The same ability that lets you create custom forms in MS Dynamics CRM Online can also help you create a staging area for development or testing (since the concept of a DEV or TEST environment , other than local VMs or downloading a trial version, doesn’t currently exist.)
The customer decided to revamp the form and create separate forms for each type of Opportunity (This would be done in stages, based on the Opportunity type.) I decided the best way to do this was to create a form called “DEV Form”, which gave me access to all fields, and let me add/remove info at will without interrupting the user’s current process. Once the form for the particular Opportunity type was completed and tested, I renamed the form, and assigned roles to the appropriate users.
The Benefits Of Using Custom Forms To Create A Staging Area
Building a staging area using custom forms produced several benefits for the client:
- Ability to visualize how the form would look before releasing it to their staff.
- Ability to test the form and its functionality prior to release.
- Ability to schedule the release of the form based on completed staff review.
- A cleaner form, without gaps between fields.
- A more streamlined approach to the business rules for particular Opportunity types.
In addition, this project benefited me as well by:
- Letting me create a working development environment.
- Cutting down on the time previously needed to export customizations and import them into my VM.
Of course there are many limitations to this approach, and it might not work for everyone. For larger enterprise deployments, you may want to consider the new functionality that came out with the Polaris release called “Multiple Instances”. Here are some links that review that option:
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