Power Platform, Canvas Apps

They are EASY, so why does it feel like a hike after being locked away for the last six months? 

There is a small, wee bit of learning curve and this is the key. Give yourself the space to learn. 

You can either learn by thinking 100% Canvas or you can start learning by adding a Canvas App to your more traditional model driven Dynamics 365 Power App. 

The first concept. If adding a Canvas App to your Model Driven world. 

Start at http://make.PowerApps.com, The Maker Portal!

The Maker Portal offers a number of options that you might not find in another place. For instance if you have configured Dynamics 365, you can use the maker portal to create and work within a solution. When you work in a solution, you start with a more ALM centric mindset. Also for some of the newer beta features, starting work within a solution is critical. 

So how is a canvas app different?

White-canvas

Well you start with a template or a White Canvas with a specified size. When you start with a white canvas you will want to really understand the numbers behind this canvas. What I mean by numbers, are the position numbers. So where are you in relationship to your canvas.  You are creating everything, so you will want to know where you want to put things such as labels, data, entry boxes, forms, galleries and more. 

The next concept to get your head around is the header on your canvas. The fast way to get your head around a header is to start your canvas with a template and then using the left hand menu, look at how the template header is created. There are key items such as Color, Name, Brand and more.

Now that we have our head around the idea of a Canvas with a header, let's look at our tool chest of awesome. We want to give ourselves a bit of time to think about the tools. 

BuildingApp

and how you access these tools. Take a moment to click around a bit. There are some key areas. You want to realize that different menus are available depending on where you are focusing. You also have functions, positioning, colors and the hierarchy of the layouts. Oh and Data, of course. 

BuildingApp-Areas
 And there are many little helper components. Take for instance the ability to insert a gallery. You insert a vertical or horizontal gallery and tell that gallery where to get it's data. Boom, you have a fully functional feature, but you want to understand what comes with that full function. 

As someone who loves a new software, canvas apps are a whole lot of new. Give yourself the gift of learning with the patience to just put one foot in front of the other. 

Happy Holidays

 


Knowledge Sharing Power Platform Vocabularly

One of my favorite ways to learn is to share knowledge. I find that all of the other perspectives I get from this exercise really help me shift and refine what I have learned. 

In the last two years I have been under the fire house learning. It is both exciting, amazing and daunting when we consider how much more there is always to learn. It is also a twist for those of us who have years of experience. The experience makes a huge difference, but it also always has to be continually refined.

One of the first major learning tips is to get your head around the vocabulary quickly. It has served me well to think about the following.

Microsoft EcoSystem with Power Platform

The Power Platform, this is really an evolution to getting closer and closer to using the entire Microsoft Stack of awesome. The long loved deep integration to Office is now 100 times better AND there is also the deep integration to Azure and many of the new Azure functions. 

PowerApp
Microsoft Dynamics 365 "Apps"
are all Model Driven Power Apps on the Power Platform. 

Flow

Power Automate (Flow) The ability to automate, respond and receive responses and an alignment/replacement or stepping stone to both work flows and logic apps and you can learn more here.

Power BI with Name
Power BI Much loved and amazing reporting and business intelligence and analytics and you can learn more here

 

Power Virtual with Name

Power Virtual Bots, Not only bots, but Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and you can learn more here and here.


Understanding LinkedIn Integration to the Model Driven Sales Hub App in the Power Platform

Many people talk about the integration between Dynamics 365 Sales or The Power Platform Sales Hub Model Driven App and LinkedIn, but not everyone really understands all of the possible use cases.

Here is an extremely well crafted demonstration video on "Relationship Sales" 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFTzL292JQE&pp=wgIECgIIAQ%3D%3D


Power Platform Resources and Documentation

The Microsoft DOCS team has been incredibly busy over the last numerous months. You will find that many (if not all) documentation found at Docs.Microsoft.com has been updated and has a 2020 associated date. If you are not sure where to get started take a look at this incredibly helpful LINKS list. 

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-powerapps-learning-resources/


One Why | Model Driven Apps | Configurable Role Based Entitlement Security | Who gets to access What

1) Business Unit Hierarchy | The ability to divide the data into isolated silos with bridges of controlled access aligned to the defined.(Security + Performance)

2) Out of the Box Entities | The configuration of entity permissions when the entity is doing backend functionality for the system and not something such as Account, Contact....

3) Management Hierarchy | The ability to give permissions to a manager based on the permissions and data and functions that their child team member has access to.

4) Field Level Security | The ability to mask, encrypt and control who can see a specific field within an entity

5) Entity Security | The ability to control who can Create, Update, Read, Delete, Append, Append to and Share specific out of the box entities or custom entities by Organization, Business Unit, Business Unit Hierarchy or User Ownership. 

6) Flow Context | The ability to control what permissions a flow runs under, either Contextual User or a Defined User such as a system account.

AND there is more so when considering "Building Your Own", consider if you want to recreate the concept of Role Based Entitlement 

  


What is a Power App?

For those who are familiar with the world of Microsoft Dynamics 365 WELL

Sales is a Power App (Model)

Customer Service is a Power App (Model)

Field Service is a Power App (Model)

Connected Field Service is a Power App (Model)

Marketing is a Power App (Model)

Talent is a Power App (Model)

Portal is a Power App (Portal)

I have also been writing a few little apps or using a few little Canvas apps 

1) A Training Resources App (Canvas) running in Teams that allows a member of a team to quickly enter a Description, a URL and a Why it Matters, that they want to share.

2) A Scavenger Hunt Networking App (Canvas) that allows the user to post networking meetings and indicate a "find" in the person they are networking with. This is also running in teams and was created by the incredible Joy Kirkwood. 

3) An app to capture vacation/out of office that stores it's information on a shared Sharepoint calendar, but it runs in teams so it is easy to update. 

and there are thousands more ! Fun Times 


In this world of many choices, some times some choices are slightly better than others. Needless to say releases continue to be released. 

In this world of many choices, some times some choices are slightly better than others. Needless to say releases continue to be released. 

Take for instance the difference between an Excel Workbook and a Power App. 

More than likely Excel will meet some of the needs. There have certainly been many companies that have used Excel to solve many problems, because it was the tool available. The same applies to cutting down a tree. You can cut down a tree with an Axe or a Saw, but if you have to cut trees every day then you might want a chainsaw. 

Learning to use that chainsaw might be harder than learning to use a saw, but it is worth it. 

Power Apps give more and there are different levels of learning and different levels of delivery. 

A "Canvas" Power App, potentially a lower learning curve, but a great fit for the person who might just use Excel to solve a problem. A Canvas App can even be an App using data in Excel.  

A "Model" Power  App, higher learning curve, but meets the needs that can take months and months of green field development. What custom developer wants to build Role Based Entitlement and Complex security? 

A "Portal" Power App, a model app PLUS portal offering both the complexity meeting needs that model delivers and the SEXY user interface that users crave. 

The key in the world of the Power Platform and the key to any technology is to understand what comes with the offering and what it was designed for and where the gaps are that the developers continue to refine. 

The Power Platform might be new to you, but it is not new. The offering includes a variety of maturity layers and is no longer just a sparkle. It is the new agile, it is the platform to deliver empowerment and solutions at the speed that is needed for today.

 


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/


Getting Started with the Power Platform : A new Offering from Julie Yack

If you really like some hands on virtual training and your are ramping up your team, then  you might want to know about this new offering from Julie Yack, MVP. She really does offer some interesting training using a variety of learning techniques. Techniques that help you remember and retain. 
 
"If you are looking for an entry point for learning the Power Platform…

If SharePoint has been your only data source so far…

If you’ve made canvas apps, but never a model-driven app…

This is the course for you! In this hands on lab based course you will learn model-driven essentials and build a fully functional custom model-driven app. You will build out the data model, user experience, form automation and process automation.

And there’s puppies.

Seriously, the app you are building is for a doggie daycare.

#powerplatform #powerapps
 

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/ 

 


New Dynamics 365 features focus on AI and mixed reality enhancements

Originally posted at https://www.avanade.com/en/blogs/avanade-insights/business-apps/new-dyn-365-ft-ai-mixed-reality

The Microsoft product teams have finalized a huge list of new wonderful features for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Applications stack.

James Phillips, corporate vice president of business applications and one of the most authentic stage presenters there can be, prepared and presented part of the October 2019 Business Applications Virtual Launch.. You can watch the virtual launch event presentation for free, but they do ask that you register so they can keep track of total views and interests and use those numbers to drive even more wonderful.

This time around, it is all about proactive data, data collected from devices, data streaming in from a huge number of sources and data impacting our long-held habits. The systems are not waiting for us to enter data, such as in the old days, systems are providing us with data and waiting for us to react. Habits need to change. The habit of waiting to enter the data and then getting results is old news. We now have the data; we need to react to the data and the automated results.

The systems must be masters of understanding and filtering the data as floods of data pour in. They must be automated to interpret, filter and surface and have more and more embedded artificial intelligence. They must also understand the automation and as such the bots that can be built must be built with handoff at the right times, to the right systems or humans. A chatbot can help many, but not all and the chatbot must know when to “involve” a service person.

The new systems must deal with duplication of data in a way that no previous system had to deal with. Authoritative sources must be determined not once and for all, but dynamically depending on business user decisions or business rules. Duplication requires merge and as such merge features must be more mature and more automated.

Additionally, we are no longer only using siloed or small defined and pointed integrated systems, but fully interacting systems and applications. Applications that react to what is happening in other applications all interlaced together with business rules and different scenarios. The October features show the movement into these new ways of working.

Our business worlds have never been simple, and now we can see the dawning of and adoption of even more revolutionary digitization of these often complexly changing worlds.

Check out the complete list of new features in the October 2019 Business Applications Wave 2 release.


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. 


A new blog post has been added into the world of the Power Platform buzz

A new blog post has been added into the world of buzz: IT starts like this and you can follow the link to read even more 

"The Microsoft product teams have finalized a huge list of new wonderful features for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Applications stack.

James Phillips, corporate vice president of business applications and one of the most authentic stage presenters there can be, prepared and presented part of the October 2019 Business Applications Virtual Launch.. You can watch the virtual launch event presentation for free, but they do ask that you register so............"

                          READ MORE HERE 


No Code, Low Code, Extend: PowerApps and MS Flow

If you have not heard about PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, the Common Data Model (CDM) and Common Data Service (CDS) then it is time for a bit of reading. Imagine an explosion within the world of Microsoft Technology where the entire Microsoft Stack of Applications become your tool set. OH Wait, the explosion continues and pulls in 100s of other non-Microsoft applications as well.

Now you get it.

What adds an interesting twist is this concept of "No Code" so business users can now put together building blocks to deliver their own mobile applications without having to jump into the world of GitHub or Visual Studio or pick your language of choice.

Developers, don't freak out, you are still loved and needed.

The grey area becomes the space where a relatively simple business user story, is not necessarily easy from a PowerApps or Microsoft Flow delivery. This is where understanding the fits and gaps is important.

Fits - Everything can be done with no code.

Gaps - Everything can be done with no code or low code 

Big Gaps - Everything can be done with no code, low code and an extension.

So what does this really mean? 

 

 


Dynamics 365 Relationship Sales and LinkedIn's Sales Navigator

One of the huge shifts and benefits for a sales person is when technology gets aligned so that keeping data current falls to the most logical location. Consider for instances a prospects name, company and job title. A shift is when this information is kept current by that specific prospect rather than the sales person following that prospect. The prospect updates their name, role and company information because it is beneficial to the work that they are doing. The sales person who has a relationship with this person, or who is following them, can then be a straight consumer of data managed by a logical source.

Now this isn't perfect .. not everyone updates their information even with the power of a product such as LinkedIn and Sales Navigator so technology still needs to take another step in validating that the data is current. A futuristic option on this will be when AI technologies can tap into larger or the largest data repositories and filter out what they need to validate a person's name, role and company. If we take this one step further we add address, telephone numbers, historical information.

Data exists, we can purchase this data, but we are not quite to the point where the data on a person is 100% transparent when we need it AND there are many reasons why this also sends chills up many a spine. 

If we circle back to what is happening in the world of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales we find that Relationship Sales is a combination of the knowledge within LinkedIn and the Power of the Dynamics 365 platform. 

Unifying the best of both worlds to further empower the business sales teams. It also uses AI Technology in addition to the combination of data. This takes this one step further.

Take a Peek