Step by Step Guide to Setting up your Dynamics 365 Portal Trial

This blog is aimed to help fellow Dynamics 365’ers with getting the Dynamics 365 Portal setup with either a production / sandbox or trial dynamics 365 instance. Portals are now included in the Enterprise Plan for Dynamics 365 providing a valuable way for improving productivity and customer experience. Self-service portals allow customers to keep their own records up to date and manage incidents, thus reducing waste in processes that occur with unnecessary triaging and duplicated data inputs. This helps keep your customer data accurate whilst providing a direct channel for you Customers, Partners or External Staff. Admittedly its quite easy to make some novice mistakes when setting up your portals for the first time so I have shared my steps to help you get your Dynamics 365 Portal Trial Setup without a hitch.

The Dynamics 365 Portals are designed to Increase customer engagement and create opportunities to connect with audiences. Currently there are 4 types of Pre Configured Portal Solutions that are available to install according to the Portal audience you specify;

Partners; Customer Self Service Portal, Custom Portal, Partner Portal, Community Portal

Customer; Customer Self Service Portal, Custom Portal, Community Portal

Employee; Employee Self Service Portal

Community Portal:

Leverages peer-to-peer interactions between customers and experts to organically grow the catalogue of available knowledge from knowledge base articles, forums and blogs as well as providing feedback through comments and ratings.

Custom Portal:

Allows you to engage your customers and external audiences. Includes profile management, configurable business components, rich web content publishing, and responsive design.

 

Customer Self Service Portal:

Enables customers to access self-service knowledge, support resources, view the progress of their cases and provide feedback.

 

Employee Self Service Portal:

Creates an efficient and well-informed workforce by streamlining common tasks and empowering every employee with a definitive source of knowledge

 

 

Portal Dependencies

Portal Base

Portal Workflows

Web Notifications

Microsoft Identity

Identity Workflows

Web Forms

Feedback

Portal Dependencies

Portal Base

Portal Workflows

Web Notifications

Microsoft Identity

Identity Workflows

Web Forms

Feedback

Blogs

Forums

Forums Workflows

Portal Timeline

Customer Service

Knowledge Management

Microsoft Get Record ID Workflow Helper

Bing Maps Helper

Portal Dependencies

Portal Base

Portal Workflows

Web Notifications

Microsoft Identity

Identity Workflows

Web Forms

Feedback

Blogs

Forums

Forums Workflows

Portal Timeline

Customer Service

Knowledge Management

Get Record ID Workflow Helper

Bing Maps Helper

 

Difference between Dynamics 365 Portals and ADX Studio

Although ADX Studio was acquired by Microsoft to deliver Dynamics 365 Portal Capabilities there are still some slight differences between ADX Studio Hosted Portals and the Dynamics 365 Portals currently available to online customers. ADX Studio provides both on premise and cloud deployment options whereas Dynamics 365 Portals are only available to online customers and hosted on Azure. The following feature comparison is useful in identifying the differences https://www.adoxio.com/crm-portals-and-crm-portals-feature-comparison

*Please be aware before enabling Portals for your Dynamics 365 Instance and enabling customer data to become exposed you should review the security model for its intended use. Any data exposed through the portal is stored in memory in Azure Web Apps for caching and also as files on the local hard drive to enable portal search functionality.

Requesting a Dynamics 365 Portal Trial

Your first step  is to request your Dynamics 365 Portal Trial from the following link https://crmmanagedtrials.dynamics.com/

Once you have signed in with your windows live account you can request either a Portals or Microsoft Social Engagement trial;

Within 24 Hours you will receive a reply confirming approval for your Portal trial, maybe even sooner 😉

Clicking Activate will redirect you to login to your Dynamics 365 instance, You will require to login to either your Trial or Active Subscription for Dynamics 365;

 

Once Logged in you are required to confirm you your Portal Subscription to your Office 365 Tenant;

  

Now when you go back into your Office 365 Subscriptions you will see the Additional port Trial Instance is now Active, and you’re your 30 days portal trial has begun;

 

The Trial Portal provides 1 portal licence allowing your customer and employees access and include 1,000,000 page views per month which should be more than enough. Now you can navigate to your CRM Instance in your Dynamics 365 Administration Centre to select your CRM Instance, whether it is a trial or a sandbox;

 

Installing the Portal Solution

This is the part where it’s easy to make a mistake, as traditionally Managed Solution are added by selecting the Instance Tab from the Dynamics 365 Administration Centre via the Solutions Buttons for the instance. The important step here is instead Navigate to the ‘Applications’ tab in the Dynamics 365 Administration Centre, you should now see a new Portal Add On Application that would have appeared when you added your Portal Subscription with the Status of ‘Not Configured’, and click ‘Manage’ for the ‘Portal Add-on’ to configure it;

 

This will provide the form for configuring your Portal which included providing your Portal URL, Select the Dynamics 365 instance the Portal will be configured for, and the Type of Portal Solution that will be installed;

 

 

After you Accept the terms of service, it may take a few hours for the Portal to completely setup. If you click the Manage Portal Button again you may get the following message;

When navigating to your preferred solutions you will also notice the installation is in the Status of Pending

 

I would give the Portal Setup at least a couple of hours before it is fully provisioned and installed but if it’s been a day and still not accessible you may restart it.

Manage the Portal Installation

Once the Portal has been installed you can go back to go back into the Applications Tab and Click the Manage button for the Portal Add-on. Here you can configure the following portal setting and even restart the portal installation if you feel it was not completed successfully.

Accessing the Dynamics 365 Portal

Navigating to the url you specified for the Portal i.e. razdynamicstest.microsoftcrmportals.com It should show your Public facing Portal Website that you configured for your CRM Instance

Once the Portal Solution is installed you should be able to see the solution installed and the Portals Application menu appear in the Dynamics 365 menu;

 

Configure Portal Contact Web Roles

In order for your User account to configure the Portal you will need to assign the Administrators Web Role for the corresponding Portal Contact record that is created during the installation. Navigate to the Dynamics 365 Contacts, you should be able to find the Contact record that corresponds to your user account. The Portal Contact form will have a Web Roles tab, Check it has the Administrator Role, If not you can add the web role as shown below;

 

Login to the Portal

Now that you have assigned the Privileges to your Portal User, Clicking the Sign in Button on the Portal homepage, and pressing Azure AD will allow you to sign in with your Office 365 logged in credentials;

Now that you Portal User account is configured you can login to access your Portal Site and Portal Configurations in Dynamics 365, you can begin customising your Portals. If you have assigned yourself with the Adminstator web tole you should now see the Portal adminstration Wizziwig appear on the top left of the Portal.

 

 

Note – If your portal administration Wizziwig is still not displaying in the portal, you will need to restart the portal by turning it on and off again which can do from the Manage Portal screen where you defines your portal settings.



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Author: Raz Dynamics
Razwan has been specializing in implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions for over 10 years and Awarded Microsoft MVP, Community Contributor, and Moderator awards. Responsible for delivering Dynamics 365 User Groups & CRM Saturday Conferences. Currently focused on authoring publications whilst helping organisations overcome CRM challenges and contributing to open source projects.