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Top Reasons Microsoft Dynamics Upgrades Fail

There are many Dynamics 365 upgrade issues that can cause a migration to fail.

Unruly, inaccurate datasets. A lack of internal knowledge or the technical skills needed to realize the promise of the new system. Migrating old, complex customizations. The list goes on.

However, most Microsoft Dynamics issues can be avoided with proper planning and strong project management skills.

In these next few sections, we’ll look at some common reasons an upgrade might fail–and how to avoid those issues in the first place.

1. Failing to Perform an Initial Assessment/Analysis

You might assume that because Dynamics 365 covers a lot of the same core functions as your on-prem system that you don’t need to spend a ton of time on the analysis stage. However, many Dynamics 365 upgrade issues can be prevented by performing a thorough assessment before the migration process gets underway.

“Analysis is a super important part of the upgrade process. Most upgrades fail if we don’t identify migration activities during the Analyze phase. This process helps us estimate how much effort is required and put together a project plan. The activities we identify at this stage need to be completed before we’re able to migrate from AX to Dynamics 365.” – Sreenath Reddy Girigari, Director of Delivery

The assessment process should start with a basic overview of your key business processes. Make sure documentation describes each process and how it is performed right now.

The idea is, you’ll have an understanding of the “current state” of your migration project–which serves as the foundation for driving improvements.

Consider how many upgrades Microsoft has made to its feature suite since you implemented your current on-prem setup–chances are, there’s some new functionality that you could use to improve many of your core business processes–whether that’s through automation or by gaining more visibility into your business so you can make better decisions.

Account Executive Jacob Halusic had a similar take–but also emphasized the importance of treating your migration partner like, well, an actual partner.

“The biggest migration issues I see clients experience comes from the lack of any upfront assessment to determine the migration approach—followed by a lack of client involvement.” – Jacob Halusic, Account Executive

Often, organizations make the mistake of hiring a migration partner or an outsourcing company to solve a specific problem and assume they can pass the project off on that third-party partner.

But, unfortunately, it’s not the kind of thing you can throw money at and expect results. See, failing to get involved in the planning process means your partner doesn’t have a whole lot to work with. And, as a result, will have a hard time executing the big-picture plan in a way that aligns with what you had in mind.

Microsoft recommends having your project team conduct an extensive review of the new software. The process serves two main purposes–both of which will set the stage for long term success. First, it allows your project team to get familiar with the new solution and identify potential skills gaps ahead of the official rollout. This allows organizations to start planning the training process ASAP.

Second, the early review process also allows companies to define which manual processes they’d like to automate post-migration. This ensures that necessary customizations are made ahead of the rollout so the migration process moves along without hitting any roadblocks or delays.

2. Migrating Problematic Data

The biggest migration mistake you can make is failing to prepare your data for migration. Whether that’s due to a lack of data validation or migrating without cleaning up your “dirty” data first, your ERP system is only as good as the data you feed it.

Many customers think they want to migrate all their existing data–but that’s rarely a good idea.

Migrations take longer when the source data has issues—whether that’s missing data, bad data, or messy data.

To get ahead of any major data issues, you’ll want to define which data sets to convert to the new system. From there, you can analyze and clean up that data to weed out any outdated or irrelevant information.

Migrations should bring your current data over to the new system and place historical data into a data lake. That way, you can access old insights and make more informed decisions about what makes the final cut. If possible, try to find source documents that can verify data accuracy and completeness.

Microsoft also recommends creating spreadsheets to capture and segment data into logical tables. This will help you streamline the conversion into the new D365 system.

3. Migrating Complex Customizations

Consulting Manager Sandeep Chaudhury says “carrying over unwanted custom code is not a great decision.”

Just because your customizations were useful in the past doesn’t mean they’ll serve you well on the new platform. Like bad or unnecessary data, customizations often end up causing issues that prevent you from unlocking the value of the cloud-based Dynamics.

“Converting past custom development to extensions can be time-consuming if you’re using a traditional approach.” – Rob Urbanowicz, VP of Enterprise Services

Rob adds that Velosio supports a seamless transition from AX to D365 with low-cost code migration. “Our experts have experience with migrations and understand how to reduce the number of customizations you bring over to the new platform.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t make sense to migrate all the customizations from your past–especially if you’ve been working with your existing solution since the earliest days of MS Dynamics. Customizations, workflows, and processes should represent how you work today and where you’re headed next.

4. A Lack of Proper Training & Testing

Proper training and testing prior to go-live are key. In most cases, the issues that come up after the system is live were not tested beforehand. Rarely does a true technical issue slip through the cracks when proper testing and training were implemented from the get-go.

Velosio BC Express Practice Director, Lorna Link says a “lack of understanding of the new system’s functionality” is a major reason that Dynamics migrations fail.

“A lack of user skills/abilities is a big one. Moving from old software to new software comes with a challenging learning curve related to usability.” – Kimberly Bateson, Senior Consultant

Sandeep chimes in again, adding that it’s not just usability issues that put migrations at risk. It’s also the lack of user interest in learning the new system, as well as inadequate UAT testing (a process where actual users test the software to see how it holds up in real-world scenarios) that cause migrations to fail.

5. Poor Project Management & Internal Leadership

We mentioned this in the “assessment” section, but it’s worth mentioning again–working with a partner doesn’t mean you get to take a hands-off approach to migration. Yes, some vendors will happily take your money, but any reputable partner will advise you to take a more active role in the process.

Velosio F&O Practice Director Sreepathy Nagarajan explains, “a lack of leadership on the client side makes our job harder. At the same time, sometimes clients want to participate in the migration process, which can create confusion.”

“A lack of proper support from the client and a failure to provide the right scenarios for migration activity is a huge problem.” – Sasidihar Dhruva, Project Lead System Administrator

Rob chimes in again with a similar sentiment. He says, “many migration issues are caused by a lack of experience, combined with long time frames to value, poor project management, and ever-changing scope & business requirements.”

If project managers haven’t defined how and when to execute a process, what business cases and goals they’re going after, it’s really hard to deliver the desired results.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, many of the migration issues that lead to failure have more to do with people and processes more than technology itself.

“It’s people who implement systems. If the people involved in the process can’t work as a team, the upgrade will fail. The point is, when people work together, they can take a system live — even if the implementation/migration experience feels like total chaos.” – Sam Miller, Sales Director

In other words–if your culture isn’t ready for migration, you’ve got issues to address before you begin the upgrade process.

In the end, most of the Dynamics 365 issues that cause upgrades to fail point back to a lack of preparation. Migrations are a complex process that require a strategic approach—from the very first stages of your initial assessment to how you handle training, legacy data, and customizations.

At Velosio, our skilled professionals have years of experience under their belts, earning recognition from Microsoft as a Top 1% performing partner worldwide. Our extensive experience with Microsoft ERP solutions can help you achieve your business goals and get up and running smoothly and with as little downtime as possible. The Velosio advantage continues beyond implementing an ERP system — we also offer a wide range of services such as cloud readiness, migration and support to make the process as painless as possible for your organization. Get in touch to see how Velosio can help you with your Dynamics ERP project.


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