You know your current on-premises customer relationship management (CRM software) system needs an upgrade. And, hopefully, you already see how your staff, sales team, and your current and potential customers are going to find immediate, significant benefits once you make the move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online.

If you are curious about what those benefits are, or if you are still weighing the pros and cons of having your CRM in the cloud, here are 7 Reasons to Migrate This Year. When it comes to the actual migration plan, though, what should you be concerned about?

With over two decades of migration experience, our team at Cobalt has heard about all the pitfalls customers fell into with other vendors, or when they attempted a complex migration themselves. Let’s just say we have cleaned up more than a few messy situations. If it can go badly, we’ve seen it. Obviously, we aren’t perfect either, and we’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way over the years.

The upshot of all that hands-on experience is that we can boil down the most common migration problem areas for you today. With the questions for vendors or your own team outlined below, you will be empowered to navigate the vendor-section process and migration planning phase with confidence.

We would love to go into more detail about any of these pitfalls and what you can do to avoid them. After you read our questions, get in touch so we can answer your questions as a part of an expert consultation with our Cobalt team.

Common Pitfalls in the CRM System Migration Process

Before you hire a team to handle your migration, be sure to ask them:

What is the average CRM downtime for your previous migrations?

Downtime is one of the most critical pitfalls for more inexperienced migration teams. Your customers and staff are seriously counting on your system being up and running. Even small windows of downtime can have huge ripple effects on productivity and customer satisfaction. A great follow-up question is to ask how many migrations that average is based on.

Before you start down the path of migrating your own CRM data, it is critical you ask:

Where is the documentation for the modifications you’ve made to the out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 system?

The flexibility you get with Dynamics CRM/365 is a huge asset, but it can translate into a significant problem when it comes to migration. Ad hoc alterations to data relationships that don’t have documentation will be a challenge.

Do you have a complete list of entities and fields? Custom code and/or third-party solutions? These are definitely things you need to know upfront.

Before you outsource or shoulder the burden of an internal migration project yourself, ask:

How big is the risk of losing data in this migration?

This is one of the highest-priority potential problems for every prospective client we meet. You know how valuable your data is — losing some shouldn’t feel like an option in this move. The underlying cause of lost data in this process is usually complexity and experience.

Dynamics 365 hides incredible complexity under a refined design that makes it seem simpler than it really is. That complexity will quickly overwhelm a team without enough migration experience.

Before you make the switch, you should ask:

How much is this going to cost our team?

Most people know that there are some cost savings over time when you move to Dynamics 365 online, but sorting out exactly what your new licensing model and storage costs will be is complex and can be confusing if this is your first time. Getting a hefty bill from Microsoft after doing all the work of migrating is something you can avoid if you work with a partner with the right expertise and recommendations.

Before you set your migration plan in motion, this might be one of the best things you can ask:

What will the change management cost or impact be for my team and those we serve?

This one can be notoriously difficult to answer. Your team has a way of working that works for them today. There are headaches, or it’s not ideal, or everyone sees room for improvement, but you’ve found ways to live with it. Change is difficult, and this transition will likely be harder for some of your team members than others.

What are some proactive things you can do about that? What should you communicate to your staff? How long should you expect to take in adjusting to the new system? If you’re doing this as an in-house project: how long will this tie up your IT staff and resources?

These are all questions we spend a great deal of time hammering out with prospective clients making the leap forward to Dynamics 365. We’ve helped more than 100 companies make this move painlessly in the last three years alone. We can help you, too.

See Some Sophisticated Migration Tools for CRM Solutions in Action

Cobalt has developed some of the best, most tested, refined tools for migration you will find anywhere. In addition to our software solutions, we have the depth of expertise that will help you avoid these common pitfalls and many others along the way. Download our Migration Guide today.