Given that we have hands-on experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerator installation and customization like e-service accelerator and mobile express, we took that of the Customer Portal Accelerator with the least anticipation of too many show-stoppers. This was for a client based in Sydney, Australia whose requirement was to install the Accelerator along with certain primary customizations explained further.
Feature-wise, this one, like every other MS Dynamics CRM Accelerator, is also aimed at bringing certain benefits to the MS CRM users over and above those available in the base application. To read more about its functionality, visit http://customerportal.codeplex.com/. However, on a high level, it provides organizations a way of giving portal faculties to customers and at the same time tracking and managing these interactions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This accelerator combines all the functionality previously released in the individual eService, Event Management and Portal Integration Accelerators. Customers can turn on or off this functionality depending on their specific requirements.
If one installs the current release of this accelerator, then he would have to login through a Windows Live authentication. This feature was required to be customized in a way that
- The username and password of the customers could be maintained within the CRM application.
o And therefore, the customers would not have to login using windows live ID.
o Instead, with the help of a registration link, the customers would be able to create their usernames and passwords, which would get stored in CRM server.
Apart from this, a general customization of the UI to suit the client website was also a requirement.
Having spoken about the benefits and required customizations, I would like to bring forth certain issues that we faced during the process and how we resolved them.
When the CRM team at IOTAP, Mumbai attempted to install the vanilla accelerator as available in the download, we found the instructions provided in the video extremely helpful until we reached the terminal stage where we had to run the WebCopy command. We realized that the command provided in the video was meant to point to CRM Liver Server hosted by Microsoft, whereas we needed one which could point to an On-premise sever. Because this was a command new to us, we could put forth a solution only after a certain amount of research.
Once we got WebCopy to run successfully to point to On-premise CRM server, the installation was complete and it was ready to be used through Windows Live ID. Next, it was time to code for the customizations. We removed windows live authentication and instead coded to store the customer login credentials within the CRM ser ver. The layout of the portal being configurable, achieving the desired skin was a job of a few hours.
Should you want to know about the WebCopy Command and the customization to remove Windows Live authentication, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org