The primary business of Seer 365 is providing technology solutions that enable Dynamics 365 partners to run more productive and effective project processes. However, from time to time, when an organisation is wanting to review their ERP or CRM strategy and does not yet wish to engage an implementation partner, we will help them to run a direct discovery (i.e. requirements gathering) process, the important first stage of any new system project, using our technology. We will then present back to them the results to inform their strategic system decisions and move them a step closer to engaging a chosen deployment partner.
Keeley Sweeney, one of our Senior Product Managers, who was previously an implementation consultant for a leading Dynamics 365 partner, is responsible for running some of those direct ‘discoveries’. In this article, she discusses the key challenges that organisations still typically face when navigating their way through a traditional discovery process (i.e. not using our application) and suggests some of the ways that these can be addressed.
If you work for an organisation looking at its future ERP (or CRM) strategy, or you work for a Dynamics 365 partner that helps companies to undertake this discovery process and are looking for ways to do it better, you’ll find this an interesting and insightful read.
In the rapidly changing business landscape, the traditional methods of requirements gathering have become known for inefficiency, risk, and unnecessary costs. So, the need for innovation in this area is paramount, especially in today’s fast-paced environment where time is a rare and precious commodity. The slow, old-fashioned approach to requirements gathering can feel very pressured, especially with tight timelines and the drive from the business to bring about a fast and positive change. Yet despite this urgency, businesses face a formidable challenge to prepare for the modernisation, re-design, and implementation of a new ERP or CRM system across their operations.
There are many questions that often echo across boardrooms, when deciding to move to a new system, including:
- “Which system(s) should we choose?”
- “Will it do everything we need?”
- “How long will it take?”
- “How much will it cost?”
- “Where do we begin?”
Ring any bells?
Along with my colleagues, I help companies to effectively navigate the discovery process and empower them with the knowledge to select their next system with confidence. Drawing on the knowledge from the various successful engagements with companies across diverse industries, and from my experience working as an implementation consultant, it’s evident that there are three key challenges that hinder companies embarking on a ‘discovery’ journey:
1. A slow mobilisation process
Facilitating a rapid mobilisation process, i.e. getting your ‘discovery’ process up and running quickly and effectively, is frequently impeded by the challenge of engaging all essential stakeholders. Traditional approaches often fail to engage them effectively, leading to overlooked insights and often, a new system implemented that doesn’t fully meet business needs.
Coordinating everyone’s calendar to arrange in-person requirements gathering workshops can become a logistical nightmare, especially if you have engaged the services of a third party to help you through the process. The reliance on manual note taking in meetings and the production of physical documentation post-meeting further hampers real-time collaboration. While physical documentation remains crucial for quality control and approvals, this documentation needs to be easily available for all parties involved to ensure comprehensive interpretation of those requirements into a new system.
2. High costs
The traditional requirements gathering approach for a new ERP/CRM system can take several formats, all with their pros and cons:
- Do-it-yourself – building up your own list of system requirements as a business before engaging any external parties.
- Paid-for business requirements analysis – engaging the services of an external third-party consultancy using their pre-defined approach.
- Workshops with an implementation partner – sharing your requirements, often verbally, either in face-to-face or virtual meetings.
All these approaches often involve multiple resource-intensive meetings, with the associated travel expenses, if done in person, and significant time required, whether conducted in-person or virtually. Delays or missed deadlines due to lack of team availability to complete these workshops effectively in these initial stages introduce inherent risks.
The potential for miscommunication with these traditional approaches can also lead to costly system rework required further down the line. Whether it is because items have not been raised in meetings, misinterpreted, or details left undocumented, they can all impact the overall project budget and quality.
3. Inaccurate information
Traditional methods often lack robust mechanisms for validating gathered insights, risking reliance on inaccurate or incomplete information. Using this inaccurate or incomplete information can lead to the system being designed incorrectly, potentially leading, in the worst cases, to all, or part of a system that is not fit for purpose.
It is vitally important that all the information you feed into your discovery process, no matter which approach you use, is as accurate, and up to date as possible. It is critical to the success of your system design and implementation. There is no greater feeling than when an implementation comes to an end and you, the customer, are happy with your new system. Sadly, as many as 50% of all ERP projects are identified as failures either because their objectives were never fully achieved or because the budget over-ran significantly to achieve an ever-growing wish-list of requirements that were not captured correctly or at all, right from the start.
A Transformative Solution
From the challenges outlined above, it is easy to conclude that a different, more systematic approach is required to help companies capture their business requirements and effectively evaluate a potential new ERP solution. GYDE365, the self-service application designed by Seer 365, offers organisations a seamless, streamlined process of requirements gathering to support the initial stages of system selection.
The list of benefits for companies that use our GYDE365 platform, rather than one of the traditional approaches outlined above, is lengthy. Here are some of the key ones:
- EASILY DEFINE OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE: Navigate through GYDE365’s pre-defined business-specific requirements, tailored to each area in scope. A GYDE365 survey allows businesses to quickly, and accurately capture pain points and current process inefficiencies, and then easily evaluate whether Microsoft Dynamics 365 can address them.
- MOBILISE CROSS-FUNCTIONAL TEAMS: Include as many inputs from different teams as required, giving each contributor the section of the survey that is relevant to them and their role. It gives them the flexibility to engage and review the survey at their convenience and use simple reports to track progress and survey accuracy.
- OPERATE AT SCALE: The GYDE365 platform caters for companies of all sizes and industries, and also accommodates organisations that operate across several geographies to obtain requirement inputs from multiple locations with minimal impact on delivery timescales. With a holistic view of the business requirements from across their business, they can more easily prioritise them based on business criticality and strategic importance.
- TIME INVESTMENT: With the traditional workshop-led approaches to requirements gathering, it can take several months to complete the process, however, using GYDE365, the end-to-end process including reviewing the data, and generating all the required output reports can take as little as two weeks, with a total average time investment of only 8 hours to capture all the business requirements.
- ACCURACY AND BENCHMARKING: Once the GYDE365 survey is filled out and submitted, an output report is automatically generated, reviewed quickly, and sent to the customer. The report includes up-to-date insights, fit/gap percentages, and requirement-level details, accompanied by additional consultant-led commentary. Plus, it also benchmarks the outputs against industry best-practice with insight analysis.
- EVALUATE IN DETAIL AND COMPARE: The customised output report produced from GYDE365 can offer comparative analysis between the two Dynamics 365 ERP solutions (Business Central and Finance & Supply Chain Management) and CRM solutions, including gap analysis, solution advice, scalability, and detailed project estimates.
- SUPPORT: Companies using the GYDE365 application for their requirements gathering are supported by experts in how the tool works and the outputs it generates. They can provide as much or as little support as the customer needs to gain maximum value from using our technology.
Companies that have used GYDE365 for their requirements gathering emerge from the process empowered with the insights they need to make confident, informed business decisions. Often, they will take the documentation to perform their own detailed cost-benefit analysis and use it as the basis for an RFP document to go to market and perform their own detailed vendor assessments.
GYDE365 stands as a leader of innovation within the business applications selection process, supporting businesses in a new era of ERP and CRM evaluation. With a total focus on scope, mobilisation, scalability, efficiency, accuracy, and providing first-class support, businesses leveraging this application do not just gain much greater insights into their future system requirements, they also gain the confidence to make the right, informed decision that will help propel them towards future success.
To see GYDE365-Discover in action, book a demo here: www.seer365.com/demo
Written by Keeley Sweeney
Keeley Sweeney is our Senior Product Manager and began working at Seer 365 since shortly after it was founded. Keeley brings her expertise and knowledge from working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 partners. Keeley spends her time working with end-customers carrying out direct discoveries, helping them to gather their requirements.