Microsoft Trials: Which One to Choose?

Microsoft has developed a system where the end user can try their software or platform for a limited time or with limited functionality through a program called Microsoft Trials. These demos, or Microsoft Trials, enable the end user to “take a test drive” and test the functionality of the software prior to implementing the full licensed application.  This valuable resource can allow an organization the flexibility to try the application and confirm that it meets their requirements.  Some of the applications offered through Microsoft Trials are:  Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office, and many more.  Microsoft also offers Microsoft Trials for platforms such as Azure.

Microsoft Trials Based on a Specific Duration

One type of Trial offered by Microsoft is an evaluation copy of the software that expires after a specific duration.  This is the most common type of trial software and is used throughout many of the Microsoft product lines.  Generally, you are provided full access for the use of the software from the installation date through the end of the timeframe. This allows the end user to test specific features and configure the user interface based on their requirements. Once the expiration date is reached, the software is no longer active.

This model is used for the Microsoft products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft SQL Server, and Azure.  With each of these products, the end user can install the software or try the platform for a limited duration based on the date of the installation.  This allows the organization to perform a full test of the software with the configuration they desire.  Below I have summarized a few applications or platforms that use Microsoft Trials based on specific durations:

In the case of Microsoft SQL Server, the evaluation edition has a limited time frame of 180 days after the date of the installation.  Because of this, the user has full access to the SQL functionality to test out SQL for a full six months. If the user runs into an issue where the expiration date is about to be met, then they can create a backup of the databases to be restored after the licensed copy of Microsoft SQL Server is installed and configured.  This model can be very helpful in the case of test environments that require SQL for a limited time.

In the case of Microsoft Dynamics 365, the evaluation edition has a limited time frame of 30 days from the date of registration.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows the full use of the software for 30 days testing each of the modules available:  Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Finance and Operations, Talent, Retail, and more.  This provides the time to evaluate the software to confirm it will meet the needs of the organization.  When the trial period expires, the software is simply deactivated.  This model provides a solid base to test the features, but the 30-day window does limit the testing period.

In the case of Azure, the evaluation has a limited time frame of 30 days or the use of the $200 free credit, whichever comes first.  This allows the use of the Azure platform for testing to confirm it meets the needs of the organization.  The Azure Trial provides a platform to use as an external server allowing you to add and configure the software according to your organization requirements.

Microsoft Trials Based on a Test Company

A second type of Trial offered by Microsoft is an unregistered copy of the software with test company features only.  This type of evaluation copy allows the end user to test the software over an indefinite period of time, but the end user is limited to the test data and configuration provided.  Microsoft Dynamics GP works in this manner.   You can download and install a copy of Microsoft Dynamics GP using a single test or tutorial company that allows you full access to the features offered by the software, but you must use the data provided by Microsoft.

In this model, the software just needs to be registered to be activated to allow the addition of your organizations data and configuration.  After the software is registered, the end user can use the test or tutorial company to test out other functionality without affecting their production environment.

In addition to Microsoft offering Microsoft Trials with this methodology, many of the third-party add-ons to Microsoft Dynamics GP use this method to test and register their software as well with one additional change, you can use it with only companies configured as test companies.  This allows you to test the add-on against a test company replicated from the actual production company data.  When you are ready to register the add-on, then you can enter the registration keys based on the installation requirements of the third-party.

Trying before you buy has been an expression used for a very long time.  Using a program called Microsoft Trials, Microsoft developed a system where the end user can try their software or platform before they make the purchase.  Microsoft Trials enables the end user to “take a test drive” or test the functionality of the software or platform prior to purchasing and implementing the full licensed application.

KTL Solutions is a certified Microsoft Partner and offers these Microsoft Trials for many of their products. If you would like to take some of our platforms for a test drive, get in touch with us today. One of our team members will be happy to help you find the right software for your business needs.

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