David C Cook improves Microsoft Dynamics 365 system performance with Own
Boyd Moon, CRM Administrator at David C Cook, manages the use of Microsoft Dynamics 365, along with anything related to data migration and replication.
Prior to Own, Boyd was periodically copying the Production CRM Instance to their sandbox environment in addition to the Microsoft Online back-up in an attempt to improve the restore capabilities.
While it was an adequate method at the time, copying data into a sandbox proved to be a time consuming process for Boyd. Plus, if something happened or a record was lost or corrupted, there would be no way of actually restoring the data back into the system other than manually copying fields and/or records one at a time.
“Microsoft Dynamics is very relational. We can’t grab a table out of one environment and restore it without restoring all the things that it's related to. In order to restore a handful of accounts, we actually have to restore all the contacts, opportunities and leads as well. So doing a piecemeal restore from the sandbox is really not a solution.”
Depending on the size of the organization, a complete restore could take as long as twenty four hours— if not longer. That means the org is going to be down from when it identifies the problem, shuts the system down, and completes the entire restoration process.
“We have a saying in the computer science world: you don't evaluate backups based on how easy they are to do, you evaluate backups on how easy they are to restore. Because the restoration is what you're really after. Anybody can do the backup but being able to actually use it is the real value of the product.”
Boyd also recognized that backing up data in the same system seemed counterintuitive. If something were to happen to Microsoft Dynamics 365 or in Azure, the hosting platform, the organization would be back at square one.
“If for some reason we couldn’t access our data in Azure, then we wouldn’t be able to access our backup of that data either. It seemed to make more sense therefore to back up our data in another environment altogether.”
As the company grew, David C Cook’s data within Microsoft was quick to follow. Boyd noticed that Microsoft had been increasing the cost of storage and if they reached a certain threshold, they’d be charged significantly to continue backing up their data into sandboxes.
Boyd started looking for a new solution that could do all three: Backup their data, restore any lost data back into Microsoft Dynamics 365, and prevent them from incurring costs from increased storage limits.
Boyd reviewed several different solutions along with Own, but didn’t progress forward with any of the others due to cost and implementation incongruities.
For Boyd, Own’s fast implementation time was a key differentiator to the other products on the market. It took about fifteen minutes to complete, and required no additional setup to start running their first backup. In fact, from the time they implemented Own to running their first backup in the system was within twenty four hours.
It was during this first Own implementation that Boyd got an illuminating look into where his previous backup solution fell short.
Boyd noticed he was getting errors when trying to run his first backup. Upon further investigation, he discovered that there were tables he didn’t need to backup at all; large tables he had been storing in his copy sandbox were eating up the storage, creating both financial and environmental issues.
For Boyd, this is where Own really shines. With Own Recover, Boyd has the ability to restore data at a granular level with field content instead of entire tables.
Own quickly provided a solution to their storage cost challenge and saved them money from their very first backup.
“It was interesting to me to see the number of API calls it takes to access our information. Dynamics is an environment where the number of API calls are limited on a daily basis. The more calls you use for things like backups, the fewer API calls are available for the real intended use. So right away Own was showing me how many API calls it took to perform backups and to identify data that we didn’t need to back up.”
As Boyd started to use Own on a daily basis and take advantage of features like setting Smart Alerts, he got to see the multifaceted data-protection capabilities at work.
In fact, Boyd noticed shortly after implementing Own that a colleague had accidentally overwritten 10 fields in a group of accounts. What could have been a strenuous, day-long exercise was fixed within minutes.
Understanding how data is being used by third party applications
One aspect of the data protection process that has been really enlightening for Boyd is being able to analyze the metadata to see the behavior of some of their third party products, and how data is being pulled in and pushed out of Microsoft Dynamics 365.
An example he shares is he used Scribe to move data from the company’s accounting system into Dynamics 365. Boyd’s team ran an update every five minutes and noticed that there would be an sporadic, large movement of data. Boyd started watching that movement in Own and found that overnight, when some of the accounting processes ran, Scribe would actually delete around 1,500 accounts, and then replace or import them back into their system.
“Own helped us to understand how Scribe was actually doing that. And what we learned was that in some cases, when there's an update, if it has more than a small amount of information to update it’ll just kill the entire record and push it across again.”
At first they were alarmed to see that 1,500 accounts were deleted. But when Boyd’s team realized that Scribe was responsible for the action, and why, it gave them a sense of security that everything was running as it should.
“A surprise plus of Own is it gives us better insight into how our other integrations are working, which is very important to identifying risk potentially.”
David C Cook has a substantial amount of personal information captured in Dynamics. Because of GDPR, they receive requests to remove PII data from Dynamics and have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of that information.
Furthermore, David C Cook’s legal department mandates that that PII data be removed within twenty four hours of the request.
As seen with standard removal requests, personal information is not completely forgotten if it's still in the backup, putting a company at risk for non-compliance. With the Own GDPR solution, Boyd can quickly find PII information and request to terminate it, all while complying with the legal requirement of a twenty four hour turnaround.
David C Cook is a nonprofit Christian publisher dedicated to publishing and distributing leadership, discipleship, and worship resources all over the world. Its original and published works are available in 150 languages across 120 countries. David C Cook also has a successful music division, Integrity Music, with one third of the top 500 praise and worship songs written by Integrity artists. Additionally, the nonprofit invests in global outreach through the David C Cook Foundation, building long-term relationships with ministry leaders to help communities thrive.