Blog: ERP

Failed Dynamics AX Implementation? Here’s How to Turn It Around

May 11, 2018 - by Synoptek

The business benefits of a successful AX implementation are numerous: smarter operations, improved flexibility and agility, enhanced integration, increased revenue and a better position in the market. However, implementing an ERP is never easy; the process includes evaluating and selecting a vendor, building a robust project plan, training users, and offering post implementation support. When done properly, it helps companies manage business more efficiently, but more often than not, weak planning results in a failed implementation.


Why do AX Implementations Fail?

Transitioning to a new ERP system costs millions of dollars in investment; yet, many companies do not know how to approach the implementation process correctly, which leads to a failed state. Across many organizations, important processes such as risk assessment, change management, and cost-benefit analysis are typically ignored; the main focus drifts towards reducing implementation expenditures, hoping that the new system will magically transform the operations and efficiency of the business. Because of this, expected benefits are not realized and the organization loses confidence in the system.

However, a failed ERP implementation does not mean your business cannot recover. While implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP, organizations should do everything possible to avoid implementation failure.

Let’s find out why implementations fail in the first place:

  • No clear objectives or timeline: Most organizations looking to implement an ERP start on the wrong foot. An ERP implementation is a major business decision that requires considering the type and size of your business and being aware of the benefits it can bring to your organization. Lack of clear goals or objectives and an unrealistic implementation timeline makes it difficult to gauge the problems to be targeted and the benefits to be expected.
  • Lack of implementation experience: Very often, in order to quickly take the ERP plunge at a low cost, organizations hire partners that do not have sufficient implementation experience. Inadequate expertise in similar-sized projects, poor communication skills with key personnel, substandard project management skills, and a lack of experience in implementing projects in a similar industry are the most common reasons for a failed implementation.
  • Over-customization: Considering the fact that every organization is unique, implementing an out-of-the-box, generic solution might not be a feasible option. Trying to do so typically results in over-customization of the ERP system, which usually increases the costs and deployment time that can derail the implementation. According to PwC, over 70% of implementations are over-customized, resulting in high cost of ownership and upgrade complexities with future product releases.
  • Poor integration with existing systems: Organizations that didn’t have a well-developed integration strategy may end up with data siloes, and an unintegrated post-deployment state that neither enables seamless flow of data between various LOB and legacy systems nor provides visibility into business operations. Partially integrated application suites and in-house programs built on outdated technology restrict business growth. According to Gartner, 90% of organizations lack a postmodern application integration strategy.
  • Insufficient testing and training: Even if the implemented ERP meets all the business requirements and expectations, insufficiently testing the system can lead to critical issues being overlooked. Post implementation, these issues snowball into bigger ones that are impossible to then rectify. Additionally, organizations that fail to provide in-depth training to all the system users end up with the solution not being optimally used, resulting in demotivated and disinterested users. Don’t let training be your downfall, as a shocking statistic reveals 95% of companies dedicate less than 10% of total budget to education and training.
  • Inadequate post-implementation support: Most organizations fail to realize that an ERP implementation is an investment that will be profitable in the long run. By choosing vendors who claim to implement the ERP in a short time frame and at a low cost fail to offer post-implementation support that is critical to the success of the solution.
  • Change management: A very common reason for ERP implementation failure is the inability to manage the change that is inevitable with this process. There are bound to be changes in technology, processes, teams, and user experience and in the absence of a robust change management strategy, changes end up being handled inefficiently that result in poor ERP implementation results.

So Your ERP Implementation Failed. Here’s What You Can Do

The reasons for ERP failure are many, and although budgets overshoot, IT delays and unforeseen roadblocks are inevitable, by following certain tips and best practices, you can successfully re-implement a modern and robust ERP solution like Dynamics AX and achieve the intended goals. Here’s what you can do:

  • Conduct a diagnostic study: For you to understand what went wrong in your first implementation attempt, it is important to begin by conducting a diagnostic study. Were your objectives not clear? Was your implementation partner inefficient? Did you overly customize your solution? Was poor integration an issue? Did you not sufficiently test and support the system? Were users trained adequately and satisfactorily? Identity the reason for the failed implementation and set out to build a remediation plan accordingly.
  • Set a comprehensive project plan: In order to establish a stable ground with renewed confidence, having a comprehensive project plan in place is crucial. Build a robust project plan, carefully identify project leaders (with decent time, communication, and management skills), build cross-functional teams (who enable specific process improvements and suggest recommendations), and clearly assign project roles and responsibilities to stabilize your ERP. Choose the right implementation strategy, sufficiently plan for infrastructure requirements, and maintain focus on the original scope of the implementation.
  • Use an experienced implementation partner: Choosing a trust-worthy partner with comprehensive experience and expertise in similar implementations is indispensable. The right AX partner can ensure a smooth transition from the failed state to the new and can bring the solution back to life. An experienced implementation partner with strong knowledge of all aspects of Dynamics AX and deep domain experience in your industry can quickly study the existing implementation and connect with underlying uses and pain points.
  • Test and train thoroughly: Testing the new solution within each module and then together as an integrated solution ensures issues are identified and resolved early in the cycle. Build appropriate test cases, include a wide variety of business scenarios under the test coverage and include all types of testing including functional, performance and user-acceptance testing. In addition, train users thoroughly; include multi stage and multi-level training with business workshops, train the trainer courses, capacity requirements planning, and user acceptance testing.
  • Focus on continuous support: Considering the fact that re-implementation will take a lot of time, make room for possible technology changes, industry fluctuations, and changing market trends. Develop a long-term plan that includes continuous support so as to enable users to meet the growing needs of the market and customer. Ensure support staff is sufficiently trained so that they can provide Level1 support and implement a ticket management system to enable better SLAs.

Achieve What You Set Out For

Considering how Dynamics AX is helping organizations achieve enhanced productivity, seamless integration, anytime, anywhere accessibility, built-in intelligence, and superior automation, a proper implementation is essential to get the most out of your investment and effort. A failed ERP implementation is a worst-case scenario, but if you find yourself in a failed state, a proper re-implementation can help you to achieve your original goals. Carefully diagnose your implementation, set a comprehensive project plan, use an experienced implementation partner, test and train thoroughly and focus on continuous support – there’s always a way to turn around a failed AX implementation!

Learn more about ensuring success with your Dynamics AX implementation by leveraging an experienced partner.

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