Implementing Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is no easy feat. It requires careful consideration of various factors and inputs. The duration of the implementation can range from a minimum of 5 months to over 12 months, depending on the specific needs and evaluation of the business. Here are 6 crucial inputs that need to be taken into account. We call them the 6 Dimensions of ERP Success.

6 Dimensions for a Successful ERP Implementation

  1. Business Process: The breadth of business processes included within the scope of the project
  2. Data: The cleanliness and amount of data being converted
  3. Organization & Business Strategy: The global nature of the organization 
  4. Application: The number of integrations and extensions required to fulfill requirement gaps 
  5. People: The amount of users affected by the change 
  6. Reporting & Management: The complexity of reporting requirements 

Let's dive into each...


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Business Process

Understanding the extent of integrated business processes within a project is crucial. Each company has its own unique processes and requirements, with manufacturers and distributors often having the most extensive needs, resulting in longer implementation periods, sometimes exceeding 12 months. It's important to note that the size of a company in terms of revenue doesn't necessarily correlate to fewer processes. Even small manufacturing companies can have complex processes, leading to larger projects. On the other hand, smaller implementations that only cover financial processes typically take around 5 to 6 months. Additionally, it's worth considering that for first-time Dynamics 365 implementations, Microsoft may require up to 30 days to promote the final cloud environment to production, which should be taken into account when planning the project timeline.


Data conversion is often the most time-consuming and meticulous aspect of an ERP project. As the saying goes, "garbage-in, garbage-out," so it's crucial to prioritize quality data conversion for a successful implementation. The conversion process involves various stages, starting with test conversions and progressing to full master and transactional conversions. This is followed by thorough validation, bug fixes, and reconciliation. Subsequent conversion cycles are performed, each with its own validation, reconciliation, and bug-fixing processes. These conversions must support important project milestones such as conference room pilot processes, system integration testing, user acceptance testing, and the final dress rehearsal. To ensure a smooth and efficient data conversion, a detailed plan should be developed as part of the overall project plan. Important considerations to determine the level of effort required include:
  • How many years of data is being converted? 
  • When was the last time the data was cleansed? 
  • How many data entities within D365 are within scope?
  • Is data easily extracted from the legacy system, or are there significant extraction programs which will be required to be written?
  • Do employees have time to perform validation and reconciliation? 

Organization & Business Strategy

Another important consideration when assessing the duration of a project is the global nature of the organization. Global companies often require additional layers of functionality to support their diverse needs within Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. These functionalities may include multi-currency capabilities, support for multiple languages, the need for multiple instances within the cloud to comply with geographical region data privacy requirements, country-specific localization requirements, inter-company transactions, and the complexity of consolidation processes. These factors contribute to the overall breadth and complexity of the implementation, influencing the project timeline.


Although Dynamics 365 (D365) is a robust Tier 1 ERP system, it may not handle all processes within a company by default. These processes, known as requirement gaps, may require system extensions or customizations. While it is important to maximize the use of standard functionality within the cloud environment, D365 provides a strong foundation for extending the system's capabilities. However, it's important to note that identifying and implementing these extensions will extend the duration of the project.

Furthermore, businesses often rely on systems outside of D365 to support their operations, such as those involved in ordering, manufacturing, and shipping. Integrating these external systems with D365 is crucial to ensure seamless business processes. The complexity and number of integrated systems required can significantly impact the project timeline.

It is essential to carefully consider these factors and their potential impact on the overall feasibility and timeline of implementing D365. Neglecting these considerations can put the project at risk of falling behind schedule.


Effective Organizational Change Management (OCM) plays a crucial role in understanding how process changes will impact the organization, the extent of training required, and the communication strategies needed for success. In organizations with a large user base and multiple business processes affected, the implementation timeline needs to account for the necessary measures to alleviate the challenges and stress associated with change.

Reporting & Management

Simpler reporting solutions can be built for companies that have standard reporting and a focus on financial aspects. However, when dealing with multiple organizations, each with their own unique reporting requirements that need to be consolidated, complexities arise and the length of the implementation increases.


To ensure the successful implementation of D365, it is crucial to thoroughly review and consider all the important factors. Without taking these critical inputs into account, the project runs the risk of not meeting the expected timelines. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of feasibility and a realistic timeline is essential for a smooth and successful implementation journey.