I was asked about portals and CRM 2011 today.
I have been googling information about it. In my mind this is fantastic functionality that clients want but setting it up and maintaining it can be difficult. The main problem I have is to use a portal you have to set up a seperate website and then it’s a case of managing the security settings and I am not to hot with security settings. The major benefit of the portal is it does provide a method of doing the security settings and managing this from within CRM.
I also tried to setup the portal once and it was a day of frustration before I got had to leave it.
my experience shouldn’t scare people off, I bet there are loads of people who have successfully got CRM portals working.
I thought I would list the portal information I have found
The first is slightly unusual but the Customer Portal is listed twice on the market place, one has one review of 5 stars and the other has 9 reviews of an average of 3.5. This does seem quite low for a Microsoft endorsed accelerator (1o reviews!)
I have found a video on setting up the Customer portal
The link below has some FAQ’s about setting up and getting starting with portals. It contains some of the common problems you might run up agaisn’t so if you are having trouble it would be worth visiting the site below
FAQ for Customer and Partner Portals
There is also a whole section in the CRM 2011 SDK
Portal Developer Guide for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
The document above is very useful, below are the sections it covers
- Prepare for Portal Development
- Prepare for portal development and read about best practices.
- ASP.NET Web Forms and Data Binding
- Learn how to use the portal toolkit for data binding into Web forms.
- Manage Portal Content
- Learn about content management with the portal toolkit.
- Portal Authentication
- Learn about authentication with the portal toolkit.
- Use the Web Site Copy Tool
- Learn how to use the Web site copy tool.
- Portal Walkthroughs
- Step-by-step instructions on how to create a portal console application, plug-in and Web application.
I found a video going through setting up the Customer portal for CRM 2011. It could do with having more videos, blogs and walkthrough on setting up the portals because they can be quite difficult.
Interesting I noticed there is a whole section in the CRM 2011 SDK on portals
Microsoft hinted two accelerators were going to be released last week the blog – The future of Microsoft Dynamic CRM accelerators and today they announced two of the portals have been released on this blog entry
So what portals have been released and you can find them in the Microsoft Dynamics Portal and they are basically an upgrade of the CRM 4 accelerators. Sticking to promoting the cloud, these portals work on all versions of CRM.
The one thing I have noticed is the Customer Portal has 4 review getting 3.5 rating (out of 5) and the partner relationship portal has no reviews which is quite surprising. Looking at the reviews of the customer portal, all of the people had problems installing the portal, so it might be worth waiting until some of the problems are smoothed out.
Customer Portal for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
Customer Portal for Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides businesses the ability to deliver portal capabilities to their customers while tracking and managing these interactions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Functionality includes lead generation, service scheduling, case management, event calendar, product registration, self-help knowledge base and content management. Customers can turn this functionality on or off depending on their specific requirements. Note, this solution includes all functionality from the Portal Integration, eService and Event Management accelerators that were released for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.
Partner Relationship Management Portal for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
The Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Portal allows businesses to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to distribute sales leads and centrally manage sales opportunities across channel partners. It provides pre-built extensions to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM sales force automation functionality, including new data entities, workflow and reports. Using the PRM Portal, companies can jointly manage sales processes with their channel partners through a centralized Web portal, as well as extend this integration to automate additional business processes.