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Upgrading Dynamics CRM On-Premise to Dynamics 365: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

Upgrading Dynamics CRM On-Premise to Dynamics 365: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

Upgrading Dynamics CRM on premise to Dynamics 365: A Comprehensive Guide

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, enterprises need customer relationship management (CRM) software that can keep pace with changing customer needs and expanding market demands. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has long been a popular choice among businesses worldwide for its extensive capabilities, robust functionality, and flexibility.

With the advent of Microsoft Dynamics 365, businesses have access to an even more powerful, unified solution that seamlessly integrates ERP, CRM, and other business applications in one platform. The new version is cloud-based, which means it offers greater agility, high availability, improved security, and cost-efficiency. However, for businesses currently using Dynamics CRM on-premises, upgrading to Dynamics 365 may seem like a daunting task.

In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about upgrading Dynamics CRM on-premises to Dynamics 365, from planning the migration process to ensuring a seamless upgrade.

1. Plan Your Migration

The first step towards upgrading Dynamics CRM on-premises to Dynamics 365 is to plan your migration. The planning phase involves assessing your current CRM environment, identifying the key features and functionality you require, and defining your migration goals.

Some of the key considerations you should evaluate during this phase include:

– What data do you need to move?

– What customizations and workflows do you need to retain?

– Which licenses do you need to purchase?

– What are the potential risks and challenges, such as data loss or downtime?

Once you have defined your migration goals and requirements, you can create a detailed migration plan that outlines the steps, timelines, and resources required to complete the upgrade.

2. Assess Your Current CRM Environment

Before upgrading Dynamics CRM on-premises to Dynamics 365, it is essential to assess your current CRM environment to understand the scope of customization, workflows, and other configurations you have implemented in your current environment.

Some of the key areas to evaluate during this phase include:

– Your current CRM version and edition

– Customizations, workflows, and plugins you have implemented

– Third-party integrations you are using

– The size and complexity of your data set

– Your current security settings and user roles

– Your current hardware and infrastructure

By assessing your current CRM environment, you can better understand the migration requirements and ensure a smoother transition.

3. Prepare Your Data for Migration

Once you have assessed your current CRM environment, the next step is to prepare your data for migration. This involves cleaning up your data, removing duplicates, and archiving any irrelevant data.

To prepare your data for migration, follow these best practices:

– Remove duplicate records and merge similar ones to ensure data accuracy.

– Archive or delete any outdated or irrelevant data to streamline your data set.

– Ensure that all critical data fields, such as customer information and sales data, are complete and accurate.

– Validate your data against Dynamics 365’s data model to ensure seamless migration.

4. Purchase Licenses

Before upgrading Dynamics CRM on-premises to Dynamics 365, you need to purchase the appropriate licenses for your organization. Microsoft offers several licensing options based on your business needs and the number of users.

Some of the most common licensing options include:

– Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan

– Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise

– Dynamics 365 Customer Service Enterprise

– Dynamics 365 for Marketing

– Dynamics 365 Field Service

By purchasing the appropriate licenses, you can ensure that your employees have access to the right tools and capabilities to meet your business needs.

5. Choose Your Migration Method

When upgrading Dynamics CRM on-premises to Dynamics 365, you have several migration methods to choose from, including:

– Self-service Migration: This method allows you to migrate your data using Microsoft’s online data migration tool.

– Partner-Assisted Migration: This method involves partnering with a certified Microsoft Dynamics 365 migration partner to help you migrate your data and customizations.

– Hybrid Migration: This method involves using both self-service migration and partner-assisted migration to migrate your data and customizations.

By choosing the right migration method, you can ensure that your migration process is efficient, cost-effective, and least disruptive to your business operations.

6. Test Your Migration

Before launching your upgraded Dynamics 365 environment, it is critical to test your migration process for accuracy and completeness. Testing your migration process involves verifying that all data fields, customizations, and workflows have been migrated correctly and are functioning properly.

During this phase, you should conduct various tests, including:

– Unit Testing: This involves testing individual customizations, workflows, and data migrations to ensure they function as intended.

– Integration Testing: This involves testing third-party integrations and any other customizations that interact with Dynamics 365.

– User Acceptance Testing: This involves testing your upgraded environment with real-world scenarios to ensure that it meets your business needs.

By thoroughly testing your migration process, you can minimize the risks of errors, downtime, or lost data.

7. Launch Your Upgraded Environment

Once you have tested your migration process and verified that everything is working correctly, the final step is to launch your upgraded environment. Launching your upgraded environment involves migrating your production data to Dynamics 365 and switching your users accordingly.

During the launch phase, you should consider setting up user training and support to help your employees adapt to the new environment quickly. Post-launch, you should also monitor your Dynamics 365 environment closely to ensure that everything runs smoothly and address any issues that may arise.


Upgrading Dynamics CRM on-premises to Dynamics 365 is a complex task that requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. By following these key steps, you can ensure a smooth transition from your current CRM environment to the powerful Dynamics 365 platform.

At Sphere Partners, we have a team of certified Microsoft Dynamics 365 experts who can help you navigate your upgrade journey and ensure that your migration is seamless and efficient. Contact us today to learn more.

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