Bring your data to life with D365 Reporting

Dynamics 365 is a great tool for storing your business data, but if that is all you are using D365 for, then do we have news for you! One of the biggest values of D365 is the ability to create reports gaining valuable insight from your data. These reports can be setup in a variety of ways depending on your environment and organizational needs.

Do any of the above diagrams look familiar to you? If your response is “WHAT ARE THOSE!?” then you, my friend, are missing out! All the above are reports based on D365 data. These D365 reports can be run directly from D365 which gives users ease of access to analysis of business data. There are several types of reporting options available for D365, some are out of the box, while others require a bit more work to setup. With that in mind, many organizations opt to export their data to Excel and then use Excel to create reports, when they could be using these much richer options instead.

D365 out of the box comes with report building functionality, in the form of Charts and Views. Users can setup Dashboards incorporating these components, which can help them take their first step into the world of reporting. The CRM Report Wizard allows users to build reports using filters and conditions, like Views, with a touch more functionality and flexibility over the latter options.

While these out of box options are great, they do have their limitations which is why we also provide external reporting options. SQL and XML Reports are great for generating more complex reports and documents. However, if you are looking for an option that is more robust, and intensely eye-catching, then Power BI is the way to go. Power BI is one the most powerful BI and reporting tools on the market and integrates seamlessly with D365. Power BI allows for powerful drill down capability and smart slicers to filter your data however you like.

Reports are a great way for organizations to better understand performance, and with the various report options available, you are not limited to a specific visualization type. Data can be displayed through bar graphs, pie charts, map representations, grids…just to name a few! Maximizing the reporting options is great for upper management, who want a quick, high-level representation of how the business is doing. But wait there’s more! Automated reports can be generated with a click of a button and often require no additional maintenance once they are setup, reducing time and effort and improving efficiencies.

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Take Scheduling to the Next Level with Dynamics 365 Field Service

One of the newer modules in the Dynamics 365 family, Field Service, leverages the latest technology offered by Microsoft and combines it into one powerful solution. D365 Field Service is an integrated solution with your current D365 environment, enabling you to be field ready with your already configured environment, filled with customer data.

D365 Fields Service has tools to help organizations optimize their resources, effectively manage team members and automate work order creation to save you time and money. Field Service can even be used with IoT devices to alert you of an issue even before your customers are aware there is one.

In D365 Field Service, Work Order Management, Service Scheduling and Resource monitoring are 3 key capabilities provided by D365 Field Service.

Work Orders in D365 Field Service are records that track service jobs. Work orders can be created automatically based on set criteria from your opportunity or case records or created manually. Within a work order you can track specific incidents types, estimated time required to complete a job and create the bookings for the work orders With Work Orders stored in D365 you also can create rich reports to identify which phases of your services can be improved upon.

Scheduling Service has never been easier with D365 Field Service. With the Field Service Schedule Assistant, all you must do is specify your criteria and the system will find the best resource to get the job done. Field Service considers factors such as skill set, availability and even current location of your resources to help make the best decision possible. If you want to get even more efficient, you can setup up resource scheduling optimization to let the system handle all the scheduling for you.

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Setting up D365 Sales and SharePoint Integration

Setting up the native SharePoint integration in Dynamics 365 can greatly benefit your organization. SharePoint allows users to store files, organize them, and provide ease of access to their colleagues. One of the biggest upsides of enabling this integration is that SharePoint offers much more storage space then D365 Sales, so you do not need to worry about your D365 instance running out of storage, thereby incurring steep costs to increase storage limits.

D365 SharePoint integration allows records in D365 Sales to have their own folders in SharePoint, this ensures all files have their own place in the system. This blog will walk you through the step-by -step process on how to setup your D365 SharePoint integration.

Before you get started, ensure you meet the following criteria so the process runs smoothly.

Requirements:

  • Dynamics 365 Sales License with System Admin Access
  • Office 365 Global Admin Access

Once you have verified the requirements, log into your Dynamics 365 for Sales web client and go to the Settings tab, in the drop-down menu select Document Management.

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Manage your KPIs with Dynamics 365 Goals

Goal management in Dynamics 365 is a tool which provides the ability to manage KPIs in just a few clicks. You can use goals to compare targets and actuals for a defined period. And given the fact that Goals is an out of the box feature with Dynamics 365, you can set them up in no time at all. Additionally, since Goals are native to the system, they work seamlessly with workflows, business rules and other various Dynamics 365 functions.

To help you understand how goals work, consider the following scenario:

Your company sells drywall, you, as the sales manager, want to set a revenue target for the overall sales team and then targets for each individual sales team rep who will contribute to the sales team target. With the given targets you want the ability to monitor progress throughout the fiscal period.

To get the results you desire you will need to utilize a couple entities in Dynamics 365 and create a handful of records:

1. Goal Metric: this allows you to set the detailed measurement (amount or count) for the defined goals. You can create multiple goal metric records to measure different elements, revenue and number of panels sold for example.

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Track changes with Auditing in Dynamics 365

Did you know that there is an auditing feature which comes standard out of the box with Microsoft Dynamics 365? All you need to do is enable and configure it to your needs and going forward all enabled actions will be logged. Auditing allows organizations to easily track high level record changes, granular field level changes, and user log in within the system.

By default, auditing is not turned on in Dynamics 365, so if you are interested in this feature you will need to enable and configure your auditing preferences. D365 provides the flexibility to enable/disable auditing at the organization, entity and attribute levels. It is worth mentioning that to audit at the field level, auditing must be enabled for the organization and the entity.

 

Enable auditing at the organization level

1.  Auditing setup is under the Settings Tile. Click on Auditing and go to Global Audit Settings. To enable auditing, if not ticked already, tick the box Start Auditing.

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DocuSign with Confidence

DocuSign for Dynamics 365 brings all the benefits of the DocuSign electronic signature solution to your finger tips inside D365. With a seamless integration into Dynamics 365, you can access DocuSign functions directly from your form’s tool bar. Some of the key functions include the ability to sign and get signatures, track document status, and dynamically pull data from records.

The most known function of DocuSign is the ability to capture electronic signatures which are encrypted and secure, allowing for accelerated turn around on getting those all-important signatures. Consider all the sales transactions in your pipeline which are slated to close, why not simplify the process for you and your customers by providing the option to sign electronically. DocuSign takes the hassle out of the traditional pen and paper approach by allowing users to sign on any device and have it integrated back to D365.

An added benefit is that elements of your DocuSign documents can be dynamically populated from your D365 records. This is a real timesaver, eliminating the need for your team to customize the document each time it needs to be sent to a new customer. In addition to being time saving, it also eliminates human error along the way, providing you the confidence of knowing the document was sent correctly the first time.

A final noteworthy feature of the DocuSign/Dynamics 365 integration is the ability to track the progression of your email and document. This level of transparency provides 100% visibility into the entire process, affording you piece of mind every step of the way.

To find out more about DocuSign for Dynamics 365 or to implement it for your business, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today!

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Simplify product and pricing management. Increase sales potential. D365 Product Catalog.

How many products/services do you sell? How many pricing structures do you have for each? Do you offer volume discounts? A no-nonsense, structured approach which can be seamlessly applied (every time and without a second thought) can improve your sales strategy and have everyone on the same page.

The Product Catalog in Dynamics 365 makes it easier for your sales reps to increase their sales by having an authority by which to work when talking to potential customers about products/services offered. The product catalog is a combination of the products themselves, and the underlying pricing mechanism.

Below are the components which form the Product Catalog:

  • Families & Products – Products are the items which you sell and product families provide a way to group, classify and categorize products for streamlined product management. Both bundles and individual products can be included in a product family tree.
  • Price Lists – Price Lists are product groupings with associated pricing. Sales operation managers can link Dynamics 365 territories to price lists. This directly benefits salespeople by defaulting the appropriate price list to opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices.
  • Discount Lists - Discount lists are optional and are used in conjunction with price list items for volume pricing offers.
  • Unit Groups - Unit Groups define the quantities by which a product or service is sold. For example, mouse pads may be sold in lots of 50, 100, or 200. Or Services sold by the hour may be grouped by day, week or month.

As you begin configuring your product catalog, add components in the following order: Discount Lists (if needed), Unit Groups, Price Lists, Products. When adding Product, you can define bundles, which allows you to combine multiple products into a group, to be sold as a package. Product relationships can also be defined, allowing for the suggestion of product substitutions; accessory recommendations; highlight cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Once the Product Catalog is setup, salespeople will have the ability to select and add products to their Opportunities, Quotes, Orders, and Invoices.

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Build Dynamic Reports with Excel and Word Templates in Dynamics 365

Microsoft provides a robust connection between SSRS reports and Dynamics 365, allowing a user to run a report providing a summary of defined records. To create custom reports though, you will need to have a high-level knowledge of SQL/XML, or hire a consultant to build the report for you.

Why not take matters into your own hands and build your reports using out of the box components in Dynamics 365? Dynamics 365 offers both Excel Templates and Word Templates, empowering you to create reports which best suit your business needs, using the application that fits the bill.

Excel and Word templates allow you to create and share templates, so documents always have a consistent look and the necessary details included. Excel and Word templates are easily configured by selecting fields from your starting entity (i.e. Opportunity) to use as dynamic values in both Excel and Word. Not only can you select fields from the entity you began from, you also have the ability to select fields from related entities which have either a 1:N or N:N relationship with the starting entity.

With the help of Excel and Word templates, you can prepare beautifully crafted reports, which include data elements dynamically pulled in from D365. Should needs change, you can always modify and upload the revised template into D365, allowing you and your colleagues to always have the most current templates at your disposal.

Some benefits of using Excel and Word templates:

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Business Rules - Your One Stop Shop for Writing Logic Statements

Dynamics 365 Business Rules help organizations achieve automation by performing tasks for users based on predetermined logic. This means less time entering data and more time making key decisions. Business Rules can also be used to enforce behavior by controlling certain field properties. This allows upper management to ensure proper steps are taken daily. If these controls are implemented properly, both the organization and users will see the benefit afforded through the configuration of Business Rules.

Business Rules in Dynamics 365 are a simple way to apply logic to your business data without the need for any code. D365 Business Rules are effective, yet easy to manage. The typical Business Rule follows the “if, then” statement structure and often contains two or more parts. The first part is always a condition statement where you state the condition which will trigger the business rule to take effect. The second part is the action, meaning once the set condition has been met, what action should be performed.

Below is sample Business Rule diagram to illustrate how a typical Business Rule is setup.

As you can see, the condition statement is checking the Estimated Revenue for an opportunity, if the Estimated Revenue exceeds a certain threshold then an account manager must be associated to the opportunity. Simple rules like these can help organizations improve their daily process and grow more effective to achieve their goals.

Business Rules in Dynamics 365 can perform an explicit set of functions against records. Below is a list of the actions and what each does.

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D365 Workflows, your personal assistant

Ever wonder how your team can work more efficiently in D365? The answer is automation, and the number one tool to automate processes in D365 is workflows. Many of the simple (and complex) tasks users perform in D365 can be automated using workflows. Workflows evaluate given parameters and perform actions based on predetermined logic. Such an example is the automation of sending a welcome email when a new contact is created without you having to lift a finger.

Workflows in D365 are processes that typically work in the background to automate the flow of information. D365 Workflows are comprised of triggers, conditions, steps and actions. These properties determine the behavior which you want to have occur which impact your D365 records.

There are many functions you can accomplish using workflows in D365, below are some of the most common:

  • Automate Emails – Send out Emails to accounts, contacts or users when a certain criterion is met
  • Transfer Information – Automatically pass data from one entity to another entity
  • Update Fields – Update fields value based on different conditions and field value changes

These are just some of the automated processes which workflows can perform. The true possibilities of workflows are endless because they are custom built and can be created for just about every entity in D365. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today to learn more about how these quiet helpers can be implemented in your D365 environment, allowing you to be more efficient, organized, and on top of your day to day responsibilities.

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Your Dynamics 365 Library: Knowledge Articles

What if your most depended upon customer service rep leaves the company and no one else on the team has the level of knowledge he had on various topics? Or at the most granular level, wouldn’t it be incredibly useful if canned suggestions surfaced when opening a service case for a customer?

There is no reason to spend excess time and money researching and troubleshooting the same (or similar) issues repeatedly. Plan ahead and build a knowledge base which withstands the test of time (and turnover) and is shareable both internally and externally.

Knowledge Articles in Microsoft Dynamics 365 provide the ability to create articles with versioning and translation functions. Building a base of Knowledge Articles allows Customer Service Reps to reference and utilize the information to deliver accurate and consistent information to customers, while following the organization’s processes.

By providing access to the article directly from a Case record, the rep can link the article to the case, thereby documenting its inclusion as a step for resolution. Not only can the rep use the information as an assist to themselves, they can opt to share the article with their customer, who may prefer to “do it themselves.”

Knowledge Articles not only benefit reps, who now have answers at their fingertips, those that administer the articles also have something to gain. Analytics are measured which provide article insights for content managers. A couple key stats are how many views each knowledge article has, and the Cases which have been associated to the article. These statistics allow administrators to not only evaluate which articles provide the most value, but ultimately it may provide intel into where there may be a bigger issue which needs attention.

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Streamline your business process with Dynamics 365 Business Process Flows

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers the ability to streamline your business process through an often overlooked and underutilized feature called Business Process Flows. Business process flows are displayed visually in Dynamics 365 as a heading across the top of an entity form, and can carry from one entity to another, and can be configured for both out of the box and custom entities. Not only that, you are not limited to a single business process flow; you can configure one or more distinct business process flows, allowing different departments to have a flow unique to their daily requirements.

A business process flow is composed of Stages (highlighted in red below), which contain multiple Steps (highlighted in green below). In the business process flow heading, a user can see which stage they are currently working through (which is indicated by the flag), and the steps they need to complete (what fields need to be filled in) before they can advance to the next stage in the process.

Business process flows enable you to require users to complete certain steps before advancing to the next stage of the process. They also allow for branching logic based on data elements collected which may require a different path. There are a couple out of the box business process flows pre-configured for system entities, but you can modify these and create your own business process flows to meet the particular needs identified for your organization.

Create a Business Process Flow:

1. Go to Settings > Processes to create a new Process

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Combine and Conquer with Teams in Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 Teams are a great way to manage records and tasks because teams can own records and have a definitive security role associated outside the scope of a Users default role. This provides enhanced visibility to managers regarding which group is responsible for which objective; extends a Users reach enabling them to access and work with records they otherwise would not have privileges for; and allows for a simplified security structure, particularly when managing a large group of users.

A few examples of situations wherein teams are best utilized include:

  • When Users span multiple business units but share a logical association
  • Security Roles within a Business Unit are primarily restricted to User Access Only
  • In Customer Support where work is routed to a Support Queue and the management of the Cases is best done through team ownership

To setup a new team in D365, go to the Settings tab in the navigation menu and select Security.

In the Security section click on Teams.

In the team view window, click the New button on the command bar. This will open a new team form.

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Data visualization tools in Dynamics 365: Dashboards/Views/Charts

Do you find that the data shown in your Dynamics 365 environment is not reflective of the business data which is relevant to you? There are a variety of out of the box tools in Dynamics 365 which can be used to achieve this vital need. Such tools include Views and Charts which can be brought together into Dashboards to give an overview of data components captured in Dynamics 365.

For Dashboards, Views, and Charts there are two definitive types, Personal and System.

Personal Dashboards/Views/Charts

You, and anyone else, who has at least User level access to the system can build their own personal dashboards, views and charts based on their privileges in the system. The system administrator can modify the access level for each action in the security role to control the depth to which people can create, read, write, delete, assign, or share personal views.

All three components are owned by individuals and because of their default User level access, they are visible only to that person or anyone else they choose to share them with.

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Know where your records are going with cascading rules

Everyone knows that Dynamics 365 has many great ways to link entities together, however once they are linked what controls do we have over their behavior? Enter, Cascading Rules. Cascading rules are a set it and forget it setting which controls the behaviors between two related entities. Cascading rules in D365 allows users to control what actions are passed down from one entity to another.

A great example where cascading rules come in handy is when users want to reassign the owner for a specific account record. However, they do not want its related activities such as emails, tasks and appointments to change owner when this happens. This is when you would go into cascading rules and update the assign setting to prevent the assign action from being passed down to its related activities.

In D365 the out of box settings for cascading rules, for a good majority of relationships, is Set to Parental (Cascade All), which means the action taken on the parent entity will be passed down. Now this may be suitable for some relationships, but in the case of the assign action being applied to Activities, this typically causes some undesirable results.

Toggling the Type of Behavior to Configurable Cascading allows you to customize each of the relationship behaviors individually.

Below are the possible cascading options you can select for each action.

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Quick Create Forms, Data Entry Simplified!

One of the most common tasks for users in Dynamics 365 is entering data. Often users are required to enter data while on the call with a potential client or customer. Opening a new form and having to switch back and forth between screens can eat up valuable time for you and your client. It can also cause the user to lose focus and forget important information. Quick create forms give users a way to capture key information quicker and with less distractions.

To deploy quick create forms for your D365 environment, simply follow the steps below and you will be on your way to creating a more efficient data entry screen in no time.

Firstly, to use quick create forms you must enable it on the entity level. To do so, go to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System.

In the customization window navigate to the entity you wish to create the quick create form for and confirm that the ‘Allow quick create’ box is checked, otherwise select it to enable this feature.

Now that this has been enabled, go to the entity’s form section > click new > pick quick create form. This will open the quick create form editor.

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Have an idea, bring it to life with D365 Custom Entities!

Out of the box, Dynamics 365 has many great out-of-the-box entities such as accounts, contacts, leads, and opportunities. However, it is often the case, that the out of the box entities may not be the right fit or the only fit for every business. Businesses often have their own special requirements, and when these requirements do not fit the D365 mold, we look to custom entities to accomplish the desired result. Through the configuration of custom entities, D365 can be tailor fit to meet any business’ unique needs. That means custom forms, fields, business process flows, views, charts, and dashboards, all based on your specific requirements.

D365 out-of-the-box is like a good suit, you purchase it because you like the suit, but know that to get the “right fit,” your next stop will be your tailor. Custom entities are your D365 tailor. With custom entities you can construct entities based on your organizational needs. These custom entities can drastically elevate your D365 experience. By creating custom entities you’ll have a unique, one of a kind system, unlike anything on the market. This could be as simple as an entity to capture employee data in your organization, to a collection of custom entities working together to bring you a whole new experience.

The following is an example of some custom entities built to manage human resource activities. The below demonstrates a custom navigation tile built to clearly distinguish the custom entities which have been built to fall within the Human Resources component of the system, thereby easily distinguishing it from the out-of-the-box areas of the environment.

The Candidate entity in the collection had fields created and a custom business process flow built to manage the hiring process. This entity had relationships built which further tie it to the other custom entities which fall within the human resources collection. Being this is all custom built, the skies the limit. If you can imagine it, you can make it a reality.

Custom entities truly transform your D365 environment to fit your business requirements, so you never have to compromise. D365 out of the box is a great base to get started, but one size does not fit all, and that is where the ease and flexibility of the system is best recognized and where custom entities shine. Talk to your team and determine how you can leverage custom entities in D365, then email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your ideas and get started on the path to building your perfect D365 environment.

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Do NOT get limited within Dynamics 365 --- Exporting Data to Excel

Analyze Dynamics 365 data to gauge performance. Recognize trends. Mass edit thousands of records. Share data with someone that is not a D365 User. These business requirements and so much more can be accomplished when you export your data to Excel or Excel Online from Dynamics 365. Plus extracting a large number of records is a non-issue because you can export up to 100,000 records in a single export file.

The Export to Excel feature has proven to be a vital asset in the D365 application over the years due its ease of use, and its obvious connection to Excel. With the continued enhancements in Dynamics 365, and the technology which can be integrated with the application, you can certainly do so much of your data analysis without ever leaving the environment, thereby reducing the need to export your data. Fact is though, so many have come to know, love and depend upon the tools and functions in Excel which bring data to life, thereby making the Export to Excel feature a much-coveted feature still.

Besides the need to extract data for data analysis, the Export to Excel feature carries another extremely valuable purpose. What if you have a query of 10,000 Account records, for example, and want to update the Industry field on all of them to the same value? Sure, you could select a maximum of 250 records per page and mass edit them. But consider this, 10,000 divided by 250, you would need to repeat the process 40 times. And let’s be realistic, out of the 10,000 records, chances are slim you would be modifying the Industry field value to the exact same value for all.

By leveraging the export to Excel function, not only can you view thousands of rows of data at once, you can also update all of them at once too. Data is exported in the same format as you see in your View, so text remains text, numbers remain numbers, and dates remain dates. The cell format in Excel may change for some formatting types, so you will need to be aware of this and be sure to update the affected rows accordingly.

Make any necessary changes in the exported file, and then import the file back into Dynamics 365. Just like that, your 10,000 Account records have been updated in a fraction of the time, and you have significantly reduced the risk of making an error.

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Need to access Dynamics 365 while you are away from a PC? Use the Mobile App!

Dynamics 365 is a sophisticated Microsoft business application, it grants the ability to better manage the relationships of your Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and Operation processes. But how can you access your data while you are out in the field, the internet is down or you are not anywhere near your PC? Dynamics 365 for phones and Dynamics 365 for tablets apps are the solution when you're on the go. These apps give you immediate access to accounts, contacts, opportunities, cases, and so much more!

How to get the App:

Go to the app store on your device and download either Dynamics 365 for phones or Dynamics 365 for tablets, depending on the device you are working with. Both phone and tablet users alike will appreciate the new Unified Interface. The Unified Interface provides an optimized viewing and interaction experience, relative to screen size, device, and orientation.

 Accessing the App:

Once you have the app installed, open the app on your device, enter your Dynamics 365 URL (web address), and click the arrow to continue. Next you will be prompted for your user name and password. If you are unsure of any of these values, contact your Dynamics 365 administrator.

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Effectively Brand Dynamics 365 with Themes

You can now brand your Dynamics 365 environment! Themes allow you to apply your distinct logo and color scheme to your Dynamics 365 environment. Three simple clicks and you are well on your way to a D365 environment with a look all your own.

1. From the Navigation Bar, select Settings

2. Select Customizations

3. Select Themes

 

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