Optimizing Business Performance through Investment in People
Training, Planning and Engaging for Microsoft Solutions
Successful implementation of enterprise class Microsoft solutions can be attributed to four key areas:
1) Maintaining a strong, well-trained group of IT professionals who are familiar with the Microsoft technology stack. At DODD, the investment in people is part of the “IT Game Plan” and we ensure our staff has the opportunity to participate in professional development.
2) Approaching projects with an architectural plan. With any large project, we always make sure we understand the business problem to be solved, and document the approach and technical tools used to do the job. Having an Architect who understands the interrelationship of components and can assemble the pieces is critical to success.
3) Using a formalized SDLC approach, primarily using the Agile methodology within application development. For DODD, the Microsoft Visual Studio tool is a key to user story management. We couple this with strong change control practices and code management utilizing Team Foundation Server.
4) Engage a technology partner early, especially on large projects. Premier support staff can set the stage for success by helping with sizing and scoping, environment builds, and load testing. On a recent project, we maintained an open channel of communication with MCS and Premier support—this gave our team access to subject matter experts who were well-versed in particular technologies.
“Make sure your team knows how to perform load testing, and do it often during your build. Don’t wait until the end”
CRM Implementation Using Person-Centered Principles
DODD has been recognized for innovation on several fronts, including SQL Server, Security, and Application Development. Utilizing our virtual server platform, we were able to cluster SQL instances; this helped with redundancy, licensing, and scalability. In the security space, we recently were recognized for a CSO40 award for the Entitlements Management security system, which utilized FIM, AD and UAG. These tools are configured to sync security information directly into Microsoft Dynamics CRM to allow for auto role provisioning, which saves time and steps. Similarly, the DODD Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation using person-centered principles, county case management, discovery, planning, and collaboration was recognized with a Customer Excellence Award by Microsoft at Convergence.
Load Test often during the Build
Make sure your team knows how to perform load testing, and do it often during your build. Don’t wait until the end. Find a tool that you like and that will enable your team to trace and help you pinpoint possible problems in the code so you can fix it. Lastly, if you plan to serve up applications externally using SharePoint, don’t customize it too heavily and use .NET for the heavy lifting.
Learn from Microsoft Partner’s Expertise
Make sure you have Microsoft and a Microsoft Partner at the table working with you. Learn from their expertise and get smart about what you’re doing before you start. Before we even purchased Dynamics CRM, my IT leadership (including me) and several key technical resources attended training classes and the team did a Proof of Concept. Also, make sure you continue to invest in your people and train them in Microsoft technologies. Of course, many of these tips can be applied to any solution or partner.