Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a rather costly project. The more issues occur during the process and the longer it takes, the higher the final cost becomes. According to recent statistics, the average cost varies between $150,000 and $700,000. Is it possible to reduce the implementation expenses? Working with an implementation service provider is one of the most effective options you have. However, using services of insufficient quality is also risky, as it can increase the cost of implementation even further. Since choosing the right implementation partner is crucial, you may find the ideas on how to make the right choice provided in this article useful.
Why do you need the support of a Dynamics 365 implementation partner?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a complex software product with rich functionality for processing key business operations. Any mistakes made during the implementation process can lead to serious problems in the future, such as high costs or even reputational damage.
A qualified implementation partner can help you understand which features and applications of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM suite your company really needs.
The implementation service provider also helps you migrate data from existing systems to Microsoft Dynamics 365, which is one of the most difficult and error-prone steps in the implementation process. In addition, the implementation partner integrates Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications with existing systems so that your software solutions work together seamlessly. Configuration support is another part of an implementation partner's services.
Furthermore, if you believe your business can benefit from customizations, your Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation partner will assist you with this task too.
An implementation expert can also take care of the scalability of your Microsoft Dynamics 365, provide post-implementation support, and help you incorporate the latest features developed by Microsoft for its ERP and CRM applications.
Criteria to consider when choosing an implementation partner
To select the right Dynamics 365 implementation partner, you should thoroughly understand the goals and requirements of your implementation project. Pay particular attention to the features your organization needs and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications that can provide them. Consider pain points and compliance requirements specific to your industry.
Only after you get these insights into your business, should you start looking for potential implementation partners. Here are the criteria you should evaluate during the process.
Partner’s certifications and proofs of other accomplishments can serve as official recognition of the expertise of a Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation service provider. For example, Microsoft grants special status to implementation partners of its software. One of the most prestigious is The Inner Circle for Business Applications, awarded annually to the top 1% of service providers. XPLUS is one of the leading implementation partners that received this seal of approval between 2022 and 2023.
Microsoft Gold Partner is another certification that stands for a high level of competence.
2. References and case studies
Checking references is useful for understanding the quality of work a selected Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation partner delivered in the past. Pay particular attention to the fact whether past projects met budget and deadlines.
3. Industry experience
The best approach when selecting a partner for implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 is to ensure that the company has industry-specific experience. Although the principles of a successful implementation are similar for different industries, your partner will understand the specifics of your company’s business needs if they have worked with your industry before.
You should look for an implementation partner that offers a clearly defined and structured methodology for the implementation project. Such a methodology is critical to keeping the project on track and within the planned budget.
5. Support and training
You may be interested in working with an implementation partner who can provide post-implementation support that will help you with ongoing issues and optimize your solution in the future.
6. Total cost of ownership
Clear and transparent pricing is critical to a successful partnership with an implementation service provider. Make sure you understand all fees included in the total price and calculate the total cost of ownership, including licensing costs, maintenance expenses, and infrastructure requirements.
Good communication with your implementation partner is critical for success. A responsive partner who is willing to listen to your organization's needs will help you achieve the results you want.
Red flags for a Dynamics 365 implementation partner
Whether you will be able to find the ideal implementation partner or not, you should at least know how to avoid incompetent service providers. Here is a list of the most common warning signs you should avoid:
- Insufficient experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365;
- No experience in your particular industry;
- Poor reputation and reviews;
- Overemphasis on customization;
- Inadequate team expertise;
- A vague methodology and lack of clear milestones and timelines;
- No support and training plans;
- Resistance to your feedback;
- No effective data security measures;
- Unrealistic promises;
- Lack of transparency on implementation costs.
A competent Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation partner will provide expert advice on application selection, configurations, and customizations to set up the right software for your company's needs. With the right expertise, you will be able to implement your suite faster, reduce unnecessary costs, and optimize the software for maximum efficiency.
At the same time, the wrong choice of an implementation partner can lead to excessive costs, a lengthy implementation, and costly issues.