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You may have noticed that the Microsoft CRM Update Rollups are being released on a regular basis like every 2 months since Update Rollup 2. This is much more frequent then the previous update release schedule (6 to 9 months). So how do Small Medium Businesses (SMB) manage this given the more frequent updates?
Here are three approaches and my notes on each one:
1. Only apply Update Rollup as needed to solve bugs/issues
– requires the least amount of administration resource, but could result in the highest reactive situation when encountering CRM issues/bugs that are solved by an Update Rollup
2. Apply every Update Rollup upon being released
– requires the most amount of administration effort to update the CRM Server and all of the CRM Outlook Clients upon each release of an Update Rollup. However, this offers the highest avoidance of CRM issues/bugs that are solved by Update Rollups
3. Apply Update Rollup on every 4, 5, or 6 months cycle
– a good balance of administration resource and risk avoidance due to CRM issues/bugs that are solved by an Update Rollup. As for 4, 5, or 6 – it would be your preference.
Guess which approach I’d recommend for most SMBs? Yup, number 3. I’d personally select the every 4 months cycle.
Some good practices on deploying Update Rollups:
1. Always backup your CRM environment per the Update Rollup instructions prior to applying the Update Rollup. If you have a test environment (I highly recommended having one), apply the Update Rollup there first
2. Wait two weeks after the release of an Update Rollup before applying it – just like any software, Update Rollup may contain some bugs itself. There were some Update Rollups in the past that were "re-released" due to issues/bugs arised from the Update Rollup. If this does happen, contact Microsoft CRM Support immediately for resolution. And if you had waited after two weeks, you would mostly enjoy the benefit that a work-around/resolution is available due to Support already encountered the issue already. No need to be the very first to apply an Update Rollup in production unless it fixes a specific issue/bug
3. It is not necessary to apply both the CRM Server Update and CRM Outlook Client Update at the same time. I do highly recommend they are both applied the same time to get the latest fixes to all your CRM enviornments (Server and Outlook Clients). However, it is OK to apply the CRM Server Update first, and then apply the CRM Outlook Client Update the next few days/weeks. Or the other way around – apply the CRM Outlook Client Update first and then apply the CRM Server Update afterwards
4. Most SMB doesn’t have a large CRM Users count, but if yours do, then I would look into auto deployment of the CRM Outlook Client Update to save time. Reference the Microsoft CRM 4.0 Implementation Guide – Microsoft_Dynamics_CRM_IG_Operating.doc, section "Automatically update Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook" for details
5. If you had encountered a bug/issue and have not apply the latest Update Rollup yet. What should you do? I would open a CRM Support Incident via CustomerSource – if the bug is a bug and "not a feature" then there is no cost to the Support Incident and you would get a resolution from the CRM Support engineer to either apply the latest Update Rollup, a Hot Fix, or other work-around