About the Client

The client is a provider of financial electronic commerce services and products. Its solutions power electronic billing and payment, while automating financial transactions and streamlining regulatory reporting. The client’s solution portfolio includes a membership software solution for the health and fitness club industry.

Business Challenge

The client was running a legacy Microsoft CRM version 1.1 implementation that was extensively used to manage their sales and customer support operations. Apart from the out-of-the-box features for managing sales and customer support, the system had been customized to handle in-house fulfillment and implementation tasks. The client wanted to upgrade this system to the new Dynamics CRM version 3.0. A key driver was that Microsoft had already declared CRM version 1.1 as a sunset product and was about to withdraw official support for it.

Any modifications in the customer relationship management (CRM) system, which was the backbone of the business unit, would have a major impact on daily activities in sales and customer support. Operations in the entire unit risked coming to a standstill if the unsupported legacy system faced any disruption. The entire business unit depended on this system; therefore, the upgrade needed to be performed with minimal downtime.  Further, the client’s business unit was actively expanding its employee base and it had become imperative to enhance the scalability of the CRM system.

Business unit specific customizations would also need to be migrated to the new system. The customizations in the current system included:

  • Custom application implementation for Operations
  • Third-party integration for geo-coding of addresses
  • Support for telephony integration
  • Customization to maintain the internal defect tracking system
  • Customized task management system to maintain workflow specific to the business unit

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Silicus Solution

The client selected Silicus to upgrade its legacy CRM system, based on Silicus’ extensive experience in Microsoft Dynamics CRM consulting and implementation and its expertise in working with Microsoft technologies. Silicus consultants evaluated the technical and functional requirements to develop and implement a migration plan designed to minimize the impact on business activities.

A parallel CRM environment was built from scratch with a much more powerful and scalable infrastructure. This was done by studying and identifying the server hardware requirements that would be adequate for future scalability. The parallel environment approach enabled the business unit to continue operations without any interference caused by the upgrade process.

An extensible Entity Model to customize and extend application data was widely used in the customization work in the old system. The CRM Entity Model and customizations were carefully upgraded in a step-by-step manner. The customizations were exported from the legacy version and imported to the new system.  The old CRM in-memory API calls were replaced with the new CRM 3.0 web service APIs. The core business logic components were upgraded to efficiently make use of the new CRM execution pipeline (Post-Callout and Pre-Callout model)

Based on Microsoft best practices, intrinsic tools including Deployment manager and CRM migration wizard were used to perform critical migration steps. A well-known third-party data integration tool (Scribe) was used to perform migration of the critical CRM data.

Existing users were trained on the parallel environment to familiarize them with the new interface. Further, the parallel environment allowed for several dry runs to test functionality before the actual cutover date for upgrade. This allowed the deployment team to limit the final upgrade process to a smaller and manageable duration. The final upgrade was completed within the scheduled application maintenance hours with minimal system downtime.

Technologies Used

Language
Language

C#, VB.NET, Javascript

Platforms
Platform

Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 R2

Database
Database

SQL Server 2005

Development
Development

Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio 2010

3rd Party Integrations
3rd Party Integrations

Geo-code integration with leading web based Address Geo-code provider, Telephony integration with in-house telephone exchange system

Web Server
Web Server

IIS 6.0, IIS 7.0

Frameworks
Frameworks

Net Framework 2.0, Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5, MSMQ

web Technologies
Web Technologies

ASP.NET 2.0, ASP.NET 3.5

Packages/Applications
Packages/Applications

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0

3rd Party Integrations
Tools/Libraries

Infragistics, Scribe Insight

Builds And Release
Builds And Release

Team Foundation Server 2005

3rd Party Integrations
Project Management

Microsoft Project

Reporting
Reporting

Crystal Reports, SQL Server Reporting Services

Client Benefits

Seamless Migration

It was critical that sales and customer support operations not be impacted by the migration to the new version. Silicus’ parallel environment approach and project methodology ensured that there was minimal downtime during the upgrade and that no critical data was lost during migration. End-user training and thorough testing through dry runs made sure that the client was able to upgrade seamlessly to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 without loss of productivity and functionality.

Platform Modernization

The enhanced features and scalability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 were essential for the client to continue to expand the business unit. It was able to incorporate all of the business functionality and custom features present in the legacy system into its new CRM system; while upgrading to a powerful architecture capable of scaling for future growth.

Time Bound Delivery

Silicus completed the CRM migration within the cut-off date specified by the client. The client upgraded its CRM system within a short timeframe that enabled continued growth of its business without the limitations imposed by legacy systems.

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