1) Data cleansing and conversion: Most, if not all, of the data in your current system will need to be migrated to CRM. This is simpler if you have one solution, like Salesforce.com, because it is less likely that you will encounter multiple duplicate records that are more likely with each rep's individual ACT or Goldmine database. The data generally needs to be extracted from the source application (Salesforce.com, ACT, etc.), de-duplicated, and then imported into CRM. Some data objects are more difficult to extract and import than others. Contacts, accounts, and opportunities are generally easy to convert. Notes, emails, and document attachments are generally more difficult (and more costly) to convert.
2) Application configuration: With the data ready for import, you need to make sure that CRM has been properly configured to be able to store the custom fields from your existing application. For example, you may have additional fields like Market Sector, Annual Revenues, and Number of Employees on an account in Salesforce, and you need to make sure that there is both a field and a related value, for each pick list (drop down list), for the data you are importing.
3) Customization and reporting: Some organizations enhance their CRM solution with custom functionality, reporting, or third party add-on solutions. Others leverage advanced tools to build new functionality or integrate the solution with other applications – like an ERP or financial accounting application. This is more likely with a product like Salesforce.com, and less likely with ACT and Goldmine. You will need to evaluate which of these customizations, integrations, and reports will need to be migrated to your new solution.
As part of your upgrade, it is important to plan multiple types of testing to ensure the best results possible after the deployment and conversion to your new Dynamics CRM application.
The amount and type of testing will depend greatly upon the complexity of your implementation and the total number of users in your environment. Organizations with 10, 20, or even 50 users will generally have less data migration, configuration, and customization – and thereby testing requirements – than organizations with 500 to 1,000 users. Many organizations have some level of expertise in house to manage the deployment. If you by chance do not have this experience internally, you can leverage the expertise of a certified Microsoft partner who has helped other customers implement and upgrade their CRM environment.
This was first published in November 2007