Delivering a future-proof cloud strategy by upgrading Microsoft Dynamics CRM

“Incremental have got excellent technical know-how and we had really good collaborative working between us all. I’ve certainly been pleased with the results and proud to be part of this project. It shows how we can work in partnership with another organisation and get it right.”

Gordon Pearson, Project Manager, Mencap

Established in 1946, Mencap is the leading voice of learning disability. Mencap’s vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included.

With an annual income of £190 million, around 7000 staff and a network of over 400 local groups, Mencap provides advice and support to people across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. It is also instrumental in developing national policy and campaigning to see changes in government and society.

Migrating a complex HR system

Mencap used Microsoft Dynamics to manage many of its back office systems. The HR Workload Accelerator for Dynamics CRM that it used was however an old version. The need to upgrade gave Mencap the opportunity to review its options in line with its IT strategy. Gordon Pearson, Project Manager at Mencap, explained, “Our IT strategy is to move away from in-house ‘tin and box’ based servers to online, in the cloud. In the context of the bigger picture this project seemed like a quick win and a good way to demonstrate to our staff how to move one of our many CRM solutions into the cloud.”

As part of the move to implement a primarily cloud strategy, Mencap had researched the range of cloud services provided by Microsoft, including Office 365 which had recently been deployed. Mencap needed the upgrade to include all of the specific modifications that had been made to its current system. The project was complicated because the old version of CRM was going to have to go through a complex, triple hop upgrade.

As a charity Mencap had to ensure that a project of this sort gave it the best balance of cost, within the charity’s strict budget, against a return that would give it a long term solution for managing its staff and volunteers.

"This project seemed like a quick win and a good way to demonstrate to our staff how to move one of our many CRM solutions into the cloud."

Upgrading to a future-proof solution

Mencap had already invested considerable time and effort to make the HR Workload Accelerator for Dynamics CRM tailored for its needs. Working with Incremental in the past, the original solution had delivered the framework for managing Mencap employees and HR processes on the Dynamics CRM platform. This best of breed HR service efficiently offered tiers of support – from general enquiries, through to subject matter experts and into specialist HR support.

Understandably, Mencap wanted to protect the integrity of its HR system throughout the upgrade process, but also recognised the significant reduction in infrastructure and support costs that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online could offer. Gordon Pearson, Project Manager, Medcap said “We already had a good HR system which we didn’t want to change, so this was basically a like-for-like version upgrade coupled with a migration to cloud.”

The existing system was complex, incorporating many tailored modifications which had to work in the new system, so the project required hard work and detailed technical know-how. A core competency of Incremental is its extensive upgrade and cloud expertise. Incremental were also the first UK partner to achieve Microsoft’s Gold Cloud CRM competency, all of which helped Mencap’s tansition to cloud.

Mencap worked closely with Incremental through a structured project plan and open communication to ensure all stakeholders were engaged and any issues identified and quickly resolved. Close collaboration, coupled with Incremental’s technical knowledge of multiple hop upgrades, and extensive testing, all ensured the project went smoothly with very few issues when it went live.

Sticking to an on premise solution can seem like a safe option but Mencap, like many not-for-profit organisations, recognised the benefits of a cloud strategy. These include: reduced in-house maintenance, cost effective upgrades, security and support. Mencap’s requirement to upgrade its existing solution gave it the perfect opportunity to migrate to cloud and upgrade at the same time. The new system gives Mencap a strong, future-proof platform to build on.

"Incremental have got excellent technical know-how and we had really good collaborative working between us all. I’ve certainly been pleased with the results and proud to be part of this project. It shows how we can work in partnership with another organisation and get it right.”

A range of benefits generated from upgrading

  • Efficiencies achieved – Mencap no longer has to support or purchase in house servers, freeing up physical IT resources and staff.
  • Upgrade with full functionality – The HR Workload Accelerator for Dynamics CRM has been brought onto the latest version while maintaining all key functionality. Being a cloud solution ensures that Mencap will always be on the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
  • Future proof Cloud strategy – The migration to cloud meets Mencap’s IT strategy and gives numerous benefits for future improvements, with integration to Office 365 applications and tools. Godon Pearson said – “It opens up a whole array of collaboration with SharePoint document management, intranet, calendars, Outlook, and mobile working.”
  • Ongoing cost management – Future costs are clear and predictable. Also, as a not for profit customer, Mencap benefits from a reduced monthly cost for their CRM Online service (circa 30% of standard Microsoft RRP).

“It opens up a whole array of collaboration".

The first step in a planned transition

Mencap’s project has demonstrated that the organisation can upgrade and migrate to a cloud solution in a smooth, managed manner. This has given the company confidence for future migrations.

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