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‘Digital Transformation’ is the most used buzzword since the time of COVID and there are multiple means and ways in which digital transformations have been carried out. However, the core of the digital transformation process is to change how the organization operates and delivers value to their end customers. In this process organizations expect to achieve significant long term cost savings, better business outcomes, quicker go-live cycles and happier customer experience. For many organizations, adoption of modern technology may provide them the flexibility to improve the way they operate and thereby impact the business outcomes, ultimately delivering better value to their customers. With this background, when we look at any organization, the core area of operations revolves around Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) – integrating both to bring in a level of efficiency and effectiveness that would provide them with a significant head start in their digital transformation journey. To summarize, digital transformation is being viewed as the integration of digital technology into all areas of core business.

MS Dynamics 365 provides CRM and ERP solutions on the MS Azure cloud, which in turn provides corporations a means to manage Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Operations and Resource Planning effectively. Today, MS Dynamics 365 is one of the top business application providers and almost every large, medium and small sized organization has some flavour of MS Dynamics CRM being implemented or adopted.

Dynamics 365 business applications help organizations to digitally transform their organization by removing the complexity of separate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) systems and by creating modern, modular business applications that work together on a single platform. These applications give organizations the flexibility to adopt technology as and when they need it, ultimately improving business outcomes.

While there have been rapid adoptions to MS Dynamics 365, from a testing standpoint, there are several challenges to overcome while testing a customized MS Dynamic 365 CRM implementation. This write up attempts to enlist those challenges.

(a) Customization

Not every MS Dynamics 365 CRM implementation remains the same. Some amount of customization is required for any implementation to define entities, attributes, views, forms, basic functions, plugins and business process flows. MS Dynamics 365 CRM finds its use across diverse sectors and industries to do prospects/leads management, customer data management, field force management, inventory management, billing and finance operations and improve collaboration amongst departments.

MS Dynamics 365 CRM applications also alleviates efforts required for test design due to its common set of functionalities designed for any forms, views, entities. Sometimes it is challenging for the testers to provide vast coverage of the quick create fields & flow modifications when implemented in multiple forms and entities; which leads to increased test efforts in test execution. Also, the amount of customization directly impacts the user experience where user is forced to use certain pre-defined functions during navigation and hence workaround has to be prepared.

A thorough End-to-End testing ensures that all the functionalities are fully equipped to meet customer expectations, provide seamless user experience and there by improve organisational efficiency. It will remove any deviations/defects (if present) which arises while customizing the application as per one’s needs.

(b) Migration

There are many open source CRM solutions that the SMB segments use, and as and when they grow big, they realize that the scale of operations cannot be managed by these open source CRM solutions. At this point in time, they make a decision to migrate to MS Dynamics 365 solution. Validation of data migration is one of the most challenging aspects in any software – as this involves validation of data types for consistency, source-destination accuracy, basic CRUD operations, data mapping, ability to extract data and meaningful error messages in the event data is not available.

(c) Updates

Just like any other standard software product, MS Dynamics 365 undergoes periodic updates both from a security as well as from a functionality stand point. Post every critical update, it is important to carry out a series of regression testing for the implementation in order to avoid any breakage in the system.

(d) Integration with external systems

Usually, many organizations have other software (like document repositories, messaging systems, mail communication management) for managing the day to day operations. It is important that a core packaged software like MS Dynamics 365 is able to integrate with these popular products to provide a two-way communication as well as to collaborate. Given the fact that the MS eco system has most of these products, there are out of the box integrations available between these systems, and it is much easier to test. However, when there is a custom built application that has this need, integration and subsequent testing could become a little complex.

An application does not stop with development and implementation alone. It needs to be tested for a workflow with all the essential functionalities and anticipated loads and bandwidths. The testing phase does not refrain to pre-release stage alone, but continues well into the post roll-out phase where frequent update patches are tested to ensure that everything is ‘business as usual’. MS Dynamics 365 CRM applications need to be tested from the user perspective as well as the backend API. Its functionalities, performance, security, mobile adaptability, data management and migration must be put to rigorous test by experienced professionals for the end customer to fully reap the harvest (experience and utilisation) on their customised MS Dynamics 365 CRM application.