<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/133892.png" alt="" style="display:none;">

Adoption of cloud solutions is spreading far and wide. Many businesses have turned to cloud ERP systems to reduce human capital costs, others to increase efficiency and flexibility – all valuable benefits amid ongoing disruption.
However, continuous cloud updates are not a ‘fix-all’ solution to ensure ongoing operations. Thorough release management of updates and implementation of sound testing strategy must be used to ensure consistent operational functionality and security.

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 Columbus 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

Another cause of irritation is keeping abreast of what each update contains. Which functions will be added and which will be phased out? Are there any changes that might present challenges?
That’s easier said than done. Admittedly, twice a year Microsoft releases so-called ‘Wave Release Notes’ with information about upcoming changes in Dynamics 365. However, although these documents - each 700-800 pages long - are pretty comprehensive, they do not specify when particular changes will be made. You have to keep your eye on a flood of PDFs, emails and other messages to gain and retain an overview. It is – dare I say! – relatively demanding to keep up with, while decoding the documentation calls for special competence.
In this context, we offer an overview in the form of a so-called ‘Release Note Assessment’, which provides information about what each individual update contains, and about which parts of the update a particular organization needs to be aware of. Each customer is assigned a permanent release manager, who knows the company, and discusses with them what has changed, what new features and fixes have been introduced, and the options they provide.

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

After all, when it comes to new updates, things do not automatically go smoothly. For example, Dynamics 365 updates may mean that suddenly you cannot control the purchase of raw materials, that some employees cannot log in, and that others run the risk of working with old data. But situations like these are not due to Microsoft or the company’s IT department having nodded off.
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.
In this context, we help as much as is needed, and this varies from company to company. In any case, we can contribute knowledge from a large number of other organizations in exactly the same situation, thereby pinpointing more easily the places where problems most often arise.

Want to know more about automated test? We have created an ebook we believe will be helpful to you. 

Get equipped to establish an update strategy

This discussion also helps to provide a really 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? We have compiled lots of good tips about Microsoft’s ongoing updates of Dynamics 365 in an e-book.

Get your copy


Discuss this post

Recommended posts

The holiday season is upon us, and busy times are ahead for retailers. Holiday retail sales are expected to grow between 4-6% this year, and ecommerce sales are projected to grow up to 14.3%. To prepare for an uptick, retailers are stocking up on employees with stores like Nordstrom planning to hire 20,000 employees for the holidays. It can be difficult for retailers to maintain the status quo with their systems during this crazy time of year. Cyber attacks have been a growing concern for retailers over the past decade. In 2013, roughly 40 million Target customers had their credit card information stolen by hackers in the first three weeks of the holiday season. In 2020, 24% of all cyberattacks were targeting retailers. Alongside cyber threats, retailers must consider the influx of customers that visit their websites during the holidays. A bogged-down website due to system overload can bring a nightmare to life for retailers, leading to abandoned carts and a decrease in customer satisfaction. To ensure that your business is ready for the holiday season, perform an operational assessment of your system.
At Columbus, we believe that with the right partner, IT outsourcing can shift your business from going with the flow to driving it. It can actually put you in the right position to be proactive, especially in the face of change. We all need this right now.
Dynamics 365 is evolving rapidly, and many companies are in doubt about how to react. Columbus’s dedicated team gives them a helping hand.
For many of us, the idea of embarking on a cross-country driving trip without a solid roadside assistance plan like AAA in place would be unthinkable. When you're stuck by the side of the road with an empty gas tank or a flat tire in the rain, you need to know that 24/7 support is just a quick call away. And the peace of mind that brings you is more than worth the reasonable price you pay for the service. It means you get to relax and listen to your audiobook while you wait for the cavalry to arrive, instead of nervously counting the granola bars in your glove compartment.
Many companies can save a fortune on Dynamics 365 licences. But you need to know exactly where you are heading.
right-arrow share search phone phone-filled menu filter envelope envelope-filled close checkmark caret-down arrow-up arrow-right arrow-left arrow-down