As of April 2013, mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 has transitioned to extended support mode. As a CRM 4.0 customer, you might be wondering exactly what this means for you and your business. Essentially, extended support mode means that the following items will no longer be covered for CRM 4.0 on-premise users:
- Warranty claims
- Design changes and feature requests
- No-charge incident support
- Non-security hotfix support (except for customers, who purchased an Extended Hotfix Agreement by July, 8 2013)
Refer to this article for more background on Microsoft’s support timeframes for CRM.
If It Ain’t Broke…Do I Have to ‘Fix’ It?
I have worked extensively with CRM 4.0 over the years and feel I have been a good advocate to many customers who are still successfully using the product to this day. Those very customers are now asking: do I really need to jump ship to the next version of CRM? Some may be experiencing a little pressure to upgrade and others are just uncertain about what to do next.
My answer: eventually good things do come to an end and the reality is that, yes, you will need to upgrade at some point. Microsoft CRM has evolved in so many good ways, just like your infrastructure and your business. Why not update the application at the center of it all? With mainstream support ending, the time has come where upgrading has to be on the agenda, whether it is for CRM 2011 or 2013 (that goes for the folks on CRM 3.0 too).
Benefits of the Latest Version
After reviewing the above, you might still be asking, “if my CRM 4.0 is doing everything I need, what incentive do I have to upgrade something that isn’t broken?” Why unnecessarily complicate something? In my experience working across both products, it’s hard to know what you are missing out on when you don’t know something could be better. For example, consider the somewhat cumbersome custom audit solution in CRM 4.0, or those bridge tables you created to facilitate a connection between records. Architecturally, back in 2008 and 2009, we simply didn’t have this functionality out of the box. In order to meet customer’s needs, we had to build custom solutions. Today, those solutions, while still supported mechanisms, are now beyond what is now out-of-the-box and could be stripped away to give you a leaner and simpler CRM system. To me, that is one of the biggest benefits offered by upgrading to a 2011 or 2013 solution: less code and customization, more out-of-the-box and configuration.
Accepting this change as necessary is one of the hardest parts because, at first glance, the transition can seem like an intimidating undertaking. Luckily, you won’t be the first to take it on and numerous tools exist to support you in the endeavor. For example, Scribe is an extremely effective data migration tool that will simplify the transfer of your information from one system to another.
As always, our advice around this would be: if you’re going to do it, do it right the first time. If you are thinking about what to do next with your CRM 4.0 system, we’ll be happy to help get your process started.