Author Archives: Joel

Platform 20 Brings Significant UI Changes to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Platform 20 was recently released and includes a number of noticeable changes to the User Interface; this article will highlight some of the significant changes. Overall, these changes are a welcome incremental improvement to some common usability issues.

Workspaces

Workspaces on the Default Dashboard are set apart from the background, making it more obvious they are buttons.

Old Button
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New Button
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Font Changes

Header fonts are bolder and use a heavier font than before.

Old Fonts
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New Fonts
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Ribbon Bar Color

Ribbon bar is now a more neutral color to better indicate the buttons are related to the form below.

Old Coloring
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New Coloring
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Fact Boxes

Opening the Fact Boxes went from an impossible to discover button to a “Related information” slide-out.

Old Button
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New Slide-out
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Filter Drop-down

The grid filter drop-down and filter pane have been reorganized and enhanced.

Old Drop-down
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New Drop-down and Filter pane
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Filter Slide-out Blends into Form

The filter slide out has new fonts, coloring that better blends into the form, and more obvious link indicators.

Old Filter Slide-out
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New Filter Slide-out
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Edit Icon When Form in Read-only Mode

There’s now an edit icon on each field when a form is in read-only mode. This makes it more obvious for users to switch the form into edit mode.

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Subtle Field Outlines in Read-only Mode

Field boxes in detail forms are more subtle when in Read-only mode. Edit mode is similar to the prior design.

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Implement BI With These 394 Simple Steps

There’s a famous Nobel Prize winning study in psychology around Experience versus Confidence that is commonly known as the “Dunning-Kruger” effect. The study showed when we know a little bit about a topic, we initially rate our confidence level extremely high. As we attain intermediate experience, our confidence level dips way down. Then as we actually attain expertise, our confidence goes back up, but never quite as high as it originally was.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

I’ve certainly felt this way in many areas of my work and personal life. One of my hobbies is photography; it seems like many times the more photos I take, the lower my confidence level gets. It’s an odd and frustrating feeling.

2012 vs 2017. Maybe I’m improving?

Hello? The Title of this Post Mentioned BI?

About a year ago I was asked by SAGlobal to head up our Business Intelligence and Reporting group. “Great,” I thought. Grab some data, sprinkle in some Power BI, drill down-through-over-beyond, and let our praises be sung. Confidence level: 100%.

Then that dreaded Experience took over and started to teach me that perhaps there are additional lessons to learn.

Technology Versus Decision Making

Experience taught me that all the pretty graphs, data, and fancy user experiences are simultaneously important and irrelevant. There’s a lot of complexity that can be introduced around methodologies, user stories, maturity models, metrics, technologies, data science, and machine learning.

What really matters is how can businesses make more accurate, faster, and fact-based decisions? In other words, how can BI and Reporting improve the bottom line?

Many times the decision making process is buried in the hearts and minds of the people in the business. Turning soft intuitions and feelings into hard metrics and performance indicators is a process that’s longer term than just developing any single report. The most underrated part of a Business Intelligence solution is extracting the intelligence from the business.

Help Companies Make Better Decisions

Organizations may go through their own Dunning-Kruger lifecycle when it comes to Business Intelligence. Initially they see the latest and greatest tools, and Confidence is at 100%. Experience goes up, and there may be a drop in Confidence around their progress. Over time, key concepts and ideas are visualized in ways used to take a human to analyze and the Confidence goes sky high.

If the decision making process sounds intriguing to you, or fits someone you know, check out our BI Business Analyst job ad on LinkedIn. We’re hiring, and I’m 100% Confident you’ll love it.

AXUG Summit | Deep Dive Into D356FO Reporting

Scott has a great opening slide for this deep-dive reporting session:


It’s so true that many times BI is described in terms of the final output, but much of the work goes into building the underlying data model. For D365FO, data for high volume transactional reporting is exported to an “Entity store” or “BYOD” database.

Entity Store – A Data Warehouse that Microsoft Manages

The Entity store is a repository for reporting aggegated data. Power BI using Direct Query is the only mechanism to report off Entity store data.

Power BI Embedded in Workspaces is only available using the Entity store.

Bring Your Own Database – A Data Warehouse the You Manage

The alternative to the Entity store is using the Data Management framework to extract denormalized data into an Azure SQL database in your Azure subscription. One of the primary advantages of BYOD is more flexible than the Entity store.

Data tools possible with BYOD:

  • Power BI using Direct Query or Import
  • SSAS Cubes
  • Consuming data from systems other than D365FO
  • Third party data tools

Reporting tools possible with BYOD:

  • Power BI
  • SSRS
  • Third party reporting tools

Summary

Great session providing a deeper dive into the technical details of using the new D365FO tools. Reporting is a complicated but critical area to understand for any D365FO implementation.

 

AXUG Session | Data Management

There have been quite a few improvements to the Data Management Workspace released in Platform 11:


The Data Management framework seems to be rounding into shape with some much needed updates. In Platform 8 (7.2) the UI was refreshed, and in Platform 11 we are getting better company copy features. 

There’s still a dependency on having a good definition of the Data entities and sequencing required for the company copy. Microsoft is providing some templates, but it takes a good amount of testing to flush out a solid template.

Presenter: Mike Falkner

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