A step-by-step guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365 data migration

Microsoft Dynamics 365 data migration

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is an absolute must-have for any organization. The powerhouse system manages and organizes all the crucial customer data, facilitating businesses worldwide to deliver top-notch experiences. Microsoft Dynamics 365 shines as one of the absolute best in the CRM market.

Dynamics 365 CRM puts business owners in the driver’s seat, provides complete control over their operations, and helps them deliver exceptional customer experience. Additionally, it eliminates complexities typically encountered during the transition from legacy systems. Many SMEs worldwide have started to migrate to D365 CRM for its flexibility and top-notch functionalities.

What is data migration?

Data migration enables on-premises customers to streamline their transition to the cloud. In years past, this was often referred to as legacy migration. You will have the capacity to store and manage larger volumes of data effortlessly while maintaining the integrity and security of your information.

The data migration process from an old CRM solution to a new one, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, is a crucial and technically intricate implementation phase. Many mistakenly assume that data migration is a breeze, but it requires significant effort and application of new technology to map and transfer data from one system to another.

The key to a successful migration lies in meticulous planning. The more time and effort you invest in the planning stage, the higher your chances of a hassle-free transition. This blog takes you through the steps of a systematic data migration process.

What are the steps involved in data migration to Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Step 1: Choose relevant historical data

When migrating from your current system, you need to decide which data should make the move.

Consider these choices:

  • How much historical data do you need to bring along?
  • Should you transfer all Customers/Suppliers/Items or just the active ones?
  • These decisions will shape your Data Conversion process and be integrated into the Extraction, Transformation, and Load (ETL) routines.

Step 2: Refresh your data

This step optimizes your data for improved performance. Take advantage of the migration process to clean up, revitalize your information, and provide your new database with a clean slate and a streamlined start.

Consider the following approach:

  1. Note that the data you plan to convert requires thorough cleansing before migration.
  2. Instead of getting caught up in complicated extraction rules, explore the option of inactivating data in the legacy system; it simplifies the extraction process.
  3. Use the standard expiration methods in your legacy software to build extraction routines. Many data elements have fields that indicate their inactive status. If standard fields aren’t available, you can create user-defined fields to achieve the same outcome.

These standard methods that distinguish active and inactive data help you simplify and improve the accuracy of the extraction process. For a smooth data migration experience, remove unwanted data as early as possible.

Step 3: Build a solid plan

Let’s get organized! A structured plan lets you deftly plan resource allocation. It’s crucial to have a well-documented strategy for your conversion journey. Create a checklist that covers all the necessary steps, no matter how small. This tracking process should begin during the design phase and run parallel to it. Test the plan before proceeding with conference room pilots and user acceptance testing.

Step 4: Assemble a robust team

Your data team should include individuals with diverse expertise to successfully tackle the entire migration process. While it is possible for one person to handle the whole conversion, it requires in-depth knowledge of the legacy software, the new software, your business’s data standards, and the underlying processes. It is particularly useful to have a migration team with members who understand your business’s standards and processes—such as customer schedules—and are comfortable working within the appropriate software environment.

Step 5: Document every detail

Make sure you document every step of the process, regardless of the level of importance. Include data mappings, cross-references, and standards in your documentation. While it may seem tedious, it guarantees a comprehensive and detailed migration and sets the stage for a sustainable new system.

Step 6: Review and validate your data

To ensure your data is reliable in the new system, implement a robust process to review and validate your data for accuracy and integrity.

These steps set the stage for a successful data migration journey and lead to a smooth transition to your upgraded system.

CRM data migration methods

Here are two of the most common methods for CRM data migration.

The Big Bang method: This is a fast-paced approach to CRM migration that can minimize downtime. Data engineers employ a process called Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) to extract data from the existing CRM system swiftly, transform it into a compatible format for the new system (like Microsoft Dynamics 365), and then load it into the new system. This method involves thorough data cleaning to assure smooth integration and optimal performance in the new CRM system.

The Trickle method

  • Unlike the Big Bang method, the trickle method is completed in stages to bring about a gradual transition.
  • The old and new CRM systems run in parallel. It minimizes or eliminates system downtime.
  • Suited for enterprises that require an uninterrupted online presence to avoid revenue loss, productivity setbacks, and customer dissatisfaction.
  • Provides a safety net against unforeseen errors during the migration process.
  • Requires careful selection of skilled data engineers or architects due to its complexity.

Many companies may consider going solo with their CRM migration to avoid the perceived costs of working with a migration partner. But a failed migration can have significant repercussions for the entire organization, regardless of its size.

DemandDynamics as your data migration partner

With a trusted Dynamics 365 partner, you can navigate the complexities smoothly and ensure an effortless transition. Let their expertise alleviate your worries, so you can focus on your core business while they handle the intricacies of data migration. DemandDynamics offers a complete range of services, including migrations, implementations, consulting, customization, and support. Our flexible pay-as-you-use model means you only pay for the time used.

Harness the power of the cloud and get a personalized Dynamics 365 CRM solution that fits your business perfectly. Discover the difference today.

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