Lessons Learned from Deploying Business Central in the Cloud in Just 19 Days

July 15, 2021 Amanda Sherry

Your legacy ERP system is aging. With senior management calling for new ERP capabilities, you’ve decided to migrate to the cloud. And with careful planning, you have given your team plenty of time to get ready and make the move with as little business interruption as possible.

But then, something goes wrong, throwing a wrench into your project schedule. Perhaps the partnership with the IT firm scheduled to help you has fallen apart. Or maybe other corporate objectives have been prioritized.

You’re now down to a month to the deadline. And the CEO still insists on making the change to the new ERP system by the original target date. What will you do?


ERP Migration to the Cloud from On-Premises Legacy App

A manufacturer of apparel and accessories—with headquarters in the U.S. and ten worldwide locations—faced such a scenario and found their answers by turning to Western Computer. After the company’s on-premises legacy ERP system was rendered inoperable, the client requested that Western Computer migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud—within three weeks. Our team answered the call with a game plan to finish the migration cutover in just 19 days!

How did we do it? That’s what you can find out from this DynamicCon recorded session presented by one of our project managers, Maher Malki, and our Dynamics Practice Manager, Greg Williams. What’s even more amazing is that we managed and delivered the project remotely as the request for this project came in during the pandemic.


Maher Malki & Greg Williams - Lessons Learned from a 19 Day BC Cloud Implementation

Task Deadlines Measured in Hours

In addition to going into the details of how Western Computer accomplished this feat, Maher and Greg provide valuable lessons learned—just in case your business ever finds itself needing to accelerate the implementation of an enterprise application. It starts with a firm commitment from the leadership team to drive internal resources and to be available to make decisions that are needed in real time. With less than three weeks to complete the project, everyone from the CEO to the end-user has to be on deck, making a 100% time commitment to the project and willing to work long hours during the week and on weekends.

To help this client keep pace, we devised task deadlines measured in hours (not days or weeks as in a typical ERP implementation). For example, if we needed item data or a table, we asked for it within a 2-6-hour window. We also set up parallel work streams so the module requirements could be deployed at the same time as the data migration was being planned and training sessions were taking place.


Training Plays Vital Role

The education component was particularly vital to the success of this project and took two tracks. We trained the management team, which in turn instructed the end-users. All users also had access to e-learning resources. They could proceed at their own pace and watch videos as much as they needed, but they also had to stick to the schedule!

A measured practice approach was another important aspect. Instead of just asking users to create test sales orders and perform other transactions, we specified the number of transactions they needed to complete or the number of fields within a record they needed to update. This made sure they learned how Business Central processes work and alerted us to any areas in which the users needed help.


Avoiding Scope Creep Also Critical

Then there was the all-important scope. We first secured agreement from the client that to achieve the target deadline, we needed to define and lock the scope down for the entire project. For this project, the scope included financials (GL, AP, AR, banking), sales order processing, purchase order processing, and inventory.

If any out-of-scope requests came in (we received several!), we politely but firmly said no while also emphasizing that many of those requests would be covered in the next phase of the project. These functions included advanced financials (fixed assets, cash flow, budgets, automated bank reconciliations), warehouse management, third-party interfaces, custom extensions, and EDI.

The client also wants to add Power BI for reporting but agreed to wait until phase two in order to get the base system up and running. Along those lines, we communicated how the initial set-up of the base Dynamics 365 Business Central system set the stage to make the implementation of the phase two functions go smoothly.


Deployment Timeline Options

To learn from additional lessons and how Western Computer achieved this 19-day implementation, watch the video with all the details that Maher and Greg have to share. The video also includes a follow-up session to hear them answer questions from business leaders looking to migrate ERP to the cloud.

And if you’re not in quite as much of a rush to deploy a new ERP solution, be sure to check out the Western Computer Dynamics 365 Business Central 8-Week Implementation offering. We have experience across many industries in delivering ERP implementations that provide quick time-to-value and welcome the opportunity to help your company complete the journey.



About the Author

Amanda Sherry

As Director of Marketing at Western Computer, Amanda Sherry brings a wealth of knowledge from her nine-year tenure in the Microsoft Dynamics space. A seasoned professional who has worked extensively on the partner side, Amanda offers insights into Microsoft Dynamics applications' transformative impact on businesses.

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