If you have been working as Dynamics 365 professional for few years, you might have gone through the same frustration that I had gone through while preparing product presentations and demos for pre-sales and sales activities. It felt stupid to go through the same repetitive process of registering a trial for 30 days for a Dynamics 365, population the environment with demo data and on top of that issue of running out of email addresses to be used to register trail environments.
Luckily, Microsoft came out with a better way for Dynamics 365 partner companies to enable them to have quicker demo preparations and having more effective sales meetings with pre made product demo scripts, presentations and pre-populated Dynamics 365 demo environments. I came across this possibility first time in November 2018, when I was one of the lucky few globally to attend the first presentation of something called ‘Live Drive’ which was intended to be used as sales/ pre-sales tool by Dynamics 365 partners to access sales materials for Dynamics 365 product line available on an online portal at demos.microsoft.com in the form of :
- Powerpoint presentations and pdf files with sales script
- Pre-populated read only demo environments with sample data
**This new portal is not just limited to Dynamics 365 product demos and sales materials, but it contains content for wide range of Microsoft 365 products.
Getting into the CDX portal
This new portal can be accessed using a valid email associated with an Microsoft 365 partner organizational account.
Once you login then you arrive at the landing page as shown below which has wide number of menu options to navigate to certain areas of the portal.
Once you are on this page, you have different topics and areas to browse with. In additional to the links on the page, you can also perform a search for products experiences directly from search bar.
Accessing a Dynamics 365 Product Demo Asset / Product Experience
On clicking on the experiences tab from top menu, you arrive on the page which allows a number of filtering and search options options for contents as shown in image below.
Once you click on a search result you are looking for, you arrive at the specific product experience page as shown below.
In order to get access to product experience contents and material, you will need to first enter a valid customer name that you need the demo content for. If you are just trying out this content for internal use you can also enter your own organization’s name. This step is crucial as the demo contents are not accessible unless you enter a value as shown in below image.
After associating a valid customer account or your organizational account, you can access the demo material for the product experience. Remember this portal is meant to be assist Microsoft 365 partners to streamline sales and pre sales activities with superior content for sales and product demos in various scenarios.
Types of Demo Contents
The experiences for various Dynamics 365 product modules are available in a variety of different access points or demo types as shown below.
Provides downloadable assets (pptx,pdfs) intended to demonstrate products and features. For use with an existing tenant.
Provides a configured tenant for use in a demonstration of products and features.
Provides a virtual desktop and a tenant. Both are configured to demonstrate products and features.
Provides read only access to a shared, pre-configured tenant for use in a demonstration of products and features.
Provisioning Dynamics 365 Environment W/ Office 365 Tenant
If you have been using the old portal (demos.microsoft.com) for creating demos environments for Dynamics 365 , then you will see all your historical demo environments that you have created in the past on the old portal under Environments — > Legacy Environments as shown below.
To create a new Dynamics 365 tenant navigate to Enviroments –> My Tenants –> Create Tenant
On the next screen, you are presented with a number options to configure for the tenant such as
- Tenant Type : Quick tenant ( read only environment) / Custom tenant ( Can customize and edit)
- Region: the region where the tenant will be provisioned for Dynamics 365
- Duration: 90 Days or 1 Year
Next, you choose a product that needs to be configured in the tenant. In this example we focus to provision a Dynamics 365 CDS tenant. There are lot more product bundles that can be provisioned as shown in the image below.
On Choosing the Dynamics 365 CE product, click ‘Create Tenant’ which will start the provisioning.
Once the provisioning is completed, you will see your new Dynamics 365 tenant listed under ‘My Enviroments’ as shown below. Here you can choose to edit the name of the environment/tenant as per your needs.
You can also choose to install add-ons for the Dynamics 365 CE tenant. Finally you will notice credentials for accessing the newly created Dynamics 365 CE / Office 365 tenant with a standard user and an admin user logins.
You will also notice your newly created Dynamics 365 tenant listed under ‘My Enviroments’ –> ‘My Tenants’
Accessing your Dynamics 365 Demo Environment (Office 365 Tenant)
Accessing a tenant gives the same experience as accessing a regular Office 365 / Dynamics 365 tenant. To start you can follow the natural path of accessing a Dynamics 365 CDS apps by navigating to home.dynamics.com and use the admin credential for the demo tenant. You will notice the familiar Dynamics 365 CDS apps as shown in figure below.
On navigating to admin.powerplatform.com you will notice two Power platform environments, one is the default environment without CDS and one is a production environment with CDS ( Dynamics 365 CDS Apps).
On opening the Dynamics 365 admin center, you will notice list of CDS apps installed and where you can also install additional CDS apps on the same tenant.
Tenant Limitations For Partners
This portal does comes with limitations to kind of demo environments and tenants you can create. Under ‘My Environments” –> Roles & Limits’, you will see different quotas for tenant creation for your role (Dynamics 365 partner organization).
Value For Dynamics 365 Partners
These tools that you get out of the box, does make an immediate effect in your sales strategy. Weather you are trying to introduce Dynamics 365 product line to prospective customers or are much ahead into a sales process or project bid, the tools available from this portal does comes handy.
For e.g. for sales professionals / customer success managers can easily use the ‘demo- asset only’ sales content materials to present product features and click through demo experience with a guided script provided by Microsoft for doing a preliminary introduction of the product capabilities to prospect customers. This is a game changer for non technical sales professionals working in selling Dynamics 365 / Office 365 products line.
Additionally, in a customized or immersive product experience demo or for preparing a POC for customer, Demo – tenant only can be used. This demo environment allows to do customizations to CDS data model and install additional CDS apps for Dynamics 365. Moreover these demo environments can be provisioned for a long duration of either 90 days or 1 year, hence the rework of preparing demo environments and repopulating demo data is non longer a pain point.