Armanino Blog

You Purchased Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations –Now What Happens?

by Carmel Wynkoop
August 08, 2018

So you've decided to purchase and implement Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365F&O). Congratulations―here's a little insight into what happens next, and some tips on managing your environments.

The first thing that happens is the implementation partner of your choosing (hopefully that is Armanino) will need to place the order with Microsoft to get your environments deployed. The set of environments included in your licensing agreement are Build, User Testing (UT) and Production (PROD). The Build and UT sandbox environments will be spun up first, and the PROD environment will be deployed about five weeks before your go-live date.

The Life Cycle Services (LCS) portal will play a key part in helping you set up your environments and manage them over the lifecycle of your implementation project and the course of ongoing maintenance. You will need access to the portal along with your implementation partner. LCS will allow you to monitor some performance activity, submit Microsoft requests and manage all of your environments. It is where your system administrator can submit requests for:

  • New environments
  • Production deployments
  • Point-in-time restores
  • Bugs or issues that require Microsoft assistance

Microsoft, or your implementation partner, will contact you directly and set up an onboarding meeting. Note that the first environment service request will not be completed until the onboarding meeting has taken place. It is also extremely important to ensure that the correct domain/tenant is used to create all environments. All environments should also be requested by your system administrator.

Either you or your implementation partner has the ability to deploy, backup/restore data and run SQL scripts against the UT and Build machines. While these are deployed by Microsoft, you still have almost full control of the machine itself. The PROD environment is different—only Microsoft has the ability to deploy, take point-in-time snapshots, roll back or provide production data copies. This is an important distinction, as often people assume that because they are able to do these tasks in Build and UT, they will be able to do them in PROD. This is not the case.

Getting your PROD environment spun up will require some upfront planning. The first thing that needs to be completed is the Subscription estimator, which is a form you and your partner complete together to size the environment. This tool looks at the historical peak transactions and current and future user counts, allowing Microsoft to size your production environments for current and future growth. After the form is completed and uploaded to LCS, you can submit the request to have your PROD environment created. Microsoft will create it five to six weeks before go-live, so it is imperative that you plan ahead.

Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) also will be an important part of your implementation and deployment process. Your implementation partner will be able to help you configure and set it up. It is very important to use your account and not a partner account when you are doing your initial setup. You will need to add the partner users as Active Directory (AD) guests in order to grant VSTS access.

Being prepared for the initial environment setups and tools will be important to your implementation and ongoing success utilizing Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Be sure to select an implementation partner that understands the necessary steps and your company's specific needs, to ensure that you get the most out of this investment in your organization's future.

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Carmel Wynkoop - Partner, Consulting - San Francisco CA | Armanino
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