How Microsoft Dynamics 365 Emerged as the IT Backbone of INSYNC

At the beginning of 2020, Covid-19 had given many of us the challenge to survive with the new normal. Many had to run the business and office remotely as the only option. This surely gave an ultimate boost to many IT projects which were previously either crawling or never born. INSYNC was no exception to this. As you know, every standard organization has the need for computerization for making their business process efficient and sustainable in this information age. In INSYNC also, to run the business, we used many software solutions for ticket management, customer relationship management, project management, chatting, voice & video conferencing, invoicing, accounting, product & service management, reporting, and whatnot! At the same time, there were various challenges and pains around these solutions too. First of all, these solutions were mostly disconnected, and overall, this was not a cost-effective approach either.

The New Beginning – Need for Dynamics 365 CRM Implementation

Being a Microsoft Partner, we always had an option to switch to a better and more integrated Business Solution from Microsoft. For a long time now, we have been enabling our customers around Dynamics successfully. Initially, we had some experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for our internal usage too. However, our internal experience was not so great at that time due to solution fitment issues. That is why maybe we were not aggressive enough to implement it for us again. Nevertheless, again we started talking/exploring Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM (D365) implementation in December 2017 for our internal purposes with new hopes. But as usual, the need was not as strong as what happened after the lockdown declaration in India. Eventually being connected with the business remotely more became the highest priority. A pure cloud, SaaS, and centralized solution for an organization like INSYNC became mandatory. Thus, after hanging around for more than 2 years, Covid-19 created a do-or-die situation for our internal Dynamics 365 implementation. Becoming more agile and responsive in this situation was one of the key requirements which we had to fulfill with this implementation.

I, Narottam Das, who spent almost two decades in IT with line-of-business (LOB) applications, seemed to be the perfect fit to take this challenge in the eyes of INSYNC management. Mr. Atul Gupta, CEO – INSYNC, had a clear and firm vision for this implementation and confidence in my work. Dynamics 365 implementation was comparatively new to me, and I had to do such a deep implementation after a long gap in hands-on implementation in my career. So, initially, it was a bit worrisome for me. I was in a dilemma of how to cope-up with this enterprise-level solution implementation from home in the lockdown! Frankly speaking, my job appeared to be at stake! Nevertheless, there were no other options other than facing it boldly.

If you want to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM into your business, please feel free to connect with us. Also, if you have multiple systems running in your business, connect all of them under one single platform to automate the process!

Overcoming the Challenges

Initially, we made the plans and deadlines of various migrations from the existing discrete systems to the one central system – D365. With my team, I worked hard day and night, extended hours even on weekends and holidays. Finally, I drove this implementation to a success story, and how I did it is going to be an interesting read next.
Firstly, I am grateful to everyone who helped me make our CRM implementation a success. I should mention the immense help of Google-like search engines and the LOB tech forums over the internet to become successful in this endeavor. Our IT department, especially Milan Dan, was a great help too in managing the cloud part (Microsoft Azure) of this solution. However, without sincere users, any LOB app implementation is meaningless and a sure-shot failure. So, the final credit of this success goes to the users and our entire team of the D365 CRM+ Solution.

In the automation part, I must mention we have developed more than 350+ Power Automate Flows to date and we are still adding more. Microsoft recently migrated their traditional or the classic workflow to Power Automate Flows for their ARC (Automatic Record Creation) engine. But that introduced some bugs initially in that engine, and we were stuck with that as soon as we migrated from Freshdesk to D365. We were in huge trouble in getting the support tickets from our partners and customers in CRM and serving them in time. We required some fixing overnight, unfortunately, the Microsoft team too could not help us much. So, to overcome that situation and to create the cases (i.e. the support tickets) automatically in CRM, I had to rebuild the entire ARC engine using multiple and interconnected Power Automate Flows. And that has been working almost flawlessly for many months now. I appreciate our customer success team for bearing the pain in this trouble with me and giving me the time for the workaround in this crisis.

Like ARC, junk and temporary log data removal had also become crucial in our implementation once. By then our CRM usage was at its peak, most of the departments started working on it full-fledged. One day we observed that our D365 database size was increasing by leaps and bounds, and there was no clue how to reduce the size. Here I thank Microsoft Support Team for giving us all the ideas to clean up the junk and temporary log data from our database along with the required automation so that the database is cleaned automatically at certain intervals.

We have also used automation to avoid too many system migrations at a time. For a temporary basis, we have set up the sync of D365 with some of our legacy systems so that we can keep them as it is for now and migrate them later. With this, the users can get the required data from CRM in their legacy system to continue their day-to-day work until we migrate them fully to our CRM system. One such system is our payment tracking Excel program where the account data or the customer and partner data is being populated and validated against the users’ input in the Excel automatically.

We also required a chatbot as well to make customer and partner support services better on CRM. So, we explored and tried to build a chatting solution around D365 for that too. Our development team has worked hard on this, and we are still in the search of better chatbot automation and omnichannel experience.

The Final Words

Implementation of any line-of-business application ideally ends up with reports and data analytics requirements to fulfill for the target business or organization. And this implementation is also no exception. So, I already started working on data visualization as much as possible in parallel with other ongoing works. Despite users’ continuous demand for advanced reporting tools like Power BI, I find the inbuilt charts and dashboard in D365 are good to start with. It can fulfill many of the data analytics needs of the business without investing much development effort. Hence, now I am in the process of convincing and training the users for the efficient use of the charts and dashboards of D365.

Implementation projects may end as per the initial scope we define and the contracts we sign. However, the process of adding new features and improving the implemented feature along with user support is a never-ending process. The same for this implementation too. Now we are trying to complete the recurring invoice and subscription features. We are trying to leverage the entitlement feature of D365 with some customizations and Power Automate Flows to accomplish it. Frankly speaking, this could not be that much challenging if we would have a smaller set of invoice data. But the huge amount of invoice data that we have migrated from Zoho Invoice is a real challenge to handle. No doubt this data migration was done successfully by one of our expert team members, Koushik Dey, however, the structure of the legacy data in the Zoho Invoice was a bit different than we need in the current system for the recurring invoice and subscription automation. I appreciate his contribution to the ETL process while migrating data. Anyways, we are in the process of handling it and gradually automating things part by part for this function. We are confident that we will be successful in this along with any other future requirements like deeper integration with LinkedIn, Leadfeeder, BuiltWith, and more as well.

That is why when I have solutions like Dynamics 365 CRM, I say – “You give me the time, I’ll give you the feature.”

If you want to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM into your business, please feel free to connect with us. Also, if you have multiple systems running in your business, connect all of them under one single platform to automate the process!

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