Provision a portal

Portals are websites that you can customize to provide a more personalized experience to your customers, partners, or internal employees. Portals integrate with Dynamics 365 to show data from Dynamics on the portal. By using portals, you can create a variety of experiences where portal users can perform several tasks. For example:

  • Customers can submit cases and find knowledge articles
  • Partners can see and manage sales opportunities
  • Internal employees can create and see best practices
Note
  • To provision a portal, you must be assigned to the System Administrator role of the Dynamics 365 organization selected for the portal.
  • To manage an existing portal, you must be assigned any one of the following roles:
  • Office 365 Global Administrator
  • Dynamics 365 Service Administrator. For more information on this role, see here.
  • System Administrator of the Dynamics 365 organization selected for the portal.

If you are not assigned any of the above-mentioned roles, the following message is displayed: “You need to be a global administrator, Dynamics 365 service administrator, or system administrator for this organization in order to manage this portal.”

To complete provisioning a portal, after you have purchased a new portal license, return to your Dynamics 365 instance.

  1. Go to the Dynamics 365 Administration Center and click the Applications tab.
  2. Select the application row titled Portal Add-On and click Manage.
  3. In the General Settings section, enter a Name for your portal. The Name will help to identify the portal and can be changed later.
  4. The Type field represents the type of portal subscription (Trial or Production). This is a system field, so it cannot be changed by the user. The value changes based on if it is trial subscription or paid subscription.
  5. In the Portal URL field, enter the subdomain name you want for your portal. You may only use alphanumeric characters or hyphens (-); other characters are not permitted. After the portal is provisioned, the URL cannot be changed, but a custom domain name can be used.
  6. Use the Dynamics 365 Instance drop-down list to choose which Dynamics 365 instance you want to link the portal to. Requires System Administrator or System Customizer role in the Dynamics 365 instance you pick to select it.
  7. Choose the default language for your portal from the Select Portal Language drop-down list. The available languages will depend on the languages that are installed in your Dynamics 365 instance.

    Note

    Sample data is only provided in one language, so choosing a default language will also decide how the sample data is translated. Arabic and Hebrew are not supported and will not show up.

  8. In the Select Portal Administrator drop-down list, select the Dynamics 365 user who will configure, customize, and maintain the portal. All Dynamics 365 users who have the System Administrator role in the organization will show up as options.

  9. In the Portal Audience section, choose the type of audience who will visit the new portal. This will determine what options of portals you will be given. You can choose:

    • Partner

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

      • Customer Self Service Portal
      • Custom Portal
      • Community Portal
    • Employee

      • Employee Self Service Portal

The table below summarizes the features associated with each portal option:

Feature Customer Self-Service Portal Partner Portal Employee Self-Service Portal Community Portal Custom Portal
World Ready
Multi-Language Support
Portal Administration
Customization and Extensibility
Theming
Content Management
Knowledge Management
Support/Case Management
Forums
Faceted Search
Profile Management
Subscribe to Forum Thread
Comments
Azure AD Authentication
Ideas
Blogs
Project Service Automation Integration
Field Service Integration
Partner Onboarding
Portal Base
Portal Workflows
Web Notifications
Microsoft Identity
Identity Workflows
Web Forms
Feedback
  1. In the Select portal to be deployed section, choose what type of portal you want to create. The options you see are based on the audience you selected.

    Configure settings for your portal

  2. Click Submit, and accept the Terms of Service.

    Terms of service

After you accept the Terms of Service, portal will begin provisioning. Provisioning usually takes 30 minutes but can take a few hours depending on the system load. The Name of the portal on the Application tab will change to “Name-Configuring” while it is provisioning. Navigate back to the portal management page to check whether provisioning has succeeded.

Note

When a portal user logs into the portal for the first time using Azure AD credential, a consent page is displayed to all users irrespective of the user or portal type.

Troubleshoot Provisioning

Sometimes the package installation process or URL creation process can error out. In these cases, the processes can be restarted.

If “Name-Configuring” changes to “Name-Provisioning Failed,” you need to restart the provisioning process.

  1. Go to the Applications page and select the portal.
  2. Select the blue pencil button labeled Manage.
  3. Choose one of the following options:

    • Restart Provisioning: Restarts the installation process with the configuration that was previously defined.

    • Change Values and Restart Provisioning: Lets you change some of the values before restarting the provisioning process.

      Provisioning error

If the package installation has failed, the Portal administrator page will open without any issues, but navigating to the actual portal URL will show a message “Getting set up.” To confirm this:

  1. Go to the Solution Management page of the Dynamics 365 Administration Center and check that the package status is “Install Failed.”
  2. If the package status is “Install Failed,” try retrying the installation from the solution page. Also, be sure to check that a system administrator in Dynamics 365 is installing the solution with the default language in Dynamics 365 set to the language the portal should be installed in.
Note

Some solutions have prerequisites for their installation, so an installation will fail if the prerequisites are not met. For example, to install the Partner Field Service for a partner portal, the Partner Portal and Field Service solutions must have already been installed. If you attempt to install the Partner Field Service first, the installation will fail and give you an error message.

Set up custom domains and SSL certificates for a Dynamics 365 portal

A custom domain can help your customers find your support resources more easily and enhance your brand. Only one custom domain name can be added to a portal. After you have provisioned your portal and acquired your domain name, you will need an SSL certificate to set up a custom host name.

Set up a custom domain

  1. Go to the Dynamics 365 Online Admin center and click the Applications tab.
  2. Select the name of the portal you want to set up a custom domain for and click Manage. > Portal Actions > Add a Custom Domain Name.

You can use the purchased SSL certificate for your domain to link your Dynamics 365 portal to a custom domain using the wizard.

  1. Click Upload a new certificate if you have not yet uploaded the .pfx file to the organization.
  2. Click the upload button underneath File and select the .pfx file.
  3. Enter the password for your SSL certificate in the Password field. Otherwise click Use an existing certificate and choose the correct certificate from the drop-down menu. Be sure that you are using a SHA2 certificate, SHA1 support is being removed from popular browsers.
  4. Click Add a new hostname to create a new custom domain. Enter the desired domain name into the Domain Name field. Otherwise, click Use an existing host name and choose the desired host name from the drop-down menu.

    Note
    • You can only have one custom domain name for a portal.
    • To create a custom host name, you will need to create a CNAME with your domain provider that points your domain to the URL of your Dynamics 365 portal. If you have just added a CNAME with your domain provider, it will take some time to propagate to all DNS servers. If the name is not propagated and you add it here, this will show a message “Please add a CNAME record to this domain name.” Retry after some time passes.
  5. Review the information you have entered, then click Next to begin creating the SSL Binding.

  6. You should see the message “Custom Domain name has been successfully configured for this Portal. You can now go to {Custom Domain Name} to access this portal.” {Custom Domain Name} will be a hyperlink to the Custom Portal URL that was just configured. Click Finish to close the wizard.

    Choose the SSL certificate

Import metadata translation

When you provision a portal, the portal related solutions are installed on the organization. During the installation of solutions, the solution metadata translations (ex: Field name, form name, view name etc.,) are installed only for the languages currently activated in the organization. If you activate a new language in future, the metadata is not installed automatically for the newly activated language. To get the metadata translation for the newly activated language, you must import metadata translation from the Administration Center.

To import metadata translation:

  1. Go to the Dynamics 365 Administration Center page and click the Applications tab.
  2. Select the name of the portal in which you want to import metadata translation and click Manage.
  3. Go to Portal Actions > Get latest metadata translations. A confirmation window is displayed asking whether to update the portal solutions.
  4. Click Update. The portal solutions will be updated with the latest metadata translation.
Note
  • If the latest version of portal package is available, it is not updated. The portal solutions are updated in the same version. To upgrade your Portal solutions based on latest available packages, you need to access Solution Admin center.
  • If a user has modified any data in Dynamics 365, the existing data is not overwritten during the update.
  • If the portal solutions are being installed, the solution update cannot be triggered.

View activity of a user on a Portal

Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights (DCI) is a cloud-based SaaS service that enables organizations of all sizes to bring together data from multiple sources and generate knowledge and insights to build a holistic 360° view of their customers.

You can enable a Portal to send data of a user’s activity to your DCI instance. 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.

Let’s take the following scenario:

Jay is the Dynamics 365 administrator and he is interested in knowing the activity of the Portal users before the case is submitted. Jay purchases DCI instance from Azure Portal using his own subscription plan. Jay then navigates to the Portal Admin Center and configures his Portal to use the DCI instance he purchased.

Dynamics 365 Portals needs the latest shared access key to send the interactions to DCI. Jay navigates to the Portal Admin Center and he can see the currently configured DCI instance. Jay can change the DCI instance or update the shared access key for the currently configured DCI instance.

To view activity of a user on a Portal:

  1. Go to the Dynamics 365 Administration Center page and click the Applications tab.
  2. Select the name of the portal you want to view user’s activity and click Manage.
  3. Click Portal Analytics. The Tracking Portal Interaction page is displayed.
  4. Click Configure Portal Interaction Tracking. The Configure Portal Interaction Tracking window is displayed.
  5. Enter the following values as per your Dynamics 365 Customer Insights instance:
    • Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights hub URI
    • Policy name with Manage, Read, and Write permissions
    • Shared Key
  6. Read the preview agreement and select the I have read and understood the terms and conditions check box.
  7. Click Configure. A progress window is displayed.
  8. Click Close in the confirmation window.

Once DCI is configured on Portal, the following actions become available:

  • Update D365 Customer Insights configuration: Allows you to update the shared key related to your policy. The hub URI is read-only.
  • Delete D365 Customer Insights integration: Allows you to delete the connection configuration between your DCI and your portal.

Configure DCI

To persist interactions in customer’s DCI, the portal needs to create the interaction related configuration in DCI. These interactions need to be tied against a DCI Profile.

Note

Dynamics 365 supports multiple portals and they can use the same DCI instance.

A Portal user can view knowledge articles, blogs, forum threads, Portal search exposed on the Portal.

To allow a seamless experience, following interactions are captured in DCI:

Interaction name Display Name Fields Description Parameters captured
portal_viewknowledgearticle Knowledge article portal_interactionid, portal_knowledgearticleid, portal_knowledgetitle, portal_contactid, portal_timestamp, portal_portalid Tracks portal users viewing a knowledge article Knowledge article id, language, session id, portal id
portal_viewblogpost Blog post portal_interactionid,portal_blogpostid, portal_blogtitle, portal_contactid, portal_timestamp, portal_portalid Tracks portal users viewing a blog post Blog post id, session id, portal id
portal_viewforumthread Forum thread portal_interactionid,portal_forumthreadid, portal_forumthreadtitle, portal_contactid, portal_timestamp, portal_portalid Tracks portal users viewing a forum thread Forum Thread id, session id, portal id
portal_search Portal Search portal_interactionid, portal_contactid, portal_searchstring, portal_timestamp, portal_portalid Tracks portal users’ searches.

As a Portal Administrator, you can configure which interaction gets ingested into DCI through Portals as per the customer’s requirement. To prevent a specific interaction being captured by a Portal, you can delete the interaction type from DCI.

Portal persists all its data in Dynamics 365. All the data required to render content on the Portal comes from Dynamics 365. Data in Dynamics 365 will be used to model profiles and the Portal interactions will be tied to it. Portals will not create custom profiles. As a Portal Administrator, you must manually connect this Dynamics 365 Organization to DCI and create Profiles. You need to configure the Contact entity as a profile and then link the Contact to the Portal interactions, using the crmrecordid which is persisted as portal_contactid in the portal interactions. After creation of profiles, the administrator must manually link the profiles to the Portal interaction type. This will allow the administrator to create charts/profile views.

For details on configuring DCI, see here.

Visualize customer journey

Visualizing a customer journey allows you to view the user’s activity in the chart format. This helps you to know what activities a user has already performed before submitting the case, so you can provide relevant information.

Let’s take the following scenario:

Sharron is the CSR executive working on the cases in Contoso, Ltd. Sharron frequently helps her customers to resolve the customer issues by sharing the knowledge articles link from the http://support.contoso.com self-service portal. At times, Sharron shares the same articles her customers have already read, which resulted in poor customer satisfaction.

The Customer Journey chart is embedded on the Case form, which displays the Portal user’s activity moments before the case was created. This helps Sharron to know what activities her Portal user has already done and share the relevant information that would help resolve the issue in an effective way.

For details on configuring DCI, see here.