Claire van der Pol is one of our Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Service Engineers at HSO. As a support consultant, she supports clients in the functional and technical management of CRM once the implementation project has been completed. She regularly receives questions about upgrades. For example, is it necessary to stay on the latest version of CRM? In this blog she answers all your questions about the usefulness and the necessity of a good upgrade process.

“The CRM system used to be on its own server farm and it was managed by an IT department. The implementation was a big project with a lot of impact and if that was done, you thought three times before you would do an upgrade. There was also a choice in this. However, you ran the risk that the system would be out-of-date after a few years, that an upgrade would be unavoidable, with again a lot of impact, high costs and a relatively high risk for the organisation. CRM is now a cloud application and your investment is spread across time. You ‘must’ upgrade more often, but they are relatively small projects, with little impact on the organisation and the end user, with the great advantage that you have direct access to new functionality.” Microsoft Dynamics CRM was available in the cloud from 2011. Since then, on-line users have been moving to the next version automatically. There are about two versions released per year, after a period time notice is given of mandatory upgrades but these can be scheduled by the user. That means you cannot escape it: you must upgrade the CRM system, together with partner -addons, about once a year.

1. Good preparation is half the job
Fortunately, you can prepare yourself well for this, so that an upgrade runs as smoothly as possible. I recommend viewing each upgrade as a project, the size of which depends on the amount of customisation or add-ons that you have.. But even if your package is reasonably standard, it is important to test the impact of new functionality and carry out a data check. HSO may test the technology and functionality for you, with the knowledge we have about your company and your processes. You will also need to test the system yourself. If you have little or no customisation, you can also carry out an upgrade independently, but always allow time for it, as testing is always necessary.

2. Do not forget the end users
What the IT department sometimes forgets is to properly educate the end users about the upgrade. The application can react differently, for example, new options become available. Testing the external connections, such as the various browsers and devices, is also recommended.

3. We carry out the upgrade together
It’s good to know is that HSO offers its customers an upgrade assessment. We test the upgrade in a test environment, walking through the processes of your company and generate a report of the results. Working with your users, we provide advice on possible new functionality that the end user may wish to take advantage of and what is needed to carry out the upgrade properly. For example, adjusting customisation. This way you are expertly prepared, and the business and your employees will not face any unpleasant surprises before, during or after the upgrade.

If you want to know more about upgrading your CRM software, contact us for a chat about your requirements.