Choosing a Dynamics 365 Deployment Type that is Right for You
You have made the great decision to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365. What’s next? The question that needs to be answered is: What type of deployment is right for your organization? You have a few options, each with their own benefits. This decision needs to be weighed depending on your business requirements and the infrastructure capacity of your organization. Discussing your options with a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner, with extensive CRM experience, like PowerObjects, will help you understand your options and their impact on your team and infrastructure.
There are 4 common deployment methods for Microsoft Dynamics 365:
- On Premise
- Partner Hosted
- Hybrid Hosted
To start thinking about the best deployment path for you, ask yourself some questions about your organization:
- How quickly do you need your Microsoft Dynamics 365 system up and running?
- Does your IT Department have the bandwidth to maintain additional hardware and software?
- What types of external system integrations and custom reporting does your business require?
There are some clear benefits to each deployment type. You must evaluate the options and benefits for your organization’s specific situation and requirements.
Dynamics 365 Online
Microsoft provides a subscription based model of – Dynamics 365. With this option, you are able to access CRM online via the cloud, without having to invest further in your IT network hardware and software licensing. There is no local deployment of the application and your users are able to access CRM from multiple browsers. This access can be critical for remote or off-site staff who need easy access to CRM.
Choosing CRM Online allows you to get your CRM system up and running in a matter of days, not weeks or months. You are even able to create a trial environment and give it a test drive! No more having to worry about ongoing server maintenance or license fees. You can purchase your user licenses directly online and do not need to go through a vendor. Just add more users online as you need them and as your business grows.
Benefits of an Online deployment include:
- Ability to create a Dynamics 365 instance online and start using CRM quickly – delivered as a Microsoft Cloud service.
- You only pay for the users and the storage capacity that you need and add more as you need it – pay as you go!
- Your users need remote access on multiple browsers.
- Microsoft performs daily backups of your database.
- Less investment towards internal IT operations to maintain servers and client side applications.
- Less investment on server license fees.
- Microsoft backed Service Level Agreement (SLA).
- Application upgrades by Microsoft are included and you have the ability to upgrade when you prefer.
An on-premise deployment of Dynamics 365 allows you the fullest and most robust customization and integration options. CRM is deployed within your network and on your servers. You can choose whether or not to have an Internet Facing Deployment (IFD) using ADFS. One of the key benefits of the on-premise model is that you have full control of and access to your data. You control your backup frequency, you have access to the SQL database for custom SSRS reporting needs, and you have the most extensive customization capabilities.
With an on-premise deployment, you are responsible for acquiring and maintaining the ongoing Microsoft licensing required for both servers and users, as well as server and client side hardware, application maintenance, and all upgrades and roll-ups.
Benefits of an On-Premise deployment include:
- You have full control of your network and server configuration to support the application.
- You have full control of your daily backup process and the ability to pick a day and time to restore from, should it be needed.
- You have full access to your SQL database for SSRS reporting needs.
- The ability to customize CRM extensively, as needed for your business process; unlimited system customizations.
PowerObjects offers a Dynamics 365 hosting service. This allows you to pay a monthly fee per user for CRM and PowerObjects hosts your CRM on one of our servers and maintains the licensing that is required. This is a great option for those organizations that need the robust access that an on-premise solution provides – without taking on the ongoing server and client application maintenance. PowerObjects will keep things running for you!
Benefits of a Partner Hosted Deployment:
- All the access and control provided by the on-premise deployment model.
- No additional IT burden for your organization.
Hybrid hosted is another option that some organizations may choose. If you’ve already invested in the licensing required for CRM, we can still provide a hosted CRM solution that utilizes your existing CRM licenses. To determine if this model is right for you, we recommend you work with your CRM Partner to determine your options.
Choosing an Implementation Methodology
When it comes to choosing an implementation methodology, there are a number of factors to consider. Budget, timeline, technical acumen, resource availability, the complexity of requirements, and data migration/integration requirements should be considered when determining what methodology will help drive the success of the implementation. When determining the right approach, user adoption should be considered the primary factor that will drive that success.
At PowerObjects, we offer three distinct implementation models for CRM in order to support companies of all sizes and in all industries. These approaches include:
- Do it Yourself (DIY)
- Time & Materials Project (T&M)
- PowerSuccess Subscription-based model
Do it Yourself (DIY)
If you think you are the right fit for the DIY approach, you will want to consider a couple of factors. If you simply do not have the budget or appetite for any other support model, this might be the natural fit. Also, if you have the technical resources and competency to learn CRM and self-implement, this might be a viable model. If you’ll primarily be using CRM out-of-the-box with very little configurations, this may be a good approach. These are some of the primary factors, but a combination of budget, timeline, the extent of configurations, and technical resources should also factor into this decision. Keep in mind, that the DIY approach runs the highest risk of user-adoption issues. This is due to the fact that most organizations do not have the experience of implementing CRM that a CRM partner brings to the table.
Time & Materials Project
Another option would be to engage a partner on a Time & Materials basis. Some factors to consider would be your timeline, level of detailed requirements, and whether or not CRM would be replacing an existing system. T&M might be a good fit if you are on a time crunch and need the full system implemented ASAP. This might be due to the fact that an existing system is being replaced and in that case, an organization may have specific requirements already defined. A CRM partner is able to review requirements with the customer in order to estimate the project in terms of hours. The project is then billed on a weekly basis for the actual time that is invested into the project.
An alternative to a T&M project would be our proprietary PowerSuccess model. PowerSuccess is a subscription-based support option which allows an organization to take more of a crawl, walk, run approach to implementation – while knowing that their investment is fixed and can be paid in monthly installments over the course of a 12-month subscription. Factors to consider would be the timeline, level of detailed requirements, and whether or not an existing CRM system is being replaced. Most organizations that are new to CRM can realize the value of starting with a base system in place and getting users trained while bringing in additional features into the implementation over the remainder of their subscription. Typical PowerSuccess customers do not have a defined timeline or extremely defined requirements. Often times, they are new to a CRM system altogether.
Choosing the best partner
Choosing the best partner for your implementation, ongoing services, and support is an extremely integral part of the success of your deployment.
Choose a partner that is a Microsoft Certified Partner
Being a certified partner means that the partner has to follow guidelines set by Microsoft in the areas of:
- Customer satisfaction
- Ability to deliver to you, the customer
When you choose a certified partner, they have access to support, bulletins about new products, and trial copies of software to use prior to the general release. To learn more why you should choose a Microsoft Certified Partner please click here.
Microsoft sells through a partner channel and when you select the certified partner that you want to work with you can designate them as your partner of record. This allows that partner to work with information on your account to service you better and gives them the ability to act on your behalf with Microsoft. Go here to learn the benefits of choosing PowerObjects as your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner of Record.
PowerObjects is a Microsoft Gold Partner that is 100% focused on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and provides four main pillars of excellence:
PowerObjects received numerous awards including Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner of the Year multiple years running, as well as Inner Circle and Presidents Club recognition. There are multiple Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professional) on staff and our leadership team sits on executive committees at Microsoft. Microsoft honored PowerObjects with these awards because we meet and exceed the criteria of being a Microsoft Certified Partner. To learn more about PowerObjects, visit our website.
Professional Consulting Services
One of the criteria in choosing your partner is to assess their service offerings. Make sure that the Microsoft Partner provides service options that meet your organization’s needs and has skilled consultants that have a broad range of skills and knowledge to help implement your CRM Solution to match your business processes.
PowerObjects is 100% focused on Dynamics 365. Our service and delivery team makes up about 75% of our business. Our consultants go through Microsoft Certifications for application, configuration, and development. We work with organizations to plan, design, develop, and implement their CRM Solution. Our team includes implementation consultants, business analysts, project managers, and developers that provide expertise in managing a project from start to finish, to deliver an entire solution for the customer. Learn more about PowerObjects service here.
PowerObjects offers services in two different formats. The first is Time & Materials where we provide a quote for services and bill for hours worked. The second is a unique services offering called PowerSuccess. PowerSuccess is a service as a subscription model whereby you pay a monthly subscription and we assist you in implementing your Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution as well as provide support for the life of the PowerSuccess contract. You are assigned a dedicated PowerSuccess Engineer who you will work with. Our six phase focus is:
- Foundational Training
- Envisioning Requirements
- Ranking Priorities
- Rendering Requirements
- Engage Results
- Continual Workflow Shaping & Priority Sequencing
To learn more about PowerSuccess, please review this offering here.
Once you have solicited services to implement your Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, it is important that the partner organization you have selected offer ongoing support for any ad hoc questions or issues that may arise so you can focus on your core business operations.
PowerObjects has a PowerCare Portal to allow self-help support along with a team of dedicated support consultants that can assist you with everyday questions or small projects. You will always have people that know and understand your CRM solution to assist you with those everyday how-to questions or issues. Learn more about our support offerings here.
Education is another integral part of your Dynamics 365 deployment. While services allow you to implement the solution to meet your business processes, education is about teaching individuals how to use the solution. This allows for better user adoption, a faster return on your investment, and the ability to see the analytics that are important to key business decisions.
PowerObjects feels education is so important that it is one of the four pillars that are key to our business. We offer education in two main focus areas: the internal education of PowerObjects employees which in turn gives you better-skilled consultants to work with; and external education to help you and your organization to get the most out of Dynamics 365. Find out more about our educational offerings and events.
PowerObjects has an internal training program called PowerObjects University which is required for all employees so they can further their Dynamics 365 knowledge. Through our commitment to internal training, we have some of the best Consultants in the world. We deliver projects with a specific methodology that is designed for customer success.
PowerObjects offers external training to our customers in several different ways.
- Tailored Training – training programs designed specifically for a customer’s unique business needs and CRM deployment.
- CRM University Training – Get your CRM knowledge through regularly scheduled offerings at the PowerObjects training center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, or at one of our other US locations. With classes no larger than 20 students, group learning provides the unique opportunity to compare notes with other organizations. Meals and course material are provided for students.
- CRM University Online – a web-based self-help portal that has how-to videos and documents to help you learn individually and manage your progress. Content is constantly being updated to reflect new features and how-to’s in an easy to use e-learning format.
- Webinars on Demand – We record all of our webinars so they can be watched on demand anytime. If you want to know about upcoming webinars, as well as training, conferences, and other events, be sure to check out our upcoming events page. You can also sign up for the monthly PowerObjects’ newsletter, which includes upcoming events.
- POTV – Our constantly updated series of training videos called the CRM Minute allows you to get the latest CRM information in a short time. Subscribe here to get the latest updates to your inbox from POTV and the CRM Minute video series.
What are Add-ons? Add-ons are product offerings that enhance the functionality of your Dynamics 365 solution.
Organizations can become certified independent solution providers for Dynamics 365 and create a product that can be purchased to enhance the feature set of your system. These solutions can be industry focused, specific to marketing, services, or sales, and create easier ways to move through the system. You can go to the Microsoft Dynamics marketplace to find solutions that might meet your organization’s needs without creating customizations. To find the solutions that are out there go here.
PowerObjects offers many different PowerPack CRM Add-ons. These add-ons are offered in a software as a subscription model with a low total cost of ownership and are developed based on the needs and feedback of our customers. For information and videos for all of our PowerPack Add-ons or to try a free 30-day trial, click here.