Microsoft Dynamics 365 - Learn

The Microsoft teams have been incredible at documenting and supplying training information on their full stack of more and more integrated products and applications. The integration AND data are the secret sauce for so much of the growth within the world of "AI" and within the general world of business empowered by technology.

Today I found a tiny Easter Egg Typo. Can you find it in Microsoft Learn? https://learn.microsoft.com 

Don't wait too long, these learn pages get updated regularly and have been staying incredibly current as the world matures.

Typo 2024-05-21 063938


Microsoft Documentation

A big kudos to the Microsoft Documentation Team for the Power Platform Documentation. Any and every time I need to reference a bit more depth or details on a feature in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Sales, Service, Marketing or many other applications I have found that the documentation has been reviewed and updated in 2020.

This was a huge undertaking and one that is often not well appreciated so today I am saying a big green (for success)

Thank You 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/


VOCABULARY, It matters -> Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing these are all Power Apps.

One of the huge transitions for the Dynamics 365 CRM world is a shift in vocabulary and terminology and aligning what the experienced resources know (Dynamics 365 CRM or Dynamics 365 CE) with all the new buzz and development options.

One way to think of this shift is that all of the modules in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement are "potentially" their own Power App. So it is true you can combine sales, service, marketing, talent, etc. into one app, but basically the thinking trend is that each module is a Power App.

The other way that I have found that people quickly grasp the concept is to mention MOBILE and get them in a mobile mindset. I can then say, you can create any number of mobile apps to access your Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement data. Each mobile app is a PowerApp. 

And as such the Power Platform offers the potential for hundreds of Power Apps, as well as other complimentary technologies such as Power BI, Power Automate and Power Virtual.  


SPA - Seattle PowerAppers

I had the chance to attend the Seattle PowerAppers meet up on Saturday and what a gift. The subject of the meeting was backing up your Power Apps into GitHub. Definitely very geeky and the session was intermediate to advanced, but because it was presented so well I was able to keep up and learn. I learned more about Github and the source code repository and about the difficulty of pulling/extracting the source code from a Power App. 

Samples were not only shared, but we walked through updating, using and adding to our own Power Platform library. 

If you want to get access to all the goodies you can find them in GitHub https://github.com/SeaDude/seattlePowerAppers 

For those of you in the Seattle area that are NEW to Power Apps, the group also has a session each month on GETTING STARTED WITH POWER APPS, the BASICS. Signup for the Meeting Up Group here https://www.meetup.com/Seattle-PowerAppers/members/115970512/ 

 


Customizing Opportunity Close - System Settings

Sometimes all the greatness doesn't make it to the release notes. In fact there are often little gems that have been long requested, but not available. Here is a little gem that you might not know about. In System Settings you can choose to allow the configuration team the option to configure the Opportunity Close Dialog. 

 

Opportunity Close System Settings


Infrastructure: Forests, Tenants, Orgs, Environments, Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a service .. the Vocabulary noise is high

In case the world wasn't confusing enough we have new vocabulary and technical terms expanding at an ever increasing pace in the world of the Cloud. 

This causes even more noise when you start talking about Software as a Service and empowering the business user with their own "environment" or offering them a shared environment or simply adding to the default environment. 

What is an Environment

"Each [Power Platform] environment is created under an Azure AD tenant, and its resources can only be accessed by users within that tenant. An environment is also bound to a geographic location, like the US. When you create an app in an environment, that app is routed to only data centers in that geographic location. Any items that you create in that environment (including connections, gateways, flows using Microsoft Power Automate, and more) are also bound to their environment’s location." https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/environments-overview

Now come to the table with the perspective of Azure IaaS,  Infrastructure as a Service. A technical team that has numerous Azure VMs and an IaaS footprint. How do they add Software as a Service to their world and include connection between their new SaaS environment(s) and their existing IaaS environments?

In the world of IaaS on Azure you have access to the Azure Resource Manager and Administrator portal.

What is the Azure Resource Manager? "Azure Resource Manager is the deployment and management service for Azure. It provides a management layer that enables you to create, update, and delete resources in your Azure subscription. You use management features, like access control, locks, and tags, to secure and organize your resources after deployment." https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-resource-manager/resource-group-overview

In the world of SaaS the resourcing of azure is managed by the SaaS offering. 

In the Power Platform world we access most of the Azure management through the new Administrator Portal on Azure found at https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com or through each of the individual component/module administrator centers (https://admin.powerapps.com/environments, https://admin.flow.microsoft.com/environments, etc.)

 What is an Azure Forest? 

"A forest contains domains, and domains contain other types of objects. This reference architecture creates an AD DS forest in Azure with a one-way outgoing trust relationship with an on-premises domain. The forest in Azure contains a domain that does not exist on-premises. Because of the trust relationship, logons made against on-premises domains can be trusted for access to resources in the separate Azure domain."

SO when working with IaaS and SaaS it is helpful if you get them configured in the same domain.

What is an Azure Domain?  

"Azure AD DS integrates with your existing Azure AD tenant, which makes it possible for users to sign in using their existing credentials. You can also use existing groups and user accounts to secure access to resources, which provides a smoother lift-and-shift of on-premises resources to Azure.

Azure AD DS replicates identity information from Azure AD, so works with Azure AD tenants that are cloud-only, or synchronized with an on-premises Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) environment. The same set of Azure AD DS features exist for both environments.

  • If you have an existing on-premises AD DS environment, you can synchronize user account information to provide a consistent identity for users.
  • For cloud-only environments, you don't need a traditional on-premises AD DS environment to use the centralized identity services of Azure AD DS."

 

How about that! 

Software as a Service = An application or set of applications that is hosted (such as hosted on Azure) as a software offering. The infrastructure and hosting is mostly managed by the SaaS company. 

"Software as a service (SaaS /sæs/[1]) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software", and was formerly referred to as "software plus services" by Microsoft.[2] "

Infrastructure as a Service = A hosted infrastructure (such as a domain in an Azure Data Center) where a company might have many services, virtual machines, and other functions, but most is managed by the purchasing company.

"Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the internet. It’s one of the four types of cloud services, along with software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and serverless.

IaaS quickly scales up and down with demand, letting you pay only for what you use. It helps you avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing your own physical servers and other datacenter infrastructure. Each resource is offered as a separate service component, and you only need to rent a particular one for as long as you need it. A cloud computing service provider, such as Azure, manages the infrastructure, while you purchase, install, configure, and manage your own software—operating systems, middleware, and applications." https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/what-is-iaas/

Org or Organization = An individual instance of a Dynamics 365 for CE database


A great time was had by all at the Power Platform Seattle Q4 User Group meeting. Interesting insights on UCI what's new and a nice presentation on all things marketing module. 

My clearing the confusion comment of the day, Dynamics 365 is A Power App. 

Kicking it up a notch plowing through the mud, soaking up the richness of the dirt. 


What's New: Microsoft Office 365, Outlook and LinkedIn

Given my curious nature in the world of what is new in technology, I regularly try to put some time into the new features, products and offerings coming out with the Microsoft Office 365 Offerings. 

They slide in these features so fast that I am often delightfully surprised. 

Today I took a look at http://Office.Live.Com/People

Microsoft made it easy for me to see a few of the items that were new by offering a "What is New" button on the top of the screen. I immediately noticed that I can now connect to my world of contacts on LinkedIn. I must admit I was delighted. It really is not easy to keep up with all the changes in everyone's quickly changing world. 

So if I open a contact in OUTLOOK,  I now have a tab for Linkedin, Click on the tab and if we are "linked" I can see information from Linkedin. I created a contact card for myself to show you what it looks like.

AnneinOutlook with Linkedin

 


So much new! Doing a Sandbox Reset

There is so much new; although, there is huge value in deeply understanding all that is old. Something I really, really appreciate about the Microsoft Platform. 

Anyway, I decided with so much new that it was time to do a really clean rebuild of my CRMLady instance. I have long used this ORG for various experiments, testing, and knowledge reinforcement. I also use it to totally understand how Microsoft communicates to their CRM Online customers. I am a customer.

The ORG has been a bit beat up over the years and it was showing it's wear and tear. Data was not much of a challenge in this ORG so I decided to do a full replace and start fresh. I wanted to do this without having to create a support ticket so I did a bit of reach out and research.

Low and behold the team over at Power Objects actually have a great blog post on the subject, complete with the steps on how to reset an ORG. I love the CRM Community, so much knowledge share and empowerment!!

So the first step was I needed to switch my Production ORG to a Sandbox ORG.

I did this through the new Microsoft Online 365 Azure Administration Center (https://portal.microsoftonline.com) which now allows you to pick from a selection of administrator centers. I went to the Dynamics 365 Administrator Center, Picked Instances, picked my instance and set it to a Sandbox. Once this was done I had the ability to choose the RESET button.

 Isn't it great when you want to get something done and you can just do it without a lot of hassle? 


XRMTOOLBOX - A Microsoft Dynamics 365 resource must have!

I have recently been checking out some of the other tools in the XRMTOOLBOX. 

If you have not discovered these tools and you are a Microsoft Dynamics Consultant or Developer, you definitely want to check them out. They make many of the manually intensive configuration steps much more efficient. Take for instance the need to create a set of views. You can use the XRMTOOLBOX tools to create one view and then replicate it to the others within an entity.

The XRMToolbox also includes a very long list of cool. 

Here is a short list of some favorites:

  • Bulk Workflow Execution
  • Document Template Export
  • FetchXML Record Counter
  • Manage N:N Relationships
  • View Layout Replicator
  • Bulk Default Setting of Personal Options/User Settings
  • Duplicate Rules Mover

  


Do you know where your bottleneck is? Microsoft Dynamics 365 for CE

Now that we are running in larger data centers with the power of Microsoft Azure and with hardware technology such as solid state storage (moving away from the limitations of rotating platters) we all want to take a deep breath and make a sigh of performance joy. 

Unfortunately when you eliminate one bottleneck the data moves to the next. Additionally bottlenecks are not just hardware.

Consider a rock wall layered in a stream of water, you remove the rocks blocking the water, and the water rushes to the next barrier. The same concept applies to data. 

If you are working with millions or hundreds of thousands of data records you might want to consider:

  • Performance Tune the Microsoft SQL Server Database (SQL Server gurus can appreciate this one!)
  • Adding MS SQL Server Indexes to your largest Entities.
  • Watching out or reviewing JavaScript (JavaScript is a language that allows developers to inadvertently and easily create application bottlenecks) Luckily OOB Dynamics 365 has been deeply tested for bottlenecks continuously over the years and has continued to pass with flying colors.
  • Consider Latency (Microsoft now offers data center distributed processing for their Worldwide Dynamics Customers, reducing the trips across the oceans)
  • Understand if you have a bottleneck and where it is (Dynamics actually ships with a Diagnostic tool to check latency and bandwidth: Use https://[your crm url]/tools/diagnostics/diag.aspx  
  • If you are hosting your own environment, you can also tap into the Microsoft Professional Field Engineering teams Performance Analysis and Tuning Services (the PFE Sustainability Engineers Rock) or
  • you might consider a powerful tool such as ThousandEyes:  https://blog.thousandeyes.com/monitor-dynamics-crm-performance/ and https://www.thousandeyes.com/solutions/dynamics-365-monitoring 

What are your favorite tips and tricks for performance? 

Oh and as a last note .. there are customers processing 100,000s of data records a DAY with the Microsoft Dynamics platform. The power is incredible with a little love.

 

 

 

 


Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement - Search

The following table provides a brief comparison of the four available search options in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for CE. Microsoft often provides many options for achieving the same goal (just look at all you can do with Outlook!)

The link to this information and to read more https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/basics/search-and-find-header

Functionality

Relevance Search (Online Only, the power of Azure)

Full-text Quick Find (also called Categorized Search)

Quick Find

Advanced Find

Enabled by default?

No. An administrator must manually enable it under system settings.

No. An administrator must manually enable it under system settings.

Yes

Yes

Single-entity search scope

Not available in an entity grid. You can filter the search results by an entity on the results page.

Available in an entity grid.

Available in an entity grid.

Available in an entity grid.

Multi-entity search scope

There is no maximum limit on the number of entities you can search. Note: While there is no maximum limit on the number of entities you can search, the Record Type filter shows data for only 10 entities.

Searches up to 10 entities, grouped by an entity.

Searches up to 10 entities, grouped by an entity.

Multi-entity search not available.

Search behavior

Finds matches to any word in the search term in any field in the entity.

Finds matches to all words in the search term in one field in an entity; however, the words can be matched in any order in the field.

Finds matches as in a SQL query with “Like” clauses. You have to use the wildcard characters in the search term to search within a string. All matches must be an exact match to the search term.

Query builder where you can define search criteria for the selected record type. Can also be used to prepare data for export to Office Excel so that you analyze, summarize, or aggregate data, or create PivotTables to view your data from different perspectives.

Searchable fields

Text fields like Single Line of Text, Multiple Lines of Text, Lookups, and Option Sets. Doesn't support searching in fields of Numeric or Date data type.

All searchable fields.

All searchable fields.

All searchable fields.

Search results

Returns the search results in order of their relevance, in a single list.

For single-entity, returns the search results in an entity grid. For multi-entity, returns the search results grouped by categories, such as accounts, contacts, or leads.

For single-entity, returns the search results in an entity grid. For multi-entity, returns the search results grouped by categories, such as accounts, contacts, or leads.

Returns search results of the selected record type with the columns you have specified, in the sort order you have configured.

Wildcards (*)

Trailing wildcard supported for word completion.

Leading wildcard supported. Trailing wildcard added by default.

Leading wildcard supported. Trailing wildcard added by default.

Not supported.

 


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Portals with the awesome, unicorn loving, Colin and the incredible, Griffin loving, Robert Bailey

Tips and Thoughts

1) Is it the right technology for the need?

2) Have a solid design and a long term iteration and maintenance plan

3) Never forget about the customers, customer who might be using the portal.

4) Consider Identity and Authentication for the customers, customer, but also for portal versus Dynamics 365. 

5) Golden Keys: The right development team, the right methodology, the right relationships with the customers/users and their continued involving involvement. 

6) Graphics and Web Design are part of portal projects, pictures can communicate 1000 of the wrong words. 

7) Bring Joy

8) If Multilingual is a need, do it as part of PHASE I. It is harder to  add additional languages in later phases. 

 


Dynamics CRMUG FOCUS - Houston - Cracking open the brain with reminders and new tips shared.

The power of the user group is that listening to peers, experts, partners, consultants, business users, financial advisors and so many more, opens the mind to interesting ideas. 

CRM USER GROUP - FOCUS - in HOUSTON

9:49am and here are the first few tips 

1) Have you considered holding your sales team to task by using SLAs on LEADS, measuring when the lead was first contacted or when a lead reached a key milestone in the qualification stage? 

2) GOALS, so under appreciated and yet so powerful. Add goals in unique and creative ways to take full advantage of the complex hierarchy offered from this little feature. 

3) Task Flows : Originally for Mobile Only, but now embedded across the new UI. Take for instance OOB Follow-up to a meeting. A sexy dialog. 

4) DOCK your business process flow on the right side of your form so you can see the fields. Always learning, this is a cool one, although I thought a TAB approach might be useful as well. Some people like that old style form view. 

5) Did you know you can use an Out of the Box action to move a business process flow to the next stage automatically (so your user doesn't have to press next)? 

6) Has your partner added an APP or APPS to your configuration? If not, you are missing out.


Q100: How many instances per Tenant? #MSDYN365CE

It is time for a series of questions with answers, because for some reason sometimes the hardest information to find is the answer to simple questions

How many instances can be included in a single Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement Online Tenant?

A tenant can include up to 50 Dynamics 365 (online) production instances and up to 75 non-production (Sandbox) instances. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn722373.aspx