Microsoft Dynamics Business Central has a plethora of cool features. The ability to run your business across multiple platforms is just the beginning.
Power BI reporting tools create dramatic visual KPIs and an ever-growing list of power apps entice improvements to executives looking to upgrade.
Businesses that have held out on upgrading are now feeling the pressure to jump onto the latest platform. Those businesses also have employees that have been doing their job the same way for a long time. So how do we galvanize the entire team to embrace a new technology when many of those employees may not have been involved in the software decision?
This is a challenge we’ve encountered on several occasions over our tenure. Change may generate uncertainty among employees, which creates risk, since some employees may dig their heels in when it comes to changes in technology and/or process.
This is where blending project management and change management is critical. Effective change management includes opinions of both leaders and those who execute daily tasks. Everyone’s opinion matters, negative feedback—if any—should be appreciated as well since it's helpful in optimizing the process. The reality is, some users will be enthusiastic and some may not.
I've always said the most useful courses in college were on behavioral management and learning the theory of multiple intelligences. Understanding how individuals interact, communicate and learn is key in initiating change.
"Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences" by Howard Gardner explores the existence of multiple intelligences and its equal importance. Applying this theory when preparing the plan for process re-engineering provides multiple venues to interact with users.
Take something as simple as promoting the systems ease of use, that’s a matter of opinion, right? Well first, practice finesse before speed. I ask users to give themselves a chance to get fluid in the new process, chances are they weren’t all that fast the first day at their job.
It’s like upgrading to a newer mobile phone. A likely reaction is, "it looks SO DIFFERENT," yikes! It's not like most of your employees are still using flip phones, not that there's anything wrong with flip phones, but as with changing from flip phones to smart phones we eventually use the features with ease and don’t know what we’d do without all these features at our finger tips.
Think about when you used to pull over and use a pay phone, look at the map, argue over the next left or right turn... we now have GPS in our cars and on our phones. Oh how times have changed!
Bank reconciliation is another great example. Previously, users would download a bank statement to a CSV file, convert it to excel, add or merge the bank transactions from NAV. Now, we have the ability to link a bank account online, create an automatic bank statement import and automatically match both. While you have the option to accept or change the match, you can even enter the general journal for the banks’ fees right there. In the most current versions, many of the tasks that would be handled across multiple platforms can now be handled within Business Central.
When presented with a choice of doing a process the old way vs. the latest and greatest in Business Central, chances are employees have gotten bogged down with the old antiquated processes. Given the opportunity to become fluid in the new system with fewer steps in the process just might get them out of the office a little earlier!
Another consideration: as the software industry moves forward, so do its service providers. For us to remain relevant and viable, we must keep up. This means that service providers will eventually have fewer resources to maintain older versions and certainly less resources and fixes from Microsoft, if the solution is from Microsoft.
There’s no requirement to upgrade any more than there’s a requirement to buy a new car. But just like it's difficult to maintain an old car, at some point parts and mechanics will be more specialized and harder to find. Don’t wait until your software breaks down, leaving you waiting on the side of the road.
When the upgrade or re-implementation is eminent, take time to understand employee wants and needs, respect their effort to leave the security of the “old” way, understand how users interact and communicate, create an environment of ownership and buy-in, and my favorite practice “finesse before speed.”