Dynamics 365 Fantasy License League

I listened with interest to Steve Mordue on the MS Dynamics World podcast today about his views on the recent announcements at the NAV Directions conference last week. Steve is a Microsoft Partner with an opinion worth listening to on everything Dynamics, but primarily CRM. As a Dynamics partner or interested customer, If you haven’t listened to the podcast I would recommend doing so, but first have a read of his blog post here which is a great read as well as includes as a bit of drama!

Listening to the podcast gave me some food for thought based on some conversations I have been having with some customers and other partners recently. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my own opinion here.

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Dynamics 365 v9 – Changes for Developers

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After the Dynamics 365 v9 preview sessions we are now getting a little bit more detail direct from the Microsoft website detailing what the changes mean in practical terms for users, configurers and developers.

Head over to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/get-started/whats-new/ to see the full details or just read my summary below.

Here is my take on some of the major points that caught my attention.

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Segmenting your Contact records with Dynamics 365 Apps

I’ve been using apps with Dynamics 365 for some time now and they are a great way of simplifying the user interface in a way that doesn’t require you to cross reference low level security permissions with Site Map XML.

One problem that has come up time and time again is the fact that different organisations often have different types of contact because of the nature of their business. There are a lot of benefits you get from using the system contact entity, which means that creating a new custom entity for a new contact type does not always make sense.

For example, consider an organisation with multiple types of service and therefore multiple different types of customers. They have contacts which may encompass the following types, and contacts may often be one or more types of these.

  • Staff Member
  • Applicant
  • Student
  • Citizen
  • Farmers

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Dynamics 365 V9.0 Summary (July 2017 Update)

Today I dropped into the Dynamics 365 Insider program for day one of a series of reveals we have all been waiting on for some time now. With the NDA lifted on what Dynamics CRM 9.0 will be, it was an interesting set of changes. To quote some of the technical leads, this is the biggest release Microsoft have made to Dynamics 365 so lets understand what is involved to make it a smooth transition.

Because of other commitments, I only dipped in and out of the sessions so I don’t have all the detail, but here’s a quick summary of the major features I took in and some of my musings around them. As I find out more, I will update this post accordingly.

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Summit EMEA Review – Day 2

Summit EMEA

Day 2 of Summit EMEA started with some useful breakout sessions by Microsoft Partners and MVPs. The first session I attended covered some use cases of Custom Entities. Adam Vero’s session gave an interesting overview of how custom entities can be used for things other than storing business data. The 5 main use cases for custom entities covered were, replacing pick-lists, N-N intersect entities, custom auditing, 1-1 records and for applying arbitrary security privileges to the ribbon or site map. One of the things missing from the Microsoft documentation is covering general CRM design patterns like this, and this session reinforced my understanding of best practice in data modelling in Dynamics 365. Tip of the session was the advice to create a 1-1 relationship to extend the user record with fields that are updated frequently. If you don’t, you may experience performance problems – this is because the browser security cache is invalidated when the user record is updated.

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Summit EMEA Review – Day 1

Today I attended the first day of the Summit EMEA Conference in Amsterdam with my Codec-Dss colleagues where over 2000 Microsoft Dynamics 365 professionals and users come together to digest all things across Dynamics 365. With the converging product set, this included separate streams on CRM, NAV and AX. Being a community-driven conference it features special access to Microsoft leadership and a diverse array of interactive training workshops led by experts and users.

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On-Premise Dynamics 365 – How does Deployment Manager find all available databases?

Today I was working with a Dynamics 365 instance where I did not have full SA access to the SQL Server instance. My deployment administrator account was able to connect to Deployment Manager ok, disable organizations ok and delete Organizations, however, when I tried to re-import an organization I had already deleted, I got the below error.

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Install Dynamics 365 Developer Toolkit with Visual Studio 2017

Visual Studio was officially released today, and with it’s release comes the dilemma for Dynamics 365 developers. Do you keep going with VS 2015 (or maybe VS2013, VS 2012 or 2010!), or do you bite the bullet and install Visual Studio 2017?

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In the past, I would normally hold off on a new Visual Studio installation until there is a service pack available, but after reading that Visual Studio 2017 is focused on performance improvements and speed, I decided to install it on an Azure Developer VM to see if I could get the Dynamics 365 Developer toolkit working on it.

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Dynamics 365 On-Premise supports App Designer and Site Map Editor

I attended the excellent CRM Saturday in Dublin on Saturday past, with some very informative talks on a wide variety of CRM related topics, both technical and non-technical.

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One of the most interesting talks was by Mohamed Mostafa, which involved a discussion around things to consider when considering whether to recommend an on-premise CRM or a cloud based deployment.

As well as discussing technical considerations, supportability, data jurisdiction issues and data protection issues such as GDPR, the diverging feature set between online and on-premise came up. Since Microsoft’s move to the cloud, more and more features are going online only, leaving on-premise customers slightly envious of some of the cloud only features.

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Dynamics 365 Upgrade – Unable to add Notes to entity

I recently had an Organisation updated from Dynamics CRM 2016 Online Update 1 to Dynamics 365. After the upgrade, users experienced the following symptoms :

  • Unable to add new notes to custom entities and core entities via the notes control on the form.
  • Existing Notes created prior to the upgrade do show up ok however and can be edited.
  • This occurs on multiple entities, but not all. I didn’t see a pattern, but certainly on some contact records I could add new notes ok.

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I raised this with Microsoft and it didn’t appear to be a known issue, so I decided to do some investigation myself.

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