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Elaborating Dynamics 365 Requirements

by James Townsend

When implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), one of the early steps in the process is to elaborate requirements so they can be mapped to Dynamics features or to configurations or customizations needed to fulfill the requirements.

Many customer requirements start off as rather vague, and require further investigation before they can be the solid basis of the project.  Let's take a look at some CRM requirements and how to explore them.

Requirement: Ability to identify and assign roles to office staff members
Analysis Questions

  • Who are the users of the system?
  • What user roles will be needed?
  • Should all users of the same user role have the same access to all records? Or does access depend on the organizational hierarchy or record ownership?
  • Who will administer your Dynamics users?
  • What about external users?  Is this covered in another requirement?

Requirement: Track all customers
Analysis Questions
  • Who are customers?  Individuals (Contacts) or organizations (Accounts)?  
  • What information should be tracked for each customer?
  • What about other people and organizations, such as suppliers, competitors, teammates and others?  Should they be tracked in Contacts and Accounts as well?  
  • When are records archived?
  • Is there a data retention policy which must be followed? 

Requirement: Accepts all format work sample uploads
Analysis Questions
  • Which file formats should be accepted?
  • Where are uploaded documents to be stored?  In Dynamics as Notes? SharePoint? Azure BLOB storage?
  • What is meant by "format"? Does this mean file format or something else?
Requirement:  Ability to integrate with financial management systems to ensure reconciliation of payments and accounts.
Analysis Questions
  • Have you enumerated, defined and designed the integrations?  
  • Are the integrations one-way, two-way or multi-directional?
  • Does your organization use an integration product such as Scribe, BizTalk or Kingswaysoft?  If so, will that product be used for these integrations?
  • What is the anticipated transaction volume?  
  • What degree of concurrence is desired?
  • How will errors be handled?  Should rollback occur across more than one system? 

Requirement: The Vendor shall perform configuration and integration that eliminates the creation of manual work due to staff by enforcing both error handling and data validation.
Analysis Questions

  • What are the data validation rules?
  • How is data entered in the system?  Manually or through integrations?
  • Who enters data in the system?  Internal or external users or both? Will users receive training? 
  • What about data to be converted from existing systems?  Has it been cleansed?
Requirement: Must be fully functional on all major smartphone, tablet, and desktop browsers
Analysis Questions
  • Which are the mobile and desktop apps and browsers which will be supported? For instance, is Windows Mobile a target platform? Blackberry? 
  • Which versions will be supported?  Only the latest version?  
  • What will happen for future versions?
Requirement: Provides accessibility to users 24 hours per day, seven days per week
Analysis Questions
  • When is scheduled downtime?
  • How will upgrades be handled? 
  • What do the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for the components of the solution promise?
Based on these examples, you can see that most requirements initially provided by customers will benefit from deeper analysis.  The questions suggested here are just the starting point and the answers to the questions will likely elicit further inquiry. 

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