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How Long Should Your Dynamics 365 Implementation Take?

Implementing Dynamics 365 can be a major undertaking, but how long should it take?

As with some Dynamics 365 implementation services, I’m often asked this question by clients eager to get up and running quickly.

The answer depends on many factors, but I’ll provide general timeframes and tips to keep your implementation on track in this article.

The typical Dynamics 365 implementation takes between 3-9 months from project kickoff to go live.

However, I’ve seen implementations range from as short as 6 weeks for a basic CRM rollout to over a year for a global enterprise-wide deployment.

Factors That Influence Implementation Timeframes

Several key factors determine how long your Dynamics 365 implementation will take:

  • Number of apps/modules – Are you implementing the entire Dynamics 365 suite or just Sales? More apps equals more requirements, configurations, integrations, testing, and training.
  • Customization level – Out-of-the-box vs. highly customized with new entities, workflows, and code extensions. Customizations add dev time.
  • Data migration – Volume of data to migrate and a number of legacy systems to integrate. Plan for ETL development and testing.
  • Change management – Training and preparing thousands of global users takes longer than tens of local users.
  • Integration needs – The more systems to integrate, the more effort for APIs or connectors.
  • Testing rigor – Thorough UAT testing with business users takes longer but reduces bugs.

Best Practices For a Successful Implementation

Based on my experience, here are some tips to keep your Dynamics 365 deployment on schedule:

  • Gather requirements upfront – Conduct workshops with stakeholders to fully understand needs before design and development begin. This prevents delays from changing scope.
  • Prioritize configurations – Focus first on critical business processes, then phase in non-essential items later.
  • Involve users early – Key superusers should validate configurations and test cases, not just sign off at the end.
  • Automate testing – Use testing tools like Selenium to validate builds and reduce manual testing time quickly.
  • Stagger training – Deliver training in chunks throughout the project, not all at the end. This allows users to provide feedback.
  • Manage expectations – Set realistic expectations on timeline and scope. Communicate risks and tradeoffs of customizations.

Typical Project Plan Milestones

Below is an example high-level timeline for a standard Dynamics 365 Finance and SCM implementation:

  • Planning (Weeks 1-4) – Requirements, scoping, solution design, project planning
  • Configuration (Weeks 5-14) – Dynamics 365 setup, user interface design, integration development, initial data migration
  • Testing (Weeks 15-18) – Build testing, UAT with business users, bug fixes
  • Training (Weeks 18-20) – Administrator training, end-user training, documentation
  • Deployment (Weeks 20-24) – Final data migration, go-live preparation, support during production cutover

Of course, every project is unique, but this gives a general idea of the phases and milestones in a typical implementation spanning 5-6 months.

Dynamics 365 implementation services

Plan Ahead and Set Expectations

Dynamics 365 deployments involve many moving pieces requiring careful planning and coordination to stay on track.

Be sure to set clear expectations upfront on the timeline and scope to avoid delays and confusion.

Reach out to an experienced Dynamics 365 implementation services provider if you need help developing accelerators and templates to make the process smooth and efficient. With the right preparation, your Dynamics 365 go-live will be a success.

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