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Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Community Business Development

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Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.

Entities are the most fundamental part of Dynamics 365 in terms of storing your business data.  They are similar in concept to database tables, and the relate to one another like tables in a relational database. For instance, Dynamics 365 has an entity called Contacts that stores data such as name, address, and email address of people that you track.   Accounts is a related entity that describes the organizations to which Contacts may belong.

Although they are similar to database tables, Dynamics entities allow you to do some customizations that are not possible in a standard database table.  Field labels, for instance, are part of an entity, and they may differ from …

PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal

In case you have been reviewing Microsoft's new pricing for its Dynamics products which was released this month and have been unable to find Dynamics Portal, it has been rebranded as PowerApps Portal and shifted to the PowerApps side of the Microsoft product family.


Rebranding the portal product underscores the importance of app scenarios involving external users such as customers and suppliers.  It also provides a simpler interface than Dynamics 365 for occasional users.

The new portal pricing is based on the number of unique users who log into the portal each month (for authenticated users) and on the number of page views for anonymous users.  "A login provides an external authenticated user access to a single portal for up to 24 hours. Multiple logins during the 24-hour period count as 1 billable login. Internal users can be licensed either by the PowerApps per app or per users plans, or a qualifying Dynamics 365 subscription."

Pricing starts at $200/mo. for 100 dail…

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: October 2019 Update

This month Microsoft announced new pricing for its Dynamics 365 family of products. This is the first major change in pricing since October 2017, when Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP products were rebranded, and several new apps were released.

The current major Dynamics 365 apps are:

Category Apps Marketing Marketing Customer Insights Sales Sales Microsoft Relationship Sales Sales Insights Customer Service Customer Service Customer Service Insights Field Service Field Service Customer Insights Remote Assist Guides Finance Finance Business Central Operations Supply Chain Management Project Service Automation Layout Business Central Retail Retail Fraud Protection Customer Insights Talent Talent Guides

For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low

According to industry analyst companies such as Gartner and Forrester, enterprise customers are increasingly turning to no code and low code platforms as an alternative to traditional custom development (now called hand-coded to evoke a feeling of labor intensity) in order to increase their agility and reduce expense and personnel.

According to Gartner, Microsoft is a leader in enterprise low-code platforms. Microsoft embodies many of the characteristics that organizations seek in adopting a low code approach:
Tools that employ a drag-and-drop approach well-suited for citizen developers and business developers. A broad platform of tools for many kinds of business applications. Standardization of tools across products. Innovative features like AI and Azure services such as a low-code AI Builder for including machine learning and vision AI capabilities in applications and workflows.Integration of the platform with Dynamics 365 which provides common business functions for sales, customer…

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises.

This post introduces some of the key terms and how these concepts are important for planning your implementation.

While Dynamics 365 is available on premises, it is most commonly deployed on the Microsoft cloud.  This blog post discusses only cloud implementations. Microsoft has multiple clouds such as commercial and government community clouds.

We start with a Microsoft tenant.  A tenant is the account you create in the Microsoft Online Services environment (such as Office 365) when you sign up for a subscription. A tenant contains uniquely identified domains, users, security groups, and subscriptions.  Your tenant has a domain name of .onmicrosoft.com such as acme.onmicrosoft.com. 

User accounts belong to a tenant, and subscriptions are assigned to user accounts within a s…

Evaluate Dynamics 365 with a Proof of Concept

Choosing software is a big commitment, and you want to be sure that you don't regret your choice later.  One of the best ways to evaluate Microsoft Dynamics 365 and apps built on the Dynamics platform is to conduct a proof of concept.

Here are some of the keys to make your proof of concept (POC) successful:

Set a schedule and stick to it. You need a predefined beginning and end to the proof of concept.  One month has been good for InfoStrat clients, allowing for requirements gathering, training users and tackling key functional challenges.  Don't let it drag out beyond the deadline.  Involve the right users. Find users who are willing to devote the necessary time to participate.  Consider who your key stakeholders are and make sure they are represented.Provide training and support for users. Don't turn users loose on a system without providing orientation, training and support during the POC.  Most business software is sufficiently complex that it is not reasonable to expe…