5 reasons to include end users in a Dynamics 365 Business Central permissions and security project

Developing proper permissions and security in Dynamics 365 Business Central has long been considered an IT or administrative project, but I challenge you to think differently. Instead of boring you with facts, figures and arguments to prove my point, I’ll tell you a story. Sit back and relax as you read about Amy and her experience leading a clearance and security project.

Amy’s company is rolling out Business Central. As an IT manager, Amy is heavily involved in the implementation. Her company appoints her as a Business Central administrator and assigns her the security and authorization project. Amy panics thinking about the responsibility of the project. She is concerned about the timeline and push back of users who might get frustrated if they run into permissions issues while she fixes 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 financial department.

Lesson 1: The Business Central administrator doesn’t know EVERYTHING users know. Users are real SMEs (subject matter experts).

Amy soon realizes that she doesn’t really know what Billy Bob and Joe are doing in the system every day and therefore doesn’t know what permissions they need. She thinks about typical financial department activities and decides that they will likely need permission to post journal entries, enter Accounts Payable invoices, create and post sales invoices, and run monthly financial reports. Before granting any permissions in the system, she Amy decides to email Billy Bob and Joe to confirm their assignments. She is happy to have contacted her when she receives email responses revealing the following:

  • Users perform some tasks they didn’t have on their list. Billy Bob approves the time sheets, while Joe is responsible for uploading the annual budgets. He had no idea that neither of them was doing these tasks.
  • Some of the assignments had recently changed or had more steps than she realized. The AP process now uses approvals and Amy had no idea until Joe told her.
  • Users are not performing all activities that were thought to be “Finance” activities. Joe lets Amy know that sales invoice creation and posting is done by the sales team. This helps Amy determine that she will remove that task from the financial planning sheet and add it to the sales section.

Lesson 2: Share the responsibility and the workload.

After Amy starts involving Billy Bob and Joe in the planning process, she realizes the project feels a lot more manageable when responsibility and work are shared with them. Nobody is overwhelmed. She decides to keep Billy Bob and Joe involved in the entire permits and security project. Here’s how users help each stage 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 activities. Amy leads this conversation by listing Business Central functional areas such as Customers, Suppliers, and Items as tips to help Billy Bob and Joe identify businesses more easily.
    An example of a planning document might look like this:
    Example of planning document
  • Registration / creation 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 authorization recorder, Amy creates the agreed permission sets from the planning stage in the Business Central Sandbox environment and assigns the task of creating authorization records to Billy Bob and Joe.
  • Test: Billy Bob and Joe help test the permissions registered in the sandbox and then in the production environment simply by going about their daily work activities. They work with Amy to report any obstacles and error messages during testing before permissions are assigned to other Finance users. Who better than the end user to perform the test?
  • TroubleshootingOnce the permissions are in production, Billy Bob and Joe become the go-to resources in their department when other users encounter permissions related issues.

Lesson 3: Shorten the project timeline

Amy’s original approach was to plan, test, and execute financial clearances in full before moving on to the sales department. Since she has involved Billy Bob and Joe in helping to register the permissions and she has given them a week to finish, she has time to begin the planning process for the sales department. She is thrilled when she realizes that shared responsibilities mean she can shorten the timeline and complete the project in overlapping stages rather than one at a time. With this approach, Amy decides she can reduce the timeline from 4 1/2 months to 2 months, reducing the project duration by more than 50%!

An example timeline with overlapping phases might look like this:

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