So if you’re looking to learn Dynamics 365, there’s a good chance you won’t have access to a Sandbox version to work in. This blog will go through the steps to set up your Trial and get started along with Dynamics 365 learning path.
Note: I don’t know what Microsoft’s official stance on multiple trial sign-ups is, but if you’re learning a Microsoft skill for the purposes of taking the exams, or to get a job working for a client who uses it, it’s probably ok to make trials as you need them. Obviously, If you end up working/developing on Dynamics, you should be using a development licence (you get some with MSDN subscriptions) or your client will get a sandbox you can work in. Just make sure you use trials for personal learning to leapfrog you into a real job with a real licence!
Signing up to Dynamics 365
It’s super simple to sign up, although I wouldn’t go down this route if I was actually a paying customer. In order to sign up to your trial, go to the sign-up page here. That’s a link I got from the Dynamics Community forum so it should be good for a while, but if not just Google ‘Dynamics 365 Trial Sign Up’.
Fill in the form, taking note of the generated email address as this will be your login. Typically it is generated with your firstname.lastname@example.org and is the standard convention for Microsoft online services. You’ll then need to authenticate either by call or text to prove you’re not a robot.
When you’ve created your account you can choose between a customisation profile to suit your business. These include:
You can learn more about what each of these via the links but typically most business need the base CRM features and a subset or mixture of other features depending on their business model. I opted for no customisation just because I wanted a clean environment to go through things like customizations for the walkthroughs.
Navigating Dynamics 365
The version you will see is the latest online release which at the time of writing (October 2018) is 9.0.2. Getting around is fairly simple and should be familiar to those of you who have used Office Online before.
From the top menu, clicking the teal square gives you access to the other office online applications, but it’s the first downwards arrow we are interested in, next to the words ‘Dynamics 365’. This gives you access to your ‘apps’ which are basically preconfigured instances to meet a specific need. You can use these to make sure you give Managers access to more of the system than Agents for example. For now, we only have two.
‘Dynamics 365 – custom’ is actually your basic set up configured from your initial answer in the sign-up process. It’s from here you can access the whole of your Dynamics environment and is likely what the bulk of current users would use.
‘CRM Hub’ though is an interesting one and worthy of a dedicated blog post so I won’t go into it too much here but it is a cool way of working that brings easy access to everything your standard user would need for customer service in one place. Highly recommend looking into this one!
The second menu noted by the second downward arrow, opens up a more traditional menu with access to all of the main areas of the system.
- Sales – gives you access to the leads and opportunities entities so that you can track your sales from start to finish
- Service – Customer Service is managed through cases which are your way of tracking the initial problem as well as all associated activities
- Marketing – With a strong link to Sales, this section allows you to manage all your Marketing Campaigns and track responses and interactions all whilst staying GDPR compliant
- Settings – We will spend a lot of time here because ultimately this is how you configure your CRM. Everything from custom fields, to setting the time!
Setting up your trial was super simple, but for now, just take your time to explore the system and get a feel for what’s where. I will add Demos in line with the content of the Dynamics exams but if you have any requests, drop me a message!