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Provision Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator

by Mo Faheem
Higher Education Accelerator

Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator is one of Microsoft’s education accelerators for education alongside K-12 education. I worked closely with top world-ranked universities and colleges in Canada and around the world. This is why I was interested to explore the new accelerator by Microsoft and finding out what it offers.

For more information about the new accelerators at Microsoft, check the link.

Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator

Before we can start the setup of Dynamics 365 for the higher education accelerator, we will need to have a vanilla trial instance of Dynamics 365 or set up over an existing instance. Thus, the following steps are needed before we start with the provisioning of the higher education solution.

Setup a Dynamics 365 instance or Trial

To create a higher education trial, we require to have a Dynamics 365 instance or a trial and then use Dataverse to install Dynamics 365 for higher education. I discussed creating trials before for the Marketing app, however, a similar method can be followed.

Set up a Power App Portal

After creating a Dynamics 365 instance, we are required to set up a Power App Portal that will be used by the higher educational accelerator. I also discussed how can we set up a Power Apps portal in a previous post.

Microsoft App Source

To start the process of installing the Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator, need to get it from Microsoft App Source at this link.

By clicking on the “Get it now” button to start the setup process of Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator, after signing in with the same Microsoft account that has the Dynamics 365 instance. If you are not already signed in, The App Source will prompt you to sign in.

App source -Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator

Terms and conditions and giving permission to Microsoft

Then you will prompt a permission request to consent to the terms of use and privacy policy.

You will also be giving permission to Microsoft to use or share your contact information.

App source - give permission

Microsoft Cloud Solution Center

Then you will be taken into Microsoft Cloud Solution Center to complete the provisioning of the higher education. From the Education Accelerator page, we can install K12 or the Higher ED as shown below

Microsoft Cloud Solution Center - Education Accelerator

The Higher Education accelerator consists of three main elements that can be added individually or can be added altogether. the three components are as follows.

1. Higher Ed Data Model

This component is all the tables of the higher education model built based on the world best practices in the industry.

This component will include all the Dataverse tables needed for the model to work.

2. Higher Ed Sample Apps

Basically, a model-driven app that makes exploring the solution much easier for the users and the customizers.

The App provides prebuilt dashboards to provide a Student 360-degree view across all departments

3. Higher Ed Sample Student Portal

Student self-serve portal access for higher education students to interact with the college or the university for information about courses, grants, scholarships, and internships.

Using Dynamics 365 Marketing event management, the solution allows arranging for students events.

All three components are providing the platform that can be built on based on the client’s requirements, however, provide common and best practices that can help accelerate that work needed to build the client’s solution.

We will explore the three components later intensively in future posts. Now, we will select all three components and click deploy in the top right of the screen.

Set up solutions

After clicking the deploy button, we will move to the setup solution page where we are required to complete the needed information to proceed with the setup.

Additional components

In the first step, we are required to decide if we require to install the sample data provided by Microsoft for the solution.

In my case, as I am exploring the solution, I will be installing the sample data which will help show the functionality of the system.

If I am provisioning this solution for a client, I will not be adding any sample data.

Set up new deployment

The second step will require the Dataverse environment that you will use to install Dynamics 365 for Higher Education Accelerator trial.

Then we are also required to give a name for the solution to be able to manage it.

Finally, we will have to acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions.

Configer Dependencies

To me, this is the most important step and the one that requires additional work before starting the process.

As mentioned earlier, we require a Dynamics 365 instance and Power Apps Portal installed and configured before proceeding to this step to provision Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator.

As shown above, both the environment and the portal are installed and configured. If any of the checks don’t show green, we can leave the page to configure it and then come back here and re-run the re-check dependencies.

The first time I tried to install the solution, I received an error that Power Apps Portals need to be configured.

When I clicked on the “Configure” blue button, took me to the configure portals page where it guide us on how to configure the portal

However, the second time I tried, it showed that the portal is configured, and I am not required to configure it anymore.

When I install the solution again, I will make sure that I configure the portal before going through the setup process.

Deploy solution

The following step will acknowledge that the deployment has started and is in progress.

This process took me 8 hours to complete as the emails below received when this step started and the following email after the process to set up Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator is completed.

The first email that was received as the deployment started
The second email that was received as the deployment finished

Sucess

As I mentioned, the process took 8 hours to complete. I was not able to watch for the entire 8 hours :-). But I came to know from the second email received stating that the provisioning has been completed.

Now, we can start exploring the solution and I will be posting more about Dynamics 365 for higher education accelerator trial as I explore it further.

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