Previously, we introduced the top 3 questions asked when considering an upgrade to Dynamics 365 (when, licensing, and new features). In conclusion, we identify key items needed for a full upgrade path:
Update Custom Components, Code and Migrate Data
An admin or developer may need to update your custom components, to ensure compatibility with the latest release. If you're upgrading from an on premise application to the Dynamics 365 cloud, you'll need a data migration path. Check out our latest blog on the services that we can assist your team with
Adjust for Changes to the Interface
The interface often gets overlooked. Any changes to the look and feel of the interface can make or break your usage. It’s important that you account for time to make adjustments to the interface that will help ease your end users.
As we’ve seen with past upgrades for Dynamics CRM, the entire layout of form components such as the tabs, field spacing, and form behaviors can bring some negative emotions to your end users if you are not prepared. While the interface in Dynamics 365 will look similar to current versions of Dynamics CRM, it’s important to keep this in mind with any application upgrade that your company performs.
Ensure a Smooth Transition with Testing
Test new features in a Sandbox environment before they are released to Production. Testers typically include diverse backgrounds, from Developers to super End Users. They can identify and fix issues that otherwise would be left to your end users discovery.
Prepare End Users and Support Team
End user adoption can make or break your companies usage of a new application. It’s important to prepare your end users ahead of time with planned training and to identify additional changes needed.
Engage with your support staff so they are prepared to address critical end user issues post go live. Keep them in the loop on what’s changing – from how end users log in to the application to new features. As we’ve seen, a well-trained support staff can dramatically improve company-wide adoption as you transition to the new application. If you don't have a support staff, our company offers support services that may interest you.
We’ve written a few blogs on tips for training your staff that you can check out here:
Determine Overall Upgrade Costs
You can begin to assess the total time and costs of your upgrade after identifying the requirements from each department. Before you burn a hole in your wallet, discuss with your department heads to identify what is truly needed now versus what can be implemented in a phase 2 approach. Too many changes too soon can leave everyone feeling overwhelmed and less willing to adapt. After you upgrade, you may discover that some of your previous needs are not as important as they seemed or you may encounter new critical requirements.
While you can’t be prepared for every “oh no” moment in an upgrade, it can save everyone time later on by engaging with your teams now. Collaborate and understand what needs must be met and what knowledge they’ve acquired.
Check out this blog by one of Microsoft's team members for more information on upgrade paths to Dynamics 365.
Beringer Technology Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, is always here to provide expert knowledge in topics like these. Please contact us with any questions you may have.