Microsoft Dynamics ERP training for one of North America’s largest industrial maintenance, turnaround and environmental suppliers.

The Onboard training partnership enabled this Microsoft Dynamics project to go-live on schedule.

The Onboard training partnership enabled this Microsoft Dynamics project to go-live on schedule.


Microsoft Dynamics ERP


Finance, Rental, Supply Chain Management and Asset Management

No. of End-Users:

2,100 End-Users


USA and Canada

“It's only because we have so much in-house experience of Dynamics ERP that we were able to design and deliver a tailored training program to such a tight deadline.”

Geof Hillier, Onboard’s Lead ERP Consultant

Effective, high quality end user training is crucial for any major IT project. Leading Canadian firm CEDA, which provides specialised industrial maintenance for some of North America’s biggest oil firms, partnered with Onboard to ensure its Microsoft Dynamics ERP implementation was successful.

CEDA had opted for a simultaneous, across the board go live of a new Microsoft Dynamics ERP system and FSA, Hitachi Solutions’ field services automation software. An extensive change management project was also in operation, to ensure a successful transition. The overall project was known as Project PACE.

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It soon became clear that the support of a specialist training consultancy to provide end user training would be critical to the success of the project. Searching for a Microsoft Dynamics ERP training provider with the skills and experience to design and create a tailored training program on a tight deadline, CEDA selected Onboard to manage the entire training project.

Geof Hillier, Senior Onboard Training Consultant on Project PACE, said: “Lack of time was one of the major challenges. The client was approaching the go live date so we were out in Canada doing the initial fact find within two weeks of getting the call.”

He added: “It’s only because we have so much in-house experience of Dynamics ERP that we were able to design and deliver a tailored training program to such a tight deadline.”

The plan was that all five modules – core finance, human resources, projects, purchasing and requisitioning and service and integrated third party software – would go live in the new Dynamics ERP system simultaneously, and that FSA would go live at the same time. There would be a phased rollout of the new systems, starting with head office in Calgary and selected lines of service. The new ERP system replaced a paper-based system, making it easier to set up and manage projects.

Prior to Project PACE, the ticketing system was managed using whiteboards and Excel spreadsheets. The implementation of FSA enabled CEDA to electronically schedule work against different projects using service orders. The service orders would record the service that was required, schedule the resources needed to perform the service, such as people and equipment, and capture information on the progress of a job once it had started.

The purpose of the end user training program was to make sure that all end users had the skills and confidence to utilise the new systems and processes as fully as possible.

After the initial analysis of training needs, Onboard assigned consultants to each workstream. The consultants worked closely with business analysts in the different workstream to ensure that the training courses they designed would be appropriately targeted and tailored to the end users roles, and that they had accounted for all change management considerations.

“The main problem was that the project was not really at a stage that was ready to test or train but the client wanted to push ahead” Geof Hillier reflected. “We had to see through the issues and create training courses that were relevant to the roles and also the system. Our existing Microsoft Dynamics ERP knowledge allowed us to visualise how the system was going to work eventually and create training modules prior to system readiness.”

Following their face-to-face time with the business analysts, Onboard’s consultants developed lesson plans, exercises and presentations for each of the role-based training courses. They also produced a full set of supporting documentation, including detailed reference guides and quick cards to enable users to look up key processes. As the system build was constantly evolving, Onboard’s consultants had to be flexible and adaptable, quickly rearranging content between courses as the user roles changed. Five Onboard trainers returned to Canada to deliver classroom training sessions in Calgary and other locations in Alberta, with CEDA’s business analysts supporting the sessions.

Tailored, targeted end user training is key for a successful ERP system implementation as it ensures that users are able to fully engage with the new system and enables a smooth transition and more efficient operation after go live. CEDA found that outsourcing the end user training to a specialist consultancy was the most effective way to upskill their workforce and ensure that everyone embraced the new system.