What is Dynamics 365 for Sales?

Dynamics 365 for Sales is an application created and managed by Microsoft that gives Sales departments capabilities to manage Leads and Opportunities, right through to Invoices. This post gives a basic introduction to the capabilities of Dynamics 365 for Sales.

What is the Common Data Service?

This post defines what both the Common Data Service (CDS) and the Common Data Model (CDM) are. The Common Data Service and the Common Data Model are core concepts in Microsoft Business Applications and the whole PowerPlatform, so it’s important to know what they are if your planning on or already in this area. This post aims to do this in a simple and easy to understand way.

The Common Data Service aims to be a single place for data used in interactive applications across an organisation. It achieves this in a few different ways. Read on to find out how!

Connecting Azure Custom Vision with Microsoft Flow

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!

Adding Virtual Agents to Dynamics 365 Dashboards for Internal Use

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.

Filter a Gallery in Canvas Apps on the Status Reason field (or any other OptionSet in CDS)

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.

Creating a Custom Flow for Virtual Agent Experiences

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.

Getting Started with Virtual Agents in Dynamics 365

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.

Create Custom Insight Cards using Microsoft Flow

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.

Setting Reminders and Notifications on a Schedule within Dynamics 365 CE using Microsoft Flow

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.

Create a Customer Sentiment Solution in Dynamics 365 CE using Azure Cognitive Services

Having a business system that gives actionable insights is important, allowing staff to be able to take information and turn it into useful knowledge relevant to their goals and mission within the business. This mission often involves interacting with customers. In an era of self-service, it’s not all the time the interactions are outbound, and customer interactions can come through via portals, landing pages, surveys and completing feedback forms in any length of time that is not guaranteed. The interactions can result in a, broadly categorised, positive, negative or indifferent experience for the customer. Given not everything is always going so positively with customers, wouldn’t it be amazing to know the general sentiment a customer has from the currently related interactions? This way, users can be alerted if a customer’s average sentiment changes to negative, or before you contact a customer you know if a recent interaction has made them less than impressed, giving you the opportunity to change their impression for the better.

How to build a single HTTP request from data within a collection in 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.

Iterate over child entities in Dynamics 365 using Microsoft Flow

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.

Creating HTTP requests to Dynamics 365 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.