Organization Insights for Dynamics 365 is a new solution that provides insights into the usage, activity and quality of service for your Dynamics 365 (online) instance. It has been available in preview since a couple of months and is currently compatible with December 2016 Update for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) 8.2 – to use the Organization Insights solution, download it from AppSource and install it in the instance you want to monitor using this download link https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us/product/dynamics-365/mscrm.04931187-431c-415d-8777-f7f482ba8095?tab=Overview Although the documentation still marks it as preview - Preview feature: Use the Organization Insights dashboard to view metrics about your instance – the Office 365 message center states that it has been released on the 8th of February.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Microsoft Flow provides building blocks for integrating with external services and systems both from Microsoft such as SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, SQL Server, Azure components (Blob storage, Queues) but also from external vendors such as Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Instagram, etc … – there are currently 90+ different services available and new services are added on a weekly basis. Some of these services are only available in a premium plan such as Salesforce, Common Data Service, Citrix Gotowebinar and Citrix Gotomeeting, etc … whereas other services are also available in the free version of Flow.
Microsoft Flow provides a visual design surface within a browser (but mobile clients are also available for iOS and Android) where power users can add multiple actions which interact with services/applications, triggers (events that start a flow), conditions (allow for branching), loops, and more … I strongly recommend you to browse through the documentation Get started with Microsoft Flow or use the Microsoft Flow – Guided learning to get started.
You can either build a flow from scratch or you can start from one of the templates – each template flow is designed for a specific purpose and is ready to be used, you just have to configure the template. It is however also possible to add additional processing logic within flows created based on these templates. Microsoft Flow allows you to configure a number of interesting scenarios – you should definitely check out Dive into Microsoft Flow, create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services (Ignite 2016 recording) which shows you examples such as:
- Auto archive e-mail attachments to a SharePoint document library
- Sent follow up reminders when new leads are created in Dynamics 365
- Send mobile notification when a service goes down
- Collect social media mentions (e.g. twitter) of your company or its products
An important thing to understand is that Microsoft flows always run with the connection details that you provided when configuring the flow. So flows will always have the same permissions as the credentials that you use to create e.g. when you create a connection to Dynamics 365 for Sales and use your own login and password, it is your credentials which are used to execute the actions against CRM Online. A flow can never have escalated permissions.
Microsoft Flow is powered by Azure Logic Apps – every flow is actually a Azure Logic App which runs in a subscription which is managed and maintained by Microsoft. So you can basically use the same APIs, functions and designer in Microsoft Flow as in Azure Logic Apps. Microsoft Flow however provides a more-business oriented user experience. An interesting scenario is where you call Azure Logic Apps from Microsoft Flow or vice versa using HTTP cards, but also one Flow call another Flow as well as one Azure Logic App calling into another Azure logic App. I will look at some examples of Azure Logic Apps in future blog posts. Both Flow and Azure Logic Apps often allow you to solve the same problem but they are targeted at a different audience and sometimes subtle differences will determine your choice as outlined in Considerations on using Microsoft Flow or Logic Apps to sync documents
Microsoft Flow is available in a number of different plans going from a free version with 750 runs per month up to a Flow Plan 2 with 15.000 runs. The paying version also allows access to a number of premium connectors such as Salesforce, Common Data Service, Citrix Gotowebinar and Citrix Gotomeeting, etc … For up to date pricing as well as the difference between the different versions check out https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/
To conclude, some points of attention, Microsoft Flow is fairly new and the product still has its occasional hiccups – both within the design surface as well as in execution of flows. Another thing to remember is that while the number of Flow executions might seem quite large I would recommend to define specific governance around the usage of it since currently no flow usage across your company is not available (but on the roadmap)
- Announcing Microsoft Flow General Availability
- Executing Dynamics 365 workflows from Microsoft Flow
- Flow of the week : Get notified about posts to Yammer, Twitter or Disqus with negative sentiment
- Codeless integration in Dynamics CRM using Microsoft Flow
- Microsoft is taking on IFTT with even more supported services in Microsoft Flow
- Flow of the week: Use a button to track your work hours and work location
- Office 365 Partner Community: Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow
- Setting regarding field in Microsoft Flow
- Pushing data to Power BI streaming datasets without writing any code using Microsoft Flow
Thursday, February 02, 2017
Apparently the weekly Dynamics 365 weekly reading list is slowly evolving into a monthly one but still enjoy:
- CRM for Dynamics 365 Top 10 New Features
- PowerObjects’ Top 10 most popular blog posts of 2016
- Why Dynamics 365 changes the CRM conversation
- [Overview] Dynamics 365 App Model
- CRM for Dynamics 365 Relationship Insights
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 – What’s included?
- Step by step guide to setting up your Dynamics 365 Portal trial
- Inviting existing contact to Portal in Dynamics 365
- Dynamics 365 Portals: a brief introduction to a a brave new world
- Search enhancements in Portal capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Enable Portal capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 to support multiple languages
- Portal capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 releases
- Dynamics 365 SDK Backwards compatibility
- Can Microsoft AppSource disrupt and dominate the SAAS Business Apps Market?
- 5 things we love about Dynamics 365 App for Outlook
- Understanding your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Licensing Options
- CRM for Dynamics 365 Relationship Insights
- Updating to Dynamics 365 for existing CRM Online customers
- 4 steps to properly score your website leads
- Using hierarchy visualizations to capture org charts in Dynamics 365
- How to delete component from managed solution in Dynamics CRM 2016
- Gotchas on Dynamics 365 Outlook App Deployment
- What server logs are useful for troubleshooting Dynamics CRM
Thursday, January 19, 2017
- Using Microsoft Power BI Desktop to build Dynamics CRM Online reports – Part 1 – Introduction
- Using Microsoft Power BI Desktop to build Dynamics CRM Online reports – Part 2 – Using option sets in reports
- Using Microsoft Power BI Desktop to build Dynamics CRM Online reports – Part 3 - Relationships and the map control
- Using Microsoft Power BI Desktop to build Dynamics CRM Online reports – Part 4 – Sharing and collaborating
- Using Microsoft Power BI Desktop to build Dynamics CRM Online reports - Part 5 - Refreshing data and custom visuals
Another interesting update was the release of support for R in June 2016 – see R for the masses with Power BI. To get started with R in Power BI – you can download the Power BI sample with correlation plot in R which uses the rrplot package. Power BI Desktop does not include, deploy or install the R engine. I installed RStudio, the sample Power BI project uses the corrplot package, so you will first need to install this package using the R console prompt in RStudio.
Definitely check out the Create Power BI visuals using R guide (Don’t forget to take at the current limitations in R at the end of the post) and Getting started with R Visuals in Power BI to get started – afterwards you definitely need to take a look at the Welcome to the R script showcase Power BI Gallery to see some interesting examples that you can use.
Listed below is an example of how you can use decision trees in Power BI with R to visualize the probability of something you want to estimate, based on historical data – the sample project uses data about the survival statistics of passengers of the Titanic. The decision tree classifier automatically finds the important decision criteria (or features) to consider which can help you can in making decisions. Decision trees are a form of multiple variable (or multiple effect) analyses. An example of a multiple variable analysis is a probability of sale or likelihood to respond to a marketing campaign as a result of the combined effects of multiple input variables, factors or dimensions.
In July 2016, Power BI Embedded also reached general availability – Power BI embedded allows ISVs to provide the richness of Power BI to customers within their specific multi-tenant applications. This can for example be an Azure hosted web application in which an ISV wants to embed fully, interactive reports built using Power BI. For more information check out Your data. Your visualizations. Your way – with Power BI – which explains the difference between Power BI Embedded and standard Power BI – as well as What is Microsoft Power BI Embedded? Power BI also allows you to embed Power BI tiles in Dynamics 365 dashboards – see Display Power BI visualizations in Dynamics 365 dashboards or Add or Edit Power BI visualizations on your dashboard for some walkthroughs.
Another important change is the endpoint that you need to use when connecting Power BI directly to Dynamics CRM 365 – from Dynamics CRM version 8.1 onwards (so also for Dynamics 365) you should use the OData endpoint URL and not the OrganizationService SOAP service even though the dialog still shows it as an example – the documentation Use Power BI with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (Technet) has already been updated for this change.
To get an overview of what has been released and what is under development around Power BI for Dynamics 365 - you can also take a look at the roadmap for the updates which have been recently released or which are under development - https://roadmap.dynamics.com/
- Power BI Desktop – 2016 Year in Review
- Announcing the sales management solution template for Dynamics 365 with Data Export – Data Export is a free add-on service which allows you to replicate Dynamics 365 data to a Microsoft Azure SQL database store. The new Power BI template allows you to connect to the Azure SQL.
- Quickly create infographics with the infographic designer custom visual for Power BI
- Pareto charts in Power BI
- Using Power BI to make stunning Twitter campaign dashboards
- Microsoft Power BI webinars overview
- Explore and analyze your Infer data with Power BI
- Power BI and AzureML better together
- Power BI Insights and Analytics for Everyone: Natural Language Search, Quick Insights and Cortana
- Example reports for Power BI in insurance
- Gap Analysis visual for Power BI
- KPI indicator custom visual for Power BI Explained
- Free e-book: Introducing Microsoft Power BI
- Power BI Architecture Diagram V2
- Visual awesomeness unlocked – waffle chart
- Gather intelligence in Dynamics CRM with Power BI and Cortana Intelligence (Ignite session recording)
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
One of the new interesting dashboards which is part of this soltuion is the storage dashboard which provides information about the storage used by your tenant and the different CRM instances (or organizations). This dashboard displays total storage and storage per tenant, a breakdown of the top 10 largest tables by size and row count in the current instance and information about common tables - tables which contain records which can be linked to different types of records such as attachments, audit logs (auditbase) and asyncoperationbase (this table tracks your asynchronous processing job execution (system jobs, workflows, plug-ins, etc).
A Dynamics 365 Plan 1 application subscription includes by default 10 GB database storage and additional storage is added at a rate of 5GB for every 20 full users – storage is accrued but there is a technical limit of 5TB (For more details see the Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide). It also is possible to purchase additional storage at a price per GB/month. For those of you who are still using Dynamics CRM Online licenses, will have 5 GB standard storage and 2.5 GB extra per 20 professional users (capped at 50 GB - for more details see the Dynamics CRM Online Licensing Guide)
So it is important to analyze and clear space in Dynamics 365 as outlined in this post – which also suggests a free Dynamics CRM Online & Dynamics 365 storage space analyzer solution that you can install.
Sunday, January 08, 2017
As of CRM Online Update 1 (Spring release – see KB 2925359 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online releases for an overview of the different release) – the recommended way of integrating Dynamics CRM Online and Azure Service Bus is using Shared Access Signature authentication.This blog post still uses ACS(Access Control Service) authentication – in a next post I will outline the differences when using SAS (Shared Access Signature) authentication.
Dynamics CRM Online is by default pre-configured for Microsoft Azure integration. You will however still need to proceed with the following steps:
- Make sure that you have the Microsoft Azure PowerShell module installed – if you have multiple subscriptions linked to your login – check out Quick tip – using Azure PowerShell with multiple subscriptions
- Create a Service Bus Namespace as outlined in Walkthrough: Configure Microsoft Azure ACS for integration with Dynamics CRM (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj863635.aspx )
- Add extra configuration settings on Azure Service Bus :
- Create a service identity (issuer)
- Create a rule group and rules
- Configure the scope
- These settings can be configured in two different ways
- Follow the steps outlined in
- Use the plugin registration tool to add the extra required configuration using the (Save & Configure ACS) screen when you register a new endpoint. I will use this option since this is the simplest from a developer perspective – before you can use this screen make sure that you perform the next two steps. First you will need to download the certificate from Dynamics CRM Online – it can be found underneath Settings>Customizations>Developer resources screen https://manage.windowsazure.com since Azure Service Bus management is still in preview on the new portal) and select the connection information from the Azure Service Bus namespace that you created in the first step. Copy the default key.
In this example we are going to integrate CRM with a persistent queue and we are going to leverage the built-in Azure plugin in Dynamics CRM. Open the plugin registration tool and select Register New Service EndPoint.
You should see the screen below for registering a new service endpoint – if you get another screen you are most likely using a newer version of the CRM SDK – and you switch to the CRM 2015 SDK or the first build of the CRM 2016 SDK (December 2015 release).
Before Dynamics CRM Online can post on the queue you will need to create the queue which was specified in the path “jopx/demo”. You can write code for this or you can simply use a tool such Service Bus Explorer - https://code.msdn.microsoft.com/windowsapps/Service-Bus-Explorer-f2abca5a to create the queue (or you can create the queue from within the Azure Management Portal)
Click on Save & Configure ACS to add the necessary configuration data as outlined before. Here you will need to enter the following information:
- Fill in the management key that you copied over from the Azure Service Bus connection information
- Select the certificate file that you downloaded from your CRM Online instance
- Fill in the issuer name – crm4.dynamics.com (This information is also copied over from the Developer resources screen in Dynamics CRM)
Finally, you will need to define for which CRM entity you want to couple the event execution pipeline to the Microsoft Azure Service Bus. The native CRM Azure-aware plugin allows you to post the data that is being processed as part of the current CRM operation to the queue. It does this by transferring the information in the form of a serializable RemoteExecutionContext object. Registering the Azure-aware plugin is the same as registering any plugin for CRM. Use the plug-in registration tool and right-click on the service endpoint that you just created, then select Register New step to select the “Create” message and the “Contact” entity.
To test it out you simply create a new contact record and you should see that a new entry appears in the CRM System Jobs. After creating a new contact you should have an entry in the CRM System Jobs: Settings > System Jobs, indicating that the asynchronous plugin posting the create to Azure has been executed. You can also see the message posted on the queue in the Azure Portal.
Monday, January 02, 2017
- Dynamics 365 – Needs more cowbell – InsideView, Customer Insights, Relationship Insights, Organization Insights, Application Insights …
- Dynamics 365 – Get started top links (Microsoft)
- Dynamics CRM Exceptions – common CRM developer exceptions
- CRM 2016 – ActivityParty and ActivityParty Lists
- Dynamics 365- When will it finally be finished?
- What is Microsoft Flow and how to use it?
- Dynamics 365 – Updates to business rules and actions
- Building an emergency response solution in Dynamics CRM, SharePoint and the Microsoft Cloud
- Now in preview: Relationship insights for Dynamics 365
- Preview feature: View metrics about your instance with Organization Insights solution (TechNet)
- Connected Field Service architecture (MSDN)
- CRM On-premise to CRM Online conversion using Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS)
- Deliver projects on time and on budget with Dynamics 365 (Youtube 00:02:08)
- Self-service web portals in Dynamics 365 (Youtube 00:02:25)
- OneNote integration in Dynamics 365 (Youtube 00:02:01)
- What’s new in Dynamics 365 Portals
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1 New Features – Portals: Theming and Liquid Templating
- Dynamics 365 Data Export Service (Youtube 00:23:28)
- Dynamics 365 Data Export Service
- Dynamics 365 Social Pane – Roll up Activities (CRM)
- Relevance search is now available in Dynamics 365 (online) !
- Dynamics 365 & Flow – 3 simple steps to email sentiment tracking
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
The big storm of announcements about Dynamics 365 has passed but still some interesting tidbits of information and new tools were released in the previous weeks:
- Dynamics 365 (CRM) scheduled workflows using Microsoft Flow
- Choose between Flow, Logic Apps, Functions and WebJobs in Azure
- Reflecting on Dynamics 365
- AngularJS demo solution for Dynamics CRM
- Getting started with Dynamics 365 PowerApps
- White Paper: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Service Pack 1 Performance Benchmark on Azure Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)
- Dynamics 365 Site Map Designer
- Monitor your Dynamics 365 (online) instance with Organization Insights (Youtube – 00:02:20)
- Activity Management Enhancements in Dynamics 365 (v 8.2)
- PowerApps and Microsoft Flow: Is Microsoft putting traditional software developers out of business
- No, Common Data Service is not the new XRM
- Common Data Model (CDM) Entity Reference document
- Bot framework – solving business problems with the Microsoft Bot Framework – describing an interesting scenario using Microsoft Flow, Dynamics 365, Office 365 and other Azure components.
- Why my action is not available through the Web API
- 3 benefits of Knowledge Articles in Dynamics 365
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Developer Toolkit (public beta 1)
- Calling Microsoft Flow from Power Query and Power BI
- Project Service Automation in Dynamics 365 – what are your options?
- Moving Dynamics CRM Business Process Flows with multiple branches
- What does Adobe Marketing mean for Dynamics
- Role of PowerApps, Flow and Common Data Model in Dynamics 365
- Creating a PowerApps Mobile Application with Dynamics CRM in 1 hour