Preparing Demonstration Environments of Dynamics 365 Business Central

As a Business Central reselling partner, you might want to have an environment that you can show prospects as part of pre-sales demonstrations. Depending on your requirements, you have several different options that are described in this article.

Microsoft 365 demo plus Business Central

For repeatable demos that showcase Business Central together with Microsoft apps and services in an independent Azure organization (tenant) that you fully control, get a Microsoft 365 demo account that you create on https://aka.ms/CDX, which has replaced demos.microsoft.com. You have access to the site if you are enrolled with the Microsoft Partner Center.

Such Microsoft demo accounts give you environments that you can use for demos and training without the risk of introducing changes to an existing production environment, for example. For more information about demo accounts in general, see Offer your customers trials of Microsoft products in the Partner Center documentation.

To get a demo environment based on Microsoft 365 content packs

  1. Log in to aka.ms/cdx using your partner account.

  2. Choose the My Environments tab, and then, under My tenants, choose the Create Tenant button.

  3. As the type, choose Quick Tenant.

  4. As the period, choose either a quarter or a full year.

    Your account in CDX has access to a limited quota of tenants that can last three months or a full year. For more information, see the CDX FAQ.

  5. As the location, choose the region that is closest to your location.

    This determines the location in which the tenant is deployed, but you will be able to add Business Central environments to it for any country/region afterwards.

  6. Choose one of the available content packs and then choose the Create Tenant button.

    You can choose the Dynamics 365 Business Central content pack if the location you specified is North America, Asia/Pacific, or Europe, Middle East, Africa. This content pack includes demonstration users and Microsoft 365 licenses.

    You can also choose any of the other content packs that might better match your prospects' industry or interests, such as the Microsoft 365 Business Premium Demo Content or Microsoft Teams for Consumer Goods content packs. These content packs give you a dedicated demonstration organization in Azure that includes multiple demo users with Microsoft 365 licenses.

    Note

    When demand for a specific content pack is high, the Create Tenant button is disabled, and you must choose a different content pack.

    Next, you sign up for a Business Central trial.

  7. In an dedicated browser window, go to the https://dynamics.microsoft.com/business-central/ page, choose the Get started button, and then choose the Sign up now button.

    Use the new administrator account that you got as part of your demo account, typically called something like admin@CRMbc123456.onmicrosoft.com, or admin@contoso.onmicrosoft.com.

    Tip

    We recommend that you use profiles in the Microsoft Edge browser rather than InPrivate or Incognito browser mode. For more information, see Microsoft Edge documentation.

By now, you have a dedicated demonstration organization in Azure that includes multiple demo users with Microsoft 365 licenses, and a Business Central environment.

The initial Business Central demo environment comes with two companies:

  • The CRONUS demonstration company

  • An empty company with the name My Company, but it might have a different display name for demo purposes

You can keep using the demonstration company until the tenant expires, provided that you use it at least a couple of times per week. However, if you start the trial experience or switch to the empty My Company, that experience will expire after 30 days. At that point, you can extend the trial, create a new environment, or you can return to the CRONUS demonstration company.

You can now enable the Premium user experience in the new My Company's Company Information page, populate the new company with the data required for their evaluation scenarios, and present the environment to the prospect.

Important

Environments that are based on Microsoft 365 demo accounts are intended for demonstration and training purposes. If a prospect uses such an environment to help run their business, then they risk losing their company data when demo environment or the Microsoft 365 demo account expires. If a prospect wants to use Business Central to help run their business, they should sign up for a trial using their own email account. For more information, see Dynamics 365 Business Central Trials and Subscriptions in the business functionality content for Business Central.

Customize the demo environment

Because you are logged in as the global administrator of the demonstration tenant, you can access the Microsoft 365 administration center. The following list illustrates the types of work that your demo account can do:

  • Subscribe to additional apps and services that may be relevant to your demos

  • Configure apps and services by accessing their administration centers

  • Modify or add user accounts, and assign licenses

  • Set up the organizational profile to reflect your prospect's business and brand

Your administrator account also gives you access to the Business Central administration center, where you can make further customizations, such as the following:

  • Create additional environments within the available quota, depending on your needs.

    For example, you can create a Business Central environment for a specific country/region, or create a dedicated sandbox that you then apply your solution to, such as by deploying your app straight from Visual Studio Code. For more information, see Managing Environments.

  • Specify the update window and date for your environments, so that planned updates will not interfere with your demos.

  • Add your own email address to the list of notification recipients, so that you will be informed of upgrades to your Business Central environments or any issues that may impact your planned demos.

  • Try out new functionality in preview environments that are available about two months before a major update. For more information, see Prepare for major updates with preview environments.

With your administrator account, you can install apps from AppSource, and you can set up integrations between Business Central and other services. For example, you can add the Business Central app for Microsoft Teams, and you can run the Set up your Business Inbox in Outlook assisted setup guide on behalf of the organization. For more information, see Using Business Central as your Business Inbox in Outlook. You can also add Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Sales, Power Automate, Power Apps, and many more.

Some content packs provide additional demonstration data for non-administrator accounts, such as example channels and conversations in Microsoft Teams that can reduce the time needed to customize the experience for a demo. You can log in with the demo user account, often called meganb@M365B123456.onmicrosoft.com, or something similar, for the non-administrator experience.

Use profiles in Microsoft Edge

If you demo in the new Microsoft Edge browser, you can easily switch between different browser profiles. That way, you do not have to use private mode for browsing, and you can let Microsoft Edge save passwords and sites to any of your browser profiles, including a Microsoft 365 demo account. Business Central also performs well in the Microsoft Edge for even better demos. You can also switch the page layout to Focused to minimize demo distraction. For more information, see Microsoft Edge documentation.

Tip

We recommend that you connect to a low-latency network for a faster response time during demos, and that you always plug in your laptop if you are about to demo anything. Performance impact may vary depending on your device and choice of browser, but being plugged in generally helps overall snappiness.

Pre-sales performance evaluation

If you want to provide a prospect with an online environment where you want to demonstrate the performance and reliability of Business Central online in addition to demonstrating functionality, you must take a few extra steps.

To demonstrate the functionality of the default version of Business Central, without focusing on performance, you can quite simply use your own trial experience based on a Microsoft 365 demo account. We recommend that you show the full functionality of the default version by switching the tenant to the 30 day trial and the associated My Company. You can then enable the Premium user experience in the new My Company's Company Information page, populate the new company with the data required for their evaluation scenarios, and present the environment to the prospect.

To demonstrate the functionality of the service, with a focus on performance, you can take the same step as outlined above, but then also sign up the prospect for the Business Central Premium Trial offer that is available through your CSP access in the Partner Center, wait 24 hours, and then run your performance evaluation. For more information, see Preparing Test Environments of Dynamics 365 Business Central.

That 30 day trial is as close to an actual production environment performance as you can get. You only have those 29 days to run your tests and convince the prospect, of course, but provided that you have prepared everything in advance, it should give you time enough.

If the prospect is convinced and decides to buy Business Central, you can then either let them keep the environment that they are currently using, or create a new production environment for them. If the tenant is yours rather than the prospect's, then a new tenant will be provided to them.

For more information about performance and Business Central, see Performance Overview.

Adding a Business Central trial to your prospect's organization

The easiest way to give a prospect a demonstration of Business Central online, is to quite simply ask them to sign up for a trial from the https://dynamics.microsoft.com/business-central/ page. This way, the prospect will be able to explore the default version of Business Central on their own or together with you.

This type of environment can be useful if you want to demonstrate the general user interface, for example, or talk about how they can add capabilities with apps from AppSource.

Note

If you want to show the prospect the full capabilities in Business Central, you must ask them to change the user experience to Premium in the Company Information page. For more information, see Change Which Features are Displayed.

If a prospect has signed up for a free trial, and they use Business Central to help run their business, then they must decide whether to subscribe within the first 60 days. If they extend their trial once, and they are still not sure, they must contact a partner.

However, in many cases, you will probably prefer to show prospects more tailored experiences with your own trial as described in the Microsoft 365 demo plus Business Central section.

See also

Preparing Test Environments of Dynamics 365 Business Central
The Business Central Administration Center
Managing Environments
Administration of Business Central Online
Deployment of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Offer your customers trials of Microsoft products