Tag Archives: Dynamics 365

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. 

Presenter: Scott Hunt | SAGlobal

Dynamics AX Manuals is Now JoelLeichty.com

I felt annoyed for the past year that AX is no longer called AX, and I no longer make manuals for the iPad; “Dynamics AX Manuals” needed a refresh. Unlike product names, which seem to change every six months, I will very likely never change my name. With consistency and future-proofing as my guide, I decided to get creative and go with joelleichty.com. Also find me on Twitter @joelleichty.

If you ever want to vent about marketing craziness, use the hashtag #MicrosoftBusinessSolutionsDynamicsAXapta365ForFinanceAndOperationsEnterpriseEdition.

Common Data Service (D365O Tech Conference)

The Common Data Service (CDS) has been a much discussed concept since the middle of 2016 when Dynamics 365 was first announced. The way this feature is described sometimes seems like CDS is the unicorn of the Dynamics 365 world – it solves any problem.

Sometimes what gets lost in this story is the basics – CDS is a new, simplified database concept. The advantage of the new CDS approach is a faster setup, deployment, and management of the data model, user interfaces, and integrations.

Environments

Environments group features together in CDS including:

  • A collection of tables and table relationships – aka creating a database
  • Publishing Power Apps aka a user interface
  • Integration and mapping tools connected to Dynamics 365

Common Data Model

The CDM is the definition of tables and table relationships. The Microsoft published CDM is geared towards the Dynamics 365 entities and used for integrating multiple D365 products.

Power Apps

In many of the CDS demos Microsoft shows Power Apps with CDS, which sometimes conflates the technology. The database components of CDS don’t require a Power App to be used.

Power Apps are most…powerful when they combine requirements from multiple systems into a single experience. For example, there may be multiple systems that do issue or task management, and each system may require its own fields. A Power App can be created with all the fields required across all systems, then the integration features to push issues into each system will work swimmingly.

Integrations

CDS entities eventually will be used to pass data back and forth between Dynamics 365 databases. There’s a focus by Microsoft to provide some scenario based integrations for things like Order to Cash scenarios between Dynamics 365 Sales and Operations.

There are a couple of mechanisms for passing data back and forth. Microsoft Flow is most commonly used in demos because it supports many products, but there’s also a more “native” integration feature that will pass data more efficiently for Dynamics 365. The integration features also include data transformation logic.

Templates 

Templates are used to deploy the CDM, PowerApps, and Flows/Integrations as an Environment.

Admin Center

The Admin Center is a portal for designing, publishing, and maintaining the CDS environment.

This portal also manages the security. They key components of security like table level and record level security are in the toolkit.

Summary

There is a lot of interesting technology around the CDS. But right now it seems like the CDS is a solution in search of a problem. There needs to be simple examples of the technology solving specific problems for Dynamics 365 for Operations customers to jump in on this new feature set.

Microsoft will probably hate the comparison 😬, but I think of CDS in the same way as people used to use Access databases. Access databases were simple, limited, specific tools; many times they were disposable as technology evolved. Conceptually CDS may be an evolution of that story. If the business use case is longer term, it may be better to build features and UIs directly in a Dynamics 365 product.