Best Practices for a Successful Dynamics 365 Upgrade

According to the research-based consulting firm Mint Jutras, only 12% of surveyed companies experience challenges during the ERP implementation process due to the poor quality of the selected software. Instead, it is inadequate project planning and business process re-engineering that often result in implementation issues. These statistics should be considered by companies preparing for their Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrade, whether it involves the ERP modules, CRM applications, or the entire suite, as it can help avoid unnecessary issues and even an upgrade failure. Read this article to learn how you can streamline the upgrade process with best practices and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrade services.

 

Assess software and business needs thoroughly

To plan a successful Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrade, it is crucial to start with a comprehensive assessment of the current ERP and CRM setup used in your company, as well as the business needs that could be fulfilled by an upgraded system. Emphasize the aspects that require improvement and identify any elements, particularly customizations, that are now redundant for your company.

At the same time, get well-acquainted with the capabilities of the most recent version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and compare them to your business needs. Note if Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers functionalities and features that can replace some of the customizations made in your system in the past. This can help significantly simplify the upgrade process.

Additionally, such an assessment will reveal whether certain customizations will still be required. For these, it is necessary to complete a compatibility check to ensure they can be easily integrated into the new software suite. Otherwise, your upgrade team may need to develop new customizations to ensure they work correctly with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

 

Choose the right deployment method

Migrating to Microsoft Dynamics 365 from a previous version of Microsoft ERP and CRM systems is an ideal opportunity to switch to a different deployment option if your current one no longer meets your company’s business needs. Fortunately, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers great flexibility, allowing users to choose from cloud, on-premises, and hybrid deployment models.

However, upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 with a different deployment model from the one you currently use may be a resource-consuming process. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the choice is well-justified and has strong potential for improving your company’s operations.

A cloud deployment option offers great flexibility, streamlined integrations, and simplified updates. However, companies subject to stringent industry regulations, particularly concerning data privacy, may need to opt for on-premises or hybrid versions of the software suite. This option is also preferable for organizations located in geographical regions with low Internet bandwidth.

 

Examine data integrity and secure its backup

Data migration is one of the most time-consuming parts of both Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrades and the implementation process performed from scratch.

Before transitioning to the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365, conduct a detailed data examination to verify its integrity and identify any areas that require a cleanup. It is the right time to remove incomplete, duplicate, or otherwise redundant data.

Additionally, it is necessary to plan a full backup of the current environment, including components such as customizations, configurations, and databases. This will help you preserve critical information in the case of an upgrade failure.

 

Implement robust testing

Testing is crucial for maintaining an effective ERP and CRM suite, whether using previous versions of Microsoft software or the newest Microsoft Dynamics 365. Modern software development methodologies particularly value frequent updates, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 is known for ongoing optimization and development. While this approach provides users with increasingly useful and efficient software, it also makes regular testing essential.

Companies switching to Microsoft Dynamics 365 should implement an automated testing solution suitable for detecting defects and assessing the performance of the new system before it is rolled out to ensure it performs as intended and does not compromise business operations. A carefully chosen tool will serve you in testing your ERP and CRM software after each update released by the Microsoft team in the future.

 

Leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrade services

Although a Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrade may seem easier than an implementation from scratch, it involves numerous nuances that can cause serious issues if not handled properly. Partnering with a provider of Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrade services comes at a cost, but this investment ensures a smooth transition to the new system and helps avoid problems that could compromise the cost-effectiveness of the upgrade project.

A professional upgrade partner, such as XPLUS, can handle tasks including:

  • Detailed software assessment and recommendation of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 setup based on current business needs and available customizations;
  • Comprehensive data management, including data backup, cleansing, and migration;
  • Developing necessary customizations;
  • Integrating software with other applications and services;
  • Testing the software to assess its performance;
  • Post-upgrade support and maintenance.

 

Conclusions

A thorough assessment of the currently used system and a clear understanding of the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 are critical for selecting the proper software and customization setup and establishing an effective upgrade plan. While it is possible to handle the upgrade process without professional help, partnering with a competent provider of Microsoft Dynamics 365 upgrade services can significantly accelerate the project and help your company avoid unnecessary costs.

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