Trials for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement are a cool way to get easy access to the application and what is has to offer. But what can happen if we try to use a trial as the foundation for project delivery? Well it’s not always smooth sailing…
Most of us have used trials in the past to be able to stand up some quick configuration for a demo we are running or a proof of concept. Sometimes they have been used to stand up some initial configuration with the idea of becoming a more permanent instance later. After all any trial can become a paid instance with one purchase.
But lately this has become more tricky to navigate the use of trials in this way, and as such I wanted to share some observations and recommendations around the use of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement trials when we are in the initialisation phase of a project.
I am sure some of you have encountered challenges recently, but using a trial is always not a stable option for a number of reasons;
- Trials are provisioned on the “latest” version of D365 CE, this is often not the same for an instance created as a paid subscription – i.e. versions of apps or functions are not always in general release.
- Adding other instances to your tenant can mean they have different solution build versions – no really!
- The solutions deployed as part of a trial of late are often pre-release versions, I’ve seen issues particularly around;
- Field Service
- Project Service Automation
- Dependencies created for components in these solutions can cause issues when trying to import your solution into new instances – i.e. missing dependency errors which lead to import failures.
- Dynamics 365 for Marketing trials cannot currently be converted into paid instances and are not by default linked to an existing D365 CE instance, trial or otherwise, these are ‘stand alone’.
- Newer versions of the Relationship Insights feature can be enabled against a trial and may not be available in a paid instance, again causing dependency issues.
- Trials can contain newer versions of the “Playbook” solutions – these will cause dependency issues for some out of the box entities, such as Opportunity (Playbook for Sales).
After some of the experiences I have had recently I have put together some quick recommendations;
- Try to ensure one instance is added ahead of time to the clients’ Office 365 tenant.
- If using a trial is necessary for early delivery, do not use the “customise the trial” option – start with a blank slate.
- If you need to use the pre-configured apps, do include costs for managing deployment issues down the line.
- If you have dependency issues and the version of the solution isn’t in the base – you can enable the trial versions of Field Service and PSA in a paid instance (not a preferred option) or open a case with Microsoft Support.
- If you are creating solutions do not add all assets, instead carefully select the assets you need and check the alerts when exporting your solution.
- If you have a trial with preferred solutions that are not required for the build, remove them prior to starting your configuration. Or clear the instance and set up without them.
- If you are ‘missing’ solutions check the preferred solutions available for you instance in the Dynamics 365 Admin Center
- Implementing a DevOps pipeline solution can help identify dependency issues with releases prior to a failed deployment longer term.
Feel free to share your own experiences, but felt it was worth calling this out to try and save you some pain in the future!