10 questions businesses ask when migrating CRM systems to the Cloud

Published Thursday 12th October, 2017 by Nathaniel Suda, Digital Director - Advanced

The May 2018 deadline for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance, along with the news that Microsoft has recently opened two UK-based data centres amid guarantees that data will not leave the UK, is part of a larger trend towards Cloud-readiness. This accelerated interest in Cloud-based solutions means that every year, more and more business critical systems are moving into the Cloud, with nearly 40% of businesses deploying Cloud solutions for the first time over the past 12 months.

With 1 in 2 UK businesses adopting a Cloud-first strategy, it’s becoming paramount for organisations to consider the various challenges that could potentially arise during the data migration process. The depth of technical planning required – taking into account add-on compatibility, plus the investment of time and money – before any migration begins can be overwhelming.

In our blog we’ve compiled a list of questions businesses typically ask before beginning the process of migrating their CRM system to the Cloud.

  1. Will we have to undertake a time-consuming, research-heavy discovery phase? With a typical migration project, your organisation would carry out a discovery phase, allowing you to review what you have and giving you a greater understanding of the risks: what might not upgrade successfully, what might not work. We’ve developed a programme as an alternative to this initial discovery work; where you may otherwise have spent weeks or months planning, we can work with you to begin the project as a hands-on exercise right from the start. As well as saving you time, this ensures that you’ll know in a tangible way what works and what doesn’t before embarking on the migration.
  2. My CRM is out-of-the-box. How long will the migration take? If your CRM system is simple compared to those who use multiple add-ons, our programme acts like a shortened ‘hands-on’ discovery phase. It’s faster and more accurate, allowing you to see a preview of what the system will look like once fully migrated, using your actual data. This enables you to really zero in on, and accurately target, problem areas, so the project plan for your eventual main migration is more cost-effective. If you have a really simple environment, this could be your main upgrade – potentially taking just 8 days!
  3. My CRM system has extensive customisation with multiple third-party add-ons – will this be a headache to try and make compatible? We allow you to take a hands-on approach to the migration project plan, so you can see how your specific add-ons will interact with the new system before migrating, to help assure you of compatibility. This approach is agile, streamlined and pragmatic; this can help you pinpoint areas where further work needs to be done, rather than taking educated guesses following pre-migration, discovery-phase analysis. We have unparalleled knowledge and experience of Dynamics in on-premise scenarios, and this enables us to work with you no matter what your CRM looks like.
  4. Will all my add-ons work after migration? The world of CRM comes with an ‘App Store’ mentality – everyone has add-ons, though the number of add-ons varies between organisations. Understandably, when you migrate there are always questions about whether on-premise codes will work in the Cloud – sometimes it’s clear what will work and what won’t, while in other cases you just have to try. This is where we come in – we allow you to preview the live environment so you have a better idea of what will be compatible, what you may have to replace, and what new features in the product make previous customisations unnecessary.
  5. I’m overwhelmed by the depth of technical planning involved with a migration to the Cloud – how can I be assured I’m making the right decision? With our Cloud Enablement Programme, you have a prototype immediately using your live data. This essentially allows you to rigorously test your upgrade plan before you begin, producing a comprehensive overview of what will work and the issues you’re likely to face. More in-depth initial planning and testing leads to a more successful migration project and better quality assurance; you’d test your systems before they go live, so why not test your upgrade plan?
  6. How can I migrate my CRM data across to the Cloud quickly and cost-effectively? Our integrated discovery phase allows us to use our proprietary tools to migrate CRM data and configuration, meaning we can create an online replica of your on-premise CRM environment within a week. This gives you an accurate preview as proof of concept with all of your data. The concrete results from this migration allow you to see things in the system that don’t work, meaning you can go back and reassess the project to ensure you devote more focus and energy on the parts that will be a problem, rather than elements that end up working fine.
  7. How will migrating to the Cloud better prepare me for meeting GDPR requirements? Microsoft assures its users that Dynamics CRM as a platform has all the tools and frameworks for organisations to become GDPR compliant – however, compliance is dependent on the organisation’s own processes. By working with us, the shortened discovery phase is faster and more accurate than a typical migration project, which allows you to quickly focus on, and plan for, the mitigation of problem areas. With the deadline for organisations to become GDPR compliant looming, a fast migration can only be a good thing when time isn’t on your side.
  8. I’m used to utilising in-house staff or third-party audits when upgrading. Why work with Advanced? If your in-house CRM staff complete a paper-based discovery phase exercise, chances are their experience will be limited to running and managing the day-to-day operations of the CRM, and they may not have experience with the upgrade or migration processes. In organisations with no in-house CRM staff, this task could fall to the IT director to complete. We lead with a short, hands-on discovery phase which enables you to view a prototype live environment and spot issues as they occur, so you can factor these into your decision-making before the project stage begins. 
  9. Do I have to re-engineer my business processes every time I upgrade? When you upgrade your CRM, you can go one of two ways. The first is a technical upgrade – like-for-like upgrade to a new system. The second is an assessment from the ground up: why do we have the system, and is it actually doing everything we need it to? We can enable you to preview the live environment before the migration project begins, allowing you to have a working prototype of the new user experience and new features. This means your colleagues can start to use it as you go, utilising parts of your actual data, to get a feel for the new system. This means when the environment goes live following implementation, your employees have already had some training, so you can plan to reduce the amount of training they will need before everyone can use the system with confidence.
  10. How do I get employee buy-in with the new system? As your colleagues can begin to use and test the prototype, users can start to engage with the system and provide feedback to you on what works and what doesn’t. This ensures day-to-day working processes are taken into account before the new environment goes live, allowing you to mitigate any issues in your plans as they arise. The project will begin to take shape before your employees’ eyes, involving them from the start, and leading to personal investment, buy-in and increasingly confident user adoption.

We are a leading Microsoft partner, and are committed to developing creative solutions to make the most of your people, processes and technology. Find out more about how we can accelerate your Cloud Readiness this week.

Top