Doing a CRM 2013 upgrade project without buffering change management consulting would be equivalent to: a tourist traveling abroad, jumping into a manual transmission rental car and driving on the opposite side of the road, for the first time. It’s certainly do-able and you will get the hang of it eventually. But you may end up with few nicks to the vehicle, losing a side mirror and/or end up in a fender bender. This will add unforeseen stress, cost and loss of time for everyone involved.
All too often, a technology project goes side-ways because little emphasis was placed on change management; minimal budgets allotted for training, documentation and transition. Change management bridges the gaps between functional and technical requirements of an organization. Change management consulting protects your upgrade investment by getting your users to learn the software faster and limit the amount of technology re-work needed to be done after the fact.
Differences from CRM 2011 to 2013: Navigation Bar, Ribbon and Auto-Save
Even though this is “just” an upgrade, the reality is that the interface is completely new. End users that are accustomed to the “old 2011 look” will need to re-learn and re-familiarize with the new application layout.
In the 2013 (Refreshed Look), the left navigation bar has been replaced by tiles located at the top of the screen. The tiles have pre-set drop down menus to move a user through a particular process steps that applies to their role.
In addition to that, the ribbon and action buttons have been replaced with drop down commands and in-line form controls. This “in-page” experience minimizes the pop-up windows and extra clicks. Previous controls and/or workflows associated to the pop-ups should work in theory. However, you will not know the outcomes until the upgrade goes live.
Another major change which may have implications to previous workflows is with the “Auto-Save” feature. The auto-save kicks in every thirty (30) seconds so users no longer have to hit the save button. In other words, your fields are always in edit mode. So you have to commit to what you are entering into your fields. The system won’t ask you if you want to save these changes. So for an end user, no errors are allowed.
New Refreshed CRM and Where to Start?
Driving the new “Refreshed CRM” without proper transition and end user training will increase the chances for push-back from your user groups. The project and development team(s) may end up having to do a bunch of re-writes just to make your users happy. Which means extra costs and time creep. Moreover, productivity levels may also drop off due to a lack of knowledge on “how to” use the toolset. In some cases, end users may even revert back to using spreadsheets until they get use to the new layout and process steps.
Since only a handful of customers have gone through this upgrade process so far, there are still many unknowns. On average, CRM Partners are advising enterprise clients to buffer a four week minimum in training time. For a 2013 upgrade project, extra time is needed in the sandbox for testing as well as, extra time and budget for documentation, training and transition.
Fieldpoint understands how difficult this process may be. As a customer of Microsoft ourselves and a software provider with pre-built, add-on solutions to the Dynamics CRM platform, we are cognizant of how this may impact your business.
Fieldpoint Consulting will evaluate the deltas between what you have today and where you want to go. We will look under the hood to see how much out-of-the-box functionality can be utilized, as well as, which and how many customizations may be carried forward or in some cases re-written. For more information, please feel free to contact us.
We look forward to helping you with your CRM upgrade needs.