There are many reasons to consider taking your Microsoft Dynamics CRM online, including a lower hardware and investment cost, and ease of upgrades and maintenance. Before committing to cloud technology, assess whether your organization has taken the following issues into consideration. Being prepared to move your company’s Dynamics CRM to the cloud will make all the difference in how smoothly the transition goes.
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At time of writing, Microsoft CRM Online guarantees 99.9% uptime of a CRM Online environment with a 100% refund if the uptime drops below 95%. Redundancy is all handled by the Azure back-end that Microsoft CRM Online is built on with no action required from the administrator.
A back-up of a Microsoft CRM Online database can be requested through the Office 365 portal. This request usually takes a few days and the administrator will be given a temporary link to download the file. Keep in mind that a database cannot be placed back into Microsoft CRM Online, this would require a live data migration.
For partner hosted CRM online environments, the back-up schedule, requests and uptimes are all dependent on the provider. Even though the provider may use Azure as their back-end that doesn’t automatically mean the same uptime and redundancy are in place as providers may skimp on services/configuration to cut costs. It is extremely important to go over all SLAs associated with a third party provider very carefully.
In Microsoft CRM Online SQL Server Reporting Service, access is not directly available to developers for security reasons. Because of this Fetch XML and the built in Reporting Wizard must be used to create custom reports. This becomes a much more complex issue when migrating from an existing CRM environment as custom reports will need to be rebuilt.
For partner hosted organizations there will be a dedicated SSRS for the CRM. This is a very important discussion point with a third party host as to what access you have for building reports.
Out of the box using a Microsoft CRM Online or partner hosted CRM you will be subject to the domain that they have available. While this is fine for testing, and even some companies, it lacks professionalism and integration.
A properly configured single sign on will not only give you the perfect URL (for example crm.yourdomain.com), but also allow users to log in with their existing usernames and passwords managed by your network.
There are many different configurations here depending on existing infrastructure (Office 365, Azure, On-Premise, existing ADFS etc.) so it is important to discuss this with your CRM provider or in-house IT.
While on the topic of existing infrastructure, there are a lot of business functions that can tie back to already established company framework. A good example of this is Exchange. Quite often CRM business functions may require emails to be sent out based on workflows. In an on-premise environment this is quite straight forward, however with the CRM being in the cloud a relationship needs to be established for the CRM to be able to successfully complete the workflow.
Make sure to consider all the potential touch-points of a CRM.
When a CRM organization is on-premise and users are inside of that network, bandwidth usually is not a problem. However, something we have seen often overlooked is the bandwidth required when communicating to a CRM that is online.
Usually a CRM does not require much data as the content is simple text on a record. Once and a while though, a process might exist (or be added) that becomes data intensive. Image storage, blueprints, media, etc. can add up very quickly when it has to leave the local network and be uploaded into the cloud especially when these processes start to contain thousands of records.
Consider bandwidth intensive processes and their impact as well as alternatives such as using SharePoint or OneDrive for Business integration for media management.
As with bandwidth, there are also restraints in database size. At the time of writing Microsoft CRM Online has a default storage allotment of 5GB per organization with an additional 2.5GB allotted for each professional user license associated to the organization. More space can be purchased through the Office 365 portal as needed.
There is also a limit to the number of custom entities that can exist in Microsoft CRM Online. At time of writing this limit is a very high 300, however this can be extended through a request in the Office 365 portal if needed.
BDO has highly trained consultants that can help in every of the above areas as well as full project cycle. Please reach out if your business is ready to expand its CRM into the cloud.