Implementing processes and not “modules” in Dynamics AX
There is a pattern in the implementation of an ERP in which the customers and many Partners speak of modules. Typical phrases include:
- I want to implement the sales and purchasing module.
- How much does it cost to implement the sales module?
- Am I a specialist in the budget module?
- Am I certified in the acquisition and supply module?
While these phrases sound normal, the truth is that when speaking about an implementation process of an ERP or an ERP component, they are not completely correct.
Perhaps unconsciously when we are talking about modules, we are referring to processes. But the truth is that we must talk about processes all the time and not modules of the ERP. And we must do so in a conscious way, having clear implications behind the implementation of ‘modules’ to support a business process.
In this respect, Microsoft Dynamics AX is avant-garde and a leading visionary of how one should implement an ERP. For this reason we find versions dating from the years 2013 to date of Microsoft Dynamics AX embedded in the process concept.
When the task recorder speaking about Dynamics AX starts taking action, we can include the steps that are recorded, within a thread of a specific process within the tree of processes that each organization has defined to support their business processes.
This is why Microsoft has established partnership with the APQC organization (American Productivity and Quality Center) to achieve this goal. APQC is an organization whose objective is to support companies that get work done smarter, faster and with greater confidence. It is the highest world authority in benchmarking best practices, business processes and performance enhancement. It seeks to transform the organizations through obtaining more efficient processes and generating higher added value.
This is why, when we deal with an implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX, we must have a clear map of the company’s processes, and translate it into Dynamics AX and Life Cycle Services, so we can nurture the various activities and tasks that make up each thread within a specific process of the company.
This generates a culture of processes for the interior of the organizations and breaks the paradigm of the implemented modules.
To illustrate this point, if the client tells us that we can implement the production module and how much it costs to implement this “module.” What we are implementing is the manufacturing process, which involves not only implementation of the production module but also other modules such as general accouting, product information, inventory management, providers, acquisition and supply, customers, sales and marketing, and master planning. So for the client to implement the production module, it actually turns out to be eight or more modules (totally or partially), which will support the process of manufacturing in Microsoft Dynamics AX.
And here the vision of processes is configured, because the output of a module is converted in entry to another module and this flow of activities that feeds entries of information and that generate outputs should be orchestrated from one point to the next, so the output end of the manufacturing process is what the customer expected, with the result of meeting a customer request.
So this conscious method must be involved in the manufacturing processes for all users of other areas that are involved in this process, in order to ensure that the process is properly supported in Dynamics AX and that no component was forgotten in its configuration and functional tests.
Any output of a thread that is not aligned with the input expected by the other thread will cause disorder in the operation of the process, delays, and an unsatisfactory final output in the eyes of the customer.
This means that consultants are certified, to continue with the same example, in the manufacturing process and not in the production module. If a manufacturing consultant does not clearly set all their implications of the interaction of the production module with the other modules which support the manufacturing process, regardless of support from other consultants for some activities, you will hardly reach a successful implementation. Therefore, it must include all areas of the customer involved in a timely manner to properly orchestrate the implementation.
So the final message is this: we implement business processes, NOT modules.