Single Instance / Organization Considerations in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement / Dynamics CRM

Let us start from the scenario that the enterprise has decided to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM /365 CE as a preferred customer relationship solution for their organization.

For a large enterprise and/or having multiple different departments, the first question that comes up is, do they need to have a single instance or organization or multiple instance or organization. Well, that decision is not that easy but one thing is for sure the decision should be made as early as possible in the project.

Well you could refer to these posts that could help us to make the decision

https://medium.com/capgemini-dynamics-365-team/does-enterprise-scale-dynamics-require-multiple-instances-f1931a443930

https://nishantrana.me/2019/07/23/single-organization-vs-multiple-organization-single-instance-vs-multiple-instance-key-points-to-consider-in-dynamics-365-ce-on-premise/

Now suppose we have made the decision to go with the single instance \ organization, so what are some of the key points we need to consider.

There could be multiple ways of implementing and defining the segregation layer as well as what needs to be shared from data and customization perspective among the different business units, the most important being the security model and the business unit structure being one of the key components of it.

Check out the below Webinar –

http://www.xrmcoaches.com/2017/07/free-webinar-friday-creating-your-dynamics-365-security-model/

also listen to the below podcast to get some guidance around the setting up the security model

http://crmmvppodcast.com/episode-19-setting-up-your-security-architecture-like-a-crm-mvp

In one of our projects, the way we segregated different departments, after defining the appropriate business unit structure, was by having the Business Unit lookup (custom field) in all the common entities that were being shared by the departments and populating that field accordingly, every time record is created either through User Interface or through code and to refer the same field in the customizations (plugin, workflow etc.) as and when applicable.

In the other project, we were referring to the Business Unit lookup field in the System User / Team Entity.

Well there could be multiple ways of doing the same with its own pros and cons.

But what if you have already implemented for one of the units and didn’t consider that the same instance would need to be extended to accommodate the different business unit(s).

Well, then it is time to modify a couple of things to make the Business Unit structure scalable (if it is not).

Let us go through the each of the main components one by one and how they can be segregated among different business units.

Wrong root business unit name?

Set Parent Business Unit lookup field as optional, open the Business Unit record and rename it.

Need to rename the organization?

For Online à

Navigate to Admin Portal, select the instance and click on edit and update the organization name and if required the URL as well as shown below.


For On-Premise à

  • Follow the below steps to update the Display Name

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/darrenliu/2013/09/21/change-crm-organization-display-name/

  • Updating Organization Database Name

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/crmbipl/2008/01/14/how-to-change-crm-4-0-organizations-database-name/

Forms

Create separate new Main forms for different business units.

Enable appropriate security roles for the Form.

Views

Fields

Reuse the fields that are common instead of ending up creating a large number of fields.

Field security profiles can also be used if required when certain entity’s records are shared across the business unit and we want to hide the sensitive information.

Business Rules

Business rule can be configured to run on the scope of Form instead of the Entity.

Dashboards

For Dashboards, we can enable the security roles.

Workflows

  • Use scope fields to make sure the workflows fire appropriately.
  • Or put the first step to check for which business unit it is firing (depends on the segregation logic implemented)

Plugins

Have a field in the records to identify to which Business Unit it belongs to and check for this field as the first thing in the plugin or check for the Business Unit of the user under whose context the plugin is getting fired or use the secure \ unsecure configuration etc. it purely depends upon the way the segregation logic has been implemented.

SLAs

Use SLA lookup field to apply the SLA dynamically through plugin or workflow.

https://nishantrana.me/2019/07/24/apply-sla-choosing-the-sla-in-the-sla-lookup-field-for-the-sla-enabled-entities-in-dynamics-365-ce/

Business Process Flow

If there are multiple business process flow, make sure appropriate one is applied

Apply business process flow while creating an entity record.

https://www.powerobjects.com/blog/2019/04/24/business-process-flows-switch-bpf-dynamics-365-javascript/

There would be multiple other key points to be considered apart from the one listed above specific to each implementation; the above points are some of the things that can be taken as guidelines.

Lastly we must consider  creating different apps for different department \ teams\ users and add required solution components to it.

Design custom business apps by using the app designer

Please feel free to add comments and share your thoughts.

Hope it helps..

The workflow cannot be published or unpublished by someone who is not its owner error while importing solution in Dynamics 365 CE

Recently after upgrade of our Dynamics 365 CE from 8.2 to 9.1, when the System Administrator tried importing the solution (managed), he got the below error

The workflow cannot be published or unpublished by someone who is not its owner.

Error while importing workflow {ec05f40d-fd14-46ab-96b3-be1f5b108ef3} type Workflow name Marketing List – Update CT Relationship: The workflow cannot be published or unpublished by someone who is not its owner.

What the error says is that the user who is importing the solution needs to be the owner of the workflow that is there in that solution.

http://gonzaloruizcrm.blogspot.com/2011/05/processesworkflow-ownership-faqs.html

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/17159920/crm-2011-ru13-the-workflow-cannot-be-published-or-unpublished-by-someone-who-is

The thing was that we have never got this issue earlier for that System Admin user and we would have imported the solution at least 10 times earlier as well. This time the only thing different was that it was in the newer version 9.1

Changing the owner of the workflow and assigning it to the one who is importing will fix this issue. However interestingly and as expected when we tried importing the same solution using a different system administrator (again not the owner of the workflow in the target system), the import was successful with warning.

“The original workflow definition has been deactivated and replaced”

Read the below post to understand how workflows are managed internally

https://www.inogic.com/blog/2010/11/workflows-behind-the-scene/

Please share your thoughts, if someone has faced this issue recently and how they managed to fix this?

And what caused the issue to the first system admin and worked for the other.

Requesting the backup of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online Database

In theory, requesting the backup of the online database seems very easy and straightforward. We basically need to raise a support ticket with Microsoft and provide the following details.

  • SQL Version – Standard or Enterprise
  • SQL Year of the version. In our case it was (Microsoft SQL Server 2016 (SP1) (KB3182545) – 13.0.4001.0 (X64) Oct 28 2016 18:17:30 Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation Standard Edition (64-bit) on Windows Server 2016 Datacenter 6.3 <X64> (Build 14393)
  • Global Admin E-mail Address – to who the backup will be shared.

We had requested the same, some 3 weeks back. In our case, the Database size of our production was around 600 GB out of which 200 GB were occupied by Audit Data. For some business-specific reason, we wanted to have the backup of Audit Data with us before we delete it. Now, this Audit has a separate story with it, when we tried deleting it from UI we got the SQL Time Out issue and on raising the support ticket when Support Team tried the same through back end it, resulted in our Production Server being down briefly for few minutes. We also tried to take the back up through 3rd party tools using SSIS, however again we ran into some issue where the tool was not able to pull the Audit Data for few of the entities.

Well to cut the story short, it is around 21 days after we raised the request, and we are yet to receive the backup of our production database, we have been told that support team is actively working on it and it is because of the large size of the organization.

Will keep posting the update on the backup and the Audit deletion.

The purpose of this blog post was to share that certain things might seem straightforward and would have taken maximum few hours, could still run into issues and challenges causing delays. So, when we plan for it we need to aware of these factors as well.

Hope it helps..

HideCustomAction and Display \ Enable rule in Dynamics 365

Imagine a scenario where we have both the disable rule and HideCustomAction implemented for a ribbon button. Let us see with an example what will happen in this scenario.

First, let us implement the display rule to hide the Delete button from Contact form when it is in a disabled state.

For active record à

We can see the delete button in the command bar.

For disabled record à The delete button is not visible.

Now let us hide the button using HideCustomAction

Interestingly the Delete button is not available in case of the active contact record this time.

The reason for this is because the HideCustomAction button removes the specified node from the ribbon so that it is not rendered instead of hiding it. Therefore any other enable or display rules are not applied to that button.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/developer/customize-dev/define-custom-actions-modify-ribbon#hide-custom-actions

Hope it helps..

Plugin on Pre-Validation Stage in Dynamics 365 CE

Recently we had a requirement to delete the Account record without deleting the associated Contact records.

If we try deleting the account record we’d get the following message box

The relationship definition can’t be updated as well to achieve this

So, we wrote a plugin on the pre-validation stage of pre-delete event of Account, which will retrieve and loop through all the child contact records and set its parent customer field as null.

In case of pre-operation the child records were not available.


public void Execute(IServiceProvider serviceProvider)
{
ITracingService tracingService = (ITracingService)serviceProvider.GetService(typeof(ITracingService));
IPluginExecutionContext pluginContext = (IPluginExecutionContext)serviceProvider.GetService(typeof(IPluginExecutionContext));
IOrganizationServiceFactory serviceFactory = (IOrganizationServiceFactory)serviceProvider.GetService(typeof(IOrganizationServiceFactory));
IOrganizationService organizationService = serviceFactory.CreateOrganizationService(pluginContext.UserId);
EntityReference targetEntity = (EntityReference)pluginContext.InputParameters["Target"];
QueryExpression getContacts = new QueryExpression("contact");
getContacts.Criteria.AddCondition(new ConditionExpression("parentcustomerid", ConditionOperator.Equal, targetEntity.Id));EntityCollection allContacts = organizationService.RetrieveMultiple(getContacts);foreach (Entity contact in allContacts.Entities)
{
Entity contactToBeUpdated = new Entity("contact");
contactToBeUpdated.Id = contact.Id;
contactToBeUpdated.Attributes["parentcustomerid"] = null;
organizationService.Update(contactToBeUpdated);
}}

 

Another practical scenario

https://www.inogic.com/blog/2017/03/plugin-pre-validation-operation-to-show-an-error-message-as-well-as-log-the-error/

Hope it helps..

The record could not be deleted because of an association exception in Dynamics 365

Recenlty while trying to delete product records, we got the below error.

The quick way to figure out which associated entity’s record could have restricted the deletion of the record, open the 1:N relationship for the entity.

Search for any Parental, Referential Restrict Delete or any System relationship that has Restrict set for Delete action.

In our case it was the System relationship of Product with Opportunity Product

With Restrict Behavior set for Delete action.

Deleting all the opportunity product record allowed us to delete the Product records.

Hope it helps..

Sample code to retrieve more than 5000 records using FetchXML in CRM

Hi,

Sharing a sample code to retrieve more than 5000 records using the Fetch XML.

Version 1 :


private List<Entity> GetTotalRecordsfromFetch(string fetchXML, IOrganizationService orgService)
{
List<Entity> lstEntity = new List<Entity>();

int fetchCount = 5000;
int pageNumber = 1;
string pagingCookie = null;

while (true)
{
// Build fetchXml string with the placeholders.
string xml = this.CreateXml(fetchXML, pagingCookie, pageNumber, fetchCount);
RetrieveMultipleRequest fetchRequest = new RetrieveMultipleRequest
{
Query = new FetchExpression(xml)
};

var returnCollections = ((RetrieveMultipleResponse)orgService.Execute(fetchRequest)).EntityCollection;

if (returnCollections.Entities.Count >= 1)
{
lstEntity.AddRange(returnCollections.Entities);
}

if (returnCollections.MoreRecords)
{
pageNumber++;

results.pagingCookie = returnCollections.PagingCookie;
}
else
{
// If no more records in the result nodes, exit the loop.
break;
}
}

return lstEntity;
}

public string CreateXml(string xml, string cookie, int page, int count)
{
StringReader stringReader = new StringReader(xml);
XmlTextReader reader = new XmlTextReader(stringReader);

XmlDocument doc = new XmlDocument();
doc.Load(reader);

XmlAttributeCollection attrs = doc.DocumentElement.Attributes;

if (cookie != null)
{
XmlAttribute pagingAttr = doc.CreateAttribute("paging-cookie");
pagingAttr.Value = cookie;
attrs.Append(pagingAttr);
}

XmlAttribute pageAttr = doc.CreateAttribute("page");
pageAttr.Value = System.Convert.ToString(page);
attrs.Append(pageAttr);

XmlAttribute countAttr = doc.CreateAttribute("count");
countAttr.Value = System.Convert.ToString(count);
attrs.Append(countAttr);

StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder(1024);
StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter(sb);

XmlTextWriter writer = new XmlTextWriter(stringWriter);
doc.WriteTo(writer);
writer.Close();

return sb.ToString();
}

Version 2 :


private static List<Entity> GetTotalRecordsFetchXML(OrganizationServiceProxy orgProxy, string fetchXML)
{
XDocument xDocument = XDocument.Parse(fetchXML);
var fetchXmlEntity = xDocument.Root.Element("entity").ToString();

EntityCollection entityColl = new EntityCollection();
List<Entity> lstEntity = new List<Entity>();
int page = 1;
do
{

entityColl = orgProxy.RetrieveMultiple(new FetchExpression(
string.Format("<fetch version='1.0' page='{1}' paging-cookie='{0}'>" + fetchXmlEntity + "</fetch>",
SecurityElement.Escape(entityColl.PagingCookie), page++)));

lstEntity.AddRange(entityColl.Entities);
}
while (entityColl.MoreRecords);

return lstEntity;
}

Hope it helps..

Missing RemoveListMembersListRequest in CRM.

In one of our recent implementations, we were working with Marketing List which could be in millions.

So we had the recent request wherein we split the marketing list into groups.

For adding members to a marketing list we have the following request

AddListMembersListRequest 

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.crm.sdk.messages.addlistmemberslistrequest.aspx

which is quite efficient as we can add multiple members in a single request.

However, when it comes to removing a member from marketing, we do not have a corresponding Remove request like RemoveListMembersListRequest.

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.crm.sdk.messages.removememberlistrequest.aspx

We only have RemoveMemberListRequest, which only removes 1 member at a time, which is highly inefficient when we are taking in consideration large number of records.

Kindly vote up for this idea !!

https://ideas.dynamics.com/ideas/dynamics-crm/ID0002529

More details

https://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/5d700a43-0c57-4a47-9c8e-192c70d30a2d/removememberlistrequest-causes-sql-timeout-error?forum=crmdevelopment

System.Security.SecurityException: That assembly does not allow partially trusted callers while using HttpUtility.UrlEncode in CRM

Hi,

We got the below error in one of our Sandboxed Plugins

“System.Security.SecurityException: That assembly does not allow partially trusted callers”.

We realised it was because of using System.Web.HttpUtility class


We replaced it with EscapeDataString method and this fixed the issue.

System.Uri.EscapeDataString()

Helpful thread

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3840762/how-do-you-urlencode-without-using-system-web

Hope it helps..

Using ILMerge for Plugin in CRM

If we make use of external assembly in our Plugin (sandboxed) we will get the exception of FileNotFound.

So here we can make use of ILMerge which basically merges the assembly referenced and the plugin into a single assembly.

Install the following NuGet Package.

This adds the following files in our Plugin project.

We need to set Copy Local as true for all our referenced assembly that we want to merge with our plugin.

We need to set Copy Local as false for all other assemblies that we do not want to be merged with plugin.

Just build the project and we are done.

The assembly inside Reflector: –

Hope it helps.