Microsoft Dynamics 365 Migrations: What You Should Know
We'll share the best practices to help your organization prepare for a Dynamics 365 migration.
Every Dynamics 365 migration is unique. If two organizations in the same industry picked the same Microsoft solution, despite the similarities, chances are they would have completely different experiences when it comes to migration.
This difference in experience could be attributed partly to the flexibility of selecting different modules and solutions in the Dynamics 365 suite. That way, each organization can design a solution to address its unique processes and business needs.
However, it's more to do with the many variables that come into play during a migration. Some examples of these variables include custom code, ISV solutions, and your company's data strategy. In this post, we'll share the best practices to help your organization prepare for migration.
Evaluate Your Current ERP Solution
Want to ensure migration success? Ensure that you address business requirements, and process flows early because otherwise, it will undermine your results. Before getting started, you should:
Document your current processes
Conduct a deep dive analysis into your existing solution - data sources, integrations, processes, apps, data flows, etc. Analyze what is working well and not working for your business, and pinpoint areas where there may be information silos or bottlenecks.
Find out how your existing system impacts the end users in your company. Interview people who use the solution every day and ask them specific questions about their experience and what they like or dislike about the solution. Ask about their pain points or any processes that take longer than they should.
Analyze and Learn More About Your Dynamics 365 Solution
Many capabilities center around unification, visibility, and alignment between people, processes, and technology. However, many companies fail to define how their business processes can be improved, instead choosing to recreate their old processes when they move to the new solution. Instead, consider how the new functionality will address your end user's pain points in the new system. For example:
With Office 365 and Power BI for Microsoft Teams, it's easier to streamline remote collaboration, share knowledge, and surface high-priority tasks. Team usage data can be analyzed to identify any opportunities to help improve productivity - for instance, are there any processes that can be automated or any workflows that can be optimized?
Companies who want to improve supply chain visibility and management capabilities can leverage IoT data that are just a few of the benefits D365 Business Central has to offer. Features like real-time inventory counts and predictive sales forecasting can help you manage cash flow or optimize warehouse space.
Employees can also build custom professional apps using Microsoft's low-code Power Apps tool.
There are many possibilities. However, it would help if you connected each choice to a real-world case. Prepping a list of your requirements, pain points, and business objectives, in the beginning will help your implementation partner better understand your business and plan the best approach for deployment.
Choose a Migration Path That Aligns with Your Organization
Legacy solutions have significant differences, and different solutions follow different migration paths. For instance:
NAV to Business Central Upgrade: Typically, this is a two-tiered migration process where you'll first migrate data from NAV to the on-premises version of Business Central, then again to Business Central in the cloud.
GP to Business Central Migration: GP migrations focus on bringing your financial data from your on-premises system to your new cloud ERP.
Other differences that exist between on-premises legacy solutions include:
Different programming languages for customizations
Databased might be formatted differently
Age of your legacy system may also add complexity to the process
The older your legacy ERP solution and the longer you've been using it means it will take time to identify, map, and clean your data and understand the integrations and customizations that may have built up over the years.
Map & Clean Data
Prepping your data makes up most of the data integration and migration process. You may be tempted to migrate all your historical data to the new system - but keep in mind that this might create issues in the long run and even derail your Dynamics 365 migration project.
Map your Data
Data mapping helps you determine who owns and uses the data and what is worth taking to the new system. It also lets you understand which origin fields align with destination fields and whether they'll have new names post-migration. Your map should contain data sources, customizations, configurations, data, code, ISV solutions, add-ons, etc. Finally, determine what data you won't be migrating over to the new solution.
Clean the data
Data cleansing is essential because this will enable you to facilitate better reporting in your new solution. This step should stop any bad or inaccurate data from migrating over, and it will help you reduce the cost and time spent on removing duplicates and incorrect data in your new system.
Verify & Test
What else can cause a migration to fail? Lack of data validation, insufficient testing, and low levels of user interest in learning the new system.
Here's how to prevent that from occurring:
Creating test scripts - Define test cases and develop test scripts based on your requirements with different scenarios. This will help you ensure that your business processes align with your objectives.
Set up a test environment - For example, if you're moving to D365 Business Central, you can set up a sandbox environment.
Run test scripts in your new environment - Will everything run according to plan? This step is where you can find out and identify any issues that may need more improvement or adjustments.
Consider holding conference room pilot sessions - These test normal use cases in your new solution to identify processes, issues, and solutions and standardize best practices.
Conduct User Acceptance Testing (UAT) - A combination of training and testing; this step will help you understand whether the migration aligns with system requirements. Your users should watch for missing data, test workflows, and confirm whether the legacy and cloud fields match.
Test third-party integrations - Finally, you should test all third-party integrations and add-ons for compatibility and security with the new solution.
Keep in mind that testing is not a one-and-done occurrence but rather a continuous process, so you should validate your data throughout the entire process.
Data migration is a massive project. If your existing system prevents you from achieving your overall business goals, getting a certified Dynamics 365 implementation partner to help you early on in the process might be helpful.
Hiring an experienced Microsoft partner will help you plan and design the migration and allow your business to complete the project more quickly.
As a Silver Microsoft Partner in Vancouver, Canada, Kwixand Solutions team can help you navigate the Dynamics 365 migration process–every step of the way. Get in touch by booking a free consultation to learn how we can help guide your business through successful migration, implementation, and beyond.