In the months since Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduced the Dynamics 365 Suite of products at the World Partner Conference, I have fielded a number of calls from executives asking what it takes to do a Salesforce to Dynamics 365 conversion. My first question is always, asking why in the world they would want to change. The number one response seems to be the potential to save 60% or more on their annual licensing costs. Even for smaller companies, a 60% saving can represent a nice five-figure increase in profits at the end of the year. Probably the second most common response was they preferred to pay monthly for services as opposed to writing a big check once per year. Cashflow is a big deal for many businesses. Having to stroke a 5 or 6 figure check can cause some heartburn. For others, it was less about the money and more about the productivity increases the saw from a suite of products that work together seamlessly.Imagining Sales, Accounting, and Service departments all working from the same system without double entry was quite appealing. With all these questions coming in, I thought it may be helpful to others who may have the same question but no one to ask, to explain just how easy it is to do a Salesforce to Dynamics 365 conversion.
There are really three simple steps for completing a Salesforce to Dynamics 365 conversion. I have completed many of them over the years and the projects are surprisingly easy. Having a deep understanding of Salesforce and Dynamics 365 and utilizing cloud based migration tools like SCRIBE has definitely helped. Any skilled consultant with the same experience can have you looking at data in Dynamics 365 in a matter of hours. Of course seeing data and actually using Dynamics 365 are not quite the same thing. So let me break down what is actually involved in a Salesforce to Dynamics 365 conversion in what I have found to be three simple steps.
Replicate Functionality in Dynamics 365
The great news about the first step is you probably already spent the time defining your processes when you originally deployed Salesforce. And after actually using those processes in a CRM environment, you probably found some things worked, others did not. This knowledge is tremendously helpful for configuring your new Dynamics 365 environment. Obviously, you want to keep what works and not waste time on what has not. While there is no way to directly migrate functionality and customizations from Salesforce, Dynamics 365 can accomplish all the same functions by simply configuring them. It should not be surprising, that Salesforce and Dynamics 365 functionality and capabilities are almost identical. The chance of something working in Salesforce and not working in Dynamics 365 is very low.
Migrate Data to the Dynamics 365
This is the step that probably causes the most confusion and seems the most mysterious. Ironically, it is probably the easiest part of the project – provided you have experience and the right tools. There is a pretty steep learning curve for how, when, and what to migrate when doing a Salesforce to Dynamics 365 conversion. Countless hours of billable time can be wasted if the data migration is not well planned or if the proper tools are not used. I have found that using short-term migration licenses provided by companies specializing in moving data between systems is the way to go. Having the ability to do gradual migrations allows for a more relaxed conversion. There is quite a bit of “secret sauce” involved in data migration. Be sure the person you trust for your conversion has the experience needed.
Deploy Dynamics 365 to New Users
This may actually be the most difficult part of the project, but even so, it will be easier than you think. For some users, changing to a user experience that more closely represents what they are used to, will create an immediate boost. Others may take longer just as a result of change. Any change is challenging for users, but providing a more seamlessly integrated system my be the spark to have them really embrace the product. the fact that they have already been exposed to a cloud based application such as Salesforce, will definitely help when converting to Dynamics 365.
In summary, no executive should feel like they are chained to any one cloud provider. Though it may feel like you are a result of up front payments or high pressure sales tactics, you always have the ability to take your data and go somewhere else. Regardless of how it may be portrayed, it is not that difficult or expensive. In fact the switch could provide a significant boost in productivity, cashflow, and the bottom line.