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D365 Lesson Learned

  • 1.  D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Dec 29, 2017 06:25 PM
    Hello everyone,

    I am currently working on a project to implement D365 Operations & Finance (Enterprise) with Retail.  We are starting the project in a few weeks and I was wondering if any past or current users post some of their experiences.  Any lessons learned or insights would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Michael
    #D365forOperations
    #d365ug


    ​​ ​

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    Michael Labio
    D365UG\AXUG Southern California Chapter Leader
    Dynamics Systems Analyst
    Jenson USA
    Riverside CA
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  • 2.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    Posted Jan 02, 2018 11:42 AM
    Edited by Ryan Alldredge Jan 02, 2018 11:45 AM

    Hi Michael, 

     

    Are you working with an implementation partner or adding any 3rd party customizations? Providing that answer will help you get responses more relevant to your situation.

    I work with an ISV and have been part of multiple implementations, and no two have been the same. Here are some of my observations. Yes, these are pretty basic, but if they are overlooked you will likely run into problems and delays. I have seen it more than a few times.   

    1. Communicate with FULL project team - I have seen clients with multiple ISV's work separately with each and expect the customization will all come together in the end. They are then blindsided when their system does not deploy correctly. To save you time in the long run, I would highly suggest you work out the details with each partner separately but have open and clear communication with all involved so that conflicts can be rooted out early. Even if you are not adding any 3rd party customization, you will still benefit by pulling in all technical and functional teams that are involved.
    2. Engage your end users to clarify their processes and needs - As with my earlier suggestion, loop in the functional teams frequently so that you are clear on their expectations. The extra due diligence will pay off when it comes to the testing phase. Too often I have seen clients get to that point and realize a key process isn't supported or set up correctly.
    3. Have a clear install path and stick to it - I know, very basic, but in 2017 Microsoft made changes on a monthly basis. If you are jumping from one new update or version to another trying to keep up, it could cause a lot of unnecessary confusion in knowing what or why things that were working, no longer are. Stick with your original plan until data and customizations are all 'playing nicely' together and then review what updates have been released and if/how to apply them.
    4. Master Data import - There are some nuances with if/how data from your existing system can be imported into D365. Be sure you know what those are and how they will impact your specific case.
    5. If you are working with partner and/or any ISV's; lean on their experience - They will know tips and tricks to make the transition smooth for you (after all that is what you are paying them for!!). The partners I have had the opportunity to work with have been awesome and have been a key resource throughout each project.

     

    Hope this helps. Good luck!!



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    Ryan Alldredge
    Thomson Reuters
    Carrollton TX
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  • 3.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 02, 2018 02:27 PM
    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the reply.  I think the only ISV that we've identified so far, is one to integrate our e-Commerce platform.  Other than that we are trying to implement as vanilla as possible.  I've also been a part of multiple conversions and implementations in the past and your list highlight some excellent points to watch out for.  This is my first D365 implementation and since the platform change is very significant, I wanted to solicit as much information as possible from fellow users.

    Thanks again.

    Michael

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    Michael Labio
    D365UG/AXUG Southern California Chapter Leader
    Dynamics Systems Analyst
    Jenson USA
    Riverside CA
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    Conference-AXUG_200x200


  • 4.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    D365UG/AXUG ALL STAR
    Posted Jan 03, 2018 12:29 PM
    As Ryan noted, some things are "version agnostic" regarding implementation experiences.  So, not to ignore that you are looking for 365 advice, I will offer these as potentially helpful. Gleaned over 7 or 8 full AX implementations. 


    1) Have a plan for change management and involve HR.  Getting the software right is a tiny piece of the puzzle: user adoption has been shown to be the biggest success factor. 

    2) Don't forget to set up and test user security within your regular functional and UAT testing cycle. Create requirements and scripts like you do for other functionality. Don't wait, and definitely don't give everyone on the team System admin! 

    3) Ask "What are we NOT going to do?" as part of how you will manage resources and the implementation team's time.  Low value tasks may need to be set aside for a period.  And have other team members designated to take on additional work to leverage the team's time. It is common to just overload the key folks rather than plan for the added workload: you risk losing key players to burnout. 

    4) Like security: start right away planning the strategy and testing for reporting. It can be a morass, and should not be left until the end. Similarly, be sure you are creating it based on future state and not just replicating what is needed now, in your old systems and processes.  

    Here's hoping for a great implementation!




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  • 5.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 04, 2018 12:20 PM
    Shelby,

    You make a good point about looking at security early on.  Without a solid proven model within the organization this can explode into a really big task.  I'll make sure that we include testing with security roles and specific tests as part of our recurring test schedule with the team.

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    Michael Labio
    D365UG/AXUG Southern California Chapter Leader
    Dynamics Systems Analyst
    Jenson USA
    Riverside CA
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  • 6.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    D365UG/AXUG ALL STAR
    Posted Jan 03, 2018 07:28 AM
    ​I am still getting my feet wet with D365, but one thing that has been a big adaptation for me is the entire setup of Azure, If you have used AX before, then the AX piece is not that hard to acclimatize to, but the entire in the cloud experience is a bit of learning curve you will need to travel.

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    Paul Martin
    Production Program Manager
    Elite Comfort Solutions, LLC
    Conover NC
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  • 7.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 04, 2018 12:22 PM
    Paul,

    Thanks for the reply.  This is my first Azure rodeo, so I'm still getting used to that interaction with D365.  But it is definitely proving to be a learning curve.

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    Michael Labio
    D365UG/AXUG Southern California Chapter Leader
    Dynamics Systems Analyst
    Jenson USA
    Riverside CA
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  • 8.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 08, 2018 12:55 PM
    Paul,

    Is Azure required for the Cloud deployment option?
    Thank you,

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    Dustin Marker
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  • 9.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 03, 2018 09:25 AM
    ​We went live in April of last year.  Our biggest challenge has been with the limited reporting.  The reports available in D365 are very limited and the one's that are there are surprisingly un-useful.  We have also been frustrated by the inability to access the production database.  Many of our reporting needs can be addressed with a sql query, but you can't do this in production, you have to obtain a backup a apply it to a dev or test environment (FYI, Microsoft told us that they are working on "hardening" the test environment so you will not longer be able to query the Test database in the near future).

    Microsoft will point you to three possible ways of querying your data:  Odata feed, Entity Store (data warehouse), or "Bring your own database".  All are rely on the data entities defined by Microsoft.  So far, we've come up short on finding the data elements we are looking for.  It is possible to define your own data entities, but this become cost prohibitive if you have to engage your partner to do this.  I would investigate each of these scenarios.  They all have limitations.

    I also recommend extensive testing of the out of the box reporting.  We made some assumptions about reports that ended up biting us.  For example,  there is functionality to generate collection letters, however the letter that is generated is nothing a company would ever mail out.  We are currently spending $10K to customize it.

    One last comment on the out of the box reports.  Investigate whether the report will export elegantly to excel.  We are finding that many of the reports are grouped or formatted such that they do not render in excel is a usable way.  Often times, you want to sort and filter in excel and this becomes tedious.

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    Mark Schurmann
    Accounting Systems Manager
    Automobile Protection Corp
    Norcross GA
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  • 10.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 04, 2018 12:28 PM
    Mark,

    Thank you for the insights about the reporting.  I have also found in the past that the delivered reports almost always need some adjustment.  I will definitely keep an eye on our reporting needs and access to data.  Being able to access the D365 data will be crucial for my project.


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    Michael Labio
    D365UG/AXUG Southern California Chapter Leader
    Dynamics Systems Analyst
    Jenson USA
    Riverside CA
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  • 11.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 04, 2018 02:22 PM
    ​We went live in July of 2017. We are experiencing similar issues with reporting. It's interesting to note that BYOD and other tools are limited to predefined entities and need customizations if we need additional info. We are using workflows for approvals and haven't found any entities to link workflow history with the transactions.

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    Surender Goli
    Atara Biotherapeutics
    South San Francisco CA
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  • 12.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    Posted Jan 05, 2018 07:51 AM
    The reporting comment is completely accurate.  I would highly encourage you to have someone on your technical staff gain knowledge transfer in regards to custom Data Entity creation, as well as setting up a Data Warehouse that you can report off of instead of the D365 instance.  For anything that is not same day/hour relevant in regards to reporting, we are running all of that from the DW locally, using SQL enterprise (which also negates the need for individual power bi licensing).  Anything time sensitive has to be reported on out of D365 itself.  Modifying reports within the platform is the most expensive modifications we saw.

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    Jason Meyer
    CIO
    Bomgaars Supply Inc
    Sioux City IA
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  • 13.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    Posted Jan 04, 2018 08:29 AM
    ​Choose your Partners and your credit card/merchant provider carefully.  We have had serious and on going problems with card processing/POS communication.  There is little end user documentation available so you are dependent on these relationships until you have enough internal expertise to support your own needs.

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    Julie P.
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  • 14.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 04, 2018 12:40 PM
    Hi Julie,

    Could you elaborate on the challenges you faced with credit card processing/POS communication?  We are a retailer, so much of our revenue is collected via credit card, so I'm very interested in understanding some of the challenges your company faced.

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    Michael Labio
    D365UG/AXUG Southern California Chapter Leader
    Dynamics Systems Analyst
    Jenson USA
    Riverside CA
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    Conference-AXUG_200x200


  • 15.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    Posted Jan 05, 2018 03:42 PM
    Edited by Jeff Mandel Jan 05, 2018 03:43 PM
    I feel your pain!

    Historically, gateway software in the Dynamics space is used to accept credit/debit card transactions from within the ERP, allowing transactions to be automatically recorded within the software to the appropriate ledgers. The challenge is securing advanced data security, fraud prevention, and Visa/MasterCard compliance management while trying to drive down the cost of card acceptance– all while working with your current banking or merchant services relationships.

    The first step is ensuring that the gateway's EMV (chip card) solution is QIR certified (meaning that the installer is certified to install the EMV device drivers on your system...most companies can't check this box!) You also want to make sure that it offers validated point-to-point encryption. Next, if you're accepting card-not-present transactions, be sure that it's not forcing mis-matched authorizations through to the card-issuing banks (you'll want to eliminate penalties issued by the card-issuing banks- this results in the transaction downgrading to a higher rate).

    Finally, if you can 
    shift liability risk from the merchant back to the card-issuing bank, that's a bonus!

    I'm happy to help!

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    Jeff Mandel
    CenPOS
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  • 16.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Jan 08, 2018 12:05 PM
    ​I am with Walker County, a local government in Texas.  We currently have about 80 users with one company set up.  We do not use the Sales, Warehouse, Inventory or CRM modules, but do use the Fixed Asset Module and plan to implement Budget Planning.  We are just now looking at setting up an environment in the cloud for the Finance and Operations Enterprise version using Public Sector.  Currently we are a Dynamics AX R3 user.

    If there are Public Sector users out there, I would like to hear from you and well as the other users.

     I am very interested in this discussion series.  In particular, the part about getting familiar with the cloud side of things and the reporting challenges.  We have numerous customized reports and in-house developed SSRS reports that have been developed to meet our statutory requirements.  We use several other SSAS softwares including our Emergency Services software and Court and Jail Operations and one of our approaches  has been to have a get a nightly sql backup that comes to our site that we can access locally thru Sql Server Management Studio, create different procedures, develop our reports  and send data to third party reporting software.  Is this possible if we are using the cloud environment?

    Using a data warehouse or a custom entity... is this an extension or an overlay. Can it be run as a job and on-demand.   I am interested in understanding each better.  Is the data warehouse in Azure or local and how does the data get to the data warehouse.      Please explain how having a custom developed entity would work?

    Could you expand on some of the insights you have gained after using the cloud version? --- In hindsight would you still go to the cloud or give more consideration to the in-house option?

    I am a novice at this and your input will be greatly appreciated.


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    Patricia Allen
    County Auditor
    Walker County Texas
    Huntsville TX
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  • 17.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    Posted 15 days ago
    Be prepared for a lot of change management and Security issues if you have to be any form of SOX/GDRP compliant. Our business processes where our worst enemy at my last company.

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    Leeann Boozer
    Olympic Steel Inc
    Bedford Hgts OH
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  • 18.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 12 days ago
    Michael,

    I have an entire blog on D365FO security and how it differs from earlier versions of AX: http://d365foblog.com/

    I also have a 3 part security setup series I would recommend if you are just starting out:

    Setting Up Security in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations – Part I – From the User Interface

    Setting Up Security in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations – Part II – From the AOT

    Setting Up Security in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations – Part III – Security Management

    Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have!



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    Alex Meyer
    Director of Dynamics AX/365 for Finance & Operations Development
    Fastpath
    Des Moines, IA
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  • 19.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 12 days ago
    From an internal resourcing perspective, I would suggest assigning your best and brightest employees to the project. Additionally, I would suggest that they need to be involved fully, so their roles need to be back filled.

    Implementations are better if they can focus on making the right decisions for the business and project and not doing that as a project off the side of their desks.

    This is particularly helpful when you go live as they can help support the inevitable post go live issues and focus on stabilization and their back fills can help close out the old system and then support the transition to the new system.

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    Christopher Ho Yee
    Altius Consulting
    Richmond BC
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  • 20.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 11 days ago
    We recently had a major data loss in our production environment and it revealed a hole in Microsoft's backup strategy.  The data loss was related to attachments.  A bug was introduced by an ISV in the spring that simply deleted all the attachments to our journal headers.  This was 10s of thousand of documents.  This was not discovered until several months later when our auditors showed up and began asking for backup to journals.  It was then we discovered that all journals prior to May had no attachments.  We still have not recovered.

    Microsoft provides backups for the previous 32 days.  In our case, this was insufficient because we discovered the problem far after the 32 days.  Microsoft also provides the same 32 day backup of the Azure Blob which is where the attachments are stored.  For our lose, this is actually what was deleted.  The D365 database still has references to the files in the blob, but the files were gone.

    This told us that the 32 day backups were insufficient to protect our data and we would need begin taking periodic backups outside of the 32 day window.  This falls in line with my on prem experience where we would keep monthly backups for the past year and yearly backups for the past 7 years.  The problem is Microsoft does not provide anyway to automate this task.  Azure does, but the D365 production database is not exposed in Azure.  Thus, the only way to accomplish this task is to manually refresh your sandbox from production and take a backup of the test database.  Furthermore, this does not do anything for the data loss we experienced because the Azure blob is not part of the database refresh or the database backup.  Microsoft has acknowledged that there is no way to backup the blob beyond the 32 days.

    The backup automation and backup of the Azure blob have supposedly been added to the roadmap due to our issue, but I doubt we will see this any time soon.  I thought I would post this in case anyone needs to similarly protect themselves.


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    Mark Schurmann
    Accounting Systems Manager
    Automobile Protection Corp
    Norcross GA
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  • 21.  RE: D365 Lesson Learned

    Posted 11 days ago
    One caution that I would call out: Just because you want to implement "vanilla" don't underestimate the amount of time the project will take.
    The configuration, the integration, the data migration, testing, UAT, change management & training all takes a significant amount of time. Depending on how many modules you're implementing, this could take over a year. And maybe multiple years.
    Even if you don't intend to extend or customize the system, make sure you understand your business processes and requirements before you start. How will the "vanilla" functionality meet your requirements?

    And - minimize the amount of "work-arounds" as you can because they are not sustainable in the long run.

    And - have the project team still in place for AFTER deployment - there will be many tweaks to make afterwards to improve processes, performance, data quality, etc.
    Change management, ongoing support, reinforcement of new processes - this is all key to a successful deployment.

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    Gayla Shulhan
    MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op)
    Vancouver BC
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