Corporate applications have been introduced gradually into our daily routine. Every morning, before starting work, many of us have to access our company applications to collect our tasks/information needed for the day; and throughout it, we use a host of other corporate tools to close deals, test projects, or communicate with colleagues.
The ability for information to flow between our corporate applications is critical to accelerating our productivity. Likewise, ensuring that business management applications (mainly ERPs and CRMs) collect and manage data from our entire ecosystem entails important advantages such as the traceability of information and the transversality of processes.
In this article we will focus on how to get a web portal to communicate with our CRM based on Dynamics 365.
Microsoft offers the ability to create websites outside of our organization using Power Apps portals. In this way, the users of our organization will be able to log in to said portal. Even users outside our organization can log in to the portal and work with data from our corporate applications like Dynamics 365.
Portals in Power Apps have different possibilities of use, such as the possibility of creating a self-service portal for customers, an employee portal or a portal of collaborators of our organization.
Create a self-service portal for customers
Next, let’s look at an example of a customer self-service portal. To create a customer self-service portal in Power Apps, we’re going to leverage a template created by Microsoft for this purpose.
First, we sign in to Power Apps and find the “Customer self-service” template. Next, we define the basic data of the portal (name, URL and language) and create it.
By clicking “Create”, the portal will be provisioned in the Power Platform environment in which we are working. When it’s ready to be used, it will appear as one more available app within the Power Apps apps.
What will the customer see in our portal?
Once we have the portal provisioned, we can access it. At this time we will be accessing as if we were a client.
We register on the portal by completing the information in the following form.
Once registered, we log in.
Next, we want to report a problem that we have had with our supplier’s products and/or services. To do this, we navigate to the “My support” section and open a new case.
We will see that the template offers, by default, a form with a series of fields to complete our case. In addition, it will tell us about related topics (related knowledge article, similar cases, etc.) when we write the title of the case:
By clicking “send”, the case will be saved in the client’s list of cases:
What will we see when the client submits a report?
When the client creates a case like the one described above, it is creating a new record in a Dataverse table (the “Case” table in this case). As we know, the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications (Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing and Project Service) are created on top of these Dataverse tables, so without the need to do any additional steps (such as creating web services, calls API, etc.), when a customer creates a case, it will be available in the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement apps in the same environment where our Power Apps portal is hosted.
From here an agent of the organization can retrieve the information provided by the client in the portal and take the appropriate steps to resolve this case.
The “Case” entity offers a multitude of functions in Dynamics 365 to work with. Such as reassigning the case to another agent, converting it to a work order (in case we need a technician to do field work), adding the case to a service queue (so we can prioritize our resources), etc.
Obviously, the most important part of dealing with the case is the communication with the client, a function that we can achieve using the “Feedback” section of the portal.
When you save your comment, it will automatically appear within the case thread on our Power Apps customer self-service portal.
Finally, the client has the power to close the case from the portal.
With this option, the case will be in the list of closed cases in the client portal:
Likewise, the case can also be seen as closed from Dynamics 365.
Finally, we can also program communications with the client so that the client receives emails every time an agent makes a comment on a case that they have created.
So far we’ve discussed using this Power Apps portal template. Let’s not forget that we also have a Power Apps portal editor to be able to carry out all the customizations we need (from changing the design of the template to adapt it to our organization, to inserting the components we need).
Throughout this article we have seen how we can quickly and without code build a solution that enables a communication channel between our clients and our corporate applications (CRM in this case).
It is important to highlight the change of scenery that we are experiencing. In which the functional users of an organization (operations, sales, customer service, human resources teams, etc.) can build customized solutions for their organization with no-code technologies; or low-code (with little code).
Empowering these functional users, who are arguably the best consultants for your organization, can lead to profound and surprising results.
Find out how to expand your sales within Dynamics 365 here.
Nico García Fernández – Product Owner & Digital Transformation Consultant at Itequia