When developing solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 or SuperOffice a sandbox is an essential staging platform. Sometimes if you are developing your solution yourself you may add configuration or simple fields to a live instance, however using a sandbox has major benefits and can certainly help you succeed in the long run.
A sandbox is the exact copy of your live or production site. The sandbox is used to develop the instance before it goes live and it’s isolated so you can develop, configure, test and train all in the sandbox before releasing it to the live system.
Sandbox environments are a critical step to ensure a successful roll out of new features to your solutions and must be kept in line with your live site.
Training in an isolated environment
If you train in a live or production environment, you may get to a point in the process where you need to stop because the system will post something or send something to a client you don’t want to send out. Training on a sandbox means you can safely demonstrate to new users how to use the system without worrying that data will be compromised.
Testing in sandbox isolates your new development
Making changes in a live solution is risky no matter how small the change. It may seem easy to add a field or remap data in a live environment and its fast. However, if you get it wrong the time taken to unpick this can be high and can destabilise the solution for your users. Sandboxes are easy to reset so this makes it the perfect place to test before new configuration is set to live and provides a safe place without damaging other systems you are using.
You can make a mistake
It doesn’t matter how simple the change is you are making things can go wrong and sometimes that’s high risk. Sandboxes ringfence mistakes and ensures that the new changes are not causing problems. If it’s wrong in the sandbox it can be reset. If it’s wrong in live you need to be careful removing the mistake.
You can engage consultants to work on your system
CRM or ERP consultants will look to work on a sandbox system. If you have been working on live, then the sandbox can be created and aligned. If you work on live and a consultant or other team member is working on a sandbox, then it gets tricky because the live and sandbox systems will not align. This means the consultant could overwrite the live changes and vice versa. Having a clear process to update your systems using a sandbox with deployment to live is a perfect way to develop in the most stress free and safest way.
Administrative Mode for Sandboxes
We sometimes see so many collaborators making changes to a CRM software that the processes in the system can start to fail or become over-convoluted. In the Microsoft sandbox provision, there is an administrator mode which is great to gatekeep the change management process and lock down the number of people making alterations. Having a change management process is critical to ensure that the changes made are thought through and agreed by a business.
If you are looking for help to develop your ERP, accounting or CRM software, please contact us.