US - California (Inland Empire) – D365

Countdown to Summit Series- Groundhog Day

By Jo Olson posted Oct 07, 2019 04:40 PM

Getting ready for Summit in Orlando next week I decided to re-post some of my Movie themed blog series that may help you in your implementation and highlight some of the benefits I received attending summit as a user. Even though I am now on the partner side of the implementation house most of my experience is drawn from the same well as the rest of the User Group Community. Enjoy!

Groundhog Day: How Bill Murray and a Groundhog taught me to be resilient implementing D365
Originally Posted Feb 2, 2018
Updated October 7, 2019
Maybe you've seen the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray’s character is forced to relive the same day over and over until he gets it right and can move on with his life. It may not seem clear how this has anything to do with Microsoft D365 and my implementation, but just hang in there with me.

Like most things I should start at the beginning. If you haven’t read the interview that Sarah Morgan posted, titled:- “Empire Strikes Back with a New Inland California D365 User Group” then you may want to start there.  I shared with her that in 2016 our company decided we needed a more robust system to leverage our growth and manage our business better. We had been operating our business with paper systems, siloed programs, and developing our own software in-house to handle the demands of our business. Something had to change. Our company was stuck in an endless cycle of data entry, with little ability to analyze it and move onto the next task. Cue the groundhog.

Many of us wish that we could get a redo of just one day. This movie stuck out to me when planning my blog. It also happens to be Groundhog Day today and my first blog post in this movie themed series. I know speaking from experience there have been days on a project I wished I could get a do-over. Unfortunately, most companies don’t get a chance to reevaluate choices in an implementation that led them down a path. My hope is to give you a dose of humor along with some of my own experiences over the last year, so you can have a chance at successfully moving your implementation forward.

In May of 2017 the company kicked off the implementation project with a Microsoft Partner. At that time, we had a different team, but the point is that our company wasn’t setup for a successful implementation. Sure, we knew it would be hard, we were told we would be going live in January of 2018. We had to implement D365 Finance and Operations and CRM for approximately 150 users in just 9 months. For those of you who haven’t started your implementation this alone was going to be a difficult timeline. Our groundhog saw his shadow, and winter persisted for 28 more weeks.

The selection of the implementation methodology and the team we chose weren’t the right fit for us. We didn’t know it at the time, but this is the most important part of your implementation.  Here are some of the lessons learned from a customer’s perspective.

  1. It's about the people; not the technology. Implementing an ERP takes resilience in the face of adversity. Make sure you have the right team internally and externally. The right internal people are ones who really know your business processes and externally they understand your business culture. Choosing the right external team whether it is a partner, a team of independents, or a mixture of both will leverage your project for success.
  2. Be bold and manage the risk. A bold schedule may not work for you. Remember that the definition of bold is risky. You need to be prepared to manage that risk. Every integration and transaction is a risk. We are working in multiple siloed programs and outsourcing payroll. Until we got involved deeply with the data migration we didn’t understand the integration risk.
  3. Plan for the worst. We planned for certain risks. We even wrote them down. We didn’t plan for all of them to happen at once. When facing a Perfect Storm, it is better to have a plan for it than to think it was not possible for everything to go wrong at once. It also gives a sense of calm that you have thought of a disaster and have a plan. Read my other blog post "Perfect Storm" if you want more information on how to do this the right way.
  4. If you have a short timeline, you need an efficient methodology. Originally, we were working at a snail’s pace because we were just following along with a waterfall methodology. Using a waterfall approach was not the right thing for us or our timeline. We ended up spending 8 months talking about an implementation. We never got to modeling or data migration because we didn’t realize we were following the wrong methodology.
  5. Do your homework. Read, Connect, Verify. I started reading Implementation books written by Rahul Mohta, Yogesh Kasat, and JJ Yadev. Those books helped me understand what was necessary.  If you can attend Summit before you choose your implementation team I highly recommend it. If that isn’t possibly make sure you check references and call other companies using Microsoft D365 for some feedback. Connecting and collaborating in the user group is a benefit where you can learn and support one another. Some other titles that are must reads are "Our Iceberg is Melting", "Extreme Ownership", "Control Your ERP Destiny", and anything by Murray Fife. Seriously, Read- Connect -Verify your own understanding.

We moved forward with an adviser who helped us get back on track and a Partner who understood our culture. We hired a team who had a better understanding of what we needed to be successful. We went live 8 weeks after this blog was posted having only a 14 week timeline. If you haven’t figured it out yet, my blog posts will all be movie themed, I'm in California after all! And I will go into more detail on my experiences with our implementation in future posts. 

The benefit of summit attendance as it relates to this blog post is, that without attending Summit in Nashville in 2017, I would never have known that the path I was on was flawed. After networking, talking, and attending focused sessions around implementations I was able to see a path forward and draw off of the experiences of others that came before me. I encourage you not to keep having Groundhog day but to attend summit and start your future path! I am excited to meet you at Summit Orlando this year you can connect with me through LinkedIn or email me at I would love to connect.