This is my 2nd blog in my 12 part series that talks about Dynamics 365 Best Practices. My first blog focused on defining the term "Best Practice" in relation to Dynamics 365. This blog focuses on Dynamics 365 Organizations Best Practices. All future blogs, will focus on Best Practices surrounding different configuration topics relating to Dynamics 365.
Congratulations on your choice to use Microsoft Dynamics 365. You have purchased a Production instance. Based on the type of instance you purchased, you'll have one Sandbox instance as well. You may or may not decide to purchase an additional Sandbox instance, but you can. You'll understand more after reading this blog as to why that purchase may help with development, testing, and deployment.
Dynamics 365 Organizations Best Practices
Setting up your Org
You'll need to be at least a service admin in Office 365 to configure your Dynamics 365 orgs. As you go through the process, you'll select the applications you want to pre-install. You can come back later and install applications as needed so it's best to only install what you need to get started. It's more difficult to later remove than later add.
You'll need to name your org, establish the URL, select the purpose, optionally assign a security group, select your County/Region, and select a base Currency. You can add additional currencies in Dynamics 365 however, once you set the base currency, it cannot be changed. Try to make your URL simple for Production. If you have a company abbreviation, such as ABC, use that. Then, for your Sandbox, make it meaningful such as abcdev or abcuat. I'll dive deeper into this when I talk about Naming Your Orgs.
If you're a small company and all of your Office 365 users are going to be Dynamics 365 users as well, then the Security Group isn't going to play a factor. However, if you have hundreds of Office 365 users and only some of them will be Dynamics 365 users, or if you have multiple Production Dynamics 365 instances, you'll want to setup Security Groups in Office 365. This allows you to only add the appropriate users to the group and then apply the group to the Dynamics 365 org as you're setting it up. If you don't apply a security group, then all users who have a Customer Engagement app license will appear under "Users" within Dynamics 365. It's a best practice to try to control the list of users as much as possible and using Office 365 Security Groups will do that for you.
Naming your Orgs
In a two organization environment, your Sandbox should be your development (DEV) org and your Production is your production (PROD) org. Your production instance shouldn't contain the word prod in the URL. It should simply just be your company name/abbreviation. Try to keep it simple, such as abc, that way your Production URL is abc.crm.dynamics.com and your Development URL is abcdev.crm.dynamics.com.
In a three organization environment, one of your Sandboxes is your development (DEV) org, the other Sandbox is your user acceptance testing (UAT) or quality assurance (QA) org, and your Production is your production (PROD) org. If you follow the naming convention proposed above, then you'll have an additional User Acceptance Testing org with abcuat.crm.dynamics.com as the URL, or a Quality Assurance org with abcqa.crm.dynamics.com as the URL. UAT versus QA is a decision you can make based on the internal purpose of this org and the structure of your configuration deployments.
A three organization environment is ideal. This allows your development team to live in one org while your users can test in a different org without affecting production. A three organization structure is also ideal when working with Dynamics 365 Solutions, which is the topic of the next blog in this series.
Once you setup your orgs, you should change the Theme colors of each org. You can access Themes under Settings | Customizations. This will help your users have immediate visibility as to which instance they are working in without having to always look at the URL.
Within the theme, you can change the Logo Tooltip, which will appear in the upper-left hand corner of the app. You could change this to DEV or UAT accordingly. You can also add a logo. To add a logo, you'll need to create a Web Resource for the image and then attach it to the theme. Have fun with this! You can use animated gifs, regular gifs, jpgs, or pngs.
Themes are an easy, fun way to visually differentiate your instances. You can clone existing themes to make it easier. Once you select a Navigation Bar Fill Color, all of the other elements' colors will update with suggested colors to make sure that you aren't putting black text on a black background. These are just suggestions as you can change any of these colors in the theme as well. You can also have multiple themes and change the default theme anytime you want to change things up.
Please contact us today if you have questions about Dynamics 365 Organizations Best Practices or if you have a topic or certain Dynamics 365 component that you are particularly interested in hearing about in regards to its Best Practices.
Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM for Distribution, Office 365, Managed IT Services, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Cloud and Unified Communication Solutions.