Johnstech’s Strategic CRM Move to the Cloud: Empowering Future-Ready Operations

test contactor manufacturer

In a collaborative effort to enhance operational efficiency and future-proof its IT infrastructure, Johnstech International partnered with Stoneridge to transition critical Microsoft systems and software to the cloud. Specializing in high-performance test contactors for global semiconductor manufacturers, Johnstech recognized the need to modernize its technological framework to sustain its market leadership. Stoneridge, with its seasoned team, was chosen to spearhead this vital transition.

After our successful upgrade from Dynamics AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management with Stoneridge’s assistance, we needed to upgrade our Dynamics CRM 2013 to Dynamics 365 CE to take full advantage of the flexibility, new features, scalability, and enhancements that a cloud infrastructure brings to keep Johnstech competitive. We value Stoneridge as a partner because they are willing to work around our aggressive and challenging requirements,” said Daniel Sheehan, Software Development & BI Supervisor at Johnstech.

In this story, we’ll focus on Johnstech’s migration of its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system from an on-premises setup to a cloud-based Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) solution.

Navigating the Cloud Transition: Challenges and Considerations

Johnstech faced several challenges that necessitated the move of their CRM system to a more flexible and scalable cloud environment:

  • Legacy System Limitations: Operating with on-premises Microsoft systems, including the CRM, Johnstech was encumbered by the limitations of legacy infrastructure, which hindered agility and scalability essential for growth and adaptation in the dynamic semiconductor industry.
  • Maintenance Overheads: The need to maintain in-house IT infrastructure posed significant operational and financial challenges, diverting resources from core business activities and innovation.
  • Future Scalability and Integration: As Johnstech looked to the future, the imperative to seamlessly integrate with a broader ecosystem of cloud-based Microsoft technologies became evident. The existing setup lacked the requisite flexibility to adopt new solutions or scale existing ones efficiently.
  • Continuity in Cloud Adoption: Having previously transitioned from Dynamics AX to cloud-based Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations with Stoneridge’s assistance, it was crucial for Johnstech to maintain momentum in its cloud journey. The move to CE in the cloud was not just a step towards modernization but a strategic decision to create an interconnected system landscape capable of leveraging the full spectrum of cloud-based Microsoft technologies for enhanced operational excellence and innovation.

Innovative Integration and Data Optimization: The Heart of Johnstech’s Migration

The solution centered on transitioning Johnstech’s on-premises CRM to a cloud-based environment, a task that entailed maintaining seamless integration with existing systems such as D365 Finance and Operations, the Channel Partners Portal, and a data warehouse. Key aspects included:

  • Integration Replacement: Scribe was replaced with Dual Write and the Global Address Book solution to maintain seamless system integrations.
  • Data Optimization: A selective data migration strategy was employed, excluding unnecessary data to ensure a clean, optimized dataset in the new cloud environment.
  • System Enhancements: The migration provided an opportunity for code and customization updates, including the consolidation of JavaScript libraries for uniform functionality across CE and the portal.

Stoneridge and Johnstech collaborated closely to develop a comprehensive migration strategy, characterized by:

  • Collaborative Planning: A detailed plan with specific tasks and milestones was created, allowing Johnstech to contribute significantly, guided by Stoneridge’s expertise.
  • Iterative Migration Runs: The migration process included multiple iterations, with each phase followed by rigorous testing and validation. This approach helped in identifying and rectifying issues promptly, leading to a reduction in bugs with each subsequent iteration.

Successful Transition and Strategic Advancements

The Stoneridge team, with their extensive experience in upgrades, data migrations, and integrations, successfully guided Johnstech through a critical transition of their on-premises CRM to the cloud-based Dynamic 365 Customer Engagement. This expertise was pivotal in shaping the migration strategy and project execution, ensuring a successful upgrade.

Once we upgraded, we utilized the out-of-the-box cloud capabilities like DualWrite integration. This change helps our end users instantly synchronize data across Dynamics 365 CE and Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management,” said Sheehan. “We also replaced a third-party portal with PowerPages, reducing the effort of custom development and making managing the portal much easier.”

Now operating on an enhanced version of Dynamics 365 CE, Johnstech not only retained all its key integrations but also embraced new ones, aligning with its forward-looking technology vision. This upgrade is a strategic step in Johnstech’s journey to harness a wider array of Microsoft’s Power Platform and Dynamics CE online tools, pivotal for their digital transformation efforts. Looking ahead, Johnstech is poised to further utilize these tools in upcoming phases to enhance user adoption and optimize business processes, reinforcing its commitment to technological innovation and excellence.

Technologies Employed in Johnstech’s Cloud Migration

The migration project for Johnstech utilized a suite of advanced technologies to ensure a smooth transition and integration of systems into the cloud. Below is a summary of the key technologies used along with their specific roles in the project:

Azure DevOps: Served as the central platform for tracking all upgrade-related tasks and logging any bugs identified during testing phases, ensuring a structured and transparent workflow.

SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) and Kingswaysoft: These tools were pivotal for migrating the Customer Engagement (CE) data. Leveraging existing Visual Studio licenses at Johnstech and taking advantage of Kingswaysoft’s license policy for one-time migrations facilitated a cost-effective data transfer process.

Dynamics 365 CE Solution Migrations: Standard Dynamics 365 CE solution migration practices were employed for transferring customizations, augmented by Azure DevOps pipelines to automate the deployment of solutions across various cloud CE environments.

Dual Write and Global Address Book (GAB) Solution: The transition from Scribe to Dual Write involved installing the out-of-the-box Dual Write along with the GAB solution, followed by customizing the default Dual Write mappings and modifying some D365 Finance and Operations data entities to maintain consistency with the previous Scribe-based integration mappings.

SSIS and Kingswaysoft for Data Synchronization: To synchronize new tables and data introduced by the Dual Write GAB solution, a combination of SSIS and Kingswaysoft was used for certain tables, while Dual Write’s “Initial Sync” feature was employed for others.

Data Warehouse Updates: Regular updates to the on-premises data warehouse were again facilitated by SSIS and Kingswaysoft, with an ongoing license fee due to the recurrent nature of these integrations.

Power Pages Migration: The Channel Partners Portal, originally built using a third-party tool called Power Track for on-premises implementation, was migrated to Power Pages. AD authentication was implemented for secure access, allowing channel partners to create customers and opportunities directly within the portal. The migration also included an upgrade of JavaScript for Power Pages and the use of Azure DevOps pipelines to streamline deployments across cloud D365 CE environments.

This comprehensive technology stack not only facilitated a seamless migration but also laid down a robust foundation for Johnstech’s continued innovation and growth in the cloud ecosystem.

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