Sunday, July 19, 2015

Top Six Mistakes in Dynamics CRM Upgrades

Every two years or so, Microsoft releases a new version of Dynamics CRM, packed with features and performance enhancements.  To take advantage of this technological progress, you have to upgrade your Dynamics CRM solution.

Here are the top six Dynamics CRM upgrade mistakes to avoid:

1. Stay one version behind.  Ten years ago customers would intentionally lag behind a version or two.  This approach is no longer viable, so if you upgrade be sure to bring your system to the current version.
2. Keep only one CRM environment.  Whether you are deploying your solution on premise or in Microsoft cloud, you need development and test environments as well as production environments.  Microsoft includes non-production environments for CRM Online if you have enough user subscriptions, or you may purchase them a la carte. 
3. Not using new features.  Each version comes with many additional features (usability, configuration, workflow and process management and developer extensions). Applying new features typically leads to a significant reduction in custom coding and making your system perform better and easier to manage. An upgrade is a prime opportunity to add new features and improve the user experience, so aim higher than reproducing what you already have.  
4. Skip versions. The upgrade path supported by Microsoft does not allow you to skip versions, so in most cases you should step through the versions until your system is current.
5. Skip reading the manual.  Microsoft provides thorough documentation on each upgrade, so be sure to study it.  Pay particular attention to the features from older versions which are no longer supported. 
6. Ignore testing and training.  Upgrades are an iterative process, so you have to test each time you attempt an upgrade before it is released to production. Microsoft fundamentally changed the user experience of Dynamics CRM in the 2013 upgrade, and users will benefit from learning the powerful new ways they can interact with the system with fewer clicks and pop-ups.  Without training, they may reject a system just because it is new.  Besides, how may end users really have sufficient training?

InfoStrat can help you successfully complete your upgrade. 


crmbusiness said...

I'm not sure I would place these items as the top six mistakes

What manual are you saying people should read?

Not using new features I rarely see as a reason for an upgrade not being successful.

I think it depends when the latest rollup is released, if it hasn't been released for at least 2 weeks I wouldn't install it. A Service update is different because it contains more functionality but you still need to test your customizations still work. It would make sense to test these in a separate environment instead of the production environment.

I agree with you about training, for some reason it often is thought of as an after thought and can lead to users trying to use a system they don't understand and takes longer than the previous system

Jim Townsend said...

Thank you for reading my blog and for your thoughtful comments. Perhaps I'm being too dramatic to call it a mistake when people don't take advantage of new features, but I consider it often a missed opportunity. I agree with you that there is a difference between major upgrades and service releases. Typically the latter don't necessitate additional user training. In terms of reading a manual, the release notes and What's New for each version are a good place to start.