How to manage updates for Dynamics 365 safely and efficiently

Dynamics 365

Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular. In the midst of continuing change, many firms have shifted to cloud ERP systems to save human capital expenses and boost productivity and flexibility.

Continuous cloud updates are not, however, a “catch-all” way to guarantee ongoing operations. To guarantee consistent operational functionality and security, thorough release management of updates and the adoption of a strong testing approach must be implemented.

Countless benefits – and a few new challenges

Today, Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers have constant access to the latest technology and functionality, errors are corrected much faster and the solution is constantly in line with the latest legislation. Together with a more modular platform structure, this provides significant improvements in a wide range of fields.

But there is no such thing as a free lunch. New challenges have arisen and need to be addressed. For example, it is necessary to: Familiarize yourself very thoroughly with how upcoming updates will precisely affect the company’s solution and processes

Test updates in advance and ensure that they are fully compatible with the company’s solution, data, and any add-ons.

These are concerns we hear from many companies, and they are fully justified. That is why InteliSense IT Care has assembled a team of specialists to help companies deal with these and other challenges: all with the aim of maximizing the value of the ERP investment and minimizing the risk of problems with stability and functionality.

Step 1: Make sure you have a well-planned release management strategy in place

Being aware of what each update entails is another irritant. Which features will be phased away as others are added? Are there any adjustments that could be problematic?

It’s simpler to say than to do. True, twice a year Microsoft publishes ‘Wave Release Notes’ that contain details on impending changes to Dynamics 365. These documents, which are each 700–800 pages long, are thorough, but they do not state when revisions will be made. To get and retain an overview, you must keep a watch on a deluge of PDFs, emails, and other information. It requires some effort to keep up with, and skills are required to decipher the paperwork, if I may say so.

Step 2: Test updates before implementation. It is crucial.

After all, things don’t always go according to plan when there are new upgrades. For instance, Dynamics 365 changes may suddenly make it impossible for you to supervise the acquisition of raw materials, cause login issues for some employees, and put others at danger of working with outdated data. However, this is not a result of Microsoft or the company’s IT division falling asleep. Of course, Microsoft tests all updates and tackles most bugs before the code is released. But they can only test on the platform itself – not in each company’s business system, which, as we all know, integrates with many other solution elements both inside and outside the company’s control. So, Microsoft cannot test (or guarantee) whether a company’s Dynamics 365 is acting flawlessly in any configuration. This is especially true when 3rd-party software is involved. One of the major challenges is limiting the risk associated with putting new code in a business-critical system into operation. This calls for a comprehensive test management, and even better – automated test setup. Very few companies can handle this – at least not entirely alone.

Get equipped to establish an update strategy

This discussion also helps to provide a good basis for establishing an actual update strategy. Some companies may find it a good idea to implement all updates as they come out, while others may choose to postpone each update for a month or two – for example, to make extra time for testing. Others prefer to stockpile and only update twice, or three or four times a year, as more frequent updates put the organisation under too much pressure.

In short, there are almost as many approaches as there are companies.

We can help by supporting at the technical level, keeping you updated with knowledge of upcoming changes, providing input for establishing an actual update strategy, and helping ensure that your solution runs smoothly.

Would you like to find out more? Talk to our D365 experts

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