Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an ERP and financial management platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. It provides a comprehensive set of features and capabilities to manage core business processes and workflows including financials, supply chain, manufacturing, project management, reporting and more.

 

Many businesses adopt Dynamics 365 Business Central because it offers an affordable and scalable solution to manage end-to-end business operations within a single, unified system. It can replace disparate applications and spreadsheets by centralizing data and processes within one platform. This improves visibility across the organization and enables data-driven decision making.

 

Key benefits of Dynamics 365 Business Central include:

 

– Unified system for finances, operations, sales, customer service and more

– Flexible cloud delivery model with anywhere access

– Scales as your business grows

– Hundreds of apps to extend functionality

– Role-based interfaces and workflows

– Real-time insights with embedded Power BI

– Seamless integration with other Microsoft apps

 

Selecting the right implementation partner is crucial to ensure a successful rollout of Dynamics 365 Business Central aligned to your business requirements. This guide will outline key factors to evaluate when selecting an implementer.

 

Determine Your Business Needs

The first step in selecting the right Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partner is to thoroughly assess your business requirements, processes, and pain points. Take the time to understand what you want to achieve from the implementation and how Dynamics 365 Business Central can address your needs.

 

Consider the following:

– What are your main motivations for adopting Dynamics 365 Business Central – reducing costs, improving efficiency, scaling operations? Clearly define your objectives.

 

– Review your current business processes and identify areas of friction and opportunities for improvement. Where are the bottlenecks? What tasks are eating up your team’s time?

 

– Document your pain points and challenges. Are there problems around reporting, inventory management, order processing? Know the issues you want to solve.

 

– Map out your requirements. Do you need core financials or more specialized capabilities like manufacturing or field service? Outline the modules and functionality you require.

 

– Think through your desired timeline and budget. Do you need rapid implementation or phased rollout? Understanding constraints will help match you with the right partner.

 

Taking the time upfront to thoroughly understand where your business is now and where you want to be will ensure you choose an implementation partner who can deliver on your goals. Come to the table with clarity on your needs.

 

Evaluation Criteria

When evaluating potential Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central consultants, partners, and integrators, there are several key factors to consider:

 

Industry Expertise

Look for experience implementing Business Central within your specific industry. This domain expertise will ensure the partner understands your unique business processes, challenges, and requirements. They can configure the system to support industry-specific workflows.

 

Implementation Methodology

Examine their implementation methodology and process. Do they follow an established framework to ensure projects stay on track? What is their approach to requirements gathering, design, testing, training, and go-live? How do they manage any customizations?

 

Company Size and Longevity

Consider the consultant’s company size and number of years in business. Larger firms with lengthy track records tend to have more resources and be more stable. However, smaller niche firms can also provide responsiveness and expertise.

 

Consultant Qualifications

Evaluate the experience and Dynamics 365 certifications of the consultants who will work on your project. Look for consultants with years of hands-on implementation experience and deep product knowledge.

 

Ongoing Support Model

Understand how they provide ongoing support after implementation. Do they offer training and helpdesk services to assist your team? Can they field questions and troubleshoot issues?

 

Pricing

Compare pricing models (fixed bid vs. time and materials) and actual costs across vendors. Get an understanding of what is included and ensure the quote aligns with your budget.

 

Customer References

Ask partners to provide client references from projects similar to yours. Speaking with existing customers can offer validation of capabilities and track record.

 

Carefully weighing these aspects will help you select the right implementation partner to get your Dynamics 365 Business Central project off on the right foot. An experienced consultant tailored to your industry and needs can ensure a smoother implementation and deliver ongoing value.

 

Industry Expertise

Look for a partner with extensive experience in your industry to understand nuances and optimize Dynamics 365 Business Central for your specific needs. Different industries have unique requirements, challenges, and processes that generic consultants may not fully grasp. An implementation partner well-versed in your vertical will configure and customize the system to support your industry-specific workflows.

 

For example, manufacturers have different needs than professional service firms or retailers. Make sure to ask potential partners about their experience in your particular market segment. Do they have case studies or sample clients they can reference to demonstrate their capabilities? Have they done multiple implementations for companies like yours? Deep expertise will enable them to get your system up and running quickly and configured optimally for your situation.

 

Leveraging a consultant well-versed in your vertical can make a big difference in how well the system addresses your business requirements right from the start. Domain knowledge goes a long way. You want a partner that speaks your language and intrinsically understands your objectives and pain points. With the right industry experience guiding the implementation, you’ll maximize the value of your investment in Dynamics 365 Business Central.

 

Implementation Methodology

When evaluating potential Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partners, it’s important to understand their implementation methodology and overall approach to deploying the system. You want an experienced partner with a proven, structured methodology for implementations. This helps ensure a smooth and successful rollout.

 

Look for a partner that has an end-to-end implementation process they follow for every project. This should cover the full lifecycle – from initial analysis and design, through configuration and testing, training, go-live, and post implementation support.

 

Ask about the specific phases of their methodology. A strong methodology will include steps like:

– Initial analysis of your business processes and requirements

– Design of the solution architecture and system setup

– Installation and configuration of the system

– Data migration planning and execution

– User acceptance testing

– End user training on the new system

– Go-Live preparation and transition activities

– Post go-live support and system optimization

 

The partner should be able to explain this methodology in detail and demonstrate how it will enable a smooth transition to Dynamics 365 Business Central. Their team should be well-versed in the methodology and have extensive experience driving projects through each phase.

 

Evaluate how customizable and flexible their methodology is across different types of implementations. It should be easily adapted to fit the scale and needs of your particular project. Simple “out of the box” deployments may require a different approach than larger, global rollouts.

 

Look for a balanced methodology that allows for flexibility but also includes the necessary structure, controls, and best practices to ensure success. The partner’s structured approach should give you confidence that your implementation will be handled systematically, efficiently, and with minimal disruption.

 

Company Size and Longevity

When evaluating Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partners, it’s important to consider the company’s size and longevity in the industry. Larger partners with years or decades of experience implementing Business Central are likely to have more resources, expertise, and staying power. Some key factors to look for include:

 

Number of overall employees: More employees means the partner has greater capacity to take on projects and provide ongoing support. Look for partners with 25+ employees.

Number of certified consultants: The ideal partner will have a large in-house team of consultants certified in Dynamics 365 Business Central. This ensures expertise and bandwidth.

Years in business: Look for partners that have been in business for 10+ years. This demonstrates stability and commitment to the Dynamics ecosystem.

Number of clients: More clients means greater experience. Look for partners that have implemented Business Central for 100+ organizations.

Client retention rates: High client retention rates indicate the partner provides excellent service and support. Ideal partners retain 80%+ of clients each year.

Industry longevity: Partners who have worked with Business Central and Dynamics products for many years will have unmatched experience. Look for 10+ years specifically with Dynamics.

Microsoft partnership tenure: Longstanding Microsoft Gold Partnership status indicates a close relationship with Microsoft and commitment to Dynamics.

Geographic reach: Partners with broader geographic reach can better serve clients with multiple locations. Look for partners with national and international reach.

 

By evaluating company size, years in business, client retention, and other longevity factors, you can better assess the partner’s overall experience and capacity to deliver successful, long-term Business Central projects. This provides greater confidence in their expertise.

 

Consultant Qualifications

When evaluating potential Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partners, it’s important to carefully examine the qualifications and expertise of the consultants who will be working on your implementation. Look for consultants who have extensive experience with Dynamics 365 Business Central specifically, not just general ERP expertise. The consultants should have certifications such as:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Functional Consultant Associate

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Development Associate

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Service Associate

 

These certifications demonstrate deep knowledge across core functional areas like financial management, supply chain management, project management, and development. Consultants should also have real-world Dynamics 365 Business Central implementation experience under their belts, not just passing certification exams. Ask about the specific projects they have worked on, roles played, years of experience, and industry expertise.

 

It’s also a good sign if the consultants have strong backgrounds in business process analysis and optimization. This indicates they can help configure Dynamics 365 Business Central to support your unique business requirements. Seek consultants who take the time to understand your operations and tailor the system, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all implementation approach.

 

The ideal consultant team combines certified experts in Dynamics 365 Business Central with veterans who have implemented many ERP systems over their careers. This blend provides both deep product knowledge and the business acumen to apply the software to achieve your goals. Thoroughly vetting consultant qualifications helps ensure your Dynamics 365 Business Central project is staffed with the expertise needed for success.

 

Ongoing Support Model

When selecting a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partner, it’s important to understand their ongoing support capabilities after the initial implementation. Some key things to consider:

 

Post-Implementation Support: Will they provide ongoing technical support if issues arise? How responsive are they? Do they offer SLAs for support response times?

Maintenance & Upgrades: Do they have a clear plan for keeping your system up-to-date, performing upgrades, migrating customizations etc?

Training: Will they provide training for new users or refreshers for existing users on an ongoing basis? Is training included or an additional cost?

Add-On Services: What additional services like report writing, integration, customization etc. can they provide after go-live? Is there extra cost for these?

Account Management: Will you have an assigned account manager for ongoing needs? Will they regularly check-in to see if you require any additional services?

User Groups & Resources: Do they offer user groups, knowledge bases, self-help resources to continue learning?

 

A strong ongoing support model is crucial because your needs will continue to evolve after the initial launch. Make sure to understand each partner’s post-implementation capabilities so you can select one that will provide you with the right level of ongoing service and value.

 

Pricing

When evaluating pricing for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, it’s important to consider both upfront and ongoing costs. The total cost will be impacted by license fees, implementation and customization services, support fees, and your return on investment.

 

Licensing Fees

Business Central is licensed on a subscription model based on the number of users. Review the different license types – Essential, Premium, Team Members – to determine the right option based on your users’ access needs. Consider both named and non-named licenses.

 

Implementation and Customization

Implementation and customization services will likely be your largest upfront expense. Evaluate potential partners’ hourly rates, number of hours estimated, and whether a fixed fee option is available. Consider costs associated with migrating data, integrating systems, custom development, project management, and training.

 

Ongoing Support

Factor in costs for ongoing support after implementation such as user support, monthly managed services, new feature implementation, and additional customizations. Many partners provide support on a time and materials basis or as part of a monthly managed services contract.

 

ROI

When evaluating pricing, the goal isn’t necessarily to go with the cheapest option. Rather, identify the solution that will provide the functionality you need while delivering maximum ROI through increased efficiency and cost savings. A higher upfront investment may pay off exponentially in the long run.

 

Customer References

Speaking with an implementer’s existing customers is one of the best ways to validate capabilities and experience. Be sure to request 2-3 client references that are similar to your company in size and industry. Set up calls where you can discuss the scope, timeline, budget and results of their Dynamics implementation.

 

Ask questions like:

– How was the experience working with the partner overall?

– Did they deliver the project on time and on budget?

– Were there any challenges or issues during the implementation, and how were they resolved?

– How knowledgeable was the team about your industry and business needs?

– How responsive are they for ongoing support needs post-implementation?

– Would you recommend them to others considering Dynamics?

 

Validating through client references helps ensure you choose a partner with proven experience successfully implementing Dynamics for businesses like yours. Their past clients will give you transparent feedback on their capabilities and working relationship. Checking references is a key step before signing any contract. As a Microsoft integrator and partner for years, we would like to always ensure our users are known to these steps to select the best Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central implementers.

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