I am creating a series of blog posts that collectively are designed to help anyone preparing for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Core exam. (aka MB-200) In this post I will look at concepts around document management.
You can see below that we have a section of the exam which covers integration. Within this section topics such as SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote are referenced. All of these require document management to be enabled.
The document management options in settings allow you to configure SharePoint and OneDrive for Business integration. You can access these from the advanced settings option.
Within advanced settings you will find a document management option. I have shown the document management settings option below. Notice we have several options including the ability to enable OneNote integration, define OneDrive for Business settings and manage document suggestions.
I don’t believe the MB 200 exam will test on specific SharePoint or OneDrive functionality in detail but you should understand their basic operation and installation. It will obviously be important to appreciate how these products work with Dynamics 365.
SharePoint integration supports the storing and management of documents in SharePoint document libraries, allowing them to be “surfaced up” directly in Dynamics 365 in the context of “CRM” 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 documents held against an opportunity. This proposal documents can be reviewed and amended by anyone with SharePoint access, no Dynamics 365 license is required.
Of course, you could simply attach documents to notes 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 searching attachments on notes is not possible.
- Storage costs for attachments on Notes and documents held in SharePoint may differ. Meaning for large volumes of data it maybe more cost effective to use SharePoint.
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 more complex documents. (Such as sales proposals, contracts etc.)
It’s worth knowing that SharePoint integration also supports integration with some of the other Office 365 products. Such as OneNote integration.
Document Management Settings
Before using SharePoint (or Onedrive / OneNote) you will need to define your document management settings.
The use of OneNote is dependent on SharePoint being configured. As the OneNote notebooks would be stored in SharePoint.
Within document management settings you can define which entities are enabled for document management and also “point” to your SharePoint site.
Clicking next will validate your SharePoint site and additionally let you define a folder structure. The folder structure can based on an entity if required. (The base entities being either contact or account.)
Finally any required libraries will be created. If you have run the document management settings previously some may already exist. Any new libraries will be created and you should see as “Succeeded” status.
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.
Below you can see the documents associated with my account record. Notice that I also have a folder called “contact”. Within here I will see a folder for each contact associated with the account. And from that folder I can see documents associated with the contact. This structure exists as in my document management options I picked the account as my base 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.
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 365 record then the documents would remain in SharePoint.
If two 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 Dynamics 365 record will point to both SharePoint locations.
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 CRM Permissions
Firstly, it is important to understand that there is no interaction which pushes permissions from Dynamics 365 to SharePoint. 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 Dynamics 365 you can use the security model of Dynamics 365 to grant or restrict access as required.
OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business is included with Office 365 subscriptions. It provides a location for storing, synchronizing, and sharing work files. Files stored in OneDrive for Business are by default private but can be shared with work colleagues. Unlike SharePoint, where documents are by default shared to work colleagues.
Before configuring OneDrive for Business you will need to ensure your users have an appropriate license in Office 365 admin and OneDrive has been configured! See below that I have opened my user record in office 365 admin and initiated the provisioning of OneDirve.
Tip: Once you have started the provisions users will need to log out and back in for it to take effect!
By default, the storage space for each OneDrive for Business user is 1 TB. If you have one of the following Office 365 plans, you can increase the default storage up to 5 TB:
- Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4 and E5
- Office 365 Government E3, E4 and E5
- Office 365 Education
- OneDrive for Business Plan 2 and SharePoint Online Plan 2
OneDrive can be linked to Dynamics 365, meaning users can access files stored in OneDrive for Business within forms in Dynamics 365.
OneDrive for Business works with Dynamics 365 online and Dynamics 365 on premise. All users require an Office 365 license.
As with OneNote, to configure OneDrive for Business CRM must already be configured to use SharePoint using server based integration. (Note: This statement therefore implies the SharePoint list component is not supported.)
OneDrive for Business is enabled from advanced settings / document management in Dynamics 365.
Selecting the enable OneDrive for Business option will present the following dialog. Allowing you to quickly enable OneDrive.
Once you have enabled OneDrive, an additional option will be shown that will allow you to define the folder that will be used for store personal files. The default location will be “CRM”.
Once configured OneDrive for Business can be accessed from the documents option found in the navigation on entities in Dynamics 365. (Just as with SharePoint.) When a file is uploaded you can opt to store the file in SharePoint or OneDrive. It is also possible to create new files and open them directly. (Using Excel Online etc.)
Within my account record I can change the location being viewed to be a SharePoint or OneDrive location. Then when I upload a document it will be added to the correct location. Notice below that I have changed my location to be “OneDrive”.
Notice below that I have uploaded three documents against an account. Two in SharePoint and the other in OneDrive for Business.
Notice that by selecting the document I have options to check out, check in, edit properties and also open directly in SharePoint or OneDrive.
To share a OneDrive document you’d need to open the location of the document and share directly from OneDrive for business.
Also, you might want to consider the implications of changing an owner on a Dynamics 365 record. The ownership of files within OneDrive will not change, as they are personal to the user who created them.
You should also be aware that access to OneDrive for business is controlled by a privilege on Dynamics 365 security roles.
Hopefully this post has given you a good overview of the document management capabilities for Dynamics 365. And an insight into how to configure and use the SharePoint and OneDrive for Business integration. I hope I have included all of the main points which might popup in the MB 200 certification. But as always getting some hands-on time will be important in your preparation. Good luck.