Tips and Tricks for Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 for Sales in the Cloud

Part 2 of a 2-part series on upgrading from Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 for Sales in the Cloud

Microsoft Dynamics 2016 UpgradeIf your data–or the software that helps you manage it–is old, stale, clunky, or slow, it’s time for an upgrade so you can take advantage of today’s tools that are supported by cloud technology.

In “Is It Time for an Upgrade to Dynamics 365 in the Cloud?“, Part 1 of this series, We discussed why now is the time to upgrade to Dynamics 365 from Dynamics CRM. With the speed of business increasing every day, you need technology that can stay in front of it.

In Part 2, we discuss best practices for upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales once you have made the decision.

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So, you’ve decided that upgrading is the right decision? As experts in both Microsoft Dynamics and upgrades, we want to introduce you to some guidelines and best practices for doing just that – upgrading your software to Dynamics 365 for Sales in the Azure Cloud.

Involve the business…not just IT

Who better to talk to about your processes and operations than the people who do it every day? A common mistake organizations often make is not including the right people in the planning of an upgrade. While your IT staff is an important group, you need to involve the people who use the system to do their jobs–from executive to front-line user. Although the upgrade process is identified as a technology project up front, here is what Citrix.com has to say:

“It’s important for IT departments to think beyond just development and deployment. Similar focus should be placed on increasing adoption, which in turn creates ROI.”

It’s not practical to involve every single person in the project, so we recommend as the first step identifying your software “super users,” which are key people from various areas of the organization to get on board with the upgrade project. Having differing perspectives for a company-wide software rollout is imperative to ensuring all bases are covered and pain points are identified, all of which will drive adoption, another key to the software success.

Putting key business pieces of the upgrade puzzle together up front will instill long-term success for your organization. The super users’ involvement will show its true impact during training and rollout support time. Being on-board from day one, your super users will be there to support interactively and guide their fellow co-workers when questions arise or if you encounter push-back.

Gather feedback

Once you have all of the necessary people and teams involved, it’s time to gather their feedback regarding key enhancements or pain points they have identified. With that information, you can then build out requirements with acceptance criteria. Depending on your organization’s methodology of project management, you can identify a tool that works best. Using, for example, the AgileScrum methodology, you can use one of the various tools available for project management and end-user stories. JIRA, VSTS, and Bugzilla are a few examples. A sample end-user story can be built along the lines of this JIRA example:

Prioritize and plan

From here, you can manage the issue at hand, to whom it is assigned to, the priority, which “sprint” (an incremental development process used to identify time-boxes of specific focus efforts to organize and manage tasks and timing) it will be addressed in, and much more, all in one place.

Regarding sprints: With a tool like JIRA, the structure of your project and its foundation can be organized in one place. Once collected, you can get these requirements reviewed, prioritized, then implemented and tested to get you on your way to your end goal.

Re-engage your super users

With continuous cycles of development and ongoing Q & A with the software and technology teams, once a beta system is ready for review, it’s time to get those super users back involved. The upgraded Dynamics 365 for Sales system is ready to be put in front of end users for a first round of UAT (User Acceptance Testing). With test scripts laid out and the end-user stories in JIRA for reference, your super users can take a first pass at going through the day-to-day processes and testing the new software. A sample test script might look similar to this case of attaching a file to a Contact record:

During this time, you will collect additional observations from users and potentially undergo a few cycles of small tweaks and enhancements, but you are well on your way to a fully upgraded system. To enhance the process, your super users can hold demos and additional training sessions with an extended group of colleagues to gather additional feedback.

Communicate clearly and often

With a fully upgraded system, communication is key. It is crucial to keep end users in the loop on timing, from software launch date and maintenance times to when a major release is coming. Be sure to share tips to get them started, including highlighting areas in the system that have undergone a significant change. Also, be sure to make it clear who questions or issues should be addressed to. One way to do this: Create an email alias with key Dynamics 365 users who can triage and direct users in the right direction when something is unclear. This support period should begin as soon as your upgraded system is live and will last a few weeks or months, given the specific project and the adoption that is received.

Be patient

Remember, this is a brand new day-to-day process for users, whether it was a 10 year-old or a 2 year-old system being replaced, there will be some challenges for users as they become accustomed to their upgraded system. With the effort put in to train your “super users,” hold demos and training sessions and extend clear communication, the steps to get ahead on the challenges have been accomplished. Good luck with your shiny, new Dynamics 365 for Sales system.

Get started on your upgrade to Dynamics 365

If you’re ready to start benefiting from an upgrade from Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 for Sales, we can help. Contact the CRM and upgrade experts at AKA Enterprise Solutions about your goals and timeline.

By | 2019-09-03T14:56:46+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Sales & Service (CRM), Tech Tips|0 Comments
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Contributor: Alexis Zakala

Alexis Zakala is a CRM Consultant at AKA Enterprise Solutions. With profound knowledge of the technical details, she is able to assist developers by translating business requirements into solutions.

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