Software support is no longer restricted to the product manufacturing support team, it has evolved to include a lot of different options now. Support options may include YouTube videos to guide you through a feature, community forums to discuss issues and get answers to questions, and other community tools/add-ons that help troubleshoot the software application. In case of Dynamics 365, you have the traditional support layered with partner support along with other alternative support options listed above.
Microsoft Support Options
An official support resource provided by Microsoft is Microsoft documentation. Microsoft has recently been moving all its documentation to this site and has added a lot of content related to Dynamics 365. You can also find this information hosted on GitHub (Developer community to host code) for contribution by the developer community. Your first resource for Dynamics support should start from here and then move to other resources.
With Dynamics 365 CE (Customer Engagement), there are learning & training options built right into the application which can help answer some basic questions and skip the need for searching and creating support cases. Recently Dynamics introduced learning path and learning path authoring. These programs allow system administrators to create training and learning resources like recorded videos and customer specific documentation right within the Dynamics application. These can be used during the implementation phase during which the Dynamics 365 CE system administrator can add to it. Currently learning path is only available for Dynamics 365 Online.
Microsoft has recently added a dedicated support option right within Dynamics 365 CE. You can now add support requests to Microsoft regarding Dynamics 365 CE right here. A support request created here eventually shows up in your Office 365 support center. Alternatively, you can navigate to the Admin Portal and select ‘New Support Request’ from the sidebar. You would create support tickets here for issues like adding a new index for one of your CRM entities or any errors that show up in your Dynamics 365 CE.
There are some basic support management features offered right within Dynamics 365 administration like creating a backup of your Dynamics 365 CE instance, copying the production database to sandbox instance, restoring a backup, schedule updates, assigning security groups and resetting your Dynamics instance. These administrative features are available at the Dynamics 365 Administration Center. Here you can also see the progress of installation of additional solutions which you can install from the MS AppSource.
The other kind of support is self-service. There are vast resources available in the Microsoft community for users who prefer the “do-it-yourself” method. You can always start with a simple Google search, but remember searching is more of an art. You may not find the right resources on the search without the right keywords and use of other search facets. Beyond that, there are dedicated support/community forums available like https://community.dynamics.com/ or blogs like https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/crm/.
The PFE team at Microsoft has created a tool called DynamicsPerf, which allows on-prem CRM/AX or any of the other Dynamics ERP GP/NAV/SL to diagnose for performance issues and to find a resolution. As a Dynamics customer, I would recommend only using this tool with your partner as it is quite complex.
Above I mentioned a tool for Dynamics 365 which is hosted on GitHub. You may have heard that Microsoft just acquired them, and you can expect a lot more collaboration for Dynamics 365 on this site. GitHub hosts a lot of developer solutions, including a lot of Dynamics 365 solutions developed by the developer community. A quick search reveals 442 repositories for Dynamics 365, some of them are just information/Wikis and FAQs but there are a lot of useful tools like Workflow tools, developer extensions and all the Microsoft documentation. I will go over one of the most popular tool used for Dynamics 365 CE support later in the blog.
Let’s show you one of the most popular community tool available to all users: XrmToolbox. It’s developed by a Microsoft MVP Tanguy and contributed to by a lot of other Microsoft Dynamics community developers. The cool part is that the plugins/tools are frequently updated and it’s free. You can find all the tools available within XrmToolbox at https://github.com/MscrmTools/XrmToolBox/wiki/Available-plugins-for-XrmToolBox
Some of the tools available here are to compare security roles, update personal views, chart editor, metadata generator to document your Dynamics CRM system. I can confess that as a Dynamics consultant, I use this tool frequently and it is helpful in many ways to troubleshoot an issue quickly.
Contact Your Dynamics Partner
If by now you have tried all the self-service tools and still are not able to resolve an issue with Dynamics 365 CE, then your Dynamics partner is the best resource to contact. We, as Dynamics partners, have access to experienced resources, training material and Software Developer Kit expertise to help diagnose your issue. Besides being your Dynamics partner, we would have first-hand information about your environment and business case details. You may have to provide all the necessary information regarding infrastructure, business case, etc. to a Microsoft support resource. Whereas your partner would know all this information and can directly start working on the core issue to resolve. Besides you are not only using Dynamics 365, there may be integrations and other Line of Business (LOB) applications. Your partner would know and understand the complete picture.
If an issue for your support require additional resources, then as your partner, we can involve Microsoft and open support tickets on your behalf if we are associated with your Office 365 tenant or have you registered for your on-prem system. In these cases, we handle all the communication with Microsoft and provide all the environment information and resolve the issue with Microsoft’s help.
Microsoft also provides support options specifically for your Dynamics 365 CE Online environment or your on-premise system through specific offerings under your support agreement. For Dynamics 365 CE online support, the Microsoft offerings are as follows: ‘Enhanced Support for Microsoft Dynamics 365’ @ $5 per user/per month or ‘Pro Direct Support for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Applications and Plan 1’ @ $9 per user/per month. I don’t have much experience with these offerings as most of our clients have gone through us for any support issues, but these options can work for certain organizations based on certain user groups.
All this information regarding support is to drive the point that are a Dynamics 365 CE user you are not alone and support options are available to you to make your Dynamics 365 CE adoption a success. If you need the help of KTL Solutions, feel free to call us today. We can get your issues diagnosed and your business back on the right track.