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How to best approach the next Dynamics 365 update

As many businesses know already, Microsoft rolls out two major updates over the course of year usually in April and October, as well as rolling out a number of minor ones in between these updates to cover bugs, errors and other minor issues. Further to this, Microsoft have got milestones and early visibility resources which can be accessed prior to the general availability of each significant update. 

It is worth noting that in anticipation of a significant update, customers will have the capability to access the following: 

  • Download the latest release plan (usually 2-3 months in advance of the release) – The latest 2021 Wave 1 update you can access here
  • Enable a preview for the update to try out new functionality in a non-production environment (usually 2-3 months in advance of the release) 
  • Choose the update to go live at a time & date that suits your business or just let Microsoft automatically do it for your business. 

What approach is best to tackle Dynamics 365 updates? 

From the outset, any dynamic approach to updating your software is often worrying for businesses. However, as more applications move to the Cloud, many businesses will become even more familiar with the need to continuously update their software on a regular basis. By having this proactive attitude will enable your business to take advantage of the benefits and new features as well as the capability to move away from outdated updating models that include “install, wait a while, fall behind, upgrade, repeat”. For many moving to a cloud-based business model will bring its own trials and tribulations however on the whole the pros of doing so outweigh the cons.  

By having a steady stream of updates to Dynamics 365, you will be able to minimise any disruption to your business as well as continue to use only the best practices available in this article. If you aren’t doing this, perhaps now is the time to reflect and assess your overall setup to make sure that you have effective measures in place to ensure that all updates you implement are easier and make it easier to manage your Dynamics CRM solution. 

What best practices and advice can my business follow? 

1) Make sure that you have the correct environments set up: As a best practice for Dynamics 365, it is important to have development away from your live environment so your live system isn’t broken. Furthermore, you will need a minimum of 2 environments (sandbox and production) - with update previews going into your sandbox to be tested before going anywhere near your production environment. 

2) Make sure that you download the latest release plan: As mentioned above, this is usually released 2 or 3 months in advance of the next major update. It is important to familarise yourself with the content & any major developments that could impact on the use of your current CRM system or areas where you could take advantage of new features. 

3) Ensure that you allocate plenty of testing time: Although one of the more tedious tasks for updates, the importance of doing so cannot be underestimated as it could help to highlight issues that can be resolved before they get worse! 

4) Assess any customisations, integration as well as third-party applications: At this point, it could be the right opportunity to assess whether all your customisations, integrations & third-party applications are still fully supported for your version of your CRM as if they aren’t they could easily break when you update. Here at Advantage, we can help you with this as we can run a check on your whole system for you.  

5) Review new features against your business needs on a regular basis: Like with anything, none of these updates set out to deliberately interfere with the balance of your business as many of these Dynamics 365 updates are designed to help your business. However, an update could offer new functionality that potentially could remove the need for a third-party application and thus remove a cost or improve an internal process. 

How can Advantage help with Dynamics 365 updates? 

Here at Advantage, we fully understand that managing a CRM system can have its own challenges and staying on top of the latest updates and new functionality can be tiresome. This is why, Advantage is here as we help businesses on their Dynamics 365 journey by offering comprehensive and dedicated Dynamics 365 support. Furthermore, our services include gaining an understanding of any Dynamics 365 changes that are on the horizon, what impact these will have as well as helping you to prepare for them.  

Particularly with regard to updates, we have the skills and knowledge to help with the following activities: 

  • Undertake a thorough assessment of the next major update and how any changes will impact on your current system. 
  • Undertake thorough user acceptance testing as well as regression testing. 
  • Offer our thoughts and opinions on new features that can help improve your system. 
  • Provide recommendations on deprecated functionality and how that could have a negative impact on your business in the long term. 

It goes without saying that we know each business has a different set of CRM skills and priorities/requirements so this is why we offer tailored CRM support solutions geared up towards meeting your specific business needs.  Get in touch with our team of CRM experts now

Next Steps? 

If your business is looking to discuss any upcoming Dynamics 365 updates or the Dynamics 365 setup that you have in place for your CRM system or needing some specialist Dynamics 365 consultancy then please be sure to speak to our experts now to discuss exactly what your business requires. 

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