How to Keep Your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations System Happy and Healthy

By Catherine Thole | May 17, 2024

Running a healthy and efficient Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations environment is crucial to ensure seamless business processes and financial management.

A well-maintained system reduces downtime, minimizes errors, and improves overall productivity, enabling your organization to operate smoothly and effectively.

In this blog, we will explore a variety of best practices to maintain and optimize your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations system, including:

  • Recommended Approaches in Finance and Operations
  • Lifecycle Services (LCS) tasks
  • Key activities in the Azure Portal
  • Critical security considerations
  • The latest features to keep an eye on

Implementing these practices can enhance the performance, security, and reliability of your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations environment, ultimately driving better business outcomes and operational efficiency.

The Importance of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Maintenance

There are a few essential tasks you should consider to enhance the flow and efficiency of your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations system. These include:

  • Configuring and monitoring batch jobs to ensure smooth processing
  • Executing regular data cleanup to keep the system optimized,
  • Removing inactive users to improve security and performance.

By integrating these practices, you can significantly improve system responsiveness and operational effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look at each:

Batch Set-up and Monitoring

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Batch Setup

To optimize the performance of your D365 Finance and Operations system, there are several essential tasks you should consider for batch setup and monitoring:

Batch Auto Scaling Functionality

If you encounter batch contention or slow-running batch jobs, explore the batch auto-scaling feature. This functionality helps prioritize and allocate resources dynamically based on the workload, ensuring optimal performance.

Batch Priority-Based Scheduling

Ensure you set priorities for your batch jobs. This allows you to allocate more resources to critical processes, such as invoicing or MRP, ensuring they are completed on time. Utilize the new priority levels to manage resource distribution effectively.

Active Batch Periods

Create active periods and assign them to batch jobs. This feature lets you restrict certain batch jobs to run only during specific times, such as work hours, reducing system load during peak periods and ensuring important tasks receive adequate resources

Monitoring Failed Batch Jobs

Regularly monitor and address failed batch jobs. Set reminders to review error logs, identify patterns, and troubleshoot recurring issues. This proactive approach helps maintain system stability and reduces potential disruptions.

Cleaning Up Your Data in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Data Cleanup

Next, we want to focus on a few things you can do within data clean-up jobs to ensure the optimal performance and organization of your system:

Review Microsoft Recommended Clean-Up Routines

Collaborate with subject matter experts and departments to implement Microsoft's recommended data clean-up routines. Microsoft provides guidance on various areas requiring cleanup, and it's essential to tailor these recommendations to your organization's specific needs.

System Clean Up: Batch Jobs

Utilize the custom option for history and parameters for batch job clean-up. When executing batch job clean-up, select the custom option to gain flexibility in the cleanup process. Adjust parameters such as retention period and criteria for deletion to efficiently manage system resources and prevent system overload.

System Clean Up: Alerts, Workflow, and Database Logging

Set up jobs to clean up tables associated with alerts, workflow, and database logging. Determine appropriate retention periods for these elements based on usage and business requirements. Collaborate with relevant teams to establish and implement effective cleanup strategies.

Data Management: System Cleanup

Adjust data purge settings in data management to match organizational needs. Consider purging data more frequently than the default 90 days, especially if importing large volumes of data. Set appropriate limits to ensure efficient job execution without causing system strain.

Remove Inactive Users in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

It's easy for users who no longer need access to linger in the system, but proactively removing them can significantly enhance security and system performance. Here are a few tasks to consider to ensure your system remains efficient and secure.

Establish a User Removal Process

Ensure you have a clear process for removing users who leave the company or no longer need access to D365. This involves systematically deactivating accounts and ensuring that any associated tasks or roles are reassigned appropriately.

Reassign Batch Jobs and Alert

Before removing a user, check if they are tied to any batch jobs or alerts. Reassign these tasks to other users to maintain continuity and ensure no critical operations are disrupted.

Clean Up Workflows

Verify if the user is part of any workflows and update or remove their involvement. This prevents workflow disruptions and maintains smooth operational processes.

Manage Environment Access

Assess the access needs of users across different environments, such as production, UAT, and development.

Limit their access to only the necessary environments. For users who primarily need non-production access, consider disabling their production accounts and re-enabling them as needed when data is refreshed in UAT or development environments.

Exchange Email Provider Deprecation: What You Need to Know

Email configuration

There is an upcoming Dynamics 365 change in email configuration that we want to make sure you are aware of. Microsoft is deprecating the Exchange email provider and transitioning to Microsoft Graph.

To configure this, you need to go into the Azure portal, create an application ID, specify the use of Microsoft Graph, and set the necessary permissions. Microsoft provides a detailed article on how to complete these steps.

After setting up in Azure, you return to Dynamics 365, navigate to the Microsoft Graph settings, and enter the application ID and the certificate secret. This change ensures your system remains current and secure with Microsoft's latest standards.

Ensure Your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Lifecycle Services Are Up-to-Date

Let's move on to Lifecycle Service (LCS) and explore some of the essential tasks that you should be doing to maintain a robust and efficient system:

Managing Rotation of Certificates for Cloud-Hosted Environments

SSL certificates for cloud-hosted environments need to be rotated annually. Set reminders about 50 weeks after deployment to avoid expiration issues, especially during critical updates or fixes.

Cleaning Up Items in Your Asset Library

Regularly clean up old items, specifically under the Software Deployable Package section. This prevents slow loading times by removing unnecessary deployable packages, which can accumulate over the years.

Automating Your Data Refresh Process

Automate your data refresh processes as much as possible to avoid errors. Use SQL scripts to streamline steps and ensure consistency, reducing the risk of issues when users access the refreshed data.

Configuring Service Update Settings

Stay on top of service updates, which occur up to four times a year. Save the service update calendar in your favorites, plan updates around your business schedule, and hold planning meetings to prepare for upcoming updates.

Environment Monitoring for Production

Regularly monitor your production environment to preemptively address issues. Focus on:

  • Error Events: Check for unreported errors and investigate recurring issues.
  • System Crashes: Identify and address common crash points to ensure system stability.
  • Long-Running Queries: Look for recurring slow queries, which may require indexing or development intervention.
  • Deadlocks: Monitor for patterns in deadlocks, and collaborate with Microsoft or developers to resolve them.

Azure and Cloud Security for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Azure offers powerful tools and capabilities, but effective management is essential to maximize its benefits. Here are some key tasks to ensure your Azure environment runs smoothly and cost-effectively:

Manage Application ID Certificate Expirations

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Azure

Application IDs, often used for integrations, come with certificates that have expiration dates. Regularly check the expiration dates of these certificates and set reminders to renew them before they expire. This proactive measure prevents disruptions in integrations and ensures continuous system functionality.

Manage Stop and Start of Cloud-Hosted Environments

Secure environment

Cloud-hosted environments can be costly if left running continuously. Automate the shutdown of these environments during non-use periods, such as nightly or over weekends, to save on costs. Use Azure’s auto-shutdown feature to schedule these times, and consider automating the startup as well for convenience.

Cybersecurity is also a critical concern today. With the increasing reports of hacks, data breaches, and ransomware attacks, we want to share some best practices to enhance the security of your D365 environment:

Securing Cloud-Hosted Environments

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Security

Cloud-hosted environments are your responsibility to secure. Ensure that these environments are protected against unauthorized access attempts. Microsoft provides guidelines on securing these environments, which you should follow to mitigate risks.

Limit the Number of Users Assigned to the System Administrator Security Role

Restrict the number of users with the System Administrator role to a maximum of 10% of your user base. This role has access to all data within the system, so minimizing the number of users reduces potential security vulnerabilities.

Use Accounts Other Than Admin for Integrations

Avoid using admin accounts for integrations. Instead, create specific accounts with custom security roles that grant only the necessary data access for those integrations. This practice limits exposure and enhances data security.

What to Watch for in the Future with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Technology is always evolving, updating, and changing. To ensure your D365 Finance and Operations system runs smoothly, it's crucial to stay informed and continuously learn about new features and best practices. Here are some valuable resources and tips to keep you up-to-date:

  • Join Viva (formerly Yammer) Channels: Engaging with the community on Viva can be incredibly helpful. Specific channels to follow include Dynamics Lifecycle, Finance Application and Platform Updates, and Unified Admin and Developer Experience. These channels allow you to post questions, see community discussions, and get responses from both Microsoft and other users.
  • Tech Talks: Microsoft’s Tech Talks are informative presentations on various D365 Finance and Operations topics. They cover new features and provide deep dives into specific areas of the system.
  • Monitor New Features: It is important to stay aware of upcoming changes and new features. A significant change on the horizon is the transition from LCS to the Power Platform Admin Center. Microsoft and Stone Ridge will offer resources and training to ensure a smooth transition. Additionally, with version 10.0.39, Microsoft introduced an archiving option (currently in preview). While it may not be fully robust yet, it’s a step towards better data management and cost efficiency.
  • Stay Connected to Stoneridge Software: Our experts stay on top of new features and functionalities when they come out and can help you implement them to improve your business processes.

By leveraging all these resources and staying proactive, you can ensure your D365 Finance and Operations system remains efficient and up-to-date.

Want More Tips on How to Optimize Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations?

At Stoneridge Software, we understand the critical importance of running a smooth and healthy D365 Finance and Operations system. A well-maintained system ensures seamless business processes, accurate financial management, and operational efficiency. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you optimize your D365 Finance and Operations environment.

Reach out to us today to learn more.

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