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Taxonomies have been around for a very long time. In biology, even before technology evolved, taxonomies were defined to group and structure various organisms based on shared characteristics.

Evolving with technology

With the evolution of technology, the approach has been borrowed, and is now used in structuring data and various materials.

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It has been a while since one of these came out. The last one that stands out in my mind was applicable to Dynamics CRM 2011, even thought there might have been a few since.

I’m referring to the Solution Lifecycle Management: Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps. You can get your copy from HERE. And you really SHOULD!

With the changes introduced to the solution concepts, this is one of the best written whitepaper explaining the details of solution layering, and managing development environments (even if you’re just doing customizations and configurations).

This document is giving the reader a good understanding of challenges and recommendations around solution management and deployment, and covers the latest updates done to solution layering, patching, merging configurations, etc. It’s talking about how things used to be done, some of the reasons why, as well as how they can be done going forward.

Spoiler alert – for those still leaning towards using unmanaged solutions all the way through, this is clearly taking the managed solution approach.

Besides solution layering and overall management, a really good part of this whitepaper is the environment management requirements for parallel deployments and patching, showing some of the complexities around it. In addition, it’s covering some of the tools for automation in build, test and deployment-wise.

As I said, really good whitepaper worth reading and keeping it close at hand.

Put your reading glasses on and set aside some time for this!

Ok, we all know by now, with Dynamics 365 CE we have portal capabilities. It’s a configurable portal driven by the config and data in your CRM. But that’s where I’ll stop. The CRM Portal architecture is very much coupled to your CRM, and it doesn’t qualify for our Decoupled Architecture topic.

Instead, in this post I want to focus on the large majority of enterprises. They already have a portal, most likely a CMS driving their current site, Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve all seen the scenario, something happens in Dynamics, and a user must be notified. We’ve done it so far using emails, the brave ones have even done it with SMS by integrating with Twilio. SMS is not a protocol that confirms the receipt of the message (just FYI), and typically not under the umbrella of a Messaging Team to manage. But what if there was another way?

Welcome to Skype for Business notifications. Yes, we can send a message on Skype to a user when something of importance happens in Dynamics.

For this scenario I’m going to do a no-code approach, using Flow. We’ll discuss the challenges further down, but for now, let’s see how easy it is.
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I would argue that in today’s world, it is almost impossible for one person to know in detail all aspects of a platform. Take Dynamics 365 for example. With the merger of multiple platforms under one generic marketing name, now we have specialists in Customer Engagement, F&O, Talent, etc. Take it one step lower, inside Customer Engagement, and with Field Service and PSA, you need to catch-up on new concepts, business models, etc. And then there’s always been the xRM part, which is all about the client’s business need outside of the scope of typical standard modules. But that’s not all.

The platform, as we knew it, is growing at an exponential rate. Where does that take us?
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All robust platform can have a daunting data structure. With some, and in certain situations, you might not directly care about the intricacies. But if you are looking to create reports and visualization, identifying the complexities around data structure becomes quite important.

When working in Power BI, and connecting to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, the first step is to identify the entities and relationships that will help you to create relevant dashboards.

You could just ask a Dynamics developer to walk you through it, but that’s not always an option.

Back with older versions of Dynamics CRM, the SDK used to include these complex and large ERD diagrams. They were hard to read, and too stuffed of information. I remember spending time cleaning them up and removing non-relevant entities and relationship so I can present a small portion in documentation.

But fast forward to today. As a Power BI resource that is just starting to look at leveraging data from Dynamics 365, you can start first by looking at the entities. You can find a listing of the entities in the SDK (available for 8.2 at this time).
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UPDATE: The issue has been resolved. If you still encounter issues, open a support ticket.  

Message:
OData: The feed’s metadata document appears to be invalid. Table: Subject.

 

If you’ve been working with Power BI and pulling data from Dynamics 365, you might have encountered an issue with the OData connection. This applies when connecting to Dynamics 365 either using Power BI, Excel, or even when using the Power BI content packs for Sales Analytics and Customer Service Analytics. You will either get the following error when using Power BI or Excel:

image

Or you will see in your logs on Power BI:

image

This is a relatively recent occurrence (first I’ve encountered it was on Feb. 07, 2018), and it does not affect all environments. It’s been identified as a known issue and logged on the Power BI support site at

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/support/

image

Waiting for the next update on a resolution.

One common question when embracing Cloud is the ability to have a hybrid scenario. And with Dynamics 365, the question translates into “Is there a hybrid deployment model?”

The short and dry answer is NO. But, there are some aspects to consider that can make it an overall hybrid solution.

Let’s first look at the supported deployment models for Customer Engagement. Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve all done it in the past, where we started tinkering with the navigation, filtering entities based on permissions, removing entire areas from the navigation, and tinkering with user roles and hiding aspects of the platform.

Well, welcome to a new world of apps. What started with mobile, where “there’s an app for that”, now find it’s home in Dynamics 365 CE also. Microsoft gave us the tone, with the Sales and Customer Service apps, and gave us the tools to roam free.

We can now use the very visual App Designer to create our own very specialized apps. And the beauty, it follows the same configurable model as any other configuration on the platform.

NOTE that, while you have the ability to configure new apps in both a solution file or directly in the core solution, you should really try to stick with using solutions.

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With all the focus on the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement naming, the split into Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, with or without Marketing, and all the licensing implications and additional functional packages, this is a question that came out of the blue and caught me a little off-guard. While I’m still working on a few on-premise instances, all the licensing discussions lately have been around the online model. As such, maybe I haven’t paid enough attention to versioning for on premise, my bad.

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As we’ve seen in the previous articles on How to work with Power BI in Dynamics 365 for Sales and Service as well as How to work with Power BI in Dynamics 365 for Sales and Service–Part 2, we can leverage the existing content packs to simplify our data presentation for the Sales and Service modules in Dynamics 365. And that works fine if your requirements conform to what’s already built in those content packs. But most of the time that’s not necessarily the case.

Let’s have a look at how you can work with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement data in Power BI from scratch. We’re going to be doing this from Power BI desktop. If you don’t have it installed on your machine, grab it from the Microsoft Store or from here.
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As we’ve seen in the previous post, getting content from Dynamics 365 for Sales or Service into Power BI is a relatively easy task when leveraging the Content Packs created by the great guys at the Power BI team.

Now, with the content packs in place, let’s go back to our Dynamics 365 instance and bring the data with a nice lipstick on.

First off, you must enable Power BI visualizations.

Go to Settings > Administration. Here open System Settings and on the Reporting tab, enable Power BI visuals.

image
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Microsoft Business Solutions MVP

Check out my course [Video]

Configuring and Extending Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

Configuring and Extending Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

Check out my course [Video]

Getting Started with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

Reviewed Book

Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations

Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Extensions Cookbook

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Extensions Cookbook

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization - Second Edition

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization - Second Edition

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization Essentials

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization Essentials

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Scripting Cookbook

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Scripting Cookbook

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011: Dashboards Cookbook

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011: Dashboards Cookbook

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