Developing proper permissions and security in Dynamics 365 Business Central has long been thought of as an IT or admin project, but I challenge you to think differently. Rather than bore you with facts, figures, and arguments to prove my point, I am going to tell you a story. Sit back and relax as you read about Amy and her experience leading a Permissions and Security project.
Amy’s company is implementing Business Central. As the IT manager, Amy is very involved in the implementation. Her company makes her the Business Central administrator and assigns her the security and permissions project. Amy panics thinking about the responsibility of the project. She is worried about the timeline and pushback from users who might get frustrated if they run into permissions issues as she works out the kinks. Amy decides to tackle 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 doesn’t know EVERYTHING that the users do. The users are the true SMEs (subject-matter-experts).
Amy quickly realizes that she doesn’t really know what Billy Bob and Joe do in the system daily and therefore doesn’t know what permissions they need. She thinks of typical finance department activities and decides they will probably need permission to post journal entries, enter accounts payable invoices, create and post sales invoices, and run monthly financial reports. Before assigning any permissions in the system, Amy decides to email Billy Bob and Joe to confirm their tasks. She is glad she reached out when she receives email responses that reveal the following:
- The users perform some tasks that she didn’t have on her list. Billy Bob approves time sheets, while Joe is responsible for uploading the annual budgets. She had no idea that either of them was doing these tasks.
- Some of the tasks had either changed recently or had more steps than she realized. The AP process now uses approvals and Amy had no idea until Joe told her.
- The users are not performing all the tasks that were thought to be “Finance” tasks. Joe lets Amy know that the creation and posting of sales invoices is done by the Sales team. This helps Amy determine that she will remove that task from the Finance planning sheet and add it to the Sales department section.
Lesson 2: Share the responsibility and workload.
After Amy starts to get Billy Bob and Joe involved in the planning process, she realizes that the project seems much more manageable when the responsibility and work is shared with them. No one is overwhelmed. She decides to keep Billy Bob and Joe involved in the whole Permissions and Security project. Here’s how the users help in each phase of the project:
- Planning: Billy Bob and Joe join Amy for a 30-minute brainstorming session to put together a list of their daily/weekly/monthly tasks. Amy leads this conversation by listing functional areas of Business Central such as Customers, Vendors, and Items as prompts to help Billy Bob and Joe identify the tasks more easily.
A sample planning document might look like this:
- Recording/Creating Permissions: Amy researches and finds that the best way to create custom Permission Sets in Business Central is using the Permissions Recorder. After training Billy Bob and Joe to use the Permissions Recorder, Amy creates the agreed-upon Permission Sets from the planning phase in the Business Central Sandbox environment and assigns the job of creating permission recordings to Billy Bob and Joe.
- Testing: Billy Bob and Joe help test the recorded permissions in the Sandbox and then the Production environment by simply going about their daily job tasks. They work with Amy to report any obstacles and error messages in their testing before the permissions are assigned to the other Finance users. Who better to do the testing than the end user?
- Troubleshooting: Once the permissions are in the Production environment, Billy Bob and Joe become the go-to resources in their department when permissions-related issues are encountered by other users.
Lesson 3: Shorten the project timeline
Amy’s original approach was to plan, test, and execute the Finance permissions in full before moving on to the Sales department. Since she has involved Billy Bob and Joe in helping to record the permissions and given them a week to finish, she has time to start the planning process for the Sales department. She is excited when she realizes that the shared responsibilities mean she can shorten the timeline and complete the project with overlapped phases instead of one-at-a-time. With this approach, Amy determines she can shorten the timeline from 4 ½ months to 2 months, cutting the duration of the project by more than 50%!
A sample timeline with overlapping phases might look like this: