Monday, January 16, 2017

What Are Your Software Resolutions?

Some of my favorite clients, when I walk in their door every few months, ask "What's New Out There?", "What Are People Doing?"  I will admit, I just love the continual growth mindset.  Although it does take time and energy (and money) to leverage your software to its fullest potential, I find that clients who take this on as part of software ownership are generally happier and more satisfied than those who tend to stagnate- never looking at new approaches, add-ons, or taking care to expand their use of new functionality as appropriate. 

So along these lines, I thought I would put together my top 5 software resolutions.  Although written with Dynamics GP and CRM in mind, these really can apply to a myriad of software solutions and vendor relationships you may have.

  1. Stop expecting software to do more without you contributing more: Whether it is time, expertise, or money (in the form of consulting dollars or add-on software), your software package will only expand and do more for you if you are willing to contribute.  Some of my clients who do the best with this resolution have monthly GP user meetings (internally) to discuss issues and goals and also participate in GPUG and other groups to knowledge-share.  In organizations that don't regularly do this, it's not unusual to hear about them simply implementing another product a few years down the road and starting the cycle again.
  2. Build a partnership with your VAR/Consultant.  No one likes to have a combative relationship (consultants, too).  Understand that your partner is there to help you, and in most cases wants to make sure you are happy with them as well as the software.  So look at how you engage with them, do you do it in a proactive way? Do you ask them what they think of how you are using the software?  Ask for their help in more strategic ways, like how you might better use support or even cut your support costs through training or other avenues.
  3. Set a budget for ongoing software enhancement.  And I am not just talking about service packs and upgrades, although it can be bundled in with those costs.  With each new release, there is new functionality and we (partners/consultants) want you to be able to take advantage of it.  But in a lot of cases, clients simply budget upgrades like service packs with no consulting services beyond the upgrade.  Even consider inviting your consultant/partner out once a year for the sole purpose of asking "What could we be doing better with our software and processes?".  You might be surprised by their answering.
  4. Reset your approach to training to be an ongoing process, not a one time event.  I know users who have used GP for 10+ years but still find training classes, webinars, and other events to attend every year and leave excited about how they can improve their use of the software.  Join GPUG.  Go to conferences.  Treat training as something you do every year.  Not just when you add a new employee or implement a new module.
  5. Recognize that software won't solve all of your issues.  Above I mentioned clients who have monthly internal GP user meetings. These opportunities can also be opened up to include accounting and business processes, even those that fall outside of the system.  What is working?  What isn't?  And can software help? Or do you need to consider internal changes?  Approaching issues with an open mind, and recognizing that sometimes internal/institutional change is needed (with or without software) can help you make positive change in your organization.
What would be on your resolution list? I am interested to hear from you all!

Christina Phillips is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Dynamics GP Certified Professional. She is a director with BKD Technologies, providing training, support, and project management services to new and existing Microsoft Dynamics customers. This blog represents her views only, not those of her employer.

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