This post covers how to connect Azure Custom Vision Service (over at ) with Microsoft Flow, enabling the use of the prediction within Canvas and Model-driven Apps, the Common Data Service and PowerBI. I’m a huge user and fan of Azure Cognitive Services (there are many) and Microsoft Flow, so being able to use Flow as the platform that connects an App to these services can offer tremendous value. Check out how to do this right now!
Virtual Agents are a feature that allows organisations to create a Bot for customers to engage with on websites by asking it questions and providing automation capabilities. It is currently in preview and you can read all about what they are, their features and how to get started in this post here. It’s awesome thinking it can just be used for outside of an organisation, but what about for internal use? Virtual Agents can be embedded into Dashboards, and basically anywhere you can put an IFrame – (anywhere you can add HTML, which is ANYWHERE!). This post takes a look at how to do this and what the benefits are to an organisation.
So this post is out of pure frustration that this information seems to be really hard to find (for me anyway) for what seemed like a basic requirement. I wanted to load a Gallery of information in a Canvas App based on the status reason within the Common Data Service. This field is often used in model-driven apps, including Dynamics 365 so being able to filter on this is pretty necessary for companion Canvas based apps.
This blog post is an extension of the Getting Started with Virtual Agents, so if you’d like the background or know how to get started before you read this, check out that post first!
Custom Flows in the Virtual Agent Experience need to meet some specific requirements to display, because VA’s don’t just allow any old Flow to be used. I’ve listed them below.
Being able to talk to a live chat agent is a popular website feature, especially in the Retail industry where staff are on hand to be able to manage and solve customer queries so they can get back to buying products. This became a popular service-oriented capability and more industries are adopting this feature, but one step further. Being able to embed bot technology before a real person is even required has now become the go-to strategy for customer service.
Relationship Insights, as part of Dynamics 365, has been a great feature, often used (and sold) as part of the Sales Application to be able to remind users that there are important deadlines or meetings coming up. In recent releases, the feature has now been made available to customise as part of public preview, allowing us to create custom insight cards to display to users (and teams) across the platform. This results in tailored and streamlined recommendations for users, allowing them to receive insight and take action quicker.
This post covers how to get started setting up a simple custom card from a custom entity.
Scheduling a record was not something achieved without some thought using workflows in Dynamics 365 CE. Mostly the ‘Bulk Delete’ trick was used where scheduled Bulk Delete of records (normally to remove legacy data) would act as the trigger for your custom workflow, effectively creating a scheduling system. Still, this doesn’t feel exactly clean and this functionality was not something that can be achieved logically from the workflow designer. This has since changed with Microsoft Flow.
A challenge in Microsoft Flow is to obtain specific data from a collection of objects (Like Dynamics 365 records) and use some data from those records within a single HTTP request. Why not make multiple HTTP requests within the ‘Apply Each’ loop I hear you ask? Well my friend, because there could be 100 records or more, that’s 100 hits to an endpoint which is really unnecessary, time-consuming and prone to error. Best Practice is, if the scenario allows it, to send as few requests as possible.
One of the weaknesses of traditional workflows within Dynamics 365 is their inability to natively iterate over child records. Great news! Microsoft Flow allows you to be able to iterate over child records and pass in query string parameters allowing you to limit the returned collection. It achieves this using OData syntax. Trust me though, even if you have never used OData syntax before, with a bit of trial and error you’ll pick it up in no time. Check out this post for a very quick start to iterating over child entities using Microsoft Flow.
It is absolutely amazing how many things Microsoft Flow can do. One of the most useful actions I have come across is making HTTP requests that integrate with Dynamics 365. Using Flow to make HTTP requests to external services allows for you to create loosely coupled integrations very easily. Once the solution feature is released in October 2018, it will also be easy to maintain. This post will show you how to make a simple HTTP request to one of the Cognitive Service API’s in response to a trigger within Dynamics 365.
Microsoft Forms is a service that allows for the creation of a basic form quickly and easily. Forms are no longer in preview just for educational organisations and are now in preview for everybody with a valid Office 365 Licence, which means we can now look at how this service can fit into the Dynamics 365 stack of technologies as it offers an alternative to other services such as those that are designed to create Landing Pages within Dynamics 365, or produce Surveys, essentially any sort of fast data collection or submitting you want the user to do. (There’s always positives and negatives of course which need to be weighed up with what you want out of the service you choose)