For more than a decade we’ve been watching the trajectory of the Microsoft CRM platform. The billions of dollars invested by the company in research, development and acquisitions, make this technology a great example of creating and perfecting powerful features in such a small time window. There were at least seven versions of the product in the past 13 years, offering the corporate market innovation and business results, when the proper planning and investment is done.
It’s hard to keep up with the software industry. And it’s even harder to decide what is the best option for your company.
The four scenarios above analyze cost and risk variables. Freezing your software version may translate into low competitiveness, besides increasing costs with old hardware and software, with maintenance costs higher than with it would be with new software. On the other hand, not freezing the software is assuming the responsibility for applications that are complex, filled with business rules and not really modular, making the version upgrade even harder.
The motivation behind an upgrade process is also different for each company.
- An old software version may act like an anchor, inhibiting the general improvement of the company environment, with its dependency on specific versions of operating systems and database, browser and other software.
- Finding specialized professionals in old solutions can be a problem, as well as the cost of these remaining professionals.
- Using new technologies that are common practice, like social network monitoring.
- The risk of keeping an old version, with no support or upgrades.
Upgrade projects, even when they’re in the cloud, demand a good strategy and some planning timing, covering things such as justifications, impact analysis, code refactoring estimates, quality assurance and test plans, data migration, team training and rollout planning.
What should be considered?
There’s a series of things that must be considered in an upgrade project, so a previous diagnosis to gather that data is recommended before the project, as they will also serve to define the target version (OnPremises or Online). A point of attention is that there’s no direct upgrade process, for example, a customer that is using the 2013 version needs to upgrade to the 2015 and then to the 2016 version. In that way, the more you wait to upgrade, the more complex the process gets. You should always consider:
- Basic configuration
- Third-party components
- SiteMap configuration
- Entities, Attributes and Screens
- .Net Developments
- Custom Reports
- Data Migration
- User Training
Upgrading software is a matter of survival. We tend to avoid it for fear, but we’ll eventually get to understand and use the new technologies, which align us with the new tendencies and requirements the future brings us. Have a good upgrade!