If you are going to be working on implementations of Dynamics 365 having certifications under your belt can help demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge that make you up to the task – although there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. Depending on your role, the certifications you are interested in might differ. With Dynamics expertise, the job title that gets a lot of attention is functional consultant, and you can now earn associate-level certification as a functional consultant for any of the main Dynamics 365 CE and F&O verticals:
- Sales (CE)
- Customer Service (CE)
- Marketing (CE)
- Field Service (CE)
- Financials (F&O)
- Manufacturing (F&O)
- Supply Chain Management (F&O)
You see, Microsoft recently switched up its certification structure for Dynamics 365. In fact you may have noticed a wave of LinkedIn notifications a while back from all the people who earned the certs while they were still in beta (congratulations to all those people by the way!). These new exams are replacing the old exams, and in turn the new certifications are replacing the old ones.
Until recently, you could earn an expert-level certification as a Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) in Business Applications for Dynamics 365. You see, Microsoft certifications have 3 levels: Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert, with Expert being the highest level of certification currently available for any kind of certification.
The MCSE in business applications for Dynamics required you to first earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate certification in Dynamics, requiring exams such as MB2-715 (now retired) before taking more exams to upgrade to the expert-level. This was significant because with the old Certification system, you could earn the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) designation by getting the expert-level MCSE certification.
…as of right now there is no expert-level certification available for Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE.
This is being revamped – the designation that you will now earn going forward is Microsoft Certified Functional Consultant – by getting certified in one (or more) of the functional areas of Dynamics 365 for CE. You do this by passing the MB-200 Exam, plus one additional exam per functional area you want to get certified in: Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, or Field Service. It is interesting and important to note that as of right now there is no expert-level certification available for Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE.
Before we continue, just what is a functional consultant anyway?
Functional consultants are involved in the planning, design and oversight of the implementation of a system – in this case, a Dynamics 365 CE implementation. They take the requirements of the client or customer – often but not always discovered and documented with the help of a business analyst (BA) – and use their understanding of the technology (Dynamics) to analyse various methods and solutions to build a system that meets the requirements of the client. The job requires a balance of providing technical solutions and meeting and manipulating business requirements. I mentioned the role of functional consultant in my article on Building the Perfect Portal Team and I’ll speak about the qualities that make for a good functional consultant in a future article.
So what are the exams, and more importantly, how do you prepare for them? Before I get to the breakdown, I’d like to point out the resources available for learning. Obviously, there’s no substitute for hands-on learning and practice. It’s assumed that you are taking these exams after working a fair bit with Dynamics 365 CE. However, it’s unlikely that in the regular course of using and configuring the system that you are going to bump into every scenario equally often and discover every nuance. Therefore it’s a great idea to study up as well. To this end, there are 3 big buckets of free knowledge available that should be enough to get you prepared for the exams.
First, there’s community learning as I outlined in my last blog post on the Adoxio Community Website on the subject. Second, there’s Microsoft learn. Finally, there is material available on the Dynamics Learning Portal (DLP) – but that’s only available to partners, so if you aren’t a partner you might need to find alternative ways of accessing this or similar content and it likely won’t be free.
You can also pay for courses / bootcamps – and if you are new to Dynamics that’s probably worth the investment – but if you aren’t new to Dynamics try the free sources first. A further recommendation is that even with all these learning materials, some of the latest features are still lacking much content, especially free Microsoft Learn content. So it’s important to go through the MSDN documentation as well. Not really the ideal learning content, but great for filling in the gaps.
For my breakdown of the exams, I’ll talk about the exam and the topics covered, and link to the Microsoft Learn resources that can be used to prepare. I’ll also point out the course numbers from DLP that are relevant for those readers lucky enough to have access to that resource. If you are going through the Microsoft Learn material, remember that you can get a lot more information on every topic covered in the MSDN documentation as well as the community resources I previously mentioned. So don’t just read through and think that’s enough; on every page, look up the documentation on MSDN on the subject, and google additional material. Also, don’t forget to play around as much as possible.
Exam MB-200: All of the Functional Consultant Certifications require the exam MB-200 as a prerequisite. In order to prepare for this exam, you’ll need to learn the following skills (with links and DLP course numbers):
- Implement and Configure Dynamics 365 CE and Learn Power Platform Basics:
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/dyn-power-plat-bus-app-fundamentals/
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/implementing-customer-engagement-online/
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/configure-model-driven-apps-customer-engagement/
- DLP: 81269AE: Designing XRM Customizations in Dynamics 365
- DLP: 81270AE: Customizing the Microsoft Dynamics 365 User Interface
- DLP: 81234AE: Customizing Unified Interface in Microsoft Dynamics 365
- DLP (old but still useful): 81060AE: Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Service
- DLP (old but still useful): 81059AE: Customization in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Service
- Manage Data and Implement Security:
- DLP: 81268AE: Configuring and Building a Dynamics 365 Security Structure
- MSDN (Entire Section – needed as Microsoft Learn doesn’t have much on security): https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/manage-security-users-and-teams
- Manage Processes (Microsoft Flow is optional but recommended):
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/get-started-with-workflows-in-dynamics-365-for-customer-engagement/
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/work-with-business-process-flows-dynamics-365/
- (Optional) Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/get-started-with-flow/
- (Optional) Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/automate-process-using-flow/
- DLP: 81271AE: Process Automation in Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Configure OOTB integrations:
- Configure Portals:
Exam MB-210: This is needed for the Functional Consultant for Sales Certification:
- Understand the Sales Process
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/overview-d365-sales-professional/index
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/administer-configure-d365-sales-professional/index
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/working-with-dynamics-365-sales/
- DLP (old but still useful): 81066AE: Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Configure Advanced Analytics
- Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator:
- Apply Goal Management
Exam MB-220: This is needed for the Functional Consultant for Marketing Certification:
- Configure Marketing Applications
- Manage Custom Journeys, Emails, Forms, and pages
- MSDN: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-ca/dynamics365/customer-engagement/marketing/prepare-marketing-emails
- MSDN: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-ca/dynamics365/customer-engagement/marketing/create-deploy-marketing-pages
- MSDN: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-ca/dynamics365/customer-engagement/marketing/customer-journeys-create-automated-campaigns
- Manage Events and Webinars
- Configure Microsoft Forms Pro (In October 2019 this will be the new way to create forms)
Exam MB-230: This is needed for the Functional Consultant for Customer Service Certification:
- Understand Cases and the Service Desk
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/dynamics-365-for-customer-service/index
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/work-with-cases-in-dynamics-365-for-customer-service/
- Configure Service Management
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/work-with-entitlements-and-slas-in-microsoft-dynamics-365-for-customer-service/
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/dynamics-365-ai-insights-driven-business-applications/index
- DLP: 81058AE: Service Intelligence in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
- Configure a Knowledge Base
- Learn: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/work-with-knowledge-management-solutions-in-microsoft-dynamics-365-for-customer-service/
- MSDN: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/customer-service/search-knowledge-articles-csh
- MSDN: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/customer-service/customer-service-hub-user-guide-knowledge-article
- Use Voice of the Customer
Exam MB-240: This is needed for the Functional Consultant for Field Service Certification:
- Configure the Application
- Manage Schedule, Works Orders, Assets and Inventory
When it comes to the format of the exams – well, if you’ve taken Microsoft exams in the last 5-10 years they will seem pretty familiar. One thing I’d say is that many of the questions involve having memorized the exact sequence of steps to perform certain actions. To me this is rote memorization, and I feel truly understanding the capabilities of the system and how they apply to different scenarios is far more indicative of a good functional consultant than having memorized the sequence of actions to configure a security role. Nonetheless, you’ll need to know that stuff to pass the exam so be prepared.
Hopefully you’ve found this post useful! If you have your own resources to share, please leave them in the comments! I’d love to update this guide. For now, I’ve limited it to mostly Microsoft Learn and DLP, with a few gaps filled in by MSDN documentation. But, I’m happy to expand this guide so feel free to leave suggestions!
Either way, if you think this kind of thing is useful, let me know.
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