Microsoft Dynamics trials are a great way to try out the product and see if it’s a good fit for your organization. I have set up multiple trials in different situations either to create a customer demonstration or try out a new feature released by Microsoft. In this blog, we will look at the Dynamics 365 trials from a Dynamics consultant perspective.
In order to create a Dynamics 365 CE trial you can navigate to https://trials.dynamics.com in your browser. The customer engagement apps are Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and Project Service Automation.
You can enter your work email and phone number. Otherwise, for most of the Microsoft Dynamics consultants associated with a Microsoft partner, it would prompt them that they already have a license and can manage the different types of trials. On this webpage you will also find a different option to sign up on behalf of a customer or for development purposes. That link will allow you to create a trial with 90 days rather than the standard 30-day trial.
If you are a partner consultant then you can just click on Sign In and create the 90-day (max) trial or you can choose “No, continue signing up.” This allows you to create a completely new tenant with an on-Microsoft domain and create your trial there. If you choose to continue signing up, then you will have the ability to create a trial for 25 Dynamics CE users vs. just 5 users on the 30-day dynamics trial. If you signed in with your partner account, then you can see a list of all your trials set up within the organization by visiting this URL. This URL is slightly different if you are in a different region (EMEA, Asia Pacific etc).
Signing in with your partner account allows you to view all the existing trials that have been set up by you and your colleagues. From here you can also request to join other trials or create a new one. This will provide you with basic information on the number of users available to invite or join the trial and the remaining time on the trial period. One thing I came across during a specific trial setup, was that you can only invite colleagues from your organization to these trials.
Choosing the Right Scenario for You
On the screen above, if you choose to create your own trial then you will be presented with the screen to choose your scenario for the trial, the organization’s name and the currency as required for the trial setup. The choices for the scenarios are all the different applications within Dynamics 365 CE: Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation or All. For the scenarios selection it doesn’t matter if you choose one or two of these or select All, it will always install all these apps in your trial. Based on your selection it will default the application once it is finished setting it up. You can then change the organization name here, which will change your CRM trial URL. It’s best to change it to your prospect��s name. You have more control over the applications and sample data installed if you select the “None of these. Don’t customize my organization” option. Then, it only installs the base CRM modules. Choose this option if you want to create a trial that you can customize and have more control over the features you want to enable.
In selecting any of these options the trials are created and ready for use in a very short time. The effort to create a good demonstration is in all the setup thereafter. The benefit of using these trials is that you can set up all the other Office 365 configurations right within your own tenant (SharePoint, OneDrive, email configuration etc.). I would create a sub-site within our tenant SharePoint and reuse it to connect to the multiple demonstrations that I set up here. In the same manner, I can connect OneDrive, OneNote and my Office 365 email to a CRM trial to showcase the integration between CRM and other Office 365 applications.
Microsoft has provided sample data and settings for the field service and project service apps. They can be found here and here. Setting these up will take additional time within the trial organization. You will run into a few restrictions with respect to the number of users available in the trial and the field service user setup for the demo data. The field service data requires more than 5 unique users within the organization, but you will be restricted to only 5 users in the trial setup. I have gotten around this limitation by re-using some of the users needed for the Field Service data.
Alternative Trial Options
Another option to set up a Dynamics 365 CE trial is to set up on a completely new tenant, like xxxxx.onmicrosoft.com. You can get to this setup by visiting here.
Here you can create the trial using any email address and selecting a custom tenant domain. Once you verify your email and basic settings, the trial setup is much the same as above. You will run into the limitation of connecting other Office 365 applications to your Dynamics 365 CE trial. To fix this, you will have to request Office 365 trials within the demonstration tenant that you have created in the previous step. A little bit of inconvenience and setup is required within Office 365 to create a complete demonstration, but it also gives you more control on inviting other people for the trial who may not be part of your existing Office 365 tenant. I have found this process to be time consuming. It requires planning this trial ahead of time if you are presenting it to a prospect.
Another option for Microsoft partners is https://demos.microsoft.com/. Here, Microsoft has provided demonstration setup not just for Dynamics 365, but also for other Office 365 products. These are truly for creating demonstrations and not trials for prospects, as these are difficult to convert to customer tenants. The demonstrations available for Dynamics 365 CE here are already configured with other Office 365 applications like SharePoint and Exchange. Microsoft has also provided materials like walk-through scripts and PowerPoint presentations. In my opinion, these demonstrations are useful when you are working on a long-term demo setup for your prospect and you need more control over the office integration with Dynamics 365 CE.
I prefer the demo/trial setup available here and its flexibility to create within your existing tenant or create a completely new one. This version has a simple trial setup process, which you can do on behalf of your prospect. This can then eventually turn over into their control as a full-fledged Dynamics 365 CE organization. Besides the easy trial setup, the other important thing to take into consideration is that most of these trials are best set up 3-4 days in advance of a customer demo. This way all settings are taken into account and connection to other services and data is imported for a successful customer demonstration.
Setting up a trial can be confusing at first. It’s hard to know what’s going on, especially if you have limited IT experience. You can find answers to your questions on KTL Solutions website. We provide free trials and demonstrations and would be happy to guide you through the Dynamics 365 experience. See if it’s right for you and contact us today.