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Dynamics 365 has always been a feature-rich application and, over the years, the number of features and capabilities has grown even larger. The number and depth of these features can often overwhelm and confuse users, especially if they do not ever interact or need those features.

For example, the marketing team often does not use cases and the technical support team doesn’t use campaigns. One of the first requests I often get while implementing Dynamics 365 is to hide the service area if it’s for the sales team or hide the sales area if it’s being implemented for the customer service team.

How to restrict user access in pre module business app Dynamics 365?

Before the introduction of module business apps, there were a couple of ways you could limit what users had access with Dynamics 365. One way was to remove a user’s ability to access a record type. For example, for the technical support team you would remove all permissions to lead records.

This would mean that leads didn’t show up for the user anywhere in the navigation menu. Unfortunately, this doesn’t remove the sales area from the navigation; it would only prevent the lead from displaying the Sales sub-area.

The second method involved creating a custom entity for each of the areas and then updating the site map to hide the area if the user doesn’t have access to the entity. This method would completely hide the sales area. Even after hiding the main areas for users. you would then need to look at the sub-areas and hide those areas using one of the methods mentioned.

How to restrict user access in module business apps Dynamics 365?

No matter how you did it, this process was intensive and time-consuming. You ended up spending time removing 90% of the menu because one type of user didn’t need be confused by all the other features they would never use. The answer to this issue is the modular business apps feature that was introduced last year in preview.

The modular business app designer allows you to create specific task-based solutions for users.

For example, you could create a business app for the customer service team that only displays the service area and then only displays the entities that the team uses (cases, contacts, and so on). The great thing about the module business app designer is that is an additive process.

You create the business app and then only add what you need to add. You do not have to spend time removing from the navigation all of the capabilities the customer service team doesn’t use.  

How Do You Create Your First App?

1. Within the Navigation menu, go to Settings My Apps. You can also view all of the apps by opening the main solution or by opening a custom solution.

The Power of Apps in Dynamics 365

2. Your apps are displayed. To create a new app, click the “Create App” button.

The Power of Apps in Dynamics 365

3. Complete the following fields:

    1. Name:  A unique name for your App.
    2. Unique Name:  This field populates automatically. The prefix will be the default publisher’s prefix.
    3. Description:  Enter a short description of what the app does.
    4. Icon:  The default icon option is checked. If you uncheck this, you can select an icon that is currently published within your solution.
    5. App URL Suffix: This field is automatically created based on the name provided. If you remove this, the app ID will be the URL suffix.

You can modify all of these after saving, except for the “App URL Suffix” and the “Unique Name.

4. Click the “Done” button. You will be redirected to the app designer.

The Power of Apps in Dynamics 365

5. The first step is to update the site map.

You can do this by clicking the white arrow on the right side of the “Site Map” icon. You will need to configure the site map in order to publish the app.

6. In this scenario, I only want the lead qualification team to have “See Leads, Contacts, and Accounts.” I rename the area to “LQ.”

7. Next I will edit the group name. When you select the name field, I can then edit the title in the properties area.

8. Once that is updated. I now want to change the subarea that is displayed by default to point the leads records.

I can do this by clicking on the subarea and then selecting the lead entity in the “
Entity” field from the properties.

9. To add other entities, you click the “Components” tab on the right side of the screen and then drag and drop a “Subarea.”

I will add two for my scenario and set the entity for “
Account and Contacts” for each. I will set the type to “Entity.” But I could also set it to “Dashboard,” “Web Resource,” or “URL.”

10. My “Sitemap Designer” now looks like the screenshot below:

The Power of Apps in Dynamics 365

11. At this point. I will click the “Save” button and then the “Publish” button. Once the sitemap is published, you can click the “Save and Close” button.

12. Now you will be returned to the app designer. Any entities you added to the sitemap will automatically be displayed. For my scenario, my app designer looks like this now:

The Power of Apps in Dynamics 365

13. Next you will need to click on each of the entity tiles, the dashboard, and the business process flow tiles and individually select each of the components you want to add to the app.

Please note that, for each entity you add, you will need to select at least one form for the entity. You can also add new forms from this point by selecting an entity’s form tile and then clicking the “Create New” button under the “Components” section.

14. The last steps are to check the app has no issues by clicking the “Validate” button. The system will provide warnings if there are components that are required by an entity.

In my scenario. I am only using out-of-the-box components that will always be available to any environment I deploy the application to.

15. Once you have validated the app, you can click “Save” and then “Publish.”

16. If you don’t want all users to have access to the app you’ve created, you can restrict access to the app.

You can do this by navigating to the screen that displays all of your applications and then clicking the ellipsis icon for the app and selecting “Manage Roles.” From here, you select the roles you want to have access to the app and click “Save.”


The ability to create custom business apps with Dynamics 365 has made it much easier to provide a user experience that is tailored to the specific tasks that particular user has to process within Dynamics 365. The new designers for the sitemap and the business apps makes it straightforward for administrators to customize Dynamics 365.

Resell Dynamics 365

Written by Alexandre Painchaud Marketing Strategist @ Sherweb

Alex is always searching for new ways to help partners crush their marketing and sales goals. Previously a marketing content specialist at Sherweb, he’s well-versed in how to engage both existing partners and their potential clients in products, tools and solutions to help them succeed. When he’s not in the office planning new initiatives to drive partner revenue, Alex enjoys playing basketball and listening to true crime podcasts.