If you are not familiar with the term, “dogfooding” is slang for using your own products in production. Forceworks, the developers of RapidStart CRM use RapidStart CRM for everything. Why? For the same reasons our customers do.
From Dynamics 365 to RapidStart CRM
We didn’t always use RapidStart CRM. With our Partner status, Microsoft provides us with free Dynamics 365 Enterprise licenses, the same ones you would have to pay $95 for. We had been using Dynamics 365 since 2011, four years before we created RapidStart CRM in 2015. We continued using it after our App’s launch. Our first versions of RapidStart CRM, long before Dataverse, ran on top of Dynamics 365, seeking to simplify Microsoft’s product. As “sophisticated” software developers, we didn’t think we needed the “simplification” layer for ourselves.
A few years ago, Microsoft separated its apps from their foundations and renamed the foundation “Dataverse”. Not only do the Dynamics 365 applications now run on Dataverse, but so do all Power Apps. We saw and acted on an opportunity to move RapidStart CRM from above Dynamics 365 to a position next to it as a Power App alternative. Yet we continued to use Dynamics 365 internally. Why not? it was free to us.
I was doing a RapidStart CRM demo for a customer one day, and she asked, “Is this what you use?”. I responded that we were a “sophisticated” organization, and so we use Dynamics 365. She said, “We are also “sophisticated”. I guess if RapidStart CRM is not up to your needs, we should explore Dynamics 365 instead”. I thought about this, knowing that RapidStart CRM was perfect for her organization but also seeing her point. I said, “How about this? If I move our organization to RapidStart CRM, will you move forward with us?” She said, “Absolutely!”
I have no idea why this had not occurred to me previously. She asked such an obvious question, yet I had never been asked that before. I talked to our team about making the move, and a few expressed concerns. “We have some pretty sophisticated processes running in there…” I said, “Well, we originally targeted this for smaller businesses, but everybody is using it now, including enterprise organizations. How can we expect them to use it if we don’t?”
And so we did.
Add or Migrate
We had two options: add RapidStart CRM to our existing Dynamics 365 environment or migrate our data to a new RapidStart CRM-only environment. If we did the first option, it would not prove that RapidStart CRM could stand independently as a robust solution, so we chose the second option.
To fully dogfood, we created a new empty Dataverse environment, navigated to AppSource, and installed RapidStart CRM the same way any customer would. I even got the email notification from AppSource that we have a new customer!
Moving from Dynamics 365 to RapidStart CRM, we would have to migrate our data, the same as any customer in that scenario would. We had been using Dynamics 365 since 2011, and many changes have happened to our business model along the way. Our Dynamics 365 instance was full of crap, bloated with data that was no longer relevant. In addition, it was full of deprecated processes and artifacts that we didn’t use anymore. What a perfect opportunity to “clean house”!
It took a couple of weeks, moving things in our spare time when we weren’t working for customers. When we were done, I realized that what I had been saying to customers was 100% true. We built one hell of an app! But to be safe, I kept the Dynamics 365 instance, just in case.
So, our entire “sophisticated” operation runs on RapidStart CRM with many customizations specific to our needs. In addition, we use many of our RapidStart CRM addons in production and have customized those to meet our specific needs.
Between our old Dynamics 365 environment, our Production RapidStart CRM environment, and our development and test drive environments, we had 33 active environments. I looked at our statistics a while back and noticed that the old Dynamics 365 instance was consuming about half of our total capacity. I hit “Delete”, and never looked back.
Even though we have free Dynamics 365 licensing, we pay for Power Apps as our customers do. We’re sorry it took so long to demonstrate our confidence in our app in the most meaningful way possible. We made the move and have not missed a thing. Our usage has gone way up, so simple is indeed better!
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