Portal, in the context of D365 can be viewed as an independently running Web Application that can be leveraged to Model Business Processes or Portions of it aimed at providing higher level of accessibility to the core ERP & CRM functionalities for your key Stakeholders. Key Stakeholders can range from internal users (Employees) to external parties (Customers, Trading Partners) requiring minimal rights and access. Portals can be of different types – Informational Portals, Self-Service Portals, Data Capture Portals, Transactional Portals and Collaboration Portals. The content of the Portals can be populated from variety of sources like Databases, Application APIs, Webservices, Folders and Libraries.

Below, we’ll highlight some of the common Use cases of Enterprise Portals

Stakeholders Use Cases
Internal Employees Benefits & Entitlements, Warehouse Transactions, Inbound Receiving, Shipping Transactions
External Customers Sales Order, Ticketing & Case Management, Helpdesk
External Trading Partners (Suppliers, Distributors, Logistics Partners) Product Information, Inventory Balance Lookups, Pricing, Commission or Revenues for Vendors, and Knowledgebase Articles

History and Evolution of Portals for Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics AX & CRM had Portals initially rolled out in ADX Studio, a powerful Portal that used Liquid templates and Real-time Integration to fetch data from ERP/CRM. Once ADX Studio was acquired, Microsoft rebranded it to Portal by Microsoft. This is the new SaaS Dynamics Portal which is generally included in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Subscription ADX Studio. This is also known as and referred to as Microsoft Dynamics Portals, Microsoft Portals for Dynamics 365 and other names. Many Out of The Box D365 Portals are pre-built and require little or no customizations, good examples are Customer Self Service Portals, Partner Portals, Employee Self Service Portals and Community Portals. Enterprises and their Stakeholders prefer Portals because they give users the ability to Self-Serve. For this reason, Portals, in some form or other, are increasingly becoming indispensable extensions of the Dynamics 365 Platform, although the kind of Portals implemented varies from Enterprise to Enterprise.

Key considerations in defining D365 Portal Architecture

The following are some of the aspects clients embarking on D365 Portals must consider:

  • 1. Userbase: Be aware of Target Users, Internal or External, Mode & Medium of Access
  • 2. Supported Devices: Need to have a firm handle on the devices, to ensure better UI/UX & Browser Compatibility.
  • 3. Security: Need to be cognizant of Security requirements particularly involving Commerce Transactions and other External Interactions.
  • 4. Internet Availability: Need to consider the internet accessibility for Web Applications and switching between Applications
  • 5. Platform limitations: ADX Studio Portals supercharges D365 into an interactive, Web-based engagement Platform featuring responsive Web Designs tuned for Mobile, Tablet & Desktop devices. However, certain parameters can pose constraints in effectively leveraging the Portal Technology. Parameters such as the need for Centralized Infrastructure, Hardware Requirements to run the Application, Screen Size, Memory and Data Connectivity must all be evaluated and provisioned for.

Pros of D365 Portals

  • As everything is a part of single D365 Platform now:
    • There is no need to host the Portal through another service provider
    • Integrations need not be developed/re-written
    • Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AAD), the directory store that is powering O365 for user management has built in Sign-on and this helps Enterprises to manage Portal users effectively as a part of Enterprise Security

Cons of D365 Portals

  • Lack of standard templates for Portals means Design/Development from the scratch for Vendor and Customer Portals. Ecommerce Portals are the toughest in our experience
  • Need to use additional tool Azure AD B2C for Two-factor Authentication (2FA)
How to extend your business using Microsoft D365 Portals?

KARYA Technologies can help you extend the reach of D365 Platform by implementing the right Portals for the right business Use cases. Be it for Ecommerce, Customer Helpdesk with Self-Service Knowledgebase, Ticketing & Case Management, Inventory Lookups, Warehouse Transactions, Inbound Receiving and Inspections, Shipping Transactions and Employee Benefits/ Entitlements we can assist you. Further we can also help you implement Collaboration Portals for Forums, Blogs, Ideas & Events for Social Engagement, Interactive Web Forms for Non-Technical Publishers and Web Content Management.

Below are the scenarios that you may require assistance with, which KARYA Technologies can help,

  • You are already using Dynamics 365, D365 Portal being your obvious choice. We can help you with Portals for several business Use cases listed above
  • Let’s say your business is not using D365, Portals could still be a great choice, because, by their very nature, Portals are customizable and integrate well with the other Microsoft Products, especially Office
  • For Dynamics 365 on-line customers, Microsoft provides a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering where they host the Portal. Your first Portal instance comes with your subscription; you simply ought to pay if you wish to implement more Portals along the same lines. KARYA can help you here as well in extending your use of Portals

For more information on KARYA’s Dynamics 365 Portal offerings, please connect with us at info@karyatech.com

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