Creating Non-Interactive Users for Dynamics 365

Author: Simon Bridgwater | Software Consultant | Formus Professional Software | July 2020

As a developer, you’ll be well aware of the need to create ‘service’ accounts for dedicated programmatic access to an application for integrations and other customisations.

For a lot of applications, this is achieved by paying for an additional full license for the account, even though there is no actual user involved, per-se.

What if I told you that for Dynamics 365, you don’t need to pay for an additional user license to grant programmatic access?

What is a non-interactive user?

Even though we’re talking about a user, this is a very loose term.  We’re actually talking about a method of accessing the database via the SDK, which is achieved through configuration of a user account. A non-interactive user within Dynamics 365 is just an unlicensed user account that is configured in a certain way.

The great news is that you can have up to 7 non-interactive users configured within Dynamics 365, so you can have several ‘users’ each performing their own interactions with the SDK. As long as the account doesn’t need front-end access to Dynamics 365, then we’re all good.

How do I configure a non-interactive user?

Before we jump in and create a user, we need to prepare. Even though the non-interactive user doesn’t need a Dynamics 365 license, we do need to have a spare license available while we carry out the configuration. If you don’t have any spare licenses, you could just borrow one that’s assigned to another user, as long as they don’t need the license for the duration of the configuration. You’ll also need to have administrative access to both Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365.

All set? Let’s get started.

Go to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center and create a new user. Assign the user a license for Dynamics 365 (don’t worry – this license will be removed later!)

Screen grab showing how to create a new user

Go to Dynamics 365 and navigate to Settings > Security > Users. You should find the new user you’ve created within the Enabled Users view. Click on the user’s name to access the user form.

Scroll down to the Administration tab, and within the Client Access License (CAL) Information, change the Access Mode to Non-interactive, and save the record.

Screen grab of user service account form

Click the Manage Roles button within the command bar, and choose whichever security role(s) are applicable for the non-interactive user (e.g. System Administrator),

Screen grab of roles management options

If you have any other Dynamics 365 environments to which the non-interactive user needs access, repeat the above steps on those environments.

You can now go back to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center to remove the Dynamics license from the user. (If you borrowed a license from another user while setting up the non-interactive account, make sure you give it back!)

Screen grab of service account license page

Testing a non-interactive user

The easiest way to test that the non-interactive user works ok is to use one of the tools within the Dynamics SDK. In this example, I’m using the Plugin Registration Tool.

Populate the region, username and password, and make sure you tick ‘Display list of available organisations’. Click Login and choose the organization to which you want to login.

Screen grab of plugin registration tool

If everything loads ok, then your non-interactive user can access the environment successfully!

For further information, check out the Microsoft website.