We work on quite a few Small and Midsize customer deployments of Dynamics 365. Most go very smoothly, but I was reviewing the ones that did not, to see if I could find any correlations. I am convinced, through my unscientific study, that the number one cause is the failure to launch.
Perfection is the Enemy of Good
I have said this a few times in past posts, and again it is the most appropriate phase I can think of for this phenomena. Some customers just can’t stop fiddling, and have every excuse in the book as to why they can’t let their users touch Dynamics 365 yet. At one time or another, we have all probably fallen into this trap. We allow unrealistic fears to take over. Fear of failure is one common one. Another one I often hear, is that their users are simply not smart enough to use Dynamics 365 until it is “just so”. In the meantime, monthly subscriptions are being paid, hours are being spent, and no benefit is being received. I have actually seen projects cancelled by business owners, because they were costing to much, and/or taking too long to launch. It is not possible to reach a R.O.I. on an unlaunched business solution… just more “I”.
An MVP on MVP
So I am a Microsoft Business Solutions MVP, which might mean something to you. If nothing else, Microsoft thinks I know what I am taking about, so you might want to give some credence to the MVP concept. The MVP concept I am taking about, is “Minimum Viable Product”. This concept is most often thought about in application development, but it will work for your Dynamics 365 deployment for the same reasons. In application development, like for example, a new Facebook feature, the most important consideration is whether people would use the feature… at all! How bad would it suck for Facebook to spend a million dollars building some feature, to only then realize nobody wanted it? Instead, they build the most basic version of the feature possible, including no more than the absolute “Minimum” capabilities, just to determine if the feature is “Viable”. If no one bites, Facebook has not wasted a ton of money and effort. But if people do use it, even though it only has the most basic of capabilities, then Facebook knows they are safe to invest further. This MVP approach can be applied to your Dynamics 365 deployment as well.
Launch Fast, React Fast
The best way to succeed with Dynamics 365 for SMB is to do as little as possible before getting it into your users’ hands. Then stand ready to react to their feedback. Don’t wait until you have a ton of feedback, your users may get frustrated, start right away responding to their needs. To be fair, Dynamics 365 as provided by Microsoft, will probably be too big for most SMB customer’s initial needs. Our RapidStart solution was designed to give you that MVP, mildly tweaked to meet you initial needs, as way to get started quickly. It should only take a few days and then you can Launch!, Launch!, Launch!, and then React!, React!, React!
The Problem is not the Problem
One of the most interesting things that you discover once you launch a business solution, is that things that you thought were going to be a big deal… often are not. You also discover things that you had not considered to be an issue at all… often are. How unfortunate to have spent your budget, and your boss’ patience, only to have missed the mark entirely. What originally had all of the potential to be transformative for your business, is instead, chalked up as a failure. Launch Fast!, React Fast!
Again, while it is not common, I still run into too many cases of customers with “Fiddler’s Disease”. Common symptoms include the inability to stick to a decision, leading to a piece of functionality being built, then revisited, then rebuilt, revisited, abandoned, revisited, resurrected, rethought, rebuilt, revisited and finally settling on the first option. It only sounds crazy, when you don’t suffer from the disease. The unfortunate side effects of this disease include dizziness of the deployment team, depletion of budgetary fluids, and flatulating large amounts of time. I have witnessed some poor souls suffer from this affliction for over a year an a small deployment.
The only known cure for those afflicted with Fiddler’s Disease is to launch immediately. It won’t eliminate the prior side effects, but it will at least stop the disease from progressing. Since an ounce of prevention, is supposedly worth a pound of cure, you should consider a prevention plan before you even start. We have developed a sure-fire prevention elixir, consisting of 1/2 ounce of “Start Small”, followed a few weeks later by 1 ounce of “Grow Slow”. Unfortunately, it is hard to find on the shelves, hidden behind all of the other partners’ gallon jugs of “Build Big so we can buy a Boat” remedies.
Our “Start Small” Plan
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may have read me mention our “RapidStart” solution for Dynamics 365 deployment for SMB. I don’t hammer on it in my blog, because I don’t want this to turn into a pitching vehicle, but I will trot it out on occasion to support my points. We built RapidStart specifically in support of this “Start Small” philosophy. RapidStart includes an alternative Sales App for you to use instead of the Enterprise Sales App, along with some easy-to-use Wizards so you can make our Sales App fit your business. I don’t like to brag, but we have had over 250 successful customers use this model though-out the world, so it does work. You might also notice that we elected not to call it “RapidEnd”. RapidStart is designed to be the “first step” in your journey to business transformation with Dynamics 365. Launch Fast!, React Fast!
Our “Grow Slow” Plan
Where RapidStart is intended to get you launched quickly, at a low cost, with something that is usable, our cost efficient “Customer Care” program is designed to grow you… well.. wherever you want to grow next. The key is that we are “growing” something that is already generating a ROI. Everything else is gravy.
Our RapidStart/Customer Care process is how we successfully approach this disease. Of course you have your choice of partners to pick from, and most of them that I know are very good also. My suggestion is simply that whoever you choose to go forward with, plant the seed of “Start Small”, “Grow Slow”. You can send me a cake later as a thank you.