Graham Burchell

Does your business have a D365 maintenance issue? Is your IT Services team running out of capacity to attend to that issue? If so, read on…

Microsoft D365 is a wonderfully powerful piece of software, capable of delivering great efficiency to rapidly growing and well-established businesses alike. But it’s not simply a case of ‘out of the box’ and ‘plug and play’. To maximise value, D365 users need to recognise it’s an application that requires continuous development and improvement to drive a cycle of incremental business efficiencies.

What tends to happen with many new subscribers is that the lack of clarity on required maintenance, and the resource to deliver it, can lead to a growing pile of unresolved issues, support requests, and minor enhancement projects. For an under-resourced IT Services team, attempting to manage a growing flow of support tickets, that can rapidly turn into a mountain of unresolved tasks. Even worse, it can result in insufficient capacity to manage and test those regular Microsoft updates. Instead of enjoying all the D365 benefits gained by your potential virtuous circle of efficiency, rather your IT Services team is mired in a vicious circle of managing time-consuming IT support requests and too little capacity to contribute to greater business efficiency, finance and operational improvement.

Few software applications achieve perfection. D365 lives across parts of the business where 99% of things its attending to are repetitive processes and successfully executed. It’s the other 1% that breaks that perfect record and can inflict growing pressure upon capacity-restricted IT professionals continually trying to fend off the growing tsunami of backlogged tickets.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it can be considerably better than the 50% improvement we conservatively hint at in this article title. In Dedicated Captive Team Providing BAU Support to Business Users you can read one of our client work cases where we reduced the Support ticket count far beyond that 50% benchmark and the client is now beginning to enjoy all of the promised advantages of their D365 purchase.

Here are five actions to reduce the number of D365 support tickets being raised:

  1. Establish a culture and practice of Monitoring and Proactive Prevention – constant monitoring of your processes and the common support requests they generate will enable your IT Services team to identify and resolve issues before they impact the business negatively. By proactively monitoring the system (typically outside office hours) your team will be able to identify and resolve commonly encountered support requirements before they are raised as tickets. This can be a relatively quick fix that will help reduce negative impacts to the business and free up IT Services’ time to proactively address more critical obstacles affecting the business, such as correcting broken workflows.
  2. Get your testing protocol in place for regular D365 software updates – you know those updates are coming. Make sure your IT Services team has the necessary capacity and skills to properly manage and test D365 releases. An ‘all hands to the pump’ approach to release management and regression testing is one of the most common reasons for the build-up of D365 Support tickets. Microsoft’s own Regression Suite Automation Tool (RSAT) can cut testing time in half. It’s also necessary to test for the specific configurations your unique business has in place with D365. The good news is, that much of that testing can also be automated. But only if your IT Services team has the capacity, technology and processes in place to provide for that.
  3. Implement on-demand BI – Simple BI dashboards (e.g., Power BI) connected directly to your ticketing system will allow you to easily explore, report and gain actionable insights to improve system use and process. This can help you build a ‘Use Case’ based roadmap to drive better value from your platform without having to ‘boil the ocean’.
  4. Use root cause analysis to identify process knowledge gaps – refreshed capacity will also permit your IT Services team to identify knowledge gaps across both the business and the IT Services function. Departure of team members can frequently mean loss of information about process protocols, which in turn makes it difficult for new joiners coming on board to replicate those processes. IT Service functions are typically spread thin, making every person effectively a ‘key man’. Establishing clear and comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will ensure that knowledge is preserved, and processes kept consistent within the business. We’ll cover the ‘key person’ issue in more depth in our next post. It’s also important to implement training to continuously upskill your users’ and system administrators’ capabilities. Continuous improvement involves identifying and resolving the root cause rather than just perpetually fixing the common issues again and again. In the case provided in the introduction, we deployed a bespoke Learning Management System (LMS) as part of our managed service for the client to provide continuous training and updates to Standard Operating Procedures documentation to address just such issues.
  5. Identify and implement process and system improvements – your on-demand BI capability and dashboard, combined with refreshed IT Services capacity, will enable regular and rational examination of your IT system and processes. We frequently work with clients that have over-configured systems that are complicated by bespoke components and add-ons that drive complexity in system management and support. That capacity will permit the identification of opportunities to improve and automate processes.  That will further reduce the number of new support tickets being generated and consequently further expand IT Services capacity.

Having your IT Services swamped by unresolved support requests is not an uncommon problem. If you find your business suffering with that D365 fatigue or support capacity constraint, then please get in touch. It’s an issue Panamoure consultants have addressed before. We have extensive experience of clearing those unresolved issues and see it as an opportunity to introduce new efficiencies. If your IT Services remain tight on capacity following the clearing of that backlog, our Managed Services facility can provide the necessary bandwidth to allow your IT Services team to explore all the advantages yet to be realised from your D365 platform. Importantly, the return will rapidly exceed the relatively modest investment required to address the issues described above.

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

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