Have what you need, need what you take

With Dynamics CRM 2016 comes a welcome change to one of the oldest and unchanged feature sets of the platform, a new approach to developing and managing solutions, described by Microsoft as Solution Segmentation.

Over the weekend a photo surfaced on my Twitter feed showing an All You Can Eat buffet’s welcome board, with the phrase “Take what you need, need what you take”, to emphasise reducing wastage and reducing excessive behaviour.

This phrase is very powerful and can be applied in many situations, including solution segmentation.

Solution Segmentation

One of the most useful parts of the new feature set is being able to only include elements you need to modify for an entity, rather than the whole entity.

Let’s take the scenario of a heavily customised Case entity for a client that uses this area for triaging all queries from their consumers. The client wants to add a couple of new field onto the Case form to further categorise Cases.

In this scenario, if the customiser were to add a new solution in their development environment in order to make the change, the customiser would need to include the whole Case entity in the solution, which of course includes all Forms, Views, Charts, Fields, Relationships, Messages, Business Rules and Hierarchy Settings. Not forgetting that if any required components are needed, you need to include the whole of that entity too!

This is not only excessive and will take longer to import, but it also blurs the lines for any customisers trying to chase back the purpose of each solution when imported into an environment. I.E How does the customiser know that this solution was developed to change something as small as a few fields without looking for detailed documentation? All the customiser can see is that the Case entity (and any potential related components) were included, so the changed area is known, but the actual change isn’t.

Existing deployments should be the last to face the points described above, and new deployments should see a much cleaner, faster approach to solution management – great for both the supplier and customer!

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