Proven process for Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer support and maintenance

In the previous blog of the Platform Optimization series, we discussed how to decide which framework suits best for Dynamics 365, some widely used Test Automation Frameworks in the industry, and Celsior Technologies AI-Powered Test Automation Framework capabilities. The seventh blog of the series provides insights into support and maintenance of Microsoft Dynamics 365 environment.

What should your company’s Dynamics 365 CRM or ERP support environment look like? Assuming that you take advantage of a consulting partner to help you support and maintain your Dynamics environment, what steps and processes should you expect?

Understanding your business goals and solution implementation is key to finding the right team and defining support activities based on your strategic vision. The approach can make a big difference in how your project is handled.

No two companies are alike. How you operate and what you need won’t be the same as other companies – even in the same industry.

You’ll want a partner with enough experience in multiple Microsoft Dynamics support projects to recognize patterns. You’ll want someone who has taken those patterns and identified key steps that form the foundation of its support and maintenance methodology.

The following are the key areas that I’ve seen in all CRM, ERP, and Power platform support and maintenance projects. How much your project focuses on any given process depends on your company’s complexities and needs.

Key Areas for your Support and Maintenance Methodology

Through this process of understanding business goals, creating a support team, monitoring the environment, managing change, and maintenance/support, you can help ensure that the value you want from Dynamics 365 is realized for your users and your business.

  • Understand Your Business Goals
  • Before diving into support and maintenance, it’s essential to clearly understand your organization’s goals and objectives related to your Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and/or Finance & Operations implementation. This will help align support activities with your strategic vision.

  • Create a Support Team
  • Establish a dedicated team responsible for Dynamics 365 support and maintenance. Depending on the size and complexity of your deployment, this team may include administrators, developers, and functional experts.

  • Monitoring, User Training and Adoption
  • Set up monitoring tools and processes to proactively identify issues, performance bottlenecks, and potential security vulnerabilities. Ensure that Dynamics 365 users are well-trained in using the system. Invest in change management and training programs. Create user documentation to promote adoption and minimize user-related issues.

  • Incident and Change Management
  • Implement an incident management system to track and resolve issues. Create a ticketing system to categorize and prioritize support requests and document all changes made to your Dynamics 365 environment. Enforce a quality engineering process to ensure that any updates, customizations, or configurations are thoroughly tested and reviewed before deployment.

  • Support and Maintenance
    • Backups: Regularly back up your Dynamics 365 data and configurations. It is essential to ensure data integrity and to have a recovery plan in case of data loss.
    • Security: Update security patches provided by Microsoft. Ensure that your system is up to date to prevent security vulnerabilities.
    • Customizations: Regularly review and optimize customizations and configurations to ensure they continue to meet your evolving business needs.
    • Performance: Continuously monitor and optimize the performance of your Dynamics 365 system. This may involve database tuning, server resource management, and code optimization.
    • Integrations: If your Dynamics 365 system integrates with other applications, ensure that these integrations are working correctly. Monitor and update integration points as necessary.
    • Monitoring and Alerts: Set up monitoring tools and alerting systems to proactively detect and respond to issues. Define thresholds for alerts to ensure that you are notified of potential problems before they impact users.
    • Vendor: Take full advantage of Microsoft’s support resources, including technical support, knowledge base articles, and community forums. Maintain a relationship with your Microsoft representative or partner.
    • Documentation: Maintain comprehensive documentation of your Dynamics 365 setup, including system configurations, customizations, and workflows. It will help streamline troubleshooting and support.
    • Health Checks: Conduct periodic health checks to review the overall system’s health, performance, and alignment with business goals.
    • Feedback and Surveys: Gather feedback from Dynamics 365 users to understand their pain points and suggestions and use this feedback to make continuous improvements.
    • Availability: For systems requiring continuous operation, establish 24×7 support coverage to address critical incidents and outages promptly.
    • Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Define SLAs that outline response times, resolutions, and escalation, as well as alignment on budget and resources for ongoing support and maintenance.

By following these processes and staying proactive in your support and maintenance efforts, you can feel comfortable about the long-term success of your Dynamics 365 CE and F&O systems and maximize their value to your organization.

Case study

I’ve not given just a generic list of key areas to consider for your Dynamics 365 support and maintenance, but these are the actual areas that Celsior Technologies uses with clients.  An example of a client with whom we used these processes is a major wholesale logistics and warehouse company.

The company had completed implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Advanced Warehousing but was struggling to provide end-user support due to the high cost of top-quality, in-house resources.  A particular concern was keeping the platform and custom integrations operational through ongoing maintenance releases.  The environment included over 10 critical integrations with third-party systems. This was a complex support engagement in which​ even small problems could have large negative ramifications, resulting in loss of revenue and reputation.​

Celsior took responsibility for the Dynamics 365 platform, integration release testing, upgrades, and support. Our support solution covered approximately 300 Dynamics users with a 24×7 global production support model.  We provided 15-minute response time for P1 and P2 issues and a 1-hour resolution time for P1 and 3-hour resolution time for P2.

Support was provided using a L1/L2/L3 model with the company providing the L1/L1.5 service desk and Celsior providing L2 and L3 functional and technical support.

As a result, the aggressive, business-aligned SLOs were achieved, and productivity was enhanced.  Internal user experience was improved, and internal IT staff were able to better focus on other strategic priorities.

 

Conclusion

Support and maintenance of your Dynamics 365 environment is critical. The process of understanding business goals, creating a support team, monitoring the environment, managing change, and maintenance/support can help ensure that the value you want from Dynamics 365 is realized for your users and your business.

About the Author

Jyotsna Vanapalli
Celsior Technologies®

 

Read other blogs of the series:

Optimizing Your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Implementation & Maintenance Environment

Why is test automation critical to successful Dynamics 365 upgrades?

Lowering your Anxiety over Microsoft Dynamics 365 Upgrades

Optimizing Your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Implementation & Maintenance Environment

Why is test automation critical to successful Dynamics 365 upgrades?

How to decide which framework suits best for Dynamics 365

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