Licence Driven Development (LDD)

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A few months ago I met an old colleague – let’s call him Ben, and we got talking. He is an experienced Microsoft developer now working on a greenfield Dynamics 365 project. He’d picked Dynamics up quickly after a few months training and upskilling himself, and had a good grasp of the platforms functionality and extensibility techniques. Our conversation went something like this :

Him : I’m working on a potential 200 seat project for <financial organisation> for a Sales Process. I’m going to automatically create a lead when my custom entity changes status and allocate it to the correct sales manager.

Me : Are the sales guys using Leads at the minute or how are they tracking leads outside of D365 – spreadsheets / access / onenote?

Him : Not sure, but that’s what’s going to happen – the Business Analysts have already modelled it in our new process flow diagrams. Once the lead is qualified, we need a trigger to create a case against the related account so another team can track the lead.

Me : What is the purpose of the case? Are you sure you need to use the case entity here?

Him : It’s mainly just for tracking purposes, but the new process says we might need the ability to merge cases sometime in the future. I’ve nailed the security model for cases and leads based on our to-be business units. Dynamics is great for that.

Me : Ok,it’s good you are thinking about security. Have you considered the licences each of these users might need alongside the security rules?

Him : No, that’s not my department, my manager deals with that, I just have to design and build the solution before year end. Licences are in next year’s budget. The project needs to save the company £200k per year by year two.

Me : Hmm. Let’s discuss this in more detail.

The conversation with Ben got me thinking about my approach to initiating projects and how my approach to development and design has evolved over the years across a variety of software projects. Methodologies included :

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Building a Power Platform Dream Team

As Microsoft Practice Lead for Codec in UK and Northern Ireland, I’m regularly thinking how Codec has grown a Microsoft Dynamics practice from a small team of 2 people to over 100 Microsoft ‘Power Platform‘ Consultants, in little over four years. In the past two years, our Belfast team has experienced rapid growth with exciting plans to grow further. Building teams at such a rate can challenge any company of any size, but Codec’s success has not come around by accident or luck.

To gain an insight into some of the factors that have helped Codec become both Microsoft Ireland partner of the year and Microsoft Dynamics partner of the year in successive years, here are some of the principles we’ve adopted in Belfast, and across the Codec group, to ensure that we stay the best at what we do. Continue reading “Building a Power Platform Dream Team”

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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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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10 Types of Dynamics 365 Project for IT Decision Makers

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Are you scoping a new applications project and think Dynamics 365 could be all or part of the solution?

Starting a Dynamics CRM or Dynamics 365 Project can be a daunting task even for the most experienced decision maker. All your research might indicate that Dynamics 365 is a good fit for your business, but if you don’t know enough about the benefits, pitfalls and how it fits with your business, how can you be sure it’s the route you really want to go down?

You might be considering some of the following points?

  • Maybe you’ll need to use a few in-house business analysts to do some configuration.
  • Some bits may look complex so maybe some you need some .NET developers involved too?
  • Should you start with Waterfall methodology or Agile or SureStep or a Human Centred Design approach?
  • What training do you need?
  • Fixed Price or Time and Materials?
  • What licences should you buy?
  • On-Premise or Cloud?
  • Maybe you should go out to tender, but what if you don’t frame the requirements correctly? Should we get some training first?
  • Is offshoring Dynamics 365 consultancy a good idea – can it be achieved remotely?

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Under the Hood – There’s a Dynamics 365 App for that

Microsoft has surely been looking at Salesforce for the past few years, feeling somewhat envious of their ‘apps’ market. If you take Salesforce at their word, they have over 1.4 million registered developers, so the apps market for Salesforce is clearly not a flash in the plan.

With the recent launch of Dynamics 365, there appears to be a concerted effort at Redmond to build an ecosystem around Dynamics 365, but how has this been implemented and what do application developers need to know?

Continue reading “Under the Hood – There’s a Dynamics 365 App for that”