Are you considering moving from CRM On Premise to CRM Online? We can help, here are considerations for getting it done:


  • Custom fields, forms, views, dashboards, and business process flows can be moved to online via the solution export/import process assuming the version of the on premise CRM close enough to the current version online. Right now CRM 2016 and later should be able to move customizations to online. However, this does not include objects added in managed solutions (see below). If the CRM version is older than 2016 then it may be required to manually recreate customization which can be time consuming based on how much needs to be done.
  • Standard CRM workflows can be moved to online via the solution export/import process as well, but will need to be reviewed. Because data is not copied in the workflow, some fields may need to be updated (like to make sure the user account is correct when sending an email). The workflow engine is unchanged so most workflows should be able to be migrated. Sometimes workflows use plugins (see below) and those will need to be reviewed and tested to make sure they are working properly.
  • Reports can be moved to online via the solution export/import process as well, but will need to be reviewed. An on premise report can use direct SQL request to gather its data but online reports will not allow SQL and instead require FetchXML instead. FetchXML is more limiting on the query building and also has a cap on the number of records which can be returned (approx 4000 rows can be returned). So some reports may need to be reworked.
  • Managed solutions cannot directly move over, they need to be re-installed in the online CRM through the MS AppSource or from the original vendor. An example an managed solutions would be Click Dimensions and the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Also note that you will have to get these licensed as necessary. If your on managed solution is significantly out of date, there can be difficulty in migrating data related to it.
  • Plugins which are not part of managed solutions – which are typically custom developed – are sometimes moveable but if there is any problems then the original source code would be needed to fix, or the plugin will have to be recreated from scratch. So if you had a developer build some plugins for you, you will want to get in contact with them to help get the source code upgraded or at least provide the source code so it can be updated.

User Accounts / Logins & Security

Users are not directly migrated over. Each user will need to be set up in the CRM online tenant – usually as a O365 user – and assigned a license to CRM. When a user is assigned a CRM online license, the user will automatically be created in the CRM online tenant. However it will be with a new internal ID and no security settings. So security roles have to be either copied or recreated and also assigned to users. The main nuissance is in historical CRM data. Lets say you have had CRM on premise for some years, and employees have come and gone. CRM on premise will still have those user accounts in it and may have old historical records – like emails and accounts still recorded for this past employee. When migrating to CRM online, you may not want to create a user account for this past employee. There are two basic ways to deal with it:

  1. Create the user in O365, set them up security-wise in CRM, but then remove their CRM license. Then the user record will exist in CRM online but the user cannot actually access CRM.
  2. Create a plan to consolidate past employees to a single user (like an admin). This may lose historical accuracy and traceability.


  1. What data needs to be migrated? Some customers want a chance to clean the data up before it reaches the new online environment. Some customers want only some set of tables or areas. This needs to be well defined.
  2. Amount of data will define a few things. First the more data there is the longer it will take to migrate. So a small to medium amount of data could get migrated over a weekend, but a database that is ~20GB and up may take more time. Moving the data from on premise to online takes time. Second, your CRM online license only allows for so much storage space. Going above that storage space limit will cause additional fees. CRM storage space is not cheap. I’ve found that most excessive storage space is found in email attachments and file attachments on notes. Think about pruning files, or looking into a 3rd party tool to files into a Sharepoint instance (which is much cheaper per GB).
  3. How the data is migrated? The built-in CSV/Excel import tool is NOT good enough unless you are only moving accounts and contacts. There is not a direct “upgrade” or “bulk upload” process to move the data. As a developer I’ve written a set of scripts to transfer data through the CRM APIs – adjusting the scripts for each customer to deal with custom fields and tables. This allows me to remap users, apply filters, and have the most control on what goes over. It is more accurate to use a developer’s script or a 3rd party tool to get this done. This can take some time to get all the scripts written and tested. Have a good plan on what data needs to be migrated will help.
  4. What data is lost? A data migration is not exact. Using the CRM APIs there are some fields which cannot be directly set. The main ones are “Created On”, “Created By”, “Modified On”, “Modified By”. When you migrate the data, these fields get set to the date migrated and the migration user. There are a few work-arounds but these fields are unchangeable. If you are using these fields in reports or views then it will need some updates. The most prominent place this shows up is in the timeline (notes) section on accounts and contacts. The default setting is to sort the notes and activities by the “Modified On” date. There is a work-around to change the timeline to sort by other date fields which does work but the most accurate method to replicate the original dates takes setting up some additional CRM workflows. The “Created On” field can be worked around as well. It is also possible to create some custom fields to hold the original values if the data needs to be preserved.

Making Updates Along the Way

  1. The online user interface has been changed a bit compared to on premise version. Mainly on the forms the way tabs appear has changed significantly. Also the menu navigation basically functions the same but looks different.
  2. Are all the workflows still needed? Do you need to move the workflows that are not active or could some get cleaned out?
  3. Are all customizations and add-ons still needed? For example auto-number add-ons are no longer necessary. There is a new way to do this.
  4. Are you going to start using the Sharepoint integration to store files?

No responses yet

Leave a Reply