Few people know Microsoft Dynamics better than Luis X. B. Mourão.
He has been working with the software since 1995, initially as a leading technical development engineer on the product and now as a certified technical architect who helps businesses all over the world to implement the software for themselves. It’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about getting Dynamics up and running.
Recann: Luis, from your experience what does a business need to do in the initial stages of an ERP project to maximise return on investment further down the line?
Luis: Doing your homework is essential. If you evaluate your existing processes next to a prospective version that centres around Dynamics then you can start to scope out a much clearer picture of what parts of the software are going to be beneficial for your business. From there, it’s easier to make important hiring decisions based on the technical expertise that’s required for the functionalities you have highlighted. Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is an extremely versatile ERP, but you need skilled professionals with an excellent knowledge of the product to get the most out of it. The process of integrating Dynamics into your business isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It requires work, time, money and patience – but once you’re there it is certainly worth it.
Recann: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to success for ERP projects?
Luis: Misaligned expectations. Businesses have to be realistic about both the cost and timeframes involved with a comprehensive ERP project. With enough time and money you can achieve anything, it all depends on how deep you want to go. The maturity and ambition of any given organisation is also a key factor. Some organisations are more process-mature and therefore have a tighter grasp on their existing processes. To put it bluntly, if an ERP system is intended to automate your business then you need to know exactly what you are trying to automate.
Recann: In that sense, Dynamics is anything but a one size-fits all solution.
Luis: Correct. Out of the box, Dynamics doesn’t work for anybody. It needs to be tailored and fine-tuned to meet the specific needs of the business it is serving. Even in the same sector, every business is different.
Recann: Have you noticed a rise in demand for skilled Dynamics professionals in recent years?
Luis: Yes, especially for experienced professionals. Dynamics used to be geared predominantly for SMEs, but now it’s used by businesses of all sizes across all industries, which means the demand is only getting stronger. Part of the challenge lies in finding Dynamics experts with experience in a specific industry, but also somebody who is well-versed in the processes of an enterprise of a particular size. You only need a quick glance at job markets all over the world, whether that’s the UK or the US, to realise there’s a very real skills shortage right now.