Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP

ByErma F. Brown

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You have your eyes set on an Enterprise Resource Planning solution and want to jump into the implementation phase without delay, but are you sure you know what will be necessary to make that happen? Dynamics 365 customizations can help make sure your ERP solution meets your needs exactly and helps you get the most value out of your investment in the software.

Here are some common customizations to consider when implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance or Supply Chain Management Enterprise Resource Planning solutions. What are common customizations? Why do companies customize their ERP implementation?

Should you customize your ERP?

While customization is technically possible with any enterprise software, it’s best to only customize what you need to. That’s because each customization is an additional layer of work that can cause things to go awry down the road. This doesn’t mean your new ERP will run without a hitch—but it should mean fewer and less problematic hiccups in implementation and usage over time.

If you are considering customizing, consider some important questions first: Will your customizations be well-supported by your vendor? What kinds of training do they offer? Are there customizable modules available for what you want to do? Should you customize you ERP?

If one of your goals is streamlining business processes or integrating disparate data sources, for example, then you may have good reason to customize. It all depends on what it is you’re trying to accomplish and how far along you are in your overall project lifecycle.

In general, though, you don’t rush into customization just yet, plan out how exactly it’ll fit into your end goals before diving into development or taking on a project manager.

How to start exploring customization options

Microsoft recommends that the best approach to understanding what customizations exist for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is to begin by creating a customization request on the Dynamics Marketplace. The Dynamics Marketplace offers organizations pre-built or partially built business solutions, known as applications for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Microsoft applications on the marketplace allow organizations to quickly get started with an out-of-the-box solution that can be customized to meet their specific business needs. They also offer organizations a way to familiarize themselves with how other customers have customized and extended Microsoft’s standard applications.

These samples can provide a good starting point, making it easier for new customers to identify opportunities to extend the capabilities of their own implementations. For example, if you want to know about ways your customer could extend Microsoft’s standard application functionality, start with their existing sample apps. If you want to learn about ways they could leverage PowerApps or Flow in order to create more dynamic forms in real time using line of business data then check out sample apps developed by partners. When exploring these samples keep in mind that they may not fit your specific requirements but are valuable sources of information about additional functionality available from third parties that can augment your implementation project.

Microsoft D365 customization and configurability examples

A good example of ERP customization is the configuring of Microsoft D365 Finance or Supply Chain Management (SCM) so that only very specific users have access to everything in your system, whereas other users only see their specific parts. You can even create a separate security model for internal versus external use. This sort of granular configuration means you’re not dealing with dozens of different user interfaces—you just have one, but depending on your level of access you see only certain tabs and pages and menus. Since everyone sees what they need to see, it’s easier for everyone to work together.

Let’s Know more about the Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP.

Yes, Let’s start

Some of the more common examples of D365 customization include:

Adding more functional modules

Dynamics 365 is made up of numerous modules, each with their own specific function. Organizations can easily offer their users significantly increased functionality by allowing them access to different modules simultaneously.

Adding additional Fields

Many times, based on the specific data your organization needs to collect, standard forms within D365 may not be enough. For this reason Microsoft added the ability for Sysadmins and Power Users to include custom fields through the workspace personalization options. These supported field types are the easiest way to allow users to track additional data and can include, Text, Numbers, Decimals, Date/ Time, Date, Picklist, and Checkboxes.

Customizing workspaces

Users also have the ability to create their own workspace with different functionality than out-of-the-box modules. Users can add things like, Live tiles, Lists, Power BI tiles, and Links. This can result in a very focused workspace that lets users complete their job more efficiently.

Adding custom reports

Being able to create custom reports saves companies a significant amount of money during an implementation project. Microsoft’s D365 gives users a number of different ways to create custom reports.This includes simple Filtered views that can be exported to Microsoft Excel, the Report Wizard that asks the users simple questions before generating a report, and SSRS for creating more complex reports.

Microsoft’s AppSource

Microsoft’s AppSource allows you to explore and try approved D365 extensions designed to add certain functionality or seamlessly tie in other third-party software solutions that your business requires.

Custom solutions

Even in the same industry, business models can vary wildly from one company to another – For requirements that can’t be met by existing solutions available in Microsoft’s AppSource, customers can work directly with partners that have experience developing complex business solutions.

Self-service functionality

Companies can take advantage of increasingly valuable tools like Microsoft Flow, and the Microsoft Power Platform to help develop one-of-a-kind processes and integrations for whatever solution needs it most. These tools are some of the best ways to make your solution fit your specific requirements.

Final Thoughts on D365 Customization

Should you customize ERP? Yes. Of course, you should. Because the real question is, what customizations do you need to make your solution work best for your organization? Organizations that choose to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 often know they will need to customize the software, but don’t always have a clear idea of how to approach it—they w
ant to maintain standard functionality and ensure their data remains accurate as possible. The best way to go about customization is simply to understand why organizations are customizing in the first place.

While ERP comes with a lot of built-in functionality, that’s not to say you shouldn’t consider customizing it to fit your organization. ERP implementations are rarely perfect out of the box and require a variety of modifications from your organization in order to function properly and integrate seamlessly. You might customize for a variety of reasons—for example, if you’re using multiple ERP solutions or have different business units with unique needs—but one thing is for sure: customizing your implementation can save you time and money.

Whether you’re dealing with manufacturing companies, retailers, wholesalers or logistics companies there are sure to be some common things to consider when customizing your new software implementation.

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