Dynamics 365 Adoption Essentials – Is your Partner part of the problem?

adopt

There are so many tricks to making sure your employees adopt your new Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) implementation.   All the onus is put on the customer for this user adoption.   After all, the customer is the one putting the money out to implement the product and use the product to improve their systems and processes.  One main ingredient that seems to be missing in all the tips and tricks, is the responsibility of the partner you hire to implement Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE).

When you hire a partner to Implement your Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement you need to add a few questions to your RFP or criteria.

  1. What percentage of your employees are contractors and what percentage of permanent employees?  A lot of the smaller partners use contractors on an as-needed basis to fill their gaps.   Many contractors are great, but a few things that you need to watch out for:
  • Does the contractor or employee adopt the partner’s vision and philosophies? There are so many ways to do the same thing in D365 CE, but some solutions aren’t user-friendly or adopt best practices.
  • How many Dynamics 365 CE projects have they worked on for this particular partner?     Make sure if they are new to the company that they are well versed on your environment and needs.
  • Are they putting in solutions that can easily be modified by any consultant if needed?  Lots of solutions work but if the average consultant should be able to come in and understand what another consultant has done without major customizations needed.
  • What is the plan if they leave or are not around when changes are needed?  Ask the company what their plan is if anyone one on your project departs the company.  Is there documentation?  Where are the solutions stored? There definitely should be documentation on what is being implemented and the solutions the consultants are working on should not just be stored on their own systems.  Not all contractors or employees give 2 weeks’ notice and you don’t want your project slowed down when personnel change.
  1. If  consultant is a Contractor, how long have they been contracting for the Partner?  Contractors come and go depending on need.   A small company I worked for only hired contractors available at the time because they had a hole to fill instead of finding qualified people.
  • Make sure the contractors will be around long term to help with modifications.
  • Make sure the contractors are putting in solutions that can be modified or changed by another consultant without recreating the wheel.
  • If they put in a “managed solution” make sure you have a copy of the unmanaged solution that goes with it. (This equates to having the code to an executable (.exe) or code that someone puts in your environment.  You don’t want to have to start from scratch if it needs to be modified in any way.)
  1. What is their plan for ensuring the system is easy to use?
  • Get an overview of the ultimate architecture and plan
  • Ask how user-friendly the menus, workflows, etc. are for end users. You want to ensure it is not being built for technical people but the end users.  Many technologists forget that everyone is not technical. The implementation tends to be something that the consultants might find easy to understand, but the salespeople or data entry people do not find it very intuitive.  It needs to be “END USER” friendly both in appearance and process.
  1. What is the training plan for your employees?   There are two thoughts to this process.
  • Train the trainer – do you have someone in-house who will be the go-to person or person to train new employees on the system. This is the quicker and less expensive approach but needs to be someone who will enjoy being the go-to person
  • End User training – This is usually 2-3 days of training per department. It is training the end users on how to use the system following your business process plan.
  • I recommend you do a combo of the two options.   Find the person who is most passionate about making sure the processes are correct and let them be the go-to person!  There might be more than one!
  1. What percentage of past customers have had adoption issues and what was the cause? Fix?  Ask your partner what issues have their customers run into with adoption. No one is perfect and there are always nuances of implementations.
  • If they blame the customer for lack of Adoption for all their customers, then it becomes concerning. Overall it is the customer who loses out, but this is supposed to be a Partnership so there should be culpability on all sides.
  • When their customer did have problems, what was their fix?  They should have a contingency plan ready as everyone will tell you Adoption is one of the biggest issues!
  • Ask for a plan or recommendation for user adoption. What do they recommend to ensure there is adoption to the new system?  One answer will always be management buy-in, but that is a statement and not really a plan (IMHO).  Ask for a tangible plan!
  1. What part of the vision for “YOU the customer” is specific to your needs, not the “one size fits all” solution?   Everyone likes easily repeatable processes.  Partners are no different, but these repeatable processes should be a template, not the “END ALL BE ALL” of the plan.  The plan should be tailored to your company and should feel like it fits your organization.

Partners should be just that PARTNERS!   If their employees have no skin in the game, then what motivates them to do the best job they can possibly do for your project!

I tend to build relationships with most of my customers and have stayed friendly with so many people over the years, so my perspective might be a bit jaded BUT if I were hiring a company to implement any important system, I would want them to be a PARTNER and not just another company doing an implementation.

 

 

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