Microsoft originally launched Sure Step in 2007 as a full customer lifecycle methodology which can be applied to all Dynamics solutions, it has since been updated to assist with new feature implementation and upgrade processes. Over the years Microsoft’s vision for the Sure Step methodology has remained consistent, helping Microsoft Dynamics vendors achieve successful implementations for customers which are on time, on budget and on specification.

The Microsoft Dynamics sure step methodology

What is Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology?

Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Methodology is an end-to-end customer lifecycle which describes the standardised processes and disciplines necessary to implement Dynamics solutions. Sure Step is structured as a general methodology with a product-specific layer for each Dynamics product, providing guidelines and best practices to help successfully implement Microsoft Dynamics solutions. The content consists primarily of prescriptive phase-by-phase and activity-by-activity descriptions for completing each stage of an implementation. The methodology can be adapted and applied to different project types:

  • Standard—The Standard project type can be used for implementing Microsoft Dynamics solutions at a single site requiring specific features and moderate-to-complex customizations.
  • Rapid—The Rapid project type can be used for implementing Microsoft Dynamics solutions in situations characterized by a limited scope, where the basic application features are desired and/or where the majority of the customer’s business processes are not considered as complex.
  • Enterprise—The Enterprise project type is a standardized approach for implementing Microsoft Dynamics solutions in complex single-site deployments, or in global/multi-site organizations where unique business needs have to be factored on top of a core solution.
  • Agile—The Agile Project Type represents an iterative approach to implementing Microsoft Dynamics Solutions at a single site requiring specific features and moderate-to-complex customizations. This project type gives customers greater control over the final solution because they can quickly change the direction of solution development and implementation from one sprint cycle to the next.
  • Upgrade—The approach to progress an existing Microsoft Dynamics solution to a subsequent release of that solution.

Once a project type is selected, Sure Step provides the relevant documents to fit that project type. Documents are provided for guidance at specific industry levels, including manufacturing, public sector, retail and service.

What Dynamics solutions is Sure Step available for?

The Dynamics Sure Step Methodology covers the following products:

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM

What are the phases of the Sure Step methodology?

There are six phases involved in the Sure Step methodology, each of these phases consist of a set of defined activities and tasks:

  • Diagnostic—To help the customer determine the right solution to meet their needs and obtain a key understanding of the solution requirements.
  • Analysis—The analysis phase defines the activities required to initiate and effectively plan the entire project.
  • Design—The design phase includes configuration of the overall Microsoft Dynamics solution and the design of specific customizations needed to satisfy business requirements identified during the Analysis phase.
  • Development—The goal of the development phase is to build and test the system components defined and approved in the design specifications, including developing the customizations, integrations and interfaces and data migration processes.
  • Deployment—The deployment phase is where all the efforts of the project team come together for a successful transition to the new Microsoft Dynamics solution. Key activities in this phase include End User Training, User Acceptance Testing and the actual cutover to the new or upgraded production environment.
  • Operation—The Operation phase defines the activities required to close the project, provide post-production support and transition the solution and knowledge to the customer.

With each document involved for each phase whilst using Sure Step, both consultant and customer roles are clearly defined in hierarchies to ensure every person involved in the project is aware of their tasks and responsibilities.

The benefits of the Sure Step methodology

  • Faster implementation time—The Sure Step model provides tools, templates and best practices which cover all aspects of projects to increase consistency, timeframes, quality and success of projects.
  • Repeatable model—Sure Step is a flexible and repeatable model which can fit any business or project type, this assures customers you’re using the same consistent approach and following the correct procedures during a Dynamics integration.
  • Increased customer satisfaction—Sure Step allows for a faster project completion with minimal risk and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), which can all lead to increased customer satisfaction.
  • Resources—Sure Step provides a standard set of tools and templates which can be used to guide through the implementation process and help ensure customers’ projects are completed efficiently. The methodology can be applied to projects of any size and in any industry, as well as working with multiple project types, helping fit unique business requirements.

Resources in the Sure Step Methodology

  • Methodology Content—A flow of implementation activities that lead from the initial business diagnosis through implementation and handoff to operations.
  • Tools and templates—Documents and resources help guide the project activity and system configuration for the end-to-end implementation process. Documents can be filtered and searched for to provide you with only the relevant content you need.
  • The Sure Step Client— The Sure Step Client provides a fully interactive application with a large selection of documents and templates which can be adapted to unique requirements. Projects can be created within the application with prescribed templates based on your choice of solution, product and project type.
  • Community resources—Links to other resources available in the Microsoft Dynamics community.

Following the Microsoft Sure Step methodology helps both vendors, like us at Mercurius IT, and customers enjoy more successful implementations of Microsoft Dynamics solutions. If you’re interested in deploying an ERP solution such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV please get in touch today.