5 lessons for involving end users in a Dynamics 365 Business Central permission and security project

Developing appropriate permissions and security at Dynamics 365 Business Central has long been considered an IT or administration project, but I challenge you to think differently. Instead of bore you with facts, figures and arguments to prove my point, I will tell you a story. Sit back and relax as you read about Amy and her experience leading a permit and security project.

Amy’s company is implementing Business Central. As an IT manager, Amy was heavily involved in the implementation. Her company makes her administrator of Business Central and assigns her the security and permissions project. Amy panics at the thought of project responsibility. She worries about the timeline and the rejection of users, who may be disappointed if they encounter permission issues while removing the refraction. Amy decided to deal with the project one department at a time, starting with the finance department. Billy Bob and Joe are two users in a large finance department.

Lesson 1: The Business Central administrator does not know EVERYTHING that users do. The consumers are the real SMEs (experts on the subject).

Amy quickly realizes that she doesn’t really know what Billy Bob and Joe do on a daily basis in the system, and therefore doesn’t know what permissions they need. She thinks about the typical activities of the finance department and decides that they may need permission to publish diary entries, enter invoices for due accounts, create and publish sales invoices and prepare monthly financial statements. Before giving any permissions to the system, Amy decided to send an email to Billy Bob and Joe to confirm their tasks. She is glad to be contacted when she receives e-mail responses that reveal the following:

  • Users are performing some tasks that she did not have on her list. Billy Bob approves schedules while Joe is in charge of uploading annual budgets. She had no idea that any of them were doing these tasks.
  • Some of the tasks had either been changed recently or had more steps than she realized. The AP process is now using approvals, and Amy had no idea until Joe told her.
  • Consumers do not perform all the tasks that were considered to be “financial”. Joe informs Amy that sales invoices are created and posted by the sales team. This helps Amy determine that she will remove this task from the financial planning sheet and add it to the Sales section.

Lesson 2: Share responsibility and workload.

After Amy began involving Billy Bob and Joe in the planning process, she realized that the project seemed much more manageable when responsibility and work were shared with them. No one is overwhelmed. She decides to keep Billy Bob and Joe involved in the whole permitting and security project. Here’s how users help in each phase of the project:

  • Planning: Billy Bob and Joe join Amy for a 30-minute brainstorming session to compile a list of their daily / weekly / monthly tasks. Amy leads this conversation by listing Business Central’s functional areas such as customers, suppliers and items as prompts to help Billy Bob and Joe identify tasks more easily.
    An example planning document might look like this:
    Sample planning document
  • Write / create permissions: Amy researches and discovers that the best way to create custom permission sets in Business Central is to use the permission recorder. After training Billy Bob and Joe to use the permission recorder, Amy created the agreed-upon sets of permissions from the planning phase in the middle of Business Central Sandbox and outsourced the work to create records with permission from Billy Bob and Joe.
  • Testing: Billy Bob and Joe help test recorded permissions in the Sandbox and then in the production environment by simply performing their daily tasks. They work with Amy to report any obstacles and error messages in their testing before the permissions are granted to other Finance users. Who better to do end-user testing?
  • Troubleshooting: Once permissions are in the production environment, Billy Bob and Joe become the main resources in their department when other users encounter permissions issues.

Lesson 3: Shorten the project schedule

Amy’s initial approach was to plan, test, and fully implement financial approvals before moving to sales. As she has involved Billy Bob and Joe in helping record the permits and given them a week to complete, she has time to begin the planning process for the sales department. She is excited when she realizes that shared responsibilities mean she can shorten the deadline and complete the project with overlapping phases instead of one at a time. With this approach, Amy decided that she could shorten the term from 4 months to 2 months, reducing the duration of the project by more than 50%!

An example timeline with overlapping phases might look like this:

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