Pros and Cons of migrating Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365

With the growth of Cloud Computing services, such as Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google Cloud, more and more entrepreneurs are deciding to outsource storage services and migrate their software and storage to online mediums.

In the following article, we aim to discuss the advantages and disadvantages that we must consider when we decide to migrate a Dynamics 365 CRM implementation from a local environment (on-premise) to a Dynamics 365 environment (online).

The pros of online migration

1.Native integration with most Microsoft applications

Using the Dynamics 365 environment we can benefit from out-of-the-box integrations with other products and services offered by Microsoft (Office 365, Outlook, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Sharepoint, etc.). All connections are quickly configurable and all changes and optimizations are one click away, allowing you to quickly adapt to business requirements, without the need for additional developments, which can take weeks or months.

2.Dataverse connection (former Common Data Service)

Designed using the Power Platform, Dynamics 365 allows CRM deployments to access a common dataset, called Dataverse, that interconnects all Dynamics modules and grants them the ability to communicate with each other. At the same time, any new development made in the Power Platform, specifically using Power Apps, has access to the same common data set, allowing us to quickly develop new apps and features in order to help us in our daily operations.

3.Connector portfolio developed and maintained by Microsoft

The same Power Platform architecture gives us access to Microsoft Power Automate. Using Power Automate we can gain access to many connectors developed by Microsoft that facilitate the integration of our CRM systems with other systems such as SAP, SalesForce, HubSpot, etc. Power Automate also allows the development of automation, which can be used to trigger events sent by CRM.

4.More available applications

Upgrading from Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 also grants access to a larger number of available applications. Dynamics 365 offers specialized modules for Marketing, Customer Insights, Intelligent Order Management etc.

5. Availability

Cloud-based architectures are built to maximize network performance, ensuring availability and speeds often superior to solutions built on local servers. You can access your Dynamics 365 CRM applications from anywhere, at any time and from any device, which is a significant advantage for teams working in remote systems or individuals finding themselves unable to access local servers.

6.More available environments

A modern software architecture involves working in different environments, identically configured, to ensure the continuity of applications at the user level even when continuously developing the application. For local servers, this means building at least three environments (production, testing and development) with similar specifications, either by tripling costs or by segmenting capacities. Dynamics 365 offers the possibility of cloning the production environment at a net cost lower than that assumed by on-prem architectures.

7.Advanced administration

Dynamics 365 CRMs also benefits from an online administration system (Power Platform Admin Center) that provides an easy-to-understand interface and offers live information about the status of our applications and the status of communication with external systems.

8.Periodic Updates

Microsoft continues its developments for Dynamics 365 CRM platforms, with two major upgrades planned for each year. This means that the Dynamics 365 online application will be automatically improved every 6 months, both in terms of performance and functionality.

9.Security and reliability

All data in Dataverse and Dynamics 365 is stored in state-of-the-art Microsoft data centers. Microsoft guarantees data security through Microsoft Azure Security and guarantees a 99.9% uptime SLA.

10.Scalability and flexibility

You can add and manage users through Azure Active Directory and add storage with just a few clicks.

11.Outsourced IT services

Microsoft will handle software and maintenance tasks, including implementing patches or fixing bugs. Your team does not need to maintain servers, applications, IIS, or manage updates. Microsoft server backups, allowing local administrators to easily back up data.

12.Native compatibility between CRM and ERP

Dynamics 365 allows the aggregate analysis of data stored in CRM and ERP  systems alike, using PowerBI, helping to identify opportunities and providing a clear overview of the state of the business. It allows access to this data in real-time and provides predictive analysis based on artificial intelligence to allow decision-makers to make quick and informed decisions.

13.Specialized support provided by Microsoft experts

Switching from Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 guarantees access to Microsoft’s specialized support team. In addition to the permanent availability for solving urgent functional problems, it provides access to a rich knowledge base to help your businesses manage small problems and incidents that may arise internally.

The cons of online migration

1.Offshore data storage

Data is stored in Microsoft datacenters is done depending on the area where the deployment is done. For some companies, data storage abroad can be a problem.

2.Increased operating costs

Despite the benefits of online data migration, we must keep in mind that we cannot store an infinite amount of data, as cloud storage capacity is limited. We can often fall into disillusion believing that the cloud can store more data than local servers. While this is not false, the reality is that additional storage, both for databases and individual files, can generate huge monthly costs. The decision to migrate your Dynamics CRM to online mediums should consider an upgraded architecture that effectively manages storage space.

3.Limited control over the implementation of periodical upgrades

Automatic upgrades made by Microsoft to Dynamics 365 platforms are not optional. Twice a year we are forced to adopt an automatic upgrade that does not take into account pieces of code written by developers to improve the functionality of our CRM application. Some customizations or pieces of code can become deprecated overnight, which can generate an urgent need for development and infers the necessity of careful and flexible administration.

4.Limited number of requests

Unlike Dynamics CRM on-prem, Dynamics 365 has an artificial limitation on the number of requests that can be made to the Power Platform APIs. This limitation is based on various factors, like the number of licensed users and the type of license purchased.

More details about this limitation can be found in the Microsoft documentation by accessing the link below:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/api-request-limits-allocations

5.Limited processing times

Processes of any nature, whether synchronous or asynchronous, can have a maximum processing time of two minutes. This can become a problem if we consider complex processes that iterate databases with thousands of entries, the type being insufficient to complete the process. Migrating from Dynamics CRM on-prem to Dynamics 365 requires an effort to optimize or rewrite these processes making them compliant with the two-minute limit.

6.Non-SQL Databases

Because data from Dynamics 365 is stored in the Dataverse, not all SQL reports and procedures used by Dynamics CRM on-prem can be directly copied. Dataverse only supports fetch XML queries and reporting methods such as Power BI. Online migration involves transforming SQL logic into a format that is compatible with Dataverse.

7.Scalability and processing control

If local servers are limited in performance, cloud services, especially the ones offered by Microsoft Microsoft, automatically increase the processing capacity according to the needs of the application. In other words, every time we need more processing power Microsoft will not hesitate to make it available, regardless of the associated costs. The looming threat of infinite expenditure might generate a need for constant resource monitorisation and manual interventions in order to limit the processing power required.

8.Possible Downtime

If the Internet service is not functional, Dynamics 365 CRMs cannot be used even if the internal network is there. Although the Microsoft SLA guarantees an uptime of 99.9%, the risk of a malfunctioning CRMs must be assumed when it comes to online migration. At the same time, to fix problems, we can become dependent on the support provided by Microsoft. Using Dynamics CRM on-prem we have a much greater control over our CRM application, being able to intervene quickly with internal resources to solve critical problems.

Conclusions

Although the general trend of the market urges companies to outsource data storage services, any migration of an IT system from a local server to a cloud computing service must be viewed with a minimum of pragmatism.

Local servers maintain their value by supporting any solution architecture, regardless of the level of optimization or processing times required by our business processes. Also, the costs of local servers, although significant, are easy to anticipate and manage in terms of technological investment. Data storage is easy to explain to customers and does not require a legal effort for storage and management.

However, the competitive advantages of cloud computing are hard to overlook. Given that major software manufacturers rely on expanding their online product portfolio, available integrations and connectors, and optimizing online applications,  giving up on-prem Dynamics CRMs and switching to online seems to be the decision that provides a stable and reliable future.

LINKSOFT recommendation cannot yet favor the massive transition to the online environment, because practice has shown us that many companies wishing to take this step are not prepared either to make a financial decision or from a technological point of view.

Our vision is that sooner or later switching to online will become a standard, and on-prem application offerings, such as Dynamics CRM, will become uncompetitive to their online equivalents, Dynamics 365 in this case. But migrating to such a service requires more than an ambitious idea. Rather, it requires a careful analysis of all factors and a well-developed strategy for the future.

14 November 2021 | by Florin Dumitru, Chief Operating Officer

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