Implementing a new sales system like Dynamics 365 is an exciting project, but also raises questions about timing.
- How long does it take to get fully up and running?
- What phases are involved?
Let’s take a look at the typical timelines and considerations for rolling out Dynamics 365 sales.
The main phases of implementation
A standard Dynamics 365 implementation will move through these high-level phases:
- Planning and setup – We’ll work together to gather business requirements, configure security roles and access levels, establish any required integrations, and procure necessary licenses. We need your team engaged in planning sessions and prompt decisions on configuration options.
- Configuration and customisation – We’ll collaborate closely to configure settings, workflows, forms, fields and other components to match your team’s processes.
- Prototyping – We’ll build and then demonstrate prototypes to you at crucial stages in the design process. To stay on time, we’ll need your timely feedback on each iteration as we work.
- Data import – Existing contact and account data will need to be migrated into the new CRM system. You’ll need to provide your data in a compatible format for import.
- Testing and validation – The system needs comprehensive testing to be sure of a successful launch. We’ll need access to your team for user acceptance testing, bug verification, and signoff on readiness.
- Training – Hands-on training will teach your salespeople and staff how best to use the system.
- Deployment – We’ll oversee the cutover as Dynamics 365 becomes your the official system across your organisation. Minimal downtime depends on cooperation from your IT team on the transition.
Prototyping – Here’s how our prototyping process works
We encourage changes to the system as the project progresses. That’s why we develop prototypes along the way – so you can provide input as we build your new system.
Each prototype covers:
- Analysis of your business processes, existing systems and documents, and data
- Design of your new system and changing how it will work to both fit your business and adopt best practice
- Building / configuring your new system
- Testing your new system to make sure it works as intended
- Thorough documentation of your system as part of our quality standards and to ensure another member of the team could pick up the work if needed
- The above steps need to be completed for each of the functions we are covering e.g. sales, service, marketing, order processing, and so on.
The timeline depends on your business and its needs
The duration of each phase, and overall time taken, will vary significantly based on factors like:
- Business size and complexity – More data, users, locations lengthen timelines. Simpler businesses can move faster.
- Integrations and customisations – The more complex the requirements, the longer to implement.
- Training approach – Classroom training takes more coordination than self-paced online.
- Data migration – Starting with empty data speeds things up vs migrating years of legacy data.
- Rollout model – A phased rollout across regions/teams takes longer than a single cutover.
What can you do to prepare?
While your implementation partner will guide you on each step, here are important ways you can get your company ready for a smooth and efficient rollout:
- Clean up legacy data – Review old data and contacts and remove redundancies. This reduces import time.
- Set executive mandates – Issue top-down decrees for user adoption and project cooperation.
- Identify subject matter experts – Appoint knowledgeable personnel to make prompt configuration decisions.
- Involve your IT team – Get IT aligned early to prep security, access, and integrations.
- Free up project resources – Ensure staff have sufficient time for design workshops and testing.
- Schedule training time – Book times and require attendance for user training.
- Communicate rollout benefits – Sell the new solution’s advantages to build enthusiasm.
- Plan for process changes – Document new workflows and processes for training material.
Your readiness affects timings
Readiness and responsiveness impacts project timelines. This includes:
- Availability for planning – Delayed or missed planning meetings slow progress. We need engaged participation.
- Speed of feedback – Slow feedback on configurations being built extends timelines. We’ll need quick review and signoff.
- Urgent change requests – Late changes reset progress. We need discipline to limit scope creep.
- Adding tools/integrations – New systems not in original scope require extra work and customisations. Limit changes to stay on track.
- Scheduling training – Delayed or fractured training slows adoption.
Customer subject matter experts
Your organisation’s appointed subject matter experts (SMEs) must be knowledgeable about your processes and requirements in order to make timely decisions. SMEs need:
- Adequate training and preparation to make configuration decisions
- Availability for frequent meetings and questions
- Mandate and authority for final signoff on configurations
- Responsiveness to avoid holding up development
- Understanding of the desired end-state processes and workflows
Having empowered and responsive SMEs is crucial for an efficient, on-time implementation. We recommend identifying them early in the project.
Typical project duration
So, considering all the variables, what is the typical implementation time for Dynamics 365?
Some general guidance:
- Basic MVP setup – 2-4 weeks if scope is extremely contained.
- Small-size company – Around 3-5 months for a straightforward implementation.
- Mid sized company – Often 6-12+ months for larger deployments with extensive custom needs.
- Ongoing optimisation – Plan for continued incremental enhancements after launch and change management for long-term adoption.