What’s new in portal capabilities for Dynamics 365

Welcome to portal capabilities for Dynamics 365. Here's a list of features we added recently. For more about the updates that have been made to portal capabilities for Dynamics 365 to date, along with other information pertinent to those updates, see Portal capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Releases.

Portal capabilities version 8.3 for Dynamics 365

The Portal capabilities version 8.3 for Dynamics 365 has brought many new updates and features:

  • Ability to include attachments on knowledge articles: This feature allows you to display notes attachments along with the knowledge article in Portals. To enable this feature, you must create a site setting KnowledgeManagement/DisplayNotes and set the value to true. With this feature, Portal users can also search for these attachments.

    Note

    Search for attachments is possible only on the Notes description and File Attachment name. The content of attachment file is not searchable.

  • Administrative wizard to add an entity to the portal: This feature introduces a new administrative wizard to easily expose data on the portal. The entity created through the wizard takes the data from your organization and make a subset of it available to your Portal customers based on the security and permission model you choose.

  • Portal interaction tracking (Preview): This preview feature allows you to track your customer's interactions with your Portal and funnel it to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights (DCI) to plot a 360-degree view. This will be helpful in knowing the user’s journey on a Portal before and after creating a case. This also help you to understand the real issue, avoid asking the same information again from the user, and enable you to respond with the relevant information.
  • Import metadata translation: This feature allows you to import the metadata translation of the newly activated languages post installation of a portal.
  • Source code availability for Portals: A one-time release of Portals code is released to the Microsoft Download Center under MIT license for developers to download. This feature enables Portals to be deployed to Dynamics 365 on-premise or online environments, and allows developers to customize the code to suit their specific business needs. Note: Source code is offered as working sample and on an as-needed basis. No direct support will be provided for any modifications to the code.
  • Single Sign-on (SSO) configuration improvements and support for Azure Active Directory B2C: For Portals that require a consumer based login, this feature now supports the ability to:
    • Configure your portal authentication to use a Single Sign-On configuration
    • Support Azure AD-B2C for customer authentication
    • Manage your Portal security in Azure
  • Support timezone independent date formats in Portals forms: This feature adds support for “Date Only” and “Timezone Independent” behaviors for date/time fields to Portals.
  • Allowing non-global administrators to provision Portal: You can now provision a portal if you are assigned to the System Administrator role of the CRM organization selected for the portal. You can now also manage an existing portal, if you have any of the following roles:
    • Dynamics 365 Service Administrator
    • System Administrator of the CRM organization selected for the portal
  • Store custom domain name for portal: This feature stores the primary domain name of a portal on the website record. If the domain name is changed in future, the latest primary domain name is stored.
  • Tracking cookie for Portals: A persistent cookie Dynamics365PortalAnalytics will be set whenever a user will navigate to a Portal. This cookie has an expiration of 90 days. This cookie does not store any personal data of the user and is used by Microsoft to collect analytics about portal service. Please read more about Microsoft Online services privacy statement here.
  • Performance improvement of header and footer on a portal: Two new site settings: Header/OutputCache/Enabled and Footer/OutputCache/Enabled are added to enable header/footer output caching when these settings are set to true. For new users, these site settings are set to true by default, thereby enabling header and footer output caching. For existing users who upgrade to a newer version of Portal, output caching is disabled by default. It means that the Header and Footer web templates are parsed and rendered on every page load. To enable output caching, they must update the appropriate web templates and create the required site settings.

December 2016 updates

The December 2016 update has brought many new features to the portal capabilities of Dynamics 365. These updates allow for better interactions among companies, partners, and customers, and make the experience of navigating the portal faster and easier. Some of the major updates include:

  • Multiple language support: Support customers from multiple regions by using a single portal.
  • East Asian language support: Multi-byte languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean are now supported.
  • Faceted search: New filters improve how quickly customers can find the content they are looking for while granting more control over visibility of content.
  • Product filtering: Portal users can trim access to knowledge articles related to their product ownership to avoid information overload.
  • Content access levels: A new level of ownership associated with a portal contact, account, or web role can be used to control access to knowledge articles, to help target the right article at the right audience and prevent irrelevant articles from surfacing.
  • Knowledge article reporting enhancement: The portal tracks where a knowledge article was used in the portal.
  • Project Service Automation integration: Provide access and visibility for active and closed projects across all stages of a project lifecycle to partners and customers. Team members, reviewers, and customers can view project status, quotes, order forums, and bookable resources on the portal with this solution.
  • Field Service integration: Expose information about active agreements, assets, work orders, invoices, and support cases to partners and customers on the portal with this solution.
  • Partner onboarding: Recruit new partners for better customer sales and service experiences. Potential partners can apply for partner status through the portal.

Privacy notice

By enabling the portal capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 data, such as customer name, product name, case number, or any custom entity data, can be exposed through an external-facing Dynamics 365 portal. Any data exposed through the portal is stored in memory in Microsoft Azure Web Apps for caching and also as files on the local hard drive to enable portal search functionality.

A tenant administrator enables Dynamics 365 portals by configuring it through the Dynamics 365 Administration Center, which also installs a package (with solutions and data) in the selected Dynamics 365 instance. A tenant administrator or a Dynamics 365 user set up as a Portal Administrator can then specify the data that will be exposed through the portal. To subsequently disable the portal capabilities, a tenant administrator can cancel the Portal Add-on subscription with Office 365.

Important Azure components and services that are involved with the portal capabilities are:

  • Azure Web Apps: Azure Web Apps are used to host the portal in Azure.
  • Azure Traffic Manager: Azure Traffic Manager is used to ensure the high availability of the service by routing the user to the Web Apps that are up and running.
  • Azure Service Bus: Azure Service Bus (Topics/Subscriptions) is used for cache invalidation of the portals. Azure Service Bus temporarily stores the messages, which are triggered when any portal-related record is changed in Dynamics 365, and are passed along to Web Apps to do the cache invalidation.
  • Azure Key Vault: All services store configuration data in Azure Key Vault.
  • Azure Storage: Data related to the organization, tenant, and portal is stored in Azure Storage.
  • Azure Active Directory: All the web services use Azure Active Directory to authenticate.

For more information about additional Azure service offerings, see the Microsoft Azure Trust Center.