Why It's Time To Upgrade Dynamics CRM & Move To The Cloud

Moving Dynamics CRM to the Cloud

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is changing at a rapid rate. With the upcoming 2019 Release Wave 2 for Customer Engagement, three major Online releases, and numerous smaller updates, will have passed since the most recent on-premise build. 

For an organisation using on-premise CRM 2016 this means a mighty gap in capabilities between the two products. If you are still running CRM 2013 (or older) this will be a chasm! 

Mainstream Microsoft support for CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 has ended and Microsoft is set to end mainstream support for CRM 2015 early in 2020 which means there are increased risks by remaining on these versions.

Dynamics 365 Upgrade Benefits

Change can be tough but in falling behind in technology, users are deprived of new functions that will help improve performance and ultimately increase competitiveness throughout an organisation. 

Upgrading from older on-premise versions can be a big task so at the outset it is important to know how the new version will be of benefit. Which new features and functions will have the biggest impact depends on a combination of factors including which teams use Dynamics and the context of your unique business processes. 

For many organisations, upgrading Dynamics will involve moving CRM to the cloud. Based on the recent upgrade and cloud migration projects that Preact has worked on, we've listed below the features and improved capabilities that are often early benefits upon updating from older versions:

  • Integrated web portals, including self-service customer portals with connected case / knowledge management
  • Guided process flows for any repeatable workflow that steer users towards successful outcomes by enforcing process rules and methodology to will improve consistency and data quality
  • Improved Office 365 integration to better leverage Outlook, Word, Excel and other Office 365 apps
  • Enabling the Unified Interface for a consistent experience across web and mobile featuring new custom-controls
  • Underlying Power Platform with a Common Data Service to unify Dynamics 365 and Outlook data
  • Extending capabilities through connected PowerApps as mobile apps or embedded within Dynamics record forms
  • Using Microsoft Flow to connect Dynamics with 3rd party apps and services. This can include delivering a text alert, handle approval process, or perform some other action in an external app. 
  • Improvements to record forms including business rules, calculated fields, text wrapping, field level security and multi-select field options
  • Editable grids for bulk editing in list views
  • Field Service app - manage work orders and optimise schedules to increase the efficiency of field service delivery
  • Hierarchies for relational visualisations of accounts, contacts and products
  • Service level agreements featuring timer controls and countdown tickers

Read more about what's new in recent Dynamics versions and a comparison between the latest Online and On-Premise editions.

What Next?

In many instances, the latest technology creates an opportunity to build customisations using native functions and move away from solutions that have relied on custom code. This immediately reduces the overhead of maintenance and simplifies the process in preparing for future updates.

As with any project, upgrading from an on-premise edition of Dynamics CRM requires a solid plan. Our project led upgrades begin with a scoping consultancy in which we will:

  • Understand how you currently use Dynamics CRM
  • Demonstrate how your processes can be mapped to the new version, and how newer capabilities can be utilised
  • Define precisely what data, code and customisations will be migrated 
  • Document our findings and recommendations for carrying out the upgrade including user familiarisation training
  • Build a proof of concept if needed

Rather than directly upgrading a CRM 2011 / 2013 / 2015 / 2016 database, we would replicate this as a new database before migrating data. This avoids carrying across any script, plug-in's or workflows that may cause errors. It also minimises downtime and quickly gets a working version in front of users to gain early feedback and increase participation.

If your Dynamics technology has fallen behind and updating this seems daunting, Preact will help you implement, test and deploy the latest version.

We have supported many customers in migrating to the latest cloud and on-premise versions of Dynamics from earlier versions. One example was leading chainsaw manufacturer, STIHL GB - read their case study here.

Please get in touch to find out more and to discuss how we can help you upgrade your Dynamics technology.

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