D365 Saturday Philly Recap

I was involved in the D365 Saturday event in Philadelphia, PA just a few weeks ago. This was a great full-day event with amazing speakers from across the country and keynote by Julie Strauss.

Here are some takeaways from sessions I attended plus a few pictures from the festivities.

Julie Strauss

We are in a time of Digital Transformation as business has fundamentally changed in many industries. We need to find ways to bring our data together and map out more efficient processes.

This is where the Power Platform comes in. Anywhere there is data you can use Flow to grab it and work with it. The Common Data Service is the physical storage where all this data ans business logic sits (compared to the Common Data Model which is the logical data representation). We can build our PowerApps on top of CDS or other systems to bridge the data between these systems. The tools already understand the CDS data relationships so you do not have to build.

Remember there is a PowerApps Community plan so you can build and learn PowerApps for free as long as you do not need to share with anyone.

We also discussed the focus and features in the April release.

Microsoft is also investing a lot on Application Lifecycle Management to make it easier to follow best practices with steps happening automatically. This includes better solution awareness for Canvas Apps, Flows, etc. In the future, features should not be released without being solution aware. Plus improvements to the Admin Centers to merge separate admin centers for better enterprise-grade governance.

The release of Power Platform Checkers allow for static analysis to scan solutions and look for potential improvements. This runs in the background so you can keep working as checks are done.

Several improvements to allow the building of custom components and making reusable components.

You can also now embed Canvas Apps in Model Driven Apps or in Microsoft Teams.

PowerApps – Building Over and Under D365
Steve Mordue

This session talked about the myths and caveats when working with the Power Platform. There are Platform only licenses available for (as of presentation) $40/user/month. This allows for the PowerApp on the Common Data Service but you cannot use the First Party Apps. This could be the first step before moving to the full solution.

Core items are available: Account, Activity, Contact, Goal, Letter, Note, Phone Call, Task. These can be used without having a First Party D365 for Sales License. You cannot use Opportunity or Case on this license.

Additionally there is a P1 $7 license that allows for only the use of Canvas Apps but cannot have advanced functionality.

There are licensing options for your project, make sure you review what is really needed and dive down to determine a solution that will meet your budge.

Managing a D365 CE Project
Jennyfer Hogeland

Jennyfer shared how RSM runs successful projects using a Water-SCRUM-Fall methodology. This combines some of the unconditional elements of waterfall with the ideals of agile to promote a flexible development process while using waterfall for planning and deployment.

See a few of the slides in the gallery below for more information.

Smart City
Mihir Shah

In line with the Digital Transformation theme, Mihir shared how city management is changing due to residents expecting higher levels of service. There are many challenges due to regulations/compliance, necessity of multi-language support and integrations with many different technologies and systems across departments. Most cities have over 150 agencies (for one city!).

The desired solution would have customer and employee portals, a type of self-service knowledge base, a way to create service requests, chatbots and more.

We saw a demo using a D365 Portal where citizens could enter information to create a case. This can all be pulled into PowerBI or AI products to review trends related to these cases.

We also discussed the impact of IoT devices and what this could mean in the future.

15 Fantastic User Adoption Tips for Your Organization
Heidi Neuhauser

Heidi is a user adoption specialist and packed the 1 hour session with lots of great tips to keep your users engaged. These are just a few of my favorites.

Form a group of end users – include various skill levels, geographies, etc. Involve these users from the start and help them become advocates for the tool. Involve them even in the requirements phase.

Keep things simple – de-clutter your forms, add business process flows (streamline these too), minimize required fields and use appropriate field types that help them enter the right data. Add tool tips or validation to help with this too. Clean data will encourage the users to keep using. Model Driven Apps can further streamline what users see to only the bare necessities.

Training – remember people all learn differently. Your training need to include pieces to help everyone learn effectively. Learning should be customized based on job role. Then on-going learning should be available to continually encourage users to keep improving.

User Adoption Dashboard – new admin portal feature with these details available. These can be provided to managers to review and coach. Also can give a view of areas that need more work.

Next Steps

The resources from the sessions are available for download. Enjoy the Photos below. Photo credit for most photos I am in goes to Bill Tsai. Thank you for taking so many amazing pictures of our events!

If you have enjoyed this content, be on the lookout for other D365 Saturday events in your area and the Washington, DC event coming up in September 2019.

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