By purchasing ADX-Studios in September 2015, Microsoft acquired a small, but great provider of content management systems, including a connection to dynamics. The old product name is now disappearing with the introduction of Dynamics 365. The latest version will now be marked under the slightly cumbersome name of MS Portals for Dynamics 365.

MS Portals for Dynamics 365 is an additional option within the dynamics family. Microsoft has recently marketed all of its business applications, such as CRM, Dynamics AX, NAVISION and now also MS Portals, under this umbrella term. More specifically, MS Portals is an addition to the CRM module within Dynamics 365.

In most companies, CRM systems are used to document and control communication with customers and partners among other purposes. At the same time, Internet portals are also increasingly used to communicate with end users. This has many advantages for companies:

  • Central provision of knowledge databases and current master data, purchase orders, service inquiries, equipment, devices, etc. for customers and partners.
  • Reduced data processing effort: For example, customers can report faults themselves via a web form.
  • Improved information for customers / partners, since they can check for themselves where a delivery is located and the extent to which a fault message has been processed. In addition, they can perform independent research in a knowledge database.

Additional advantages are created by the direct connection of the portal to the CRM system:

  • No complex interface is required, since the data is taken directly from the CRM or customers and partners who enter data into the forms are actually entering this data directly into the CRM.
  • Users do not have to learn a new interface.

With MS Portals for Dynamics 365, Microsoft offers a solution that integrates the aforementioned advantages in its Dynamics 365-CRM application.

A portal, including 1 million page views per month, is included if you own a license for the Dynamics 365-CRM plan 1 type. You can also purchase additional page views per month in packages of ½ million page views. Additional portals, such as for a test instance, can also be purchased separately. No license is required for partner and customer access. However, a closer look at the license conditions shows that not every partner is actually a partner. For example, freelance employees do not count as partners and therefore have to be provided with licenses.

Do you have questions about licenses and prices? Please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help you.

The MS Portals for Dynamics 365 solution is fully integrated into the CRM interface. All portals can be completely managed in CMS.

MS Portals also offers a web front editor that allows you to easily manage and edit the text content as well as the structure of a portal.

The solution supports the current BootStrap standard so that the portals can be quickly and easily adapted to your design requirements by using BootStrap. In addition, you can create your own page templates and provide almost all of the data of the CRM system. In addition, you can manage the access rights within protected areas in the CRM and in this way, for example, control down to the last detail which customers can display and/or edit which information. In addition, the script languages JavaScript and Liquid are available within the portal pages. This gives you sufficient opportunities in the front-end to implement elaborate rules for the validation or forms, for example, or a personalised addressing, etc. In addition to Dynamics 365 and Office 365 accounts, the user administration can also integrate Facebook, Twitter, etc. Your customers/partners can thus continue to use their usual passwords.

With MS Portals for Dynamics 365, however, not only can you structure and design web content, but you can also use web forms for surveys. Of course, data from surveys is saved directly in tables in the CRM so that in addition to the portal functions the full functionality of the CRM system is also available to you. In this way, for example, you can perform evaluations or automate processes with the help of the CRM workflow engine.

In the first version, Microsoft provides a series of portal templates for MS Portals that provide basic functions. Of course, there is also a blank template that allows you to start at zero. All templates are based on BootStrap and the designs are made so that they automatically adjust depending on whether the visitor uses a smartphone, a tablet or a PC.

Portal templates of the first version:

Empty portal Only contains the portal homepage, including the standard BootStrap and the management of login profiles (user registration and user master data).
Forms the basis of all of the following templates:
Customer service portal Integration of knowledge databases, blogs and case management for customers.
Partner portal Integration of partner sales opportunities and partner data. It can be extended to integrate field service, case management and project automation services for partners.
Community portal Integration of idea databases and forums.

With MS Portals, you extend your workbench and customers and/or partners can not only enter the data themselves, but they are also offered a quick and cost-effective access to relevant data.

Kay Arnold-Senior CRM Consultant
Kay Arnold
Senior CRM Consultant at AlfaPeople