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Dynamics 365 On-Premises to Cloud Migration: 7 Steps for a Smooth Switch

Posted by Alanna Friedberg on May 11, 2023 8:27:11 PM


A shift in work patterns has led to many organizations having a workplace split between remote, in-office, and hybrid workers. Because of that, many have turned to cloud technology to make it easier for employees to collaborate and perform job tasks from any location.

Many who currently have an on-premises instance of Dynamics 365 are looking to switch to the cloud version. Transitioning from Dynamics 365 on-premises to cloud migration can go off-track quickly without a well-thought-out execution plan. 

Why Should Businesses Move Over to Dynamics 365 in the Cloud?

The biggest reason most companies make the switch from the on-premises version of Dynamics 365 to the cloud is to expand their flexibility. Agility is critical to gaining an advantage over competitors, regardless of industry. For example, organizations that need extra data space can add it to their monthly subscription and have instant access. That’s a significant advantage over paying for hardware and waiting for installation and set-up.  

Other benefits of migrating from Dynamics 365 on-premises to the cloud include the following:

  • Lower costs — Organizations no longer have to pay for the infrastructure to update and maintain servers, storage, and networking equipment.
  • Seamless integrations — Setting up integrations with other applications like the Power Platform is easier with a cloud version of Dynamics 365.
  • Enhanced security — Businesses gain access to Microsoft’s security control infrastructure, making it easier to secure applications against internal and external threats, ensure privacy for users and customers, and comply with worldwide security standards.
  • Improved data management — Organizations can use Dynamics 365’s data analytics and machine learning (ML) insights to make more informed, data-driven decisions.

If your business is looking to execute a Dynamics 365 on-premises to cloud migration, it helps to have help from a partner with experience in that area. Internet eBusiness Solutions (IES) guides organizations through the steps involved in the transition. Let’s review what you should consider as you move from one platform to another.

1. Go Over Your On-Premises Setup

Look at what functions you currently rely on from your system. For example, what workflows are you now using, and how much work will it take to transition them to the cloud? You should also review your business processes and see where they intersect with your current Dynamics 365 on-premises setup. You should have a final list of every function you need to migrate.

Next, identify customizations you’ve built into the on-premises environment, including all entities and fields. This is the time to eliminate unnecessary customizations, which can remove complications from the on-premises to cloud transition process. You should also think about what customizations you should revamp or replace entirely.

Below are other considerations to account for during this phase:

  • Look at what data you currently hold in your Dynamics 365 on-premises system
  • Catalog any third-party integrations you wish to move over
  • See what hardware is in place or needs to be purchased to support the transition
  • Review your current licensing agreements to see if you need to make any adjustments
  • Go over your current and future business needs and develop a final set of requirements

2. Decide on a Cloud Deployment Option

You can deploy your Dynamics 365 cloud instance to a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment. With this option, your organization would still have the backing of Microsoft’s security and compliance. If you decide on the private option, you will have a dedicated instance managed by a third-party provider. Organizations that want more control over their environment and data typically use this model.

The hybrid option allows companies to maintain some form of on-premises infrastructure while taking advantage of the benefits of the cloud. Businesses can also opt for Microsoft’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, where Microsoft hosts your instance, and you pay a monthly subscription fee.

3. Create a Migration Plan

Think about the scope of your project and come up with a timeline for completion. Account for how long it might take to migrate data, customizations, integrations, and functionality to your Dynamics 365 cloud instance. In addition, you should determine which migration tools to use to assist in your company’s Dynamics 365 on-premises to Dynamics 365 cloud migration.

4. Prepare Your Source System for Migration

Once you’ve outlined your migration plan, start preparing your source system. Tasks typically involved in this effort include the following:

  • Cleaning the data, including removing duplicates or outdated information
  • Resolve any outstanding problems like error messages or performance issues
  • Evaluate your current hardware and technology infrastructure to ensure it meets your migration requirements
  • Go over your security and compliance policies
  • Perform data backups

5. Start Migrating Your Data

Export the data from Dynamics 365 into a file. Next, use the tool you chose when outlining your migration plan to prepare the data. Make sure you correctly map fields and perform data validation before importing the information to the cloud. It’s a good idea to do a test run, then validate that the data migrated correctly. You get to perform troubleshooting and work through any issues before moving everything.

6. Work Out Your Cloud Environment Configurations

Set up the security roles for users to control their access and what functions they can execute in Dynamics 365 cloud., From there, you’ll need to configure your workflows, approval processes, and business rules. Remember to get your integrations in place for other Microsoft applications or third-party services.

Below are other everyday tasks to consider during this stage:

  • Configuring reports and dashboards
  • Customizing views and forms
  • Implementing new functionality
  • Setting up email templates

7. Execute Post-Migration Activities

Validate every part of your Dynamics 365 on-premises to Dynamics 365 cloud migration, including ensuring data accuracy and checking the performance time of different processes. You want to ensure the system performs optimally before opening it up to users. Make sure your integration work as intended, access controls work correctly, and your organization complies with any applicable regulations.

Start Preparing for the Future

Moving from an on-premises Dynamics 365 instance to the cloud version is complex. IES can offer the technical support and experience needed to make the transition more seamless. Contact us today to start discussing options for your organization.

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