What are the steps to upgrade Blackbaud CRM from version 3.0 to version 4.0?

Ready to take advantage of new features in Blackbaud CRM? We've compiled the following information to assist with planning and executing your upgrade to Blackbaud CRM 4.0 from Blackbaud CRM 3.0.

A. Planning and preparing for upgrade

  • Become familiar with the New Features Guide for Blackbaud CRM 4.0
    • Review the Action List at the end of the New Features Guide that categorizes the potential impact to existing processes.
    • In version 4.0, we made several enhancements and added new features to constituent pages. To assist with adoption of the new Constituent Page, Blackbaud created a utility to move customizations from the old 3.0 pages to the new 4.0 Constituent Page. Please review the Constituent Page Upgrade utility FAQs for more information about the utility that is available for download here.
    • The 4.0 CRM release does not include support for the ClickOnce client. The replacement interface, WebUI, will be the sole interface in all future versions of CRM. Most clients use WebUI exclusively with 3.0 CRM, but if you have existing business processes that are ClickOnce based, they must be adapted. Please contact our SDK Support team if you have questions about your ClickOnce customizations.
  • Review the System Requirements for Blackbaud CRM 4.0
    • Blackbaud CRM 4.0 requires that your database be on SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014. Be prepared to move your database to one of these versions prior to the upgrade if you are not already using one of them with Blackbaud CRM 3.0 (if you are hosted by Blackbaud, this will be completed on your behalf).
  • Familiarize yourself with additional Blackbaud CRM Upgrade Resources, including How-to Documentation.
  • For your developers, our schema documentation and SDK guides have pages highlighting:
  • Develop a testing plan
    • Test scripts from your initial Blackbaud CRM implementation can be a helpful starting point.
    • Blackbaud CRM customers manually run UAT tests as part of new implementations, service pack releases, and version upgrades, and they can spend a great deal of time testing because of the manual effort involved. To address this issue, Blackbaud created the UAT Automation Kit to assist with the automation of UAT tests. The automation tool is our response to requests for assistance with UAT testing, and it facilitates the automation of UAT tests for both out-of-the-box features and customizations.
    • Here is an example upgrade timeline with two testing phases that Blackbaud CRM clients have utilized in the past. In the example, smokescreen testing refers to high-level testing of critical business processes and customizations that would hinder broader functional user testing:
Sample Timeline
  • Test the upgrade process
    • Perform a test upgrade using a test database.  The test upgrade should be conducted in an environment created for testing and should not interfere with the actual production database. 
      • Revision Errors
        • The process of upgrade testing can expose issues with the Blackbaud CRM upgrade called revision errors.  Revisions are changes to database objects.  When the data in your Blackbaud CRM database is not compliant with the revision changes, an error will be presented and the upgrade will fail.  In the event that a revision error occurs, the Blackbaud CRM application files have been upgraded to the new Blackbaud CRM release, but the Blackbaud CRM database is not at the same version; the application and database files have a version mismatch and Blackbaud CRM will not be accessible.  
        • An example of a revision would be a change in a particular table check constraint.  If the data in this table does not meet the constraints, the revision will fail. After correcting the data, the upgrade can be restarted. 
        • Please submit a case to Support if assistance is needed with determining resolution to a revision error. For future upgrades to 4.0, be sure to apply the revision error resolution to the database to avoid any stoppages and additional downtime.
      • Compatibility Level Update
        • The database Compatibility Level should be set to 110 for Blackbaud CRM 4.0. If you are self-hosted run this helper script against the database to update the Compatibility Level and resolve the errors that process causes. If you are hosted by Blackbaud, this will be completed on your behalf.
      • Deploy the Blackbaud Data Warehouse and perform an ETL Refresh

B. Test the upgraded environment

  • Using the test plans you’ve developed, test all aspects of the application beginning with your most critical processes.
    • Functional Testing
      • Out-Of-Box Functionality Testing
      • Customization Testing and Additional Products Testing (ResearchPoint, Blackbaud Internet Solutions, Target Analytics, Blackbaud Merchant Services, etc.)

C. Prepare and preserve Production database

  • If Hosted by Blackbaud, submit a case to Customer Support with all of the information needed to complete the upgrade successfully
    • If you previously submitted any support cases for revision errors and received a SQL script to resolve the revision errors, please retain and provide the scripts in step 3 below.
    • Provide detailed steps of the procedure. For example:
  1. Please complete the PRODUCTION Upgrade procedure on <DATE> at <TIME>.
  2. If database is not already on SQL 2012 or SQL 2014;
    1. Move the database to a SQL 2012/2014 instance.
    2. Change the compatibility level to 110 and fix the issues that causes.
    3. Transfer SQL jobs from old SQL instance to new SQL instance.
  3. Run script(s) to resolve revision errors against the database (if needed).
  4. Upgrade the database directly to 4.0 SP_.
  5. Redeploy Blackbaud Data Warehouse.
  6. Run any necessary post upgrade script(s) against the database (if needed).
  7. Ensure reports are working.
  8. Place updated customization file ‘<filename>’ in the ‘<location>’ folder (if needed).
  9. Make xxxxxxx change to web.config file (if needed).
  10. Validate Blackbaud Internet Solutions testconfig.aspx is showing no failures (if needed).
  11. Run database maintenance.
  12. Run Constituent page Upgrade Utility against the database (if needed).
    • Commit all batches

D. Perform PRODUCTION Upgrade and Go-Live

  • Verify version is correct on the Help>About Blackbaud CRM screen.
  • Ensure users can log in successfully.
  • Complete high-level functional testing such as opening a Constituent record and running a Constituent Profile Report.
  • Complete post-upgrade configuration and execute necessary business processes. For example, batch template changes and data warehouse ETL refresh.

If you have further questions or would like to engage Blackbaud Professional Services in a paid engagement to support your upgrade; please contact your Customer Success Manager.


 Blackbaud CRM

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