Use Cases for Dynamics 365 Portals

Microsoft made a strategic move with the transition to the Dynamics 365 product by dividing the previous modules into standalone apps – Customer Engagement henceforth referred to as CE Apps.

Organizations, whether we are using one or even all the apps on CE, are constantly engaging with the customer, building the data in the App or sharing the output from it.

use cases dynamics 365

Documents and data for Customers go through different organizations from Marketing to Billing. Sales department create quotes, Accounts and Finance create and share Invoicing details or Customer Service Desk share statuses on Cases resolutions, and Project teams share Plans, Tasks, Milestone updates.  

All this Process Redundancy, Email Clutter and Dual Data Entry can be streamlined by sharing data directly with the end customers through the Microsoft CRM – Dynamics 365 Portal for the Customer Engagement and Custom applications.

The Dynamics 365 Portal is the tool to surface specific entities and records from within the Customer Engagement apps to enable processes with external collaborators and stakeholders like your customers and partners. 

On the Dynamics 365 Portal, the Organization can define the audience it wants to invite, define the data it wants to be exposed, define the Role of the User logging in and define the entire User Experience.

Also, read – Top 10 Reasons to Invest in a Dynamics 365 Portal 

Dynamics 365 Portals Use Cases

Customer service

Customer Service departments receive inbound calls and emails every day to request help. These interactions can often result in cases, incidents or trouble tickets that need to be resolved for the customer. In case of Organizations using CE Apps when cases are surfaced via a portal, users can create, update, add attachments or even comment on cases themselves, bypassing the need to Search/Speak directly with people in the organization, just use the inherent routing rules.

Exposing Knowledgebase articles helps deflect a lot of repetitive cases and prompts customers towards SelfServicing.  The Analytics on time spent, Entitlements remaining and consumed, Service-related invoices are data points that can be made available on the Portal. An added dimension of Live Chat can be added for a more focused service.

Finance and Accounts

Invoicing is another common usecase for customers with Recurring or consumption-based billing. Work 365’s recurring invoices are automatically made available for customers to view and download from the self-service portal. Enabling integration to an ECommerce portal and a Payment Gateway can make the experience 360 degrees complete for the Customer.

Sales and Marketing

Partners and Sales Consultants can access Marketing collateralflyers, decks, etc. from CE Apps using secure access to the Portal 

They can add/ update the Accounts, Leads, Opportunities* and Contacts using the welldefined Dynamic Role Matrix. Working directly on the same CE application, the Sales Pipeline is always updated and information, correct. 

The Marketing department and New product team can use the Portal Dashboard to announce upcoming events and Product Launches to the Customer/ Partners. Customers can request new Products and services and schedule meetings with the Account Manager. 


Teams can Collaborate on projects not only for sharing Proposals, Kickoff decks, Scope documents, etc., but also to get approval on Time Spent, discuss and escalate Risks, surface Upcoming Tasks and share Invoices from the Portal 

As a closing note – The key to any successful engagement is delivering the right information to the right users at the right time. Since Portals are device-agnostic, Organization business operations can extend from the back (and front) office to the smartphones, tablets, and desktops of customers always available and always on!


Top 10 Reasons to Invest in a Dynamics 365 Portal

While each Organization must find its own trigger, I’ve laid out some common underlying set of reasons which resonate across Organizations 

1) Productivity

  • Repeated and redundant Tasks of creating, updating and maintaining data, especially when it is worked on by multiple groups within and outside the organization is done away with.  
  • Setting notifications and alerts on relevant Portal activity, ensures users are informed of updates pertaining to their concerned areas. 
  • Effective use of Dashboards can showcase synopsis of updated information 
  • Allowing external users to create, update and view requisite information – data and documents, using inbuilt application validations and security, saves the Organization time and effort consumed to update it on the System from the shared location

2) Cost-effective 

  • Did you know that you have a free portal? Every Organization who has 10 Enterprise licenses has a Portal which can be used for Collaboration and Service 
  • Its hosted for free on the Microsoft cloud – which means that there is no monthly hosting charge 
  • It comes with an inbuilt SSL certificate and a domain name– so no hassle of any purchase or renewal there too 
  • The only cost is what it takes to build and configure it. Provided that the required skillsets on Html, JavaScript, and Liquid are available, adding pages and content are completely do-able tasks

3) Inherent Integration

  • The Portal has seamless Integration with all CRM objects and entities. No external tools or services are needed for the communication
  • Real-time data updates and transfers make it an extended arm of the core CRM application.  

4) Secure sharing 

  • Multiple authenticating options – LinkedIn, Facebook, Azure AD, etc. are available along with the ability to implement Single Sign-on with O365 enable sharing data from secure CRM   
  • Being equipped with SSL, data transfer over the web transfer over an Encrypted pipe which is backed up with Microsoft certifications  

5) Real-time 

  • While the Organization can easily only surface specific data which it wants to from within CRM, real-time updates make it seem like working on the same database with 2 front ends  

6) Choice of interaction 

  • The portal allows Organizations to provide an alternative mode of communication to its Customers, Employees and Partners. Take an example of a Customer Service department being able to service not merely through Email, Chat and Phone, but now through the web too.
  • Time can be booked for Field Service Visits and PreSales meetings from within the Portal itself and directly integrate with the CRM Resource Board and Target achievements, making it a great choice or Self- servicing 

7) Transparency 

  • Being real-time, Sales and Customer Service Organizations are benefitted. Be it the closure of Opportunities or meeting and beating SLAs, everything can be easily recorded and shared transparently. 

8) Always on 

  • Portals come in build with the Microsoft assurance of being 99.99% on. 

9) Marketing, Analytics, and Insights 

  • Quickly link your Portal web pages to Google Analytics to understand adoption and effectiveness.  
  • Link to the Portal from your corporate website for users to Login to create a seamless experience of viewing secure information pertaining to their engagement only 
  • Display Events and Announcements on your Portal to inform your niche audience about the most important happenings, achievements, and Offers 
  • Understand if your Portal draws an audience to your knowledge base, your Shared Invoices, Project Status/ timesheets, or available field service schedules.

10) Choose your Audience and Content 

  • Send invitations to your niche clients and partners and let them view and add to your data store. You can roll out the portal in phases and expose data as its ready. 
  • Grant roles in CRM to your Portal Users and allow them to access only to specifically surfaced data

If you are an organization using Dynamics 365, and you have identified that the time is right to invest in a Dynamics 365 portal *– do it now. Your free to use Portal is lying wasted!

*Check the blogIntroduction to the Dynamics 365 portal 

**check the blog The right time to invest in the dynamics portal

When is the Right Time for Businesses to Invest in a Dynamics 365 Portal?

Where there are other financial* and IT** considerations which may impact the decision, there are 2 main situations which can be used to identify if the Organization is ready for/ needs a Portal.  

 1) When Dynamics data/ documents need to be regularly be viewed/ shared with external users – customers or partners.  

Client and partner engagements at every step need the information to be exchanged in the form of data and documents. Sharing these over emails or shared locations very often results in duplication and redundancy. Furthermore, the team is losing productive time maintaining this update. 

Sharing controlled data right from its source in Dynamics to secure external Roles can easily remedy the situation. 

Activities to look out for when identifying that the Organization should surface information via Portals 

  • When you see that the CRM users are frequently having to share reports, request data, send alerts, expose status’, etc.,
  • Where you want to ensure that the external user always has the most updated information residing in Dynamics
  • Provide access to KBs, Blogs and access Discussion forums, ensuring that the partner/ customer is engaged and enabled

2) When external users need to create or update data/ documents which are maintained by the Organization in Dynamics 

While any license impact based on the user and the kind of activity performed must be clearly understood and adhered to before investing in the portal, the Portal is a great tool to allow Partners and customers restricted and secure access to add/ update specific sections of the Organization Dynamics 365 apps. 

Some simple use cases where Dynamics may need such updates – 

  1. When Partners, Distributors and sales channels need to share new/update their sales opportunities 
  2. When Appointments need to be booked 
  3. Cases – create and updates 
  4. Moderated Discussion Channels re needed Questions and Common Update and need to be,  
  5. update time and expenses on Projects. 

Some thoughts on the “How”

The Dynamics Organization can provide a seamless experience to external users,  by linking it from its corporate site, replicating the branding and using Azure AD authentication. Roles defined can showcase targeted content to different roles within the same client organization.  Keeping the Portal content and forms simple but relevant will help in increasing footfalls on the portal. 

While the Internal users need to be cognizant of their actions on Dynamics and the fact that some of it will be visible to the customer, per se, the Portal need not have all the data saved and managed on Dynamics surfaced.

* while 1 instance of the CRM portal is available for free to all Dynamics 365 Organizations, provided they fit in [ check the previous blog “Dynamics 365 Portal – Introduction”], any UAT and Test environments have a cost attached 

** Portal development needs some development skills on HTML, JavaScript and “Liquid” apart from having a good handle on Administration of Administration and Security on Dynamics. The Portal developer will need System Customizer, Portal Admin and in some cases, Global Admin credentials on Dynamics. 

Dynamics 365 Portal – A Quick Introduction Before Our Journey

The Background 

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Portal was formerly known as ADX Studio Portal. The Canada-based Adxstudio team had been building self-service web portals for customer relationship management software since 1998. 

Back then, it was an web site which surfaced the Organization Dynamics CRM data – online or On-premise. It could be hosted on any server and could be completely Customized, Branded and Integrated. 

Microsoft Acquisition 

Adxstudio was acquired by Microsoft in 2015. In its GA release in Spring 2016 from Microsoft, the Portal was available as a fully Microsoft – managed Dynamics 365 add-on only. Until August 2018, Microsoft continued supporting the legacy ADX Studio Portal product, however, since then, all formal support for the old product has been discontinued. 

Dynamics 365 Portal– today 

The product, Dynamics 365 Portal, in its new form has its on-premise footprint completely wiped out – it is now available to only the Dynamics 365 instances in the cloud. [Recently, Microsoft has released source code to create a framework for on-premise portal deployments – albeit this isn’t officially supported ] While an organization can host multiple portals drawing data from its Dynamics 365 instance – the relation is strictly N:1 – Portals could now access CRM data only in the same Office 365 tenant.  

Implementing customizations via Server-side codes is no longer possible. JavaScript and “Liquid” have become the chosen tools to extend this Microsoft product. Originally released in its 8.1 version, the product is today available as 9.1.5 

License, in brief 

  • Users: 

Organization employees and partners, depending on their CRM activities from the web portal need the correct license – Full or Team. 

  • Organization: 

Effective October 2018, every Organization with 10 Dynamics 365 Enterprise subscriptions has one Portal already available for use. Any additional portal instance required is available at a cost – including any Sandbox or Test tenants 

  • Multiplexing: [Indirect] 

Internal users and devices accessing Dynamics 365 data indirectly through a portal or via an API to a separate service such Microsoft Outlook must be properly licensed 

Capacity in a nutshell 

  • Page Views: The Portal includes 1 million-page view 
  • Common Data Service Database: 10GB
  • Common Data Service File Capacity: 5MB- 32 MB/ file
  • Common Data Service Log Capacity: 2 GB 

Audience and Custom Dynamics 365 Portal Types 

While each of the portal types can be configured to cater to multiple audience groups, pre-configured Portal templates are available for Partners, Customers and Employees separately [ Employees will require proper CRM licenses to access Portals data] 


  • Customer Self Service Portal
  • Custom web Portal
  • Partner Portal
  • Partner Project Service (Optional, requires solutions installed)
  • Partner Field Service (Optional, requires solutions installed)
  • Community Portal 


  • Customer Self Service Portal 
  • Custom web Portal 
  • Community Portal 


  • Employee Self Service Portal 


Available authentication types 

  • Forms Authentication 
  • Windows Authentication
  • Windows Live ID Authentication
  • Windows Azure Authentication 


Roles for the Portal User are defined within Dynamics 365. Permissions and data access use the same processes as used for CRM user roles. 


While there is enough to write pages on each of the items in the bullet above, hopefully, the above data points and references have given you an overall premise of Dynamics 365 portals, scattered in various documents and blogs in a nutshell.

Coming up 

With this background, we will in the next blog, in this series, delve into the When and Why of the Dynamics 365 Portals. 

What is the right time to invest in Dynamics 365 Portals and some strong Pros and Cons to help you decide