As I revised for the MB2-715 exam (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Online Deployment) I am creating blog posts detailing all aspects of my revision. I hope these posts will aid anyone who is also revising for this exam. In this posts I will review integration with SharePoint.
The skills measured statement that specifically mentions SharePoint is shown below. I have highlighted the specific references to SharePoint. However, it might also be important to remember that other integrations such as OneNote are supported via SharePoint;
SharePoint integration with Dynamics 365 supports the storing and management of documents in SharePoint document libraries, allowing them to be “surfaced up” directly in the context of Dynamics 365 records. This allows users to quickly find documents related to an entity without having to search a potentially massive SharePoint repository.
One advantage of this approach is that access to the SharePoint isn’t limited to Dynamics 365 users. As the documents are available via Dynamics 365 or directly in SharePoint. Meaning, for example, you could have a sales proposal held in Dynamics 365 against an opportunity. This proposal documents can be reviewed and amended by anyone with SharePoint access, even if they don’t have a Dynamics 365 license.
Another advantage of using SharePoint is that the documents do not consume storage space from the Dynamics 365 tenant. Document files can be large and the storage provided by the Dynamics 365 subscriptions is limited!
Note: Enabling SharePoint document management is also a component of OneNote integration.
Of course, you could simply attach documents to notes in CRM and not use SharePoint integration! But SharePoint offers a number of advantages, including;
- Uploading a document in notes is useful for static documents that never change. But SharePoint integration allows you to leverage standard SharePoint features for collaboration and versioning.
- It is possible to search the SharePoint document library. Whilst search attachments on notes is not possible.
It is important to remember that SharePoint does not replace the standard notes functionality. Instead SharePoint complements it, often a combination of both approaches will be used. For example, notes might be ideal for short ad-hoc comments, whilst SharePoint might be used for complex contractual documents. (Such as sales proposals, contracts etc.)
The integration between Dynamics 365 and Microsoft SharePoint is server based. (or server-side if you like.) All combinations of Dynamics 365 Online / On-Premise and SharePoint Online / On-Premise are supported. (FYI: The older client-side integration using a list component is no longer required.)
Enable SharePoint Integration
SharePoint integration is controlled from the document management option in Dynamics 365, that you will find within the settings area.
Use the document management settings option to define the location of your sharepoint site and the entities that will require the documents option.
After entering the url of the SharePoint site the site will be validated and then an enable option will allow completion of the process.
There are two folder structures possible. The default will be to create a separate folder in the for each record. An alternative is to make the folder structure entity based. With either Account or Contact as the base entity.
For example, making the folder structure based on the account would create a parent folder for the account and then sub folders for each entity related to the account. (This is commonly how I define my document management settings!)
Having selected the required document management settings a SharePoint document library will be created.
Working with SharePoint
Once the setup has been completed, on any of the enabled entities a document section will exist in the navigation. From here you can view and associate documents with that entity.
From the associated grid on the entity you can create new documents or upload existing ones. Plus, additional document locations can be added or you can edit the current location.
In the example above you can see the documents associated with an account. As I have optioned for a document structure based on account you can also see documents associated to the account. Notice the folder structure!
It is also possible to use the Open location open to open the SharePoint document location.
By selecting the document, it is possible to interact with the document by viewing and setting document properties for example. Or manage versions by checking the document in / out.
It is also possible to delete the document. Doing so removes the document from Dynamics 365 and SharePoint. But if you delete the Dynamics record then the documents would remain in SharePoint.
If two Dynamics 365 records are merged their document location information is merged. This doesn’t mean the that SharePoint documents are moved or duplicated. Just that the newly merged record will point to both SharePoint locations.
Tip: Edit Properties might be useful to fix a broken link! If someone moves or renames a document directly in SharePoint without considering “CRM” the link between Dynamics 365 and SharePoint can become broken.
SharePoint and Dynamics 365 Permissions
Firstly, it is important to understand that there is no interaction which pushes permissions from Dynamics 365 to SharePoint. (Permissions between SharePoint and Dynamics 365 are not synchronized. ) It will be assumed that the user operating Dynamics 365 will already have permission on the SharePoint document library. So a common problem with permissions might be that the users have permissions in Dynamics 365 but also need to be granted access on the SharePoint side.
From a Dynamics 365 point of view two entities come into play, one for the SharePoint site and one for the document location settings. As with any entity in CRM you can use the security model of CRM to grant or restrict access as required.
Hopefully this post has given you a good overview of the SharePoint integration capabilities for Dynamics 365. And an insight into how to configure and use the SharePoint integration. I hope I have included all of the main points which might popup in the MB2-715 certification. But as always getting some hands-on time will be important in your preparation. Good luck.