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3 Keys to ERP and CRM Success After Go-Live

I recently wrote a post commenting on data which demonstrates that Dynamics NAV represents the majority share of the Dynamics pie, with 45% of the total installed license base globally. While I think it’s easy to explain NAV’s success because of the many great features and functions, I believe that successfully getting the benefits from an investment in ERP or CRM comes down to more than just choosing the right software.

Go-live is Just the Beginning

The conversation about ERP and CRM success typically focuses on how to make implementations successful – and specifically, how to maximize the chances for a successful “go-live.” For too long, the message after go-live has been something like this: “When you have issues – please log into our support desk and we will look into it.” This process may be more efficient for the provider whose resources are occupied with current implementation projects, but not always for the client. Technical issues can be solved on a case-by-case basis, to be sure, but is this always the best choice for incorporating your new system into your wider business strategy?

In reality, “go-live” is simply the starting point for realizing the benefits of ERP and CRM systems. A successful implementation is dependent on shifting the focus to business performance improvement after the new system is in production.  

To Realize the Full Value of an ERP or CRM Investment a High-value Support Service Will:

  1. Create a program of continuous business/systems process improvements that makes sure you are using every bit of available capability in the software. We see too many processes migrating outside of the system because the client organization didn’t tap into standard functionality to enable new or evolved processes. One of the best ways to drive performance improvement with ERP and CRM is to focus on defined process metrics or KPIs the business wants to improve.
  2. Build control systems to monitor business data on a regular basis. There is so much you can conclude from looking at data regularly, yet for some reason this valuable exercise seems to be only used around go live and rarely after the fact. With the many responsibilities to bear, businesses often must move on to other tasks and monitoring data isn’t always top priority. For example, by monitoring and performing regular audits of such functions as open PO’s, shipped items, and inventory turns throughout the entire ERP lifecycle (and not just after go-live), businesses can gain valuable strategic insights.
  3. Ensure your people are trained and working on the latest release. For companies that do not have a technical team in-house, turnover can result in having staff that are not trained to use your company’s ERP or CRM software, thus decreasing its efficacy. For example, employee A trains employee B and so on with knowledge being passed down less efficiently with each turnover. Somewhat like the scene at a fitness club, people will inefficiently emulate the exercises they  see other people doing which will amount to fewer results than if they had consulted an expert from the beginning. You can continue to realize the value of your investment with a partner that will make regular staff check-ins to ensure seamless turnovers and updates.

It is only when organizations establish clear programs focused on transforming their business operations to fully leverage ERP and CRM systems’ capabilities that their value will be truly realized.

We Call It ‘Managed Services’

The chart below shows how a typical NAV implementation meets current needs perfectly but can quickly become inadequate as new needs emerge. Managed services focuses on mapping needs that materialize in the years following go-live with standard capabilities in the software. This model of changing needs over time is also applicable in the context of CRM.

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