Before joining AlphaBOLD, I worked as an in-house Dynamics 365 designer & administrator for a construction company. Due to our small IT team, we decided to take a completely no-code approach, doing as much as we could with out-of-the-box configurations. We were able to make improvements, but in the transition from customer to consultant, I have encountered some major differences between what can be done as the employee of a company and what can be accomplished as a consultant.
A large team of other consultants to draw on for knowledge and expertise
Dynamics 365 is an extremely broad product suite, and it is difficult, if not impossible, for one person to have complete mastery of the entire platform. Within AlphaBOLD, we have many strong generalists that have experienced a wide variety of projects which lends a sense of perspective both in terms of what can and can’t be done as well as (maybe more importantly) what should and shouldn’t be done. Sprinkled among the generalists is also an array of specialists, from Field Service to Unified Service Desk; this breadth of experience allows me to consistently make better decisions than I was able to on my own, due to the combined experience of the team.
Greater degree of focus
When working from the customer side, there are a lot of added tasks and pressures, especially with companies that need people to wear multiple hats. I was no exception and didn’t realize how consistently distracted I was until transitioning into a consulting role. We also had to keep scope low for the most part due to a mixed set of responsibilities. These responsibilities included ancillary tasks, like building reports from D365 data and training users. As a consultant, customers generally look for us to be focused on solutions to complex problems allowing us the freedom to home in on where we can offer the most value.
Inclusion of technical solutions
At my prior company, due to having a small IT department, we decided to take a purely out of the box (no code) approach to Dynamics 365. Quite a bit can be accomplished without development work, but some useful automation and task flows can only really be implemented with custom-built solutions.
One of our biggest pain points was that our ERP and CRP systems could not communicate with each other. We used an on-premises version of a restrictive and poorly documented ERP solution so that automated integration between it and Dynamics 365 would have been completely custom. With our no-code approach and limited time, this was essentially impossible on our own.
As a consultant at a diversified consulting firm, this is no longer a barrier, because there is a breadth of existing institutional knowledge on these sorts of integrations internally and a wide bench of developers able to implement them. Complex infrastructure integration connecting disparate systems like eCommerce sites and data warehouses with Dynamics 365, something that previously seemed out of reach, is now a standard part of what I can deliver.
Fresh eyes on problems
One of the main benefits of bringing in a partner like AlphaBOLD is that we have a somewhat detached, unbiased perspective on our clients’ business challenges. There are times where a problem or process gap becomes so convoluted internally that it becomes difficult to diagnose and solution for, which is where an outside view can be very helpful. This perspective also helps us reach outside of limitations with internal company structure, allowing us to gather more accurate requirements and build better solutions. Additionally, an outside perspective can provide the means of having hard discussions around business processes that normally might be taboo to discuss within an organization. As consultants, we often can step outside of existing internal politics and can ask those difficult questions in a logical way that would not be possible to have internally.
Overall, I have found that the scope of work we can take on is far greater than what many companies are able to accomplish on their own. AlphaBOLD’s collective knowledge from past projects allows us to confidently build compelling solutions, with the freedom to include more ambitious implementations when necessary. The ability to step back and view process gaps from a bit of a distance cannot be overstated either, helping us deliver on the projects we take on.
I hope this blog has helped you in your transitioning endeavors or to reach out and talk to us about helping you out with your implementation! If you have any questions or insights on the blog, please leave a comment below!