20 Findings from a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Upgrade Audit

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Our client, let’s call it ACME Inc., wanted to upgrade Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016. What is the first step?

Crowe’s implementation methodology always starts with an analysis phase, especially when it comes to CRM version upgrades.

With CRM version upgrades our analysis phase comes in the form of a CRM system audit. We audit the current CRM software version and catalog the areas we feel will need extra attention while preparing for the CRM upgrade.

Crowe’s CRM system audit is the investment in time we make to ensure our customers’ success and often we don’t charge for our CRM system audits. This upfront analysis will save everyone time, money and frustration and it’s the key to ensuring a successful upgrade.

We hope that by sharing this specific examples from a fictional client we can illustrate best practices and let you know what you should expect from your next upgrade project.

The “ACME” Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 Analysis

During the analysis phase our goal was to verify that there were no issues that could prevent a successful migration from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016.

During this process Crowe developed an understanding of the current architecture and implementation of ACME, ran various tools to detect potential issues (such as a CRM custom code analysis) and ran trial migrations to validate that the solution could be upgraded. Most importantly, we proactively provided feedback and recommendations for each of our findings.

In this example, Crowe documented a total of 20 findings and classified these findings by severity:

  • 3 High severity
  • 10 Medium severity
  • 7 Low severity findings.

Crowe Analysis & Audit Findings and Recommendations 

Title Type Severity Recommendation
Document Locations on ACMECRM need cleanup. CRM Low Crowe recommends addressing these issues during the document migration effort. We will create a separate development environment and these issues will be addressed during that time
Unsupported stored procedures on production database CRM Low Crowe will remove the unsupported stored procedure code and replace with supported stored procedures.
Unsupported JavaScript CRM Low Crowe will modify the JavaScript with supported and compliant code.
Development is out of sync with production CRM Medium Crowe will recreate the development environment for the ACME migration. As this is done we will make sure that there is parity among the components of the development environment.
No documented solution requirements Documentation High Crowe recommends that a comprehensive business analysis effort be performed on the ACME solution to clearly define the specifications of the solution. This effort should be performed with and validated with the business owners.
Lack of recovery plan Documentation High While an enterprise level recovery plan may be in place, Crowe would recommend that a recovery plan be created for the ACME solution. Crowe can help recommend an appropriate disaster recovery plan.
Lack of current system architecture documentation Documentation Medium At the end of the effort to migrate ACME to CRM 2016, Crowe recommends documenting the new CRM system architecture. Crowe can provide examples of what we’ve provided for other customers.
Too much auditing enabled in production CRM Low Less field level auditing increases system performance. Crowe has put together an appendix to help ACME in this effort. We have provided a list of entities, fields, on form indicator, and audit indicator. Crowe will help ACME evaluate if the selected audited fields truly need to have audit capabilities enabled.
Lack of temporary data cleanup in CRM document creation tools Dynamics CRM Low Crowe will create a bulk delete job to run on a regular basis to free up resources for other activities. This will significantly increase system performance.
Unused fields Dynamics CRM Low Review unused fields with business owners and delete the fields that are not needed. Crowe has provided a list of fields which are not visible on the CRM forms but are still listed in the database.
Complicated portal document management architecture Portals/ Dynamics CRM Medium Crowe will perform an analysis of the document management architecture to leverage newer components of the Microsoft Dynamics product suite and improve overall performance.
Lack of server log review and corrective actions Process Medium Crowe will review the error logs on all ACME servers. We noted several areas of concerns on some machines that we would recommend ACME evaluate.
Lack of CRM solution management Process Medium Crowe will develop a solution strategy with ACME and implement this new solution strategy for upgraded ACME solution.
Lack of content database in SharePoint SharePoint High Crowe will set up the new SharePoint sites with a content database. As part of the migration Crowe will move the data from the existing repository to a content database.
Lack of standardized folder naming SharePoint Low ACME should review how the SharePoint folders are created and possibly implement measures to standardize the folder names. A standardized naming convention can make management of the SharePoint folder structure significantly easier down the road.
Two SharePoint servers and architectures SharePoint Medium Crowe will perform the consolidation as part of the migration process. We anticipate that a slightly larger set of servers will be needed to handle the additional content.
SQL Server in an optimized environment SQL Server Medium Crowe will help ACME confirm that the virtual machines are properly configured for SQL Server and optimal performance.
Job Run History CRM Medium Crowe will review the active processes and dialogs and determine which jobs should record a job history. We will then make recommendations for which ones should be removed. This will increase performance.
SharePoint ULS Logs location and size SharePoint Medium As part of the migration effort Crowe will place the storage of ULS log files on a non-primary drive and will restrict the disk space usage to 10GB of data so that there is a known quantity of information being stored. This is particularly important as SharePoint usage increases.
Portal Software End of Life Portal Medium Crowe will help ACME develop a strategy to address the upcoming end of life for the current portal product in use and identify portal solutions offered by Microsoft.

This customer could feel confident that we were starting their upgrade project with a clear understanding of their technology and a detailed picture of what needed to be done to make their project a success.

If you want to work with a partner with a proven track record and a strong project methodology, Crowe CRM can help.

Contact us at 877-600-2253 or crminfo@crowehorwath.com

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner www.CroweCRM.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

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