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Provisioning An Empty Demo Instance For CRM, SharePoint & PowerBI For Free

Posted by Author, Curator, Visually Impared Squirrel Literacy Advocate & Dynamics AX Technical Solution Professional (TSP) at Microsoft on

Dynamics AX is great, but when you start integrating it with all of the on-line offerings like Office 365, Power BI, SharePoint Online, and CRM, then it becomes even more powerful. If you are like me though and don’t want to sign up for all these additional on-line offerings if you like and pay the monthly hosting fee just for the demo environment, then don’t worry, there is an alternative for you because Microsoft allow you to provision a fully configured environment for free, that has all of this up and running and as a bonus you get your own demo exchange server that you can link to Dynamics AX to send out real e-mails though.

The only downside to this is that it has a fixed lifespan of 90 days after which you just need to re-provision a new instance. Although this may seem like a little bit of a hassle, when you compare it to what you would need to do in order to have this locally on your demo environment, it’s a small price to pay, and did I mention that it is FREE!

Now you can truly create killer demos.

How To Do It…

  1. To start off, navigate to the Microsoft Dynamics Demos website by using the following link and then click on the Microsoft Partner Or Employee tile.
  2. You may be asked to log in with your Windows Live account, and after you have done that then you will be taken to the Demo Provisioning site.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you will see a link for the Empty Demo deployment. Click on the Deploy Now button.
  4. This will open up the up the deployment dialog box for you.
  5. Give your new demo a Project Name.
  6. This will default in the Domain Name for you, but you may want to change it to something a little shorter so that it’s easier for you to reference.
  7. Then select your Region.
  8. And then enter in your Phone Number and click on the Send SMS button.
  9. This will send a text to your phone and with a confirmation code. Type this code into the Enter SMS Code field and if everything is correct then you will get a check mark on the phone number and you can click on the Deploy button.
  10. Now the magic happens in the background because the system will start creating and deploying out your demo image.
  11. After a little bit you will get a notice that everything has been deployed and you can click on the OK button.
  12. Now you will see that you have a demo image configured for you.
  13. All you need to do is enter in the URL that you assigned during the setup and you will be taken to the Office365 configuration page.
  14. Now we will add a few bells and whistles to the installation. To do this click on the Gear icon in the top right of the page to open up the Office 365
    Admin Center and then click on the Purchase Services menu item on the left hand side of the page.
  15. This will open up a list of all the additional services that you can add to your trial… although we don’t want to pay anything…
  16. So scroll down a little until you find the PowerBI For Office 365 option and you will notice that it has a Trial option… click on that.
  17. When the order confirmation page is displayed, click on the Try Now button to activate your Power BI trial.
  18. When the Order Receipt is displayed click on the Continue button.
  19. When you return back to the Office 365 Admin Center you will see that you now have PowerBI associated with your account at no additional cost.
  20. If you click on the OneDrive link in the header than you will notice that you have your very own private storage account for the life of the demo instance.
  21. You can use this to show that you can share documents through SharePoint.
  22. If you click on the Outlook link you will have access to the current users Outlook inbox which has been configured for you.
  23. If you click on the Sites link in the header then you will see all of the default SharePoint sites that have been created for you.
  24. If you click on the Team Site then you will be taken to the private SharePoint site for the organization that you could link to your local Dynamics AX instance.
  25. To access CRM, click on the links in the header and then select the CRM option.
  26. This will take you straight to the demo’s instance of CRM with the splash page. Check the Don’t Show Me This Again flag and then click the Let’s Go tile.
  27. You will then be taken to the CRM Administration page. Notice that there is a info message in the header asking you to Enable Server Based SharePoint Integration. Click on the Enable Now button.
  28. When the dialog box is displayed, the URL will already be populated for you and you just need to click on the Next button.
  29. The CRM system will run a quick validation for you…
  30. And then when everything passes click on the Next button.
  31. This will enable the SharePoint integration for you and then you can click on the Finish button.
  32. Now you will have a nice clean CRM system for you to demo with.
  33. Return back to the Office 365 Admin Center and expand out the Users & Groups menu group. Then click on the Active Users menu item.
  34. This will take you to the list of users, and you will notice that all of the default users have been added already for you so you don’t have to di it yourself. Rock On!
  35. You do need to assign the PowerBI user licenses to the users though. So to do this, click on the CRM System user.
  36. When the CRM System user is displayed, click on the Licenses menu item on the left of the form.
  37. This will take you to the list of enabled licenses.
  38. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see that there is an option to assign the Microsoft Power BI license to the user. Click on the parent checkbox.
  39. You will not be able to enable the SharePoint Online (Plan 2) option because you already have that licensed through one of the other license groups.
  40. When you are done, click on the Save button.
  41. This will then return you back top the User Administration page. You can add the PowerBI option to the other users if you like.
  42. Now click on the Admin button in the menu bar and select the SharePoint menu item.
  43. This will open up the SharePoint Admin Center.
  44. Click on the New button within the Site Collections ribbon bar and then select the Private Site Collection menu item.
  45. When the New Site Collection dialog box is displayed, give your new site a name .
  46. Then assign the admin user to the Administrator role.
  47. Then assign a Storage Quota to the team site.
  48. After you have done that, click the OK button to create your new site for Power BI.
  49. When you return to the SharePoint Admin Center you will see that SharePoint is configuring your site for you.
  50. After a few seconds it will be available for you to use and all you need to do is click on the URL to open it up.
  51. All that is missing now is to add the Power BI app to the site.
  52. To do this, click on the CRM System menu item and then select the Site Contents menu item.
  53. When the Site Contents are displayed, you should see a PowerBI tile. Click on it.

  54. When the PowerBI splash screen is displayed, click on the Add Samples button to add some initial reports for your demo.
  55. PowerBI will run for a minute as it adds the sample data and reports to your site.
  56. And then you will be taken to PowerBI where you will be able to see all of the sample data and reports.
  57. You can drill into the reports as Silverlight apps…
  58. And also view them as Excel PowerView reports.
  59. If you have the PowerBI windows app then you can also attach that to your PowerBI site.

As a bonus, since you have exchange configured on this site, you can also use Lync and the Outlook Client and link them to the demo system.

How cool is that!

To view the original post, and to also be able to download the entire walkthough with detailed screen shots, click on this link:

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