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Here we are, got to part 3 of this. The topic of the day for this article is extracting the solution package from an environment.

But, let’s see first what we discussed so far:

Part one – this deals with the initial setup

Part two – this talks about connecting to an instance

So, in part two we got the connection. We have now the variable $myCRM to hold that.

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This is part 2 of the mini-series on PowerShell for Dynamics 365 CE. If you haven’t read the first part, it’s available HERE.

In this part we’re looking at connecting to a D365 environment.

Just like we did with the first part, we’re putting the connection code in a function. We’re doing this in order to be able to call it multiple times, depending on the environment we’re connecting to. Eventually, we’ll connect to both a source and a target environments.

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I’ve been playing with PowerShell more and more lately, and I thought it’s a good idea to bring on a mini-series of posts on this topic. I’ll be stepping through a few topics, from the most basic actions like extracting a solution and deploying it to a target environment, then move into more DevOps focused actions.

But let’s get started. This first post will focus on the setup of the environment.

Oftentimes you find these fabulous posts with loads of useful information, but for a beginner it’s missing something as simple as the core setup.

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With the new user interface popping up on all trials now, one question came in a training session. There’s some UI tweaks that buried a feature down a bit.

If you remember, on the classical interface, on an open Order, we could go into the products grid, click on the little “+” sign, and select from the drop-down the option for Write-in Products.

With the new UI in place, in the Products grid, you are presented with one option called Add New Order Line.

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Now comes the fun part. If your Field Service solution is in place, it’s got it’s own Order Line form. Same with PSA. So, what you should be looking for is the correct form to display. It’s the Order Line: Information.

Here, on the General tab, your first option is Select Product. This is a two-option toggle, with the default selection on Existing. Flip that over to Write In.

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So now your Write In option is buried down a little.

I’m assuming stats show that Write-in Products are not that popular? Do you feel the same? Respond below if this change affects your business scenarios.

As I’ve mentioned in THIS earlier article, Microsoft Forms is now in public preview. And, I’ve also mentioned you can integrate it with your Dynamics 365 instance. But how, you might ask!

There is no direct “configuration” on the form itself to map to a Dynamics entity, since it’s not a data driven form. Yes, you’re probably thinking PowerApps right about now. Read the rest of this entry »

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:

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Or you will see in your logs on Power BI:

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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/

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Waiting for the next update on a resolution.

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