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The Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Apps

With the December 2016 update to Dynamics 365 (CRM) come a number of new features, improvements and updates. In this blog we will introduce you to business apps, and what you can do with them. It is a general overview of the functionality that will give you enough information to understand the benefits of this new feature as well as some points to keep in mind.

What is a modular business app and why should I care?

A business app is a new way to give access to entities, forms, views, dashboards and navigation that are relevant to the user the app is targeting. For example, a Customer Service app will show the entities related to Customer Service and not show Marketing for instance.

Currently System Views and Dashboards are not able to be hidden based on security role or user and therefore everyone will see every view and dashboard; this can lead to an extremely long list in some instances. With business apps you can now select only the relevant components for each user role allowing an app designer to show only those System Views and Dashboards required by a user in their role.

The main benefit of business apps can be achieved through site map editing, security role based forms and using the security model to show only relevant records. However this is not a simple process and can cause lots of headaches if not correctly implemented. With the new site map editor and app designer, the process of selecting relevant components for an app is simplified greatly.

It’s important to note that this is a feature for easy access to only the relevant parts of the system for the user, it is NOT a security feature as the user will still be able to read/write/create records based on their security roles via advanced find and elsewhere.

How do I get a business app?

Every user now has access to the Dynamics home page via portal.office.com which lists the apps a user can run. The default is called Dynamics 365 – custom that can be changed via the System Settings (Settings > Administration > System Settings then General tab at the bottom of the page). This default app is the standard view of Dynamics that includes everything as before.

In addition to this default app, you will also see the relevant app based on your Dynamics 365 Enterprise User Subscription as below:

  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Field Service
  • Project Service Automation

The last option is for a System Administrator to ‘Create’ a new app (or edit an existing one).

What can a business app do?

Business apps allow an organisation to provide simplified apps to users of Dynamics 365 by selecting only certain elements to display as listed here:

  • Site map
  • Dashboards
  • Business Process Flows
  • Entity Views
  • Entity Forms
  • Entity Charts

There is a good chance this will be expanded in the future to add more capability as this is the first version of business apps available to the users of Dynamics 365.

Great! I get it, now show me…

Let’s begin with navigation, how do we get to the apps? If you login via portal.office.com you will have the Dynamics 365 tile available that takes you to the Dynamics homepage.

Business Apps Benefits 1 

Business Apps Benefits 2

In this instance we have created a new app called ‘Customers DB’ which only shows Accounts and Contacts. Below you will see that our site map now only shows exactly that.

Business Apps Benefits 3

Within the entity areas you will only see the selected system views as shown below with the Account entity.

,Business Apps Benefits 4

This is of course an arbitrary example but serves to illustrate the effects of creating an app. To create a new app, as a System Administrator, in the latest version of Dynamics 365 (8.2.x) you can navigate to Settings > My Apps and click on + CREATE APP in the top right.

Business Apps Benefits 5

Complete the required fields and click ‘Done’ to create the app.

Business Apps Benefits 6

First, you need to define the Site Map and once you have done that you will see that it will automatically bring in the related entities.

Business Apps Benefits 7

Business Apps Benefits 8

Add any required artefacts and assets using the options available, then save and close and you have an app.

Business Apps Benefits 9

Business Apps Benefits 10

Business Apps Benefits 11

Contact Us today for more information on Dynamics 365 Business Apps, alternatively you can read more on TechNet for Admins, Help for end users and TechNet for Developers.

24 Mar 2017

About the Author

James CTwo is our blogging alter ego for the Dynamics CRM and Web experts here at C2. We have a passion for anything CRM, Web Design or Social Media. We love writing about it! Find us on YouTube & Twitter.

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