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As we have seen so far, there are many exciting new features with the Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update. Well that excitement continues with the updates to Portals!

There are some new features that are being added for Customer Engagement portals, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these features.

  • Portal Source Code Release
  • Administrative Wizard
  • Single sign-on configuration

Portal Source Code Release:

The SaaS offering does not give us the access to the source code, but there is still a lot we can do with the customizations provided out-of-the box for portals. As part of this update, Microsoft will provide a one-time drop for the source code.

Pros:

  1. Portals can be hosted independently for CRM on-premises deployments — this is a major advantage
  2. Asp.net pages can be modified as required since we own the source code, which means custom integrations can be performed and new asp.net pages can be added as well
  3. We can have our own telemetry against the portal and have various alerting and logging applied
  4. Deployment of this portal can be embedded with CICD process

Cons:

  1. This will be a one-time drop and there will be no updates further to it
  2. No support will be given by Microsoft for the on-premises hosted portals
  3. Any upgrades to the SaaS offering will not be reflected to this on-premises hosted portal
  4. Maintenance

This is just an addition to all the SaaS offerings provided by Microsoft.

Administrative Wizard:

Portals have a ton of configuration, and there is a lot that we can do with that. However, creating these configurations can be tedious and may create confusion due to the architecture. As part of the July Update, there will be an Administrative Wizard that will make it much easier to configure and create portal data.

Pros:

  1. Create portal config data from one window
  2. Quick questions on the wizard will help you create the required portal content
  3. Reduced time spent on configuration

Cons:

  1. No edit experience as part of this update

More information on this handy wizard will updated in the near future.

Here are a few screenshots of the Administrative Wizard:

1. Navigate to Portal Administration

customer engagement portals

2. Create Portal Content

customer engagement portals

3. Questionnaire screens

customer engagement portals

customer engagement portals

4. Portal content created

customer engagement portals

Single sign-on configuration:

Azure AD-B2C is the future of the Portal authentication mechanism and of the other functionalities in Dynamics 365. This means that there will be deprecation of the local logon authentication and everything will be via Azure AD-B2C.

You can learn more about Azure AD-B2C here.

Azure AD-B2C is an Azure service that does not require an actual subscription, can be started for free, and can go live in Production within certain service limits.

Pros:

  1. The entire logon experience can be configured from the Azure Portal
  2. Azure AD- B2C will do email verifications for local logons
  3. It can be configured for two factor authentication
  4. Multiple identity providers can be selected as part of the configuration
  5. On selecting a single identity provider, the portal will go directly into the identity provider’s logon page
  6. Azure AD-B2C login pages can be customized
  7. Fields that have to be on a sign-up page can also be selected in the Azure portal

Here are a few screenshots of the Azure AD-B2C Portal experience:

1. Azure Portal View – Identity Providers Selection

customer engagement portals

2. Select the data that will be part of sign up attributes

customer engagement portals

3. Customized Logon page

customer engagement portals

4. The new sign out experience will sign out from the identity provider and is configurable for each identity provider.

customer engagement portals

To learn more about Dynamics 365 July Updates, sign up for our Update Webinar Series – running now through August 22.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

Please note: All content and information is presented on preview versions and not the launched product. Product is subject to changes per Microsoft’s discretion.

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Joe D365

Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.