Skip to main content

Understanding Dynamics 365 Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows a developer to package  a number of customizations as a solution so they may be installed and managed as a unit rather than individually.  By customizations, we mean new entities and fields, business processes, and other elements that are added to Dynamics 365 to make it better suite your business needs.  For instance, you could put all your custom entities and attributes as well as reports in a solution.  The solution may be installed into an instance of Dynamics 365 -- online or on premises.

Managed solutions are a type of solution which prevents unintentional changes to the customizations. You must start by creating an unmanaged solution and then deploy it as a managed solution in another instance of Dynamics 365.



There are many approaches to defining the scope of a solution.  You can make it modular by breaking it into multiple solutions.  One extreme is to put all customizations in a single solution.  The other extreme is to use multiple solutions in order to make it easier to reuse solutions across Dynamics 365 instances.

For Microsoft Grants Manager, we would use one solution for the standard Grants Manager Plus customizations, and another which contains customizations unique to a particular agency. A third solution is used for the customizations that relate to the PortVue portal.

Be careful about dependencies among solutions, because this can complicate deployment. If you end up with proliferation of too many solutions, you may want to re-examine them and determine whether some should be merged into fewer solutions.

Solutions are a distribution mechanism rather than being designed as a tool for managing a multi-developer project.  There are better ways of coordinating coding than to have a solution for each developer. Three ways you could organize team development are:

  • Single organization: One master solution
  • Single organization: Multiple developer solutions and one master solution
  • One organization per developer
You can also apply patches in order to simplify solution updates. Solution patches can contain subcomponents of entities rather than the entire entity, reducing the risk of inadvertently overwriting assets by replacing the entire entity. 


You need to consider maintenance implications of Dynamics 365 solutions.  For instance, recently we were updating a client's CRM to a new version, only to find that a managed solution was installed that no one recognized.

Solutions are not always backwards compatible to earlier versions of Dynamics 365/CRM, as shown in the following figure:


Source: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg334576.aspx

If you would like to sell your app, you can publish your solution to AppSource, the Microsoft marketplace for Dynamics solutions. AppSource makes your apps visible to the community of Dynamics 365 users.

Note: This post is an updated version based on Planning for Dynamics CRM Solutions.

Popular posts from this blog

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…

ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

I met Lou Guercia when he was president and CEO of Scribe Software, the leading CRM integration tool.  Scribe was acquired by TIBCO Software in 2018.  I recently reconnected with Lou and learned about ScreenMeet, the company he joined as chief operating officer.   The following is a description of the product provided by ScreenMeet:

ScreenMeet is a cloud-based remote support tool designed to integrate with Dynamics 365 Customer Service. By enabling customer service and IT support organizations to address critical technical issues directly from their CRM or ticketing platform, it streamlines the process and provides a fully browser-based support experience.

You can also use ScreenMeet with other CRM products or even on its own without a CRM.

Here is a short video demo of ScreenMeet with Dynamics integration:


ScreenMeet - Cloud-based Remote Support Integrated with Dynamics 365 Customer Support Once integrated with a Dynamics 365 CS organization, the ScreenMeet widget appears on Case pa…

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…