Estimated read time = 6 minutes
COVID-19 has changed the world. We could never have imagined this reality as we rang in a new decade at the beginning of this year. The global pandemic has changed the balance and perception of work from a predominately in-office activity to an at-home endeavour, or a blended mix of both.
The sheer scale of the transformation for previously full-time ‘in-office’ workers is an enormous topic and study on its own, and not something I’ll be diving into today. However, it’s important to acknowledge that “the days of everyone working in the office” is almost a distant memory, as that train has truly left the station.
Another very interesting thing about the ‘new normal,’ is that the new business agenda essentially kills the old belief that: You really need to be local and geographically close to the client to deliver a successful ERP/CRM project.
Remote Working & Remote Delivery = The Dynamics 365 New Norm
As geographical barriers are eradicated and new markets open with remote working as the new norm, there are more opportunities for organizations to attract top talent and a Dynamics 365 Partner to best serve their specific needs. In this vain, the physical proximity between an organization and its ERP/CRM vendor is no longer a concern.
Physical Distancing When Selecting a Dynamics Partner
Prior to COVID, the proximity of an ERP vendor to the client was an important consideration, however over the last few months it has become very apparent that this is not actually necessary. The success of many remote ERP implementations and upgrades over the last three months are a testament to this. Remote ERP projects are being delivered on time and on budget with the same or increased levels of success as those delivered by vendors located in close geographic proximity to client organizations pre-COVID.
E Foqus is in the process of delivering a large-scale Dynamics 365 Business Central implementation for an organization located in Atlanta Georgia, and geographically, that is pretty much as far away from Vancouver B.C as can be within North America. The project is progressing as planned and the client feedback to date, coupled with the project process proves yet again, that physical distance is no longer an issue. As a Dynamics Partner, we plan, assess, analyze, configure, develop, test and deploy the client solution using the very same methods and high standards, all without missing a beat, whether the client is located next door or in Timbuktu.
Safely and Calmly Out Performing Traditional Dynamics 365 Projects
In many ways, the remoteness can serve to drive even better project performance, where the ongoing collaboration, communication and information sharing is actually stronger and more transparent amongst ERP project team members thanks to the support of technological advancements. Ironically there seems to be more access and frequent opportunities to converse with colleagues over Microsoft Teams, than there would be to set up a face-to-face meeting at the office.
The feedback received on our remote projects to date is that client organizations are receiving the same high level of service but with a reduction in overall timeframe, project expenses and complications trying to line up multiple calendars to find a time that suits everyone to physically meet in-person.
When Everything Changes Greater Opportunities Arise
From a client perspective, the market of Dynamics Partners to choose from for an ERP project has greatly increased. Organizations can choose the ideal Dynamics Partner based on skill set, experience and overall DNA, without having to consider if they are located geographically close or not. In the past, choosing a Dynamics Partner located further afield would result in organizations incurring travel and hotel expenses or they would have to select a subpar Dynamics Partner solely for the reason that they were located nearby. Thankfully, proximity is no longer a key consideration anymore so organizations can explore a much wider pool of options to prioritize finding the ideal Dynamics Partner to best work with their team.
True Dynamics 365 Partners Have Become Limitless
For service companies such as E Foqus, that were established based on the philosophy of ‘master your backyard first,’ this new shift and the breaking down of geographical barriers is incredibly interesting. Pre-COVID, most of our business activities took place in Western Canada but now, the whole of North America has suddenly become a viable market for us in seeking to service organizations in need of Dynamics 365 Business Central implementations and upgrades. Microsoft had for a long time been pushing the Dynamics Partner community to become more specialised and vertically focused; which isn’t a particularly easy task for Dynamics Partners operating in smaller markets. However, with the recent shift ignited by COVID, Dynamics Partners no longer face such limitations and are free to explore territories much further afield.
It is important to note that even though there is now a larger playing field for Dynamics Partners to operate within, there’s no guarantee of more projects. Dynamics Partners must absolutely earn the right to their seat at the table with new clients; now more than ever, because just as Dynamics Partners can operate successfully from much further afield, so can the competition.
Adapt or Perish: The New Reality for Dynamics 365 Projects
Many wise people say that VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) conditions are a given these days, which forces everyone to become more agile, adaptable and creative. The old saying and approach of “well this is the way we have always done things,” is not only no longer accepted, it is also frequently condemned. Client organizations expect innovation and agility from their Dynamics Partners every step of the way. Which is only right, seeing as we, as Dynamics Partners challenge our clients when we kick-off a project advising them not to ‘take an old bad habit and transfer it into a new system!’
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I am a firm believer that many organizations have proven that they can handle change much better and much faster than previously thought. I read a sentence the other day that really resonated with me: “How can we tell ourselves again that we can’t run faster, when we have just proven that we can. There is no going back now”.
And at the end of the day, that is a great outcome based on a very tragic global event. If we embrace these new circumstances with an open mind, it’s sure to be a win-win for everyone, even if at first it doesn’t seem so.
So, let’s make a commitment that we – clients, employees and employers – don’t fall back into our habits and old way of doing things. We all have the opportunity to be more selective with who we work for, who we work with and who we purchase from. As a result, we all need to up our game. Period.
Otherwise, someone from a place far, far away, will take what you thought was yours in the blink of an eye, it will become theirs, and perhaps rightly so?
Author: Lars Agger, Managing Partner, E Foqus Canada
Lars Agger has taken the journey from very fragmented paper-based systems to integrated cloud-delivered, optimized via both humans and Artificial Intelligence. The common driver for Agger in all of these years has been to always strive for more on behalf of his clients: better adaption, tighter integration, faster data processing time, more robust supply chains. Agger understands the challenge of implementing standard software – and does not feel a project is a success before both parties agree that it is. Outside of the tech world, you’ll find Agger teeing off, cheering & heckling on the pitch and enjoying the many wonders of the world.