From Legacy Systems to Modern Workplace: Tips, Troubles, & Techniques

By: Max von St. Paul

Throughout my professional journey aiding organizations in transitioning from legacy systems to advanced solutions like Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, one truth remains constant: embracing change, while challenging at times, leads to remarkable growth. The term ‘legacy system’ often carries a generic connotation. When I speak of legacy systems, I’m referring predominantly to the older, on-premise versions of Dynamics and other CRM software like GoldMine or SalesLogix. These, and more, are the platforms that we at Vertilocity have transitioned many clients off of. To me, ‘legacy’ isn’t just that the system is old in age but, more importantly, that it’s out-of-date in terms of technology. Legacy systems tend to be on-site and came before the newer, more expansive cloud systems. Transitioning from a legacy system to Modern Workplace is like upgrading from an old flip phone to the latest feature-packed smartphone with internet connectivity. You can accomplish so much more in less time. Research has backed up my experience. Organizations using Microsoft Power BI have experienced an impressive 366% return on investment over three years.

Going through this transition isn’t just about upgrading technology—it’s a strategic move towards being a more efficient, data-driven organization. Getting the information you need when you need it brings better collaboration, helps you spot opportunities more quickly, and increases productivity. I’ve witnessed firsthand how these tools can transform organizations, as well as the challenges that can arise. Here are some of my essential tips, the main troubles to watch out for, and the best techniques to employ in transitioning from a legacy system to a Modern Workplace.

Modern Workplace Tips

The advantages you get when you transition from legacy systems to Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are numerous. Here are a few tips:

  • Know Your Features: Often, businesses work across multiple legacy systems without realizing that their existing Microsoft Modern Workplace suite has updated features that address all their needs. With the introduction of Copilot, an AI tool available to all businesses as of January 2024, businesses have even more capabilities available from one single resource. Copilot for Sales, for example, uses AI to help sales team save time and energy, while Copilot for Service connects with your CRM to get all your relevant customer data for improved service management. By getting to know and make the most of these tools, boost your productivity and save time by avoiding the hassle of juggling multiple systems.
  • Push for Improvements:In addition to having access to these cutting-edge features, you also have the ability to request and push for improvements on the product from either Microsoft or a company like Vertilocity. For example, Microsoft’s out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 has a quoting feature but it wasn’t robust enough for our customer needs. Vertilocity developed QuoteTool, a custom Dynamics 365 solution designed for Dynamics 365 that integrates with e-automate, which quickly became one of our most popular products. It pays to speak up and let companies know what their out-of-the-box products are missing.
  • Look for Smarter Savings: The main hesitation I see with companies sticking to legacy systems is cost, but this can be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Upgrading, like transitioning from an on-premise Dynamics to a cloud system such as Dynamics 365, might have upfront costs, but it pays off in the long run. In the case of on-premise systems, businesses bear the burden of hosting servers and managing network security, leading to extra maintenance expenses. When you switch to a cloud system, instead of you handling all the backend, Microsoft does. Holding onto legacy systems could also cost you more money in the long run. Microsoft is phasing out support for older systems like on-premise Dynamics on April 2, 2025. So, if something goes wrong, it’s on you to find a vendor, like Vertilocity, where costs can quickly add up. On the flip side, with the latest technology in Modern Workplace, not only do you have our expert help, but you also get Microsoft’s support included in your license. This means if there’s a glitch, even one caused by a Microsoft bug, we’ve got your back, and it won’t cost you extra. It’s all about making things simpler and more cost-effective for you. We have an office equipment sales client that transitioned from an on-site legacy system to a cloud-based system in 2021. They’re saving money by no longer having to maintain their own servers as well as on their licensing fees. In addition to the financial benefits, they’ve also gained peace of mind by shifting the burden of server management and IT complexities to experts, allowing them to focus solely on what they do best – selling office equipment.
  • Prioritize Essential Data: When moving to cloud versions like Dynamics 365, you’ll face decisions about which data to transfer and what to leave behind due to storage limitations. This requires a careful evaluation of what data is essential for your business operations and what can be archived. Ensuring data integrity during this process is also crucial to avoid any loss or corruption of important information. Having an expert like Vertilocity help prioritize your essential data is invaluable. We guide you in determining the relevance of your historical data. Do you really need to know that John called Pizza Hut 11 years ago and left a voicemail? Once we have your data priorities, we review everything in your legacy system and import only the essential data to your new system. Think of it as a digital spring cleaning; while some information may be archived and not immediately accessible, it’s about keeping your active system lean, relevant, and highly functional.
  • Strengthen Your Security Shield: Using multiple systems might inadvertently open more doors to security threats and breaches. Consolidating into a single, robust system doesn’t just simplify your operations – it ramps up your security too. With centralization, monitoring and safeguarding your sensitive data becomes more manageable, greatly diminishing the risks of data breaches and leaks. It’s like having one well-guarded gate instead of several flimsy ones.

While there are many advantages, transitioning from a legacy system does have a few hurdles.

Modern Workplace Troubles

  • Overcoming User Adoption Resistance: User adoption is not just about getting your team to use a new system; it’s about changing their mindset and daily work habits. Resistance often stems from comfort with the old ways and apprehension about learning something new. To overcome this, it’s important to communicate the benefits clearly, provide comprehensive training, and involve key team members early in the process to champion the change.
  • Customization Replication Challenges: Adapting custom features from your old system to the new one is a tricky part of the transition. It involves identifying which customizations are critical for your business processes and figuring out how to replicate them in the new system. Sometimes, this might mean rethinking these customizations to align with the more advanced capabilities of the modern system, which can be both a challenge and an opportunity for improvement.
  • Avoiding Scope Creep: Communication up front during the project-planning phase is essential. An issue that often comes up is that mid-project, people want to add things that weren’t initially discussed. This ‘scope creep’ can cause major delays and expenses. Taking extra time during the project-planning phase and having open, honest communications about what is truly needed can help avoid these mid-project headaches.

Partnering with a company like Vertilocity can help you effectively overcome the hurdles of transitioning from a legacy system. To help ensure a smooth transition to a Modern Workplace, here are some effective techniques that have consistently delivered positive results for the projects I’ve managed.

Modern Workplace Techniques

  • Understand Your Goals: Before starting any transition, to ensure you’re on the right track, start by answering these critical questions:
    • What are the main benefits you are looking to get out of this transition?
    • What are your long term goals for your business and how does transitioning to a modern system play into those goals?
    • Is everyone (e.g., end users, management, admin) on board with the transition?  Are there any major concerns or fears of user adoption?
    • How will communication be handled during the project? This includes internal communication (i.e., communication between management as well as from management to end users) and external communication (i.e., between your organization and a company like Vertilocity that can help alleviate any internal concerns and issues that arise).
  • Set Realistic Launch Dates: It’s essential to set achievable timelines and account for possible delays​​.
  • Have Regular Check-Ins: Holding regular meetings to gauge how the business is adapting to the transition is beneficial​​.
  • Be Transparent: Providing detailed project planning and maintaining open lines of communication with all stakeholders are essential to a successful integration
  • Role-Specific Training: Training should be split into two categories: one for administrators and another for general users, ensuring that each group receives the relevant information and instruction​​ they need.
  • Spring Cleaning: Use this transition as an opportunity to assess what you need and what can be archived or discarded​​. After you’ve transitioned, schedule regular reviews of your tech needs. Best practice is every 3-5 years, ensuring you stay current with industry changes​​.

I encourage businesses to embrace these Modern Workplace solutions that will streamline their operations, enhance security, and foster innovation. For those considering updating their legacy system, Vertilocity offers in-depth expertise and support to make the transition as smooth as possible. Connect with us at to discover which solutions may work best for your organization.