control points, and, ideally, improved business intelligence that improves visibility for management and optimized operational performance.
End users need to understand the execution procedures of their daily work with the new Dynamics AX solution. It is the responsibility of the implementation team to convey the new business terms, new business processes, amended business processes, new roles, and responsibilities during training workshops. Based on this guidance, end users should begin using the new system with enough understanding to conduct a transaction, handle business cases, and to appreciate how their daily work affects the monthly performance of the organization will perform the financial monthly closing. Other important details include the policies to frame the boundaries like an approval ceiling limit.
The implementation team also delivers reports whether it is Operational Reports, Managerial Reports, and/or BI reports which help the executives in the decision making. And finally they deliver an up and running ERP solution that manages the day to day transactions and operations of the business.
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