Graham Burchell

Is D365 ‘Key Person’ risk driving up the cost of your system ownership? There are ways to fix that. Want to know more?  Read on…  

As we highlighted in our previous article, IT Service teams tend to be pretty slim operations with a lot of knowledge held by relatively few people. This can effectively make nearly every member of that team a ‘Key Person’, with departures potentially exposing your business to risk of platform failure and loss of knowledge about IT systems and processes.

It’s also important to realise that ‘Key Person’ risk doesn’t just sit within your IT Services team. It may seem obvious, but that team should be working in collaboration with the Business Functions to deliver all the available D365 advantages that are available for business processes efficiency and consequent strategic insights. Unfortunately, we frequently find that important collaboration absent in many client operations and that absence is often the cause of process and business systems failure. Your business function professionals represent just as much a ‘Key Person’ risk as your D365-dedicated IT professionals.

If there is a ‘Key Person’ event occurrence within either group, it will adversely impact the business as a whole. This is why you must incorporate a culture of D365 continuous improvement. Your decision to implement D365 is an entirely sensible choice but its important to recognise that decision also exacerbates the reliance upon key individuals that hold all the key knowledge required to make the whole work seamlessly across the business.

We also previously mentioned that D365 is not a straightforward ‘plug and play’ function. It requires consistent monitoring and maintenance to deliver on Microsoft’s continuous improvement promises. It’s not a process you can completely automate. It requires some real human input to realise all its potential business advantages. If that input relies on just one person within your business, whether from the IT Services or Business functions, that key person’s absence means loss of efficiency and functionality that will encourage the support ticket backlog to grow once again. This is obviously more of a problem if your key person has left the business and taken that knowledge with them. But even, if only away on holiday or, better still, some form of training to provide back-up for other key systems and process, things are going to be needlessly delayed.

Key person absence or departure creates a window for unnecessary disruption and potential stalling of your D365-reliant processes.  Knowledge of those connected systems and processes need to be the intellectual property of your company; not held by an individual employee or contractor.  

Here’s what you need to do to avoid or fix that sort of situation 

If your D365 is already implemented, commence IT and Business systems and processes knowledge capture right away. You will be amazed at how quickly knowledge can be lost and, given the ongoing ‘war for talent’ for IT professionals, in particular, that is current, departures are an increasingly day-to-day risk for D365-reliant business models.

Task your internal IT support and relevant Business personnel to document and share their knowledge early, before there is any risk of it being lost. If your IT Services or Business teams really doesn’t have the capacity to do this themselves, engage the help of an external partner. Having that knowledge collateral clear, up-to-date and accessible will pay long-term dividends. But, be warned. It’s possible to spend an awful lot of money on third-party IT consultancies who possess lots of D365 know-how but only the broad perspective of its utility. External consultants will not necessarily possess that all-important business knowledge of your company’s unique system configuration and operational processes. Many consultancies operate fractional teams that work for multiple clients at the same time. At Panamoure, we always advocate a bespoke and dedicated team working only for that one client. That allows us to fully understand your business needs, ways of working and enables us to deliver the continuous improvement that is an essential feature of D365. That’s the Panamoure way!

This is how Panamoure helps mitigate the loss of capacity and knowledge, the result of a ‘Key Person’ event:
 

  1. Shadow the support team and key people – learn the nuances of the business and how D365 supports and fits across your company’s IT infrastructure, systems and business processes.

 

  1. Create clear and comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – detailed documentation will ensure that knowledge is preserved, and processes kept consistent within the business. This is not difficult, but it requires time, attention and detail. Basic SOPs are available ‘off-the-shelf’ but they must be amended and be sufficiently detailed to provide a solution to each company’s unique and specific requirements.If you do this before your ‘Key Person’ goes on holiday or secures another position, you’ve already addressed that ‘single point of failure’ and fixed the problem before it’s even begun.

 

  1. Create training videos for the IT support team – visual media that provides step-by-step walkthrough, narrated guides on how IT team members support tasks and carry out processes. Straightforward multi-media knowledge collateral makes it simpler for other IT and Business professionals to pick up where and key person may have left off, whatever the reason, be it permanent or just a temporary absence.

 

  1. Create relevant training videos and documentation for users of different D365 modules – to compliment the video collateral for individual IT and Business teams’ tasks, also produce walkthrough videos of how the business uses the system. For example, walk your Finance Team through the IT support team tasks for D365 to preserve and spread that important knowledge. As the business matures and evolves it will become more important to decompartmentalise business and system knowledge.

 

  1. Commit to continuous improvement – as we previously wrote, D365 is not a simple ‘plug-and-play’ application. It requires regular maintenance for continuous improvement. To realise and benefit from that continuous improvement, it is also necessary for you to continually update your IT and Business units’ training materials, SOPs and walkthrough videos. Do this to ensure that any ’Key Person’ risk is removed and, if it has previously occurred, is not allowed to happen again.Panamoure has a process in place that keeps that knowledge up-to-date and makes sure that knowledge is shared by more than one person. Use a Learning Management System (LMS) to provide IT Service team members access to centralised and up-to-date procedure and systems collateral. 

 

Get in touch today, through our contact page for an exploratory conversation.

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