Simpler is smarter with Dynamics 365

  • Posted on July 19, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes

In June 2018, Microsoft announced that Avanade was named the 2018 Dynamics for Finance and Operations Partner of the Year. While we have received the Microsoft Alliance SI Partner of the Year for 11 years in a row (14 times overall), this is the first time Avanade has been recognized for its excellence in delivering superior value implementing Microsoft’s ERP solution. In fact, Avanade will showcase Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner of the Year solutions at the Inaugural Microsoft Business Applications summit where 5000 attendees will be able to discover the power of intelligent applications to help clients transform in the Era of Intelligence. The award recognizes the great results Avanade’s Dynamics for Finance and Operations team achieved in the past year but, more important, those results are a consequence of a new strategy for implementing ERP technology in intelligent enterprises. Our strategy, in short: simpler is smarter. 
Complexity kills. The most complex surgeries suffer the highest mortality rates.  This is true, also, of mission critical business applications implementations and of the customizations that complicate them. Some years ago, we were asked to answer RFPs with thousands of requirements leading to custom enhancements meant to replicate current ways of working. Standard ERP packages became huge custom programming events that were too costly and nearly impossible to upgrade. If, and when, upgrades occurred – perhaps once every five years or so – it was time to call back the surgeon to adapt the release to fit the customizations, which was a huge effort. Now, the overwhelming adoption of the cloud is expanding to mission critical business applications and has created the opportunity to take a more serious look at “adoption” versus “adaptation” of the standard solution. With the right approach, templates and implementation methods, Avanade can kill complexity and open the door to scalable simplicity. 
Microsoft Dynamics 365 was designed to help companies realize the promise of the cloud.  Running on the Azure cloud platform, Dynamics 365 unifies CRM, ERP and business intelligence capabilities and enables new, purpose-built applications that work seamlessly together. Dynamics 365 takes advantage of the cloud’s push capabilities to deliver two releases per year, incentivizing clients to adopt the solution rather than try to adapt it with custom enhancements. There’s simply not enough time to heavily customize when business conditions change at such a high pace. 
So, when working with most clients, our recommended approach is - instead of starting with a blank sheet of paper and replicating past complexity – start from the position of “Why not use the standard Dynamics 365 package assuming it is configured according to industry best practices?”  

There are three key implementation elements we utilized to ensure that our clients get the best of both worlds: a powerful Dynamics 365 solution for finance and operations with industry specific features that, at the same time, minimizes customization and allows for simpler execution and a faster payback period.  Those elements are: a tremendous inventory of industry best practice solutions, a proven framework for rapid business process transformation and a hybrid agile approach to digital implementation. 
Industry-specific IP: As a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture, Avanade has not only developed its own substantial experience creating solutions for most major industries, but we benefit from the intellectual capital repository of our parent, Accenture. With 25,000 professionals in more than 22 countries and two decades worth of successful industry-specific ERP projects, there simply isn’t another Microsoft partner that invests more to create industry best practices linked to finance and operations.  We build unique industry-specific technology solutions and last-mile functionalities based on our accumulated sector experiences so that our clients don’t have to repeatedly reinvent functionality. For example, we’ve built Dynamics 365 extensions that provide retailers with advanced replenishment capabilities that are sophisticated yet simple to use for store managers. In manufacturing, we have built a food and beverage processing set of modules. Our close alliances with leading industry ISVs also bolsters Avanade’s ability to bring innovative ready-to-run intellectual property to our clients.
Proven transformation framework: Avanade Intelligent Enterprise Solutions (AIES) describes our ability to rapidly implement transformational finance and operations solution by starting with industry-specific business process best practices and demonstrating how they can be readily implemented within Dynamics 365.  Each of our preconfigured industry solutions have been tailored to Dynamics 365 and vetted against the Accenture/Avanade Knowledge Library, 25 years of research and data that supports and instructs best practices, processes and metrics. 
Hybrid agile methodology: As our clients are acutely interested in speeding time to payback from ERP projects, so are we. Focusing on adaptation of existing functionality – rather than custom programming - with a platform like Dynamics 365 leads to faster implementation cycles and a reduction in the long tunnel effect of typical software development. Avanade’s hybrid agile methodology for ERP blends the agile concept with the new reality of ERP within Dynamics 365. We break the project into incremental parts. First, we define a focused scope of minimal viable product functionality that can go live near term and quickly enhance this critical set of core processes to go live as a full standard implementation. 
Major multinational companies are extremely complex operations. Expounding that with the intricacies of customization in a global digital transformation project is risky surgery. An Intelligent Enterprise is one that not only uses technology to make better decisions but also one that makes smarter decisions when thinking about adopting new enterprise solutions rather than adapting them ad infinitum. Simpler is simply smarter. Global companies that want faster time to benefits and strong ROI on their technology investments have found this to be true. We believe being named 2018 Dynamics for Finance and Operations Partner of the Year validates this strategy.

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