Intro to ERP Customizations

You have your eyes set on an Enterprise Resource Planning solution and want to jump into the implementation phase without delay, but do you know what will be necessary to make that happen? Dynamics 365 customizations can help ensure your ERP solution meets your needs precisely and enables you to get the most value out of your investment in the software.

Here are some standard customizations to consider when implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance or Supply Chain Management Enterprise Resource Planning solutions. What are common customizations? Why do companies customize their ERP implementation?

Should you customize your ERP?

While customization is technically possible with any enterprise software, it’s best to customize what you need. That’s because each customization is an additional layer of work that can cause things to go awry down the road. This doesn’t mean your new ERP will run without a hitch—but it should mean fewer and less problematic hiccups in implementation and usage over time.

If you are considering customizing, consider some important questions first: Will your customizations be well-supported by your vendor? What kinds of training do they offer? Are there customizable modules available for what you want to do? Should you customize you ERP?

You may have good reason to customize if one of your goals is streamlining business processes or integrating disparate data sources. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and how far along you are in your overall project lifecycle.

In general, though, you don’t rush into customization just yet. Plan out how it’ll fit into your end goals before diving into development or taking on a project manager.

Start exploring ERP customization options

Microsoft recommends that the best approach to understanding what customizations exist for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is to begin by creating a customization request on the Dynamics Marketplace. The Dynamics Marketplace offers organizations pre-built or partially built business solutions, known as applications for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Microsoft applications on the marketplace allow organizations to quickly get started with an out-of-the-box solution that can be customized to meet their specific business needs. They also offer organizations a way to familiarize themselves with how other customers have customized and extended Microsoft’s standard applications.

These samples can provide a good starting point, making it easier for new customers to identify opportunities to extend the capabilities of their implementations. For example, if you want to know how your customer could extend Microsoft’s standard application functionality, start with their existing sample apps. If you’re going to learn how they could leverage PowerApps or Flow to create more dynamic forms in real-time using the line of business data, check out sample apps developed by partners. When exploring these samples, remember that they may not fit your specific requirements but are valuable sources of information about additional functionality available from third parties that can augment your implementation project.

Microsoft D365 customization and configuration examples

An excellent example of ERP customization is the configuration of Microsoft D365 Finance or Supply Chain Management (SCM) so that only particular users can access everything in your system. In contrast, other users only see their specific parts. You can even create a separate security model for internal versus external use. This granular configuration means you’re not dealing with dozens of different user interfaces—you have one. Still, depending on your level of access, you see only specific tabs, pages, and menus. Since everyone sees what they need to know, it’s easier for everyone to work together.

Learn more about Customizing and Configuring Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP.

Let’s start

Some of the more common examples of D365 customization include:

Adding more functional modules

Dynamics 365 comprises numerous modules, each with its specific function. Organizations can easily offer users significantly increased functionality by allowing them access to different modules simultaneously.

Adding additional Fields

Often, based on the specific data your organization needs to collect, more than standard forms within D365 may be required. For this reason, Microsoft added the ability for Sysadmins and Power Users to include custom fields through the workspace personalization options. These supported field types are the easiest way to allow users to track additional data and can consist of, Text, Numbers, Decimals, Date/ Time, Date, Picklist, and Checkboxes.

Customizing workspaces

Users also can create their workspace with different functionality than out-of-the-box modules. Users can add Live tiles, Lists, Power BI tiles, and Links. This can result in a very focused workspace that lets users complete their job more efficiently.

Adding custom reports

Creating custom reports saves companies significant money during an implementation project. Microsoft’s D365 gives users several different ways to create custom reports. This includes simple Filtered views that can be exported to Microsoft Excel, the Report Wizard that asks the users simple questions before generating a statement, and SSRS for creating more complex reports.

Microsoft’s AppSource

Microsoft’s AppSource allows you to explore and try approved D365 extensions designed to add specific functionality or seamlessly tie in other third-party software solutions your business requires.

Custom solutions

Even in the same industry, business models can vary wildly from one company to another – For requirements that can’t be met by existing solutions available in Microsoft’s AppSource, customers can work directly with partners that have experience developing complex business solutions.

Self-service functionality

Companies can take advantage of increasingly valuable tools like Microsoft Flow, and the Microsoft Power Platform to help develop one-of-a-kind processes and integrations for whatever solution needs it most. These tools are some of the best ways to make your solution fit your specific requirements.

Final Thoughts on D365 Customization

Should you customize ERP? Yes. Of course, you should. Because the real question is, what customizations do you need to make your solution work best for your organization? Organizations that choose to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 often know they will need to customize the software, but don’t always have a clear idea of how to approach it—they want to maintain standard functionality and ensure their data remains accurate as possible. The best way to go about customization is to understand why organizations are customizing in the first place.

While ERP comes with a lot of built-in functionality, that’s not to say you shouldn’t consider customizing it to fit your organization. ERP implementations are rarely perfect and require various organisational modifications to function correctly and integrate seamlessly. You might customize for various reasons—for example, if you’re using multiple ERP solutions or have different business units with unique needs—but one thing is for sure: customizing your implementation can save you time and money.

Whether you’re dealing with manufacturing companies, retailers, wholesalers or logistics companies, there are sure to be some everyday things to consider when customizing your new software implementation.