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Is your system ready for a CRM upgrade? Let us help! PowerObjects frequently assists clients with upgrading across many versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In today’s post, we’ll discuss items to consider in common upgrade scenarios and what you can do to prepare for an upgrade.

tips-and-tricks

Quick Reference Upgrade Guide

We know you’re busy. We’ve gone into detail below, but here’s a quick cheat sheet for what you’ll need to think about when upgrading your CRM system.

Going To

Coming From

CRM 2011

CRM 2013

CRM 2015

CRM 4.0Rework needed Javascript
Replace Plug-ins
Update Service Endpoints
Replace use of ISV folder
Test Custom Reports
Rework needed Javascript
Replace Plug-ins
Update Service Endpoints
Replace use of ISV folder
Test Custom Reports
Rework needed Javascript
Replace Plug-ins
Update Service Endpoints
Replace use of ISV folder
Test Custom Reports
CRM 2011n/aCustom Code Validation Tool for 2013

Deprecated Javascript

Legacy Feature Check (on prem only)

Deprecated Endpoints

ISV Folder Use

Deprecated Plug-ins

Test Custom Reports (on prem only)

Custom Code Validation Tool for 2013

Deprecated Javascript

Legacy Feature Check (on prem only)

Deprecated Endpoints

ISV Folder Use

Deprecated Plug-ins

Test Custom Reports (on prem only)

CRM 2013n/an/aCustom Code Validation Tool for 2015

Deprecated Javascript

CRM 2015n/an/aCustom Code Validation Tool for 2015

Deprecated Javascript

 

Multi-Version CRM Upgrade

It’s important to note that CRM does not support skipping versions. A client who is running CRM 4.0 in production will need to have their database upgraded to CRM 2011, and then to CRM 2013 before the database can be upgraded to CRM 2015.

To accomplish this, we set up temporary pass through servers for each intermediate version strictly for the purpose of running the upgrade process. These temporary, pass through deployments are then discarded after the final, production upgrade has been completed. The items below need to be prepared for the final version.

Items to Check

The upgrade process that is run by the CRM server covers upgrading your CRM database, your customizations including your forms, fields (attributes), views (including personal views), reports, workflows, as well as your CRM data. It’s the items that extend CRM that we need to consider while planning an upgrade.

JavaScript

Most CRM deployments have been extended through the use of JavaScript on the forms, so this topic applies to most companies wishing to upgrade CRM.

CRM 4.0

Microsoft deprecated the use of the CRM 4.0 JavaScript support starting with CRM 2013. For this reason, plan on reviewing your current JavaScript with the intent of updating it and/or replacing functions with out of the box features introduced in the new version. Many of the more simple JavaScript used for CRM 4.0 can be replaced with Business Rules or Real Time Workflow. Through a simple internet search, one could find non-Microsoft tools available which will extract JavaScript from your customizations file export to an easy to review file.

CRM 2011

Microsoft offered some backward support for CRM 4.0 JavaScript with CRM 2011, and many clients took an “If it didn’t break, don’t update it” approach to their JavaScript in 2011. Beyond 2011, the legacy support has been dropped.

Microsoft has provided a solution file called the Custom Code Validation Tool which will assist you in reviewing your Web Resources for support in CRM 2013 and in CRM 2015. Even if your CRM 2011 deployment was updated to the newer JavaScript, some functions were deprecated with the new versions, so it’s a good idea to run it anyway. Please check out How to Run the Custom Code Validation Tool and how to read the results. The tool is available to download from Microsoft.

CRM 2013

If you’re running CRM 2013 without error, your JavaScript is probably up to date, but there are some deprecated methods that have been removed from support. Please see How to Run the Custom Code Validation Tool to see how your web resources stack up!

Plug-ins/ISV Folder

Plug-ins extend CRM through the use of code to perform tasks that are not part of the out of the box experience. Plug-ins are can be delivered through ISV solutions, or they can be custom written for your organization. We run into custom workflow plug-ins most frequently.

CRM 4.0

Microsoft deprecated support for custom code used with CRM 4.0 starting in CRM 2011 and enforced the change in CRM 2013. For this reason, your plug-ins will need to be updated. If you obtained your plug-in through an ISV, request the version that supports the version of CRM you’re moving to. Plug-ins that were custom written for your organization will need to be rewritten for your new CRM version, but first check to see if the plug-in’s purpose has been built in as a new out of the box feature of the new version.

If custom workflow plug-ins are in use, they will need to be addressed by removing them from the Workflow design and replacing them with out of the box actions, or a supported version of the plug-in. Note that waiting workflow that rely upon legacy workflow plug-ins will either need to be completed or cancelled for the production upgrade.

Use the Plug-in Registration Tool to identify plug-ins for your CRM 4.0 organization.

Microsoft has dropped support for the ISV folder. Items deployed to the ISV folder need to be reworked as Web Resources within CRM. CRM 4.0 customers can check the ISV folder on their CRM web server for items.

CRM 2011

Microsoft has developed a tool to test your CRM organization for the use of unsupported plug-ins. The Legacy Feature Check is a self-contained executable that is run on your CRM web server. We’ve prepared detailed instructions about running this tool and reading the output. If legacy (CRM 4.0) plug-ins are found they will need to be replaced or retired in favor of out of the box features.

If custom workflow plug-ins are in use, they will need to be addressed by removing them from the Workflow design and replacing them with out of the box actions, or a supported version of the plug-in. Note that waiting workflow that rely upon legacy workflow plug-ins will either need to be completed or cancelled for the production upgrade.

Microsoft has dropped support for the ISV folder. Items deployed to the ISV folder need to be reworked as Web Resources within CRM. The Legacy Feature Check tool will check the ISV folder for items.

Integrations

Integrations are used to send data between CRM and another system. The other system could be just about anything, but most often we see integrations with ERP systems or websites. The integration may use an integration engine like Scribe, SSIS, KingswaySoft or it will use the web service endpoints of CRM.

CRM 4.0

The service endpoints used with CRM 4.0 have changed, so for this reason integrations will need to be updated. This may be as simple as upgrading Scribe and adding the latest CRM adapter, or it may be more involved and require some coding.

Due to changes to the database schema, integrations need to be tested before the production upgrade to verify that they will work. There are no tools to identify integrations. Thankfully most clients know when integrations are in use.

Consider switching to PowerWebForm for adding your website form submissions to CRM!

CRM 2011

Microsoft dropped support for the legacy service endpoints with CRM 2013, so integrations will need to be tested against the new endpoints. If an integration engine is in use, updated adapters will need to be added and tested. Custom integrations should be tested to see if the table merge had any negative impact.

Custom Reports

All Versions, On Prem Only

Be sure to test all of your custom reports during your upgrade testing. Microsoft has made changes to the database schema. Reports that were delivered in a supported fashion will upgrade without incident, however reports that use custom data sources and data sets will need to be tested.

Hopefully we’ve helped to take some of the mystery out of the upgrade process, and you’re now prepared to review your CRM organization for an upgrade. If you want additional help with your upgrade, consider signing up for one of our CRM upgrade training courses.

Happy upgrading!

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JoeCRM

Joe CRM is a CRM superhero who runs on pure Microsoft Dynamics CRM adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe CRM’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics CRM and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.