10 Pitfalls to Avoid for a Successful Dynamics 365 Customization Project

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Dynamics 365 Customization | enCloud9

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is incredibly flexible, perfectly suited to meet various business demands. When it comes to Dynamics 365 customization, there’s a lot you can do to make it your own. But it’s easy to get carried away. To really get the most out of your customization efforts without falling into common traps, it’s crucial to know what to look out for.

In fact, we've recently written about the importance of having a Dynamics 365 consultant, such as enCloud9. In our article, we explore how expert guidance can significantly enhance your customization journey.

Common Pitfalls in Dynamics 365 Customization

This blog post provides a detailed exploration of common pitfalls in Dynamics 365 customization and offers practical advice on how to avoid them, thereby helping businesses make the most of their Dynamics 365 system.

1. Over-Customization

It’s tempting to add as many custom features as possible, thinking it’ll solve all your problems. But this often leads to a tangled system that’s hard to keep up with. Always weigh the necessity of each feature against the potential complexity it adds. Remember, sometimes less is more, and Dynamics 365’s built-in features are quite robust on their own.

For example - imagine a medium sized manufacturing company who overly customizes Dynamics 365 to fit their specific needs, resulting in a complex and costly system. Frequent software updates required expensive maintenance, and the rigid customizations limited the company's ability to adapt to new business changes. Additionally, the custom interfaces confused new users, leading to longer training times. Overall, excessive customization made the system expensive and inflexible, diverting resources from key business activities.

2. Lack of Planning

Jumping straight into customization without a clear roadmap can lead you off course quickly. Effective Dynamics 365 planning ensures the implementation aligns perfectly with your business objectives. It also helps manage resources effectively and reduces risks, setting a solid foundation for the entire project. Think of it as setting up a GPS before a road trip—it’s all about plotting your route in advance.

Good planning facilitates seamless system integrations and ensures compliance with security protocols, while also preparing clear training plans to boost user adoption. It allows for targeted customization and future scalability, making sure your Dynamics 365 system can grow alongside your business. In essence, thorough planning is crucial for leveraging the full potential of Dynamics 365 and securing its success over the long term.

In our experience, we have seen CRM projects fail, not because the solution is a failure – but for lack of proper planning. With a little proper planning, you can ensure a successful Dynamics 365 implementation.

Having a well-organized deployment plan increases the odds for success by 90%.

3. Ignoring User Feedback

This is a big one. Your team uses (or will be using) Dynamics 365 every day, so their input is invaluable. Skipping out on gathering Dynamics 365 user feedback can leave you with a system that looks good on paper but fails in practice. Make it a habit to check in with your users; their insights can lead to more targeted and useful customizations.

Along with over-customizing, ignoring user feedback are two of the most common pitfalls that enCloud9 sees in Dynamics 365 implementation and customizing projects. Many times, we see these "superusers," or people making the decisions deciding what customizations are needed while neglecting what the day-today users would like to see. These "superusers" might consist of managers, owners, etc. Brian Begley, owner of enCloud9, recommends including a salesperson or regular user in the decision-making team. Not only will their feedback and input can be invaluable but having them involved helps create a sense of ownership, making adoption smoother.

4. Poor Documentation

Neglecting to document your customizations is like cooking a great meal but forgetting to write down the recipe. Comprehensive Dynamics 365 documentation ensures that anyone who comes after you can understand what was done and why, making future updates or troubleshooting a breeze.

According to Brian Begley of enCloud9, documenting is the “cornerstone of a successful customization.” When we begin a Dynamics 365 customization project at enCloud9, our first step is always to document your business processes. Not only does this give us a clear picture of how your business operates, but it also lays the groundwork for any enhancements we’ll suggest. Learn how enCloud9 meticulously captures company processes, by utilizing Microsoft Visio.

5. Inadequate testing

Imagine this: you’ve rolled out a new feature, only to find it clashes with existing functionalities. Avoid this by implementing rigorous testing protocols. Thorough testing helps catch conflicts and bugs before they affect your users, ensuring a smooth operation.

In addition, inadequate testing can also lead to poor user experience and higher operational costs - which could potentially cause business disruptions and delaying project completion. enCloud9 believes thorough testing is crucial to avoid these issues and ensure a smooth and secure system implementation. When you team up with enCloud9 as your Dynamics 365 consultant, you can have peace of mind knowing we'll ensure thorough testing for your Dynamics 365 to run smoothly.

To emphasize the importance of testing during a Dynamics 365 project, think about everyday items like cars and smartphones, which undergo rigorous testing before they reach consumers.

6. Neglecting Training

Custom features won’t do much good if your team doesn’t know how to use them effectively. Offering robust training sessions on any new customization will empower your employees, boost their productivity, and encourage adoption. You don’t want your users’ productivity to suffer because they’re struggling with unfamiliar features. Not only can neglecting training lead to lower adoption rates and decreased productivity. but it could potentially increase support costs and slow down the return on your investment.

For example: Imagine a restaurant introducing a new point-of-sale (POS) system designed to streamline order processing, inventory management, and customer billing. Now, picture how disastrous it would be if the management team decided to implement the new system without providing adequate training for the staff.

7. Ignoring Security Considerations

When tweaking your system, keep security top of mind. Custom features can inadvertently open up security gaps if not carefully designed. Applying Dynamics 365 security best practices during the customization process is crucial to keep your data safe.

For example, enCloud9 had a large company that had a lot of private data stored in their Dynamics 365 and when we took this client over from another partner, we did a security audit. As a result of the security audit, we discovered that all users were able to export the data in CRM into excel. We then reviewed the security roles and the users that should be able to export data into Excel (which should be a small percentage of users). We then removed that functionality from people that shouldn't have it.

8. Overlooking Compatibility

Make sure your shiny new customizations play nicely with the systems you already have in place. Compatibility issues can throw a wrench in your daily operations, causing more headaches than the customization was supposed to alleviate.

enCloud9 recently worked with a company that had previously customized its Dynamics 365 platform to improve sales and customer relationship management. However, their IT team neglected to ensure compatibility with their existing Office 365 suite. We often encounter clients needing fixes for customizations attempted on their own or by other companies. We recommend choosing a Dynamics 365 consultant who deeply understands your business processes and your company's specific needs, and who listens attentively to the client. enCloud9's Rescue and Repair service quickly diagnoses and fixes your Dynamics 365 system to better meet your business needs.

Brian suggests that for the best experience with Dynamics 365 Sales and Copilot, make sure you are using all the latest versions of Office 365. Microsoft offers various programs that can integrate with each other. As a consultant, if these programs don't integrate directly, it's your responsibility to ensure there's a mechanism in place to facilitate their integration.

9. Not Seeking Expert Advice

There are many good videos and blog articles on how to do basic customizations, but sometimes, it’s best to call in the cavalry. If customizations are getting too complex, consulting with Dynamics 365 experts such as enCloud9 can save you from many pitfalls. They can offer fresh perspectives and specialized knowledge that ensure your customizations are both effective and efficient.

Seeking expert advice during a Dynamics 365 project ensures proper customization, seamless integration, and efficient implementation, ultimately maximizing ROI and minimizing risks. Experts apply best practices, provide essential training, and future-proof the system for business growth.

Companies choose enCloud9 for our expertise, experience, and ongoing and personalized support. Our reputation is built on competence and dependability, established over a decade. "When our clients are successful, we are successful." But don’t just take it from us. Learn what some of our satisfied clients are saying.

10. Relying Solely on Customization

Remember, Dynamics 365 comes with robust Sales features right out of the box. While custom solutions can enhance your system, they work best when used alongside the platform's existing capabilities to maintain stability and supportability. Microsoft designs Dynamics 365 applications to integrate smoothly with each other and with your existing systems, providing a seamless solution that spans your entire business. We advise leveraging what’s already available; for instance, there's no need to build a new case management or planning system since Microsoft offers these robust applications as part of its suite.

As a reliable partner, enCloud9, in its role as a Dynamics 365 consultant, is also tasked with challenging clients or providing "pushback." We encourage clients to thoroughly consider whether their desired implementations will truly benefit their business or if there are more effective alternatives.

Conclusion

In conclusion two crucial considerations should guide any Dynamics 365 customization or implementation project:

  1. Necessity and Impact: It's important to assess the significance of your requirements. Are the features you're considering essential or merely nice to have? Reflect on whether the effort is worth it—will it be useful for your users, and how will it advance your business?
  2. Effective Communication and Partnership: Brian emphasizes the value of a partnership where the partner genuinely listens to the client's needs and bases their decisions on this information. A successful partnership relies on clear and open communication, ensuring that all actions are in line with the client's objectives.

Take Your Dynamics 365 to the Next Level with enCloud9

Ready to elevate your Dynamics 365 experience? Connect with enCloud9 today and let our team of experts guide you through a seamless customization process. Whether you're looking to enhance functionality, improve user adoption, or secure your system, we're here to help you avoid common pitfalls and achieve optimal results. Don't navigate the complexities of customization alone.  Let enCloud9 be your partner in success! Learn more about enCloud9's customization approach.

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