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Dynamics CRM 2013: A Readiness Checklist

Now that Dynamics CRM 2013 is here and you’ve reviewed 5 of the top changes and why they matter, what exactly does “readiness” for CRM 2013 look like? Whether you’re a prospective customer or an existing customer on version 3.0, 4.0 or 2011 (online or on-premise), the below guide will give a glimpse into what your path to CRM 2013 might look like.

For prospective customers, a free 30 day trial is available and represents a great option to test out and get a feel for the solution. For existing customers, two possible paths to CRM 2013 exist: upgrading or re-implementing. Below, I outline the options available to existing customers.

If you need any clarification around this topic, feel free to get in touch with me: Or, if you’re more of a fan of listening than reading, an audio version of my presentation on this subject is available through the recording of our Dynamics CRM 2013 Preview event (Just skip to 59:21).

Upgrading From CRM Online

I’ve been hands-on with this product since July and I’m really impressed with everything that I have seen thus far. One of the most important things that I have observed is that the upgrade process is fairly straightforward.

Let’s start with the easy stuff since upgrading from CRM 2011 online to CRM 2013 online is automatic.

CRM 2013 Online Upgrade Path Chart

CRM 2013 has been available since October 2013. What that means is that between now and January 2014, Microsoft will be distributing upgrade notices. Once you have received your upgrade date, it’s time to start planning and testing the solution in advance to ensure that no unsupported code issues exist.

  • Run the custom code validation tool to check that the script in your solution will upgrade.
  • Test the solution to ensure that any customizations will carry across (You will be provided with a testing environment)
  • Train users on the new platform (either internally or with the help of your partner)

On your upgrade date, Microsoft will take care of all the work. It will be important to notify users that the system will be unavailable on this date. If the proposed upgrade date does not work for you, it will be possible to re-schedule.

From CRM 3.0, 4.0, or 2011 On-Premise

As I mentioned in a previous post, mainstream support for Dynamics CRM 4.0 has ended, so the availability of CRM 2013 represents an opportunity to assess whether or not making the move to the latest version of CRM would be strategically beneficial to your organization. Your upgrade path will depend on which solution you currently have deployed, however, a single principle applies across the board: in order to upgrade to CRM 2013 on-premise, you must first be on CRM 2011.

Dynamics CRM On-Premise Upgrade Path
From CRM 3.0, 4.0 From CRM 2011 

  1. Upgrade to CRM 2011 (UR 6 or 14)
  2. Run code validation tool
  3. Clean up any unsupported code
  4. Upgrade server
  5. Train users
  6. Upgrade to and rollout CRM 2013

  1. Run the custom code validation tool
  2. Clean up any unsupported code
  3. Upgrade server
  4. Train users
  5. Rollout CRM 2013 to user base



Depending on the needs and goals of your organization, current 3.0 and 4.0 users might take this as an opportunity to consider a re-implementation since many features in CRM 2013 that were previously customized now come out of the box. After all, the way you do business may have also changed in recent years due to the rising influence of social media and mobility, to name a few major themes. It may just be the right time to start afresh and re-imagine your CRM experience on the new platform.

When considering readiness, it’s also important to be mindful of the following factors that will be major drivers in your organization’s success with CRM 2013:

  • Your People – Ensure that your users have the necessary tools and training to successfully adopt the new system.
  • The Microsoft Ecosystem – Consider your existing technologies and infrastructure and whether or not making certain shifts would be valuable to you.
  • Keep it Lean – CRM 2013 has a lot of great features, however, you don’t need to turn them all on at once. You can incorporate more features once user adoption is under control and your system is stabilized.


If you have any additional questions regarding what it takes to prepare for CRM 2013, I’m here to help:

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