7 Sure Fire Ways to Waste Money on a Dynamics GP Implementation

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Are you one of those people who love to waste money?  You can admit it, there’s no shame here. Over the course of almost 20 years of implementing ERP software, customers and competitors alike have taught me lots of ways to waste money while implementing Dynamics GP, so if you’re one of those people then this article’s for you!


You got me.  Nobody likes to waste money - especially accountants and business owners.  Yet companies do it all the time.  Oftentimes, the consultant takes the fall when an ERP implementation goes over budget – and to a large degree that’s appropriate.  They do this for a living, they should know better.  However, instead of settling for someone to blame after the fact, proactively taking a few simple precautions could save your project thousands of dollars.


Here are 7 of the most common ways I have seen companies waste money during their Dynamics GP implementation, and how you can avoid them:


1)     Insisting that you need to convert all historical transactions.


Many companies that move to Dynamics GP from an old system will tell us, “In the new system I need to see every document every customer or vendor ever had.”  From a technical perspective, that can be done.  It is such a waste of money, though.  That is what your old system is for!


When you are implementing a new system, you should be changing the way you process transactions based on your newfound capabilities – otherwise you’ve just put lipstick on the pig.  When you import detailed historical transactions into the new system, you need to map those transactions into your new processes and data structures.  It actually can become really complex which means a lot more consulting hours.


To illustrate this, let me tell you about a project of mine that went wildly over-budget. The company was moving from AccPac and, like most companies, wanted to import their general ledger history into Dynamics GP for comparative purposes.  The best practice for this is to create a beginning balance far enough back to accommodate your comparative requirement (usually 2-3 years) and then record a net change transaction for each period up to your cutover date.


The customer decided they would do net change entries for 2 historical years, but that they needed all of their individual GL entries for the most recent year.  Unfortunately for the conversion, multicurrency and intercompany processing were set up very differently between the old system and the new, and the chart of accounts had been completely restructured.  Not to mention that a years’ worth of detail is an awful lot of detail to be mapped and validated.


This company wasted so much time and money bringing in too much historical detail when they could have just referred to their old system if that data was needed in the future.  Don’t fall into that trap!


2)     Finding too many cool things on the internet.


I heard somewhere that something like 80 percent of purchases are made based on Internet research alone. The problem with that is a lot of people have seen everything that Dynamics GP can do and they want it all implemented and live on Day 1.  They want to drive the Ferrari even though they really only need the Honda and are coming from a go-cart.


You will save a lot of money if you take more of a “crawl, walk, run” approach to your Dynamics GP project.  Start with only what you need and add more over time. For example, the fancy dashboards and BI Analytics that you saw in a YouTube demo or read about in a blog post are great, but they won’t be useful to you for at least 3-6 months after your implementation when you have built up some actual history.


When you initially go live with your new Dynamics GP system, don’t overwhelm yourself. Focus on the core system, improve your processes and work on user adoption.  Just because you own all these fun new toys doesn’t mean you need to start using them on Day 1.


3)     Buying add-on products too soon.


Imagine you have a mouse and you bring in a bazooka to kill it.  Not only is the Bazooka expensive to buy, it’s going to break more than it fixes.  Simply plugging up some holes in the wall and introducing a mousetrap would likely be a better way to start.


Some companies have a problem they want to solve and will go straight to the super ISV add-on solution.  Maybe that add-on is a perfect fit, but maybe not on day 1.  First go live with Dynamics GP and see what it can do.  Perhaps your problem can be solved in a different way without an additional purchase.  Or perhaps that issue can just be shelved until the core system is working properly.  For example, make sure your inventory and purchase orders are configured properly before you worry too much about scanners in the warehouse.  Again, those really should all be considered as later, separate projects.


At the very least, holding off on purchasing add-on products until you actually need them will save you money in maintenance fees.  I have a customer who has a small warehouse and they wanted to purchase a warehousing add-on for Dynamics GP right away.  The tool is solid, but now we are 6 months after initial go live and they're not ready to run it yet.  They've paid maintenance fees on a product they are not using and to me that seems a waste of money.


The salesman in me wants to be elated that I sold more product up front, but that is not the way I like to run my business.  I don’t like my clients to waste their money.


4)     Asking the consultants to do time consuming grunt work.


There are tasks in every implementation that are quite tedious and time consuming that should really be done by an internal resource.  Unfortunately, that sentence contained both tedious and time consuming.  Project participants, most of whom still have to do their regular day job throughout the implementation, usually find it easy to fob these tasks off to the consultants.


In many cases you could hire a temp to do this work for you for a lot less than the consultant is charging, and with equal effect.  Of course, if you ask us our team will do it for you in order to keep the project moving forward, but it sure is a waste of money for you.


For example, on one project we exported vendor lists from multiple companies into Excel to be scrubbed for import to GP. It turned out that the same vendors were recorded in each of the companies in a different way and the data needed to be standardized.  We gave the Excel list to the client and asked them to clean it up.  After a long delay on the user’s part – it was month end - the project manager asked us to go through and scrub the data for them, which of course we did.  But that was 6 hours of billable time by a highly trained and highly priced Dynamics GP consultant.


5)     Having the consultant build documentation after training.


A great way to save money, which is the same as not wasting it, is to build your own documentation during your user training sessions.  As your users sit in training sessions, most of them are taking rough notes in their own spiral bound notebook.  But what if they were to type their notes into a Word document instead?  Then what if they go back later and add a few screenshots while they are testing?  You would have your own training documentation for free, and it didn’t take the user any additional time or effort.  This can be used to train the next person you hire, and the next and the next.


You paid us to train you, you might as well write down what we're saying in a format that others can use!  Otherwise you’ll probably be charged at least 2-3 hours per process for us to prepare personalized user documentation for your system.


6)     Neglecting to get the IT department engaged.


Even though you might think this is just a project for the finance and operations teams, you will save money if you get your own IT department active and engaged as well.  There is a lot of small stuff that the Dynamics GP consultant is asked to do that technically could (and I would argue should) be done by your own IT department.


For example, running check links, executing simple SQL Commands, setting up backups, SQL Server set up or even building and running integrations.  As always, we can do it for you, but you will save money if we don’t.


7)     Not putting someone with authority in charge.


You are guaranteed to waste money on your Dynamics GP implementation if there is not someone on your team with authority to tell people what to do and who is responsible for project coordination.  As consultants, we have our own project managers.  We have someone that makes sure we are tracking our issues and making sure that our people are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.  But you need that on your side too.


For example, imagine that our consultants show up at your office on Wednesday morning to do a scheduled training session.  When the consultants arrive, nobody has coordinated internally that this training was going to happen.  Or perhaps, Jim, who is supposed to be trained today, got pulled aside to work on an invoicing issue so he doesn’t show up.  Our consultants can’t tell him to drop his other project because this is more important. Only someone within your organization, with authority, can determine if this invoice issue is worth more than paying the consultants to wait in the conference room twiddling their thumbs.


Honestly, if we show up and the training can’t happen, we will try to find something else to do onsite that will add value.  But some consultants won’t. Some will just sit and wait, on the clock, for Jim to show up.  Having someone internally who has the authority to make sure that everybody on your side is doing what they need to do and shows up where they need to be can save you quite a bit of money.


As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of ways to waste money in an implementation – these were just some of the most common and easy to avoid ones I have seen.  If you apply some of these suggestions and manage to save some money, though, there will be more money in the budget to get to those really cool things I’ve written about in some of my other posts!


For honest, knowledgable Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation assistance and/or support, contact Briware Solutions. 844-BRIWARE. www.briwaresolutions.com

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