Free Accelerators & Apps for Dynamics 365 CE

As Dynamics 365 CE has become more app friendly, there are many free apps available on the Microsoft AppSource. In this blog post I have listed out most commonly used free aps and accelerators available.

DataExport  Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Data Export Service

Pros:

  1. Ease of use and configuration.
  2. The Azure DB can be part of a different tenant. Only Azure key vault should be part of the same tenant as Dynamics 365 CRM.
  3. Best app to export data from Online Dynamics 365 CRM to Azure DB which can be used to build a Data Warehouse for reporting or data transformations.
  4. Dynamics 365 users can control the schedules from within their CRM. Even an a Admin dashboard is provided.
  5. API’s are available for automation.

Cons:

  1. Occasional issues with data synchronization which can be fixed.
  2. Only supports Azure SQL DB.
  3. Need Azure subscription, so additional resource cost.

Alternative Approach : Can use CDS for reporting or use Flow to push the data.

Supported Version : Online Dynamics 365 Only

attachmentmanagement Attachment Management

This app can be used to push Email and Notes attachment to an Azure blob storage. The best use of this app will be for customers who use email marketing or store most of their documents within Notes (annotations) of Dynamics 365.

Pros:

  1. This app is a good alternative if customers doesn’t have document management products like SharePoint.
  2. Dynamics instance space can be effectively managed.
  3. Ease of use and configuration.

Cons:

  1. Larger attachment sizes could be a issue as most of the logic is part of a custom plugin and plugin execution is restricted to 2 mins max. If upload takes longer, then we will have timeout issues.
  2. Only supports Azure SQL DB.
  3. Need Azure subscription, so additional resource cost.

Alternative Approach : Can use CDS for reporting or use Flow to push the data.

Supported Version : Online Dynamics 365 Only

attachmentmanagement Customer Today!

This app can be used to get top news articles related to the customer. It uses Bing News Search API to search for the related content.

Pros:

  1. Most relevant news is pulled from the search which is good.
  2. The news information can be tagged to a Note or Task on click of a button for quick follow-ups.
  3. This feature is configurable even on custom entities.
  4. Configuration is easy as it uses a HTML web resource to pull up the information.

Cons:

  1. There were few issues while accessing it using Unified Interface i.e., adding to Notes failed.
  2. Need Azure subscription, so additional resource cost.

Alternative Approach : “Company News Timeline” app is a closer alternative. But its restricted to only Account, Contact, Lead & Opportunity and only works with Unified Interface. With the April 2019 release, this feature is by default available for Marketing.

Supported Version : Works on all versions.

attachmentmanagement Dynamics 365 Data Archival and Retention

This app is used to archive Dynamics 365 data to a Azure COSMOS DB. The best use of this app will be for customers who wants to play around with Big Data.

Pros:

  1. As this App uses Azure services its highly scalable.
  2. GDPR compliant and uses AD authentication, so security is not a concern.
  3. Its highly configurable i.e., data retention periods can be set, supports all entities, filtering of data is supported as it uses FetchXML to archive the data, scheduling of the archival jobs is easy.
  4. Jobs can be monitored easily.

Cons:

  1. Azure resources are extensively used, so the overall cost is expensive.
  2. Only supports Azure COSMOS DB.

Alternative Approach : Can use Data Export Service.

Supported Version : Online Dynamics 365/2016 Only

attachmentmanagement Email Machine Learning

This app is used for Sentiment analysis based on email responses. Based on the score, we can perform various operations and even extend it to the related entities. Need to make sure that the Azure Text Analytic services should be hosted/created as part of the same tenancy as Dynamics CRM 365.

Pros:

  1. As this App uses Azure services its highly scalable.
  2. Using the sentiment score, various rules like auto creation of Cases or routing the Cases etc., can be configured easily which will add more value to the business process.
  3. This solution can also is used to show a cumulative score on the Contact or Account entities based on the email communication.
  4. This app is configured to analyze multiple languages.
  5. Easy to configure.

Cons:

  1. Need Azure subscription, so additional resource cost.

Alternative Approach : Amazon or Google sentiment analysis services.

Supported Version : Dynamics 365/2016 Online & On-Premise.

attachmentmanagement Change Tracking Solution

This app is used to track the customization changes made to Entities, JavaScript, Plugins & Workflows.

Pros:

  1. Provides a high level audit log for every Publish made which includes customizations, workflows, business rules, plugins. A custom entity “Change Tracker” is used to log these audit changes.
  2. All the JavaScript web resource changes are well tracked.
  3. Can be used as part of the DevOps process for CI/CD, i.e., once the audit record is created either on Publish or Publish All event, we can trigger a Flow which can start a Azure DevOps process.

Cons:

  1. Audit information is not elaborate for few events like Publish All, Workflow changes etc.

Alternative Approach : Need to come up with custom plugins.

Supported Version : Dynamics 365/2016 Online & On-Premise.

HCL_PDF HCL Dynamics – PDF Generator

This app is used to generate PDF documents from the word templates on click of a button.

Pros:

  1. Configuration is easy. It can be configured per entity.
  2. Can save the generated PDF to notes.
  3. The PDF generation logic is part of a plugin and action. So this can be used as part of any workflow process and can be automated.

Cons:

  1. I had issues with the PDF formatting. Few template outputs were completely out of focus with irregular margins.

Alternative Approach : Flow can be used with some custom development.

Supported Version : Dynamics 365/2016 Online & On-Premise.

attachmentmanagement Actionable Audit

This app is used to track entity changes for Create, Update and Delete actions. It is more of like OOTB Audit but the only difference is its captured as part of an custom entity, so users can export or report on this data which is handy.

Pros:

  1. As the audit is pushed to a custom entity users can perform all kinds of reporting and even export to CSV.
  2. Supports custom entities too.

Cons:

  1. This app uses a custom approach of storing the Audit which involves plugins. These plugins fire on every configured event of the Entity which could degrade the performance.
  2. There are many manual configuration steps like the plugin registration, IFrame setup, Security Roles etc., only an experienced Dynamics administrator can perform.

Alternative Approach : None.

Supported Version : Dynamics 365/2016 Online & On-Premise.

attachmentmanagement Dynamics 365 Self Hosting Bots

“Dynamics 365 Bot” as the name suggest is a simple bot app. The bot uses Azure LUIS for the Q&A setup. This app can be really helpful for customer care or sales representatives to get quick info from Dyanmics 365 CRM instance.

Pros:

  1. Users who want to explore the bot framework this app will provide a good platform experience.
  2. Easily customizable as the source is available on Github.
  3. The bot provides a extendable framework which combines Dynamics 365 CDS entity model.

Cons:

  1. Need Azure subscription, so additional resource cost.
  2. Provides only basic information related to Opportunities, Cases, Accounts. To enhance the features we need more resources and time.

Alternative Approach : LiveAssist.

Supported Version : Dynamics 365/2016 Online.

attachmentmanagement Export To Excel Tracking

This app is used to track the data export via excel. There were many customers who requested this feature as they want to track who are when the business critical data has been exported.

Pros:

  1. Audit information is elaborate and also captures the query used i.e., FetchXML.
  2. Easy to configure and data is stored in a custom entity, so can be used for reporting.
  3. As the logic is part of a Plugin, it even works if export to excel is requested through a API call.

Cons:

  1. Its a plugin configured on the “RetrieveMultiple” event, so executes on every retrieve.

Alternative Approach : Custom plugin.

Supported Version : Dynamics 365/2016 Online and OnPremise.

There are few more available on the app source worth exploring like Azure Cosmos DB for DocumentDB API Data Provider, Smart Email Monitoring, Dynamics 365 Channel Integration Framework, Dynamics 365 Higher Education Accelerator

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