Dynamics 365 is a great tool for storing your business data, but if that is all you are using D365 for, then do we have news for you! One of the biggest values of D365 is the ability to create reports gaining valuable insight from your data. These reports can be setup in a variety of ways depending on your environment and organizational needs.
Do any of the above diagrams look familiar to you? If your response is “WHAT ARE THOSE!?” then you, my friend, are missing out! All the above are reports based on D365 data. These D365 reports can be run directly from D365 which gives users ease of access to analysis of business data. There are several types of reporting options available for D365, some are out of the box, while others require a bit more work to setup. With that in mind, many organizations opt to export their data to Excel and then use Excel to create reports, when they could be using these much richer options instead.
D365 out of the box comes with report building functionality, in the form of Charts and Views. Users can setup Dashboards incorporating these components, which can help them take their first step into the world of reporting. The CRM Report Wizard allows users to build reports using filters and conditions, like Views, with a touch more functionality and flexibility over the latter options.
While these out of box options are great, they do have their limitations which is why we also provide external reporting options. SQL and XML Reports are great for generating more complex reports and documents. However, if you are looking for an option that is more robust, and intensely eye-catching, then Power BI is the way to go. Power BI is one the most powerful BI and reporting tools on the market and integrates seamlessly with D365. Power BI allows for powerful drill down capability and smart slicers to filter your data however you like.
Reports are a great way for organizations to better understand performance, and with the various report options available, you are not limited to a specific visualization type. Data can be displayed through bar graphs, pie charts, map representations, grids…just to name a few! Maximizing the reporting options is great for upper management, who want a quick, high-level representation of how the business is doing. But wait there’s more! Automated reports can be generated with a click of a button and often require no additional maintenance once they are setup, reducing time and effort and improving efficiencies.
Goal management in Dynamics 365 is a tool which provides the ability to manage KPIs in just a few clicks. You can use goals to compare targets and actuals for a defined period. And given the fact that Goals is an out of the box feature with Dynamics 365, you can set them up in no time at all. Additionally, since Goals are native to the system, they work seamlessly with workflows, business rules and other various Dynamics 365 functions.
To help you understand how goals work, consider the following scenario:
Your company sells drywall, you, as the sales manager, want to set a revenue target for the overall sales team and then targets for each individual sales team rep who will contribute to the sales team target. With the given targets you want the ability to monitor progress throughout the fiscal period.
To get the results you desire you will need to utilize a couple entities in Dynamics 365 and create a handful of records:
1. Goal Metric: this allows you to set the detailed measurement (amount or count) for the defined goals. You can create multiple goal metric records to measure different elements, revenue and number of panels sold for example.
2. Rollup Fields: the goal metric includes a section where you identify the rollup fields which will be used to track against the metric. You will define rollup fields which will be used to measure both the in progress and actual values.
3. Goal: the entity where you will define who is responsible for the goal, the metric being measured and the target. In the scenario where you are setting an overall sales team goal and then individual goals, you will create multiple goal records (1 for the overall cumulative goal, and then 1 for each sales team member).
All sales records identified will be rolled up against each sales agent’s goal, which are the child goals. Then the child goals will be rolled up to the parent goal, which is the overall sales team goal. You can then set up a dashboard with data components which display goal metrics, allowing you to sit back and monitor results as they start rolling in.
Setting up the native SharePoint integration in Dynamics 365 can greatly benefit your organization. SharePoint allows users to store files, organize them, and provide ease of access to their colleagues. One of the biggest upsides of enabling this integration is that SharePoint offers much more storage space then D365 Sales, so you do not need to worry about your D365 instance running out of storage, thereby incurring steep costs to increase storage limits.
D365 SharePoint integration allows records in D365 Sales to have their own folders in SharePoint, this ensures all files have their own place in the system. This blog will walk you through the step-by -step process on how to setup your D365 SharePoint integration.
Before you get started, ensure you meet the following criteria so the process runs smoothly.
- Dynamics 365 Sales License with System Admin Access
- Office 365 Global Admin Access
Once you have verified the requirements, log into your Dynamics 365 for Sales web client and go to the Settings tab, in the drop-down menu select Document Management.
In the Document Management screen, Click on Enable Server-Based SharePoint Integration.
This will open a pop-up window to walk you through the setup, first simply click Next to start the process.
Next select whether your SharePoint is Online or On-Premises, once done click Next.
On the next screen, enter your SharePoint site URL. Keep in mind your SharePoint should be under the same tenant as your D365 environment, once done click Next.
Once your site has been validated, click Enable and this completes your setup process.
Now that your Server-Based SharePoint Integration has been enabled, you can go back to your Document Management screen and select which entities should be enabled for SharePoint folders.
Click on Document Management Settings and in the pop-up window select the entities which you anticipate storing documents against and click Next.
On the next screen, you can define the folder structure. It is suggested that you choose Account, thereby creating the structure wherein the Account is the primary folder, and associated records fall as sub-folders beneath it. Make your selection and click Next.
Once this is done, click Finish.
That’s it! If all the steps were performed successfully you will now see a document option under your enabled entities which will allow you to store and manage files using SharePoint directly inside D365.
One of the newer modules in the Dynamics 365 family, Field Service, leverages the latest technology offered by Microsoft and combines it into one powerful solution. D365 Field Service is an integrated solution with your current D365 environment, enabling you to be field ready with your already configured environment, filled with customer data.
D365 Fields Service has tools to help organizations optimize their resources, effectively manage team members and automate work order creation to save you time and money. Field Service can even be used with IoT devices to alert you of an issue even before your customers are aware there is one.
In D365 Field Service, Work Order Management, Service Scheduling and Resource monitoring are 3 key capabilities provided by D365 Field Service.
Work Orders in D365 Field Service are records that track service jobs. Work orders can be created automatically based on set criteria from your opportunity or case records or created manually. Within a work order you can track specific incidents types, estimated time required to complete a job and create the bookings for the work orders With Work Orders stored in D365 you also can create rich reports to identify which phases of your services can be improved upon.
Scheduling Service has never been easier with D365 Field Service. With the Field Service Schedule Assistant, all you must do is specify your criteria and the system will find the best resource to get the job done. Field Service considers factors such as skill set, availability and even current location of your resources to help make the best decision possible. If you want to get even more efficient, you can setup up resource scheduling optimization to let the system handle all the scheduling for you.
Finally, Resource Monitoring gives your manager and dispatch team a 360-degree view of where all your resources are. The Field Service schedule board tracks your resources’ schedules and where they currently are based on job sites. The schedule board also displays the status of the job in different colors to easily distinguish the various statuses of jobs, from Traveling to In Progress to Completed.
DocuSign for Dynamics 365 brings all the benefits of the DocuSign electronic signature solution to your finger tips inside D365. With a seamless integration into Dynamics 365, you can access DocuSign functions directly from your form’s tool bar. Some of the key functions include the ability to sign and get signatures, track document status, and dynamically pull data from records.
The most known function of DocuSign is the ability to capture electronic signatures which are encrypted and secure, allowing for accelerated turn around on getting those all-important signatures. Consider all the sales transactions in your pipeline which are slated to close, why not simplify the process for you and your customers by providing the option to sign electronically. DocuSign takes the hassle out of the traditional pen and paper approach by allowing users to sign on any device and have it integrated back to D365.
An added benefit is that elements of your DocuSign documents can be dynamically populated from your D365 records. This is a real timesaver, eliminating the need for your team to customize the document each time it needs to be sent to a new customer. In addition to being time saving, it also eliminates human error along the way, providing you the confidence of knowing the document was sent correctly the first time.
A final noteworthy feature of the DocuSign/Dynamics 365 integration is the ability to track the progression of your email and document. This level of transparency provides 100% visibility into the entire process, affording you piece of mind every step of the way.
Did you know that there is an auditing feature which comes standard out of the box with Microsoft Dynamics 365? All you need to do is enable and configure it to your needs and going forward all enabled actions will be logged. Auditing allows organizations to easily track high level record changes, granular field level changes, and user log in within the system.
By default, auditing is not turned on in Dynamics 365, so if you are interested in this feature you will need to enable and configure your auditing preferences. D365 provides the flexibility to enable/disable auditing at the organization, entity and attribute levels. It is worth mentioning that to audit at the field level, auditing must be enabled for the organization and the entity.
Enable auditing at the organization level
1. Auditing setup is under the Settings Tile. Click on Auditing and go to Global Audit Settings. To enable auditing, if not ticked already, tick the box Start Auditing.
2. After either ticking the box to start auditing or confirming it is ticked, you will then need to choose specific entity categories that you want to enable auditing for. In this step, you are simply defining the entity clusters, you will still need to enable auditing for each entity you want to audit within the grouping. Do note that as you hover over each group, a tooltip appears which defines the included entities.
Enable auditing at the entity level
To enable auditing at the entity level, go to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System. Expand the Entities tab and select the entity that you want to turn on auditing for.
The Auditing checkbox is unchecked by default for all entities, once checked, you will be prompted that all fields in the entity are enabled for auditing. If you don’t want a field to be audited, you can either disable auditing on a field-by-field basis or mass select fields and edit their audit setting (enabled or disabled).
Check auditing history
Audit history is stored under each record, you can simply open a record in Dynamics 365 and click on the drop down beside the record on the top navigation bar. You will be presented with an “Audit History” where you can view all audited data changes.
You can also access a summary of all audited data by navigating to Settings > Auditing > Audit Summary View.
The ability to retrieve and display the audit history is restricted to users who have certain security privileges: View Audit History and View Audit Summary. There are also privileges specific to partitions: View Audit Partitions and Delete Audit Partitions.
The following list identifies the data and operations that can be audited:
- Create, update, and delete operations on records
- Changes to the shared privileges of a record
- N:N association or disassociation of records
- Changes to security roles
- Audit changes at the entity, attribute, and organization level. For example, enabling audit on an entity
- Deletion of audit logs
- When (date/time) a user accesses Microsoft Dynamics 365, for how long, and from what client
What if your most depended upon customer service rep leaves the company and no one else on the team has the level of knowledge he had on various topics? Or at the most granular level, wouldn’t it be incredibly useful if canned suggestions surfaced when opening a service case for a customer?
There is no reason to spend excess time and money researching and troubleshooting the same (or similar) issues repeatedly. Plan ahead and build a knowledge base which withstands the test of time (and turnover) and is shareable both internally and externally.
Knowledge Articles in Microsoft Dynamics 365 provide the ability to create articles with versioning and translation functions. Building a base of Knowledge Articles allows Customer Service Reps to reference and utilize the information to deliver accurate and consistent information to customers, while following the organization’s processes.
By providing access to the article directly from a Case record, the rep can link the article to the case, thereby documenting its inclusion as a step for resolution. Not only can the rep use the information as an assist to themselves, they can opt to share the article with their customer, who may prefer to “do it themselves.”
Knowledge Articles not only benefit reps, who now have answers at their fingertips, those that administer the articles also have something to gain. Analytics are measured which provide article insights for content managers. A couple key stats are how many views each knowledge article has, and the Cases which have been associated to the article. These statistics allow administrators to not only evaluate which articles provide the most value, but ultimately it may provide intel into where there may be a bigger issue which needs attention.
It is worth mentioning that the topic discussed herein is an updated feature which has gone through a handful of iterations throughout the years with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This most current version introduces some major improvements and enhancements over previous iterations. Do note, that while you can continue to use the legacy Knowledge Base Articles, it is good practice, and a Microsoft recommendation, to transition to the Dynamics 365 Knowledge Articles, as they provide improved capabilities and translation support. Microsoft has confirmed that the legacy Knowledge Base Articles will be deprecated sometime in the near future.
Ever wonder how your team can work more efficiently in D365? The answer is automation, and the number one tool to automate processes in D365 is workflows. Many of the simple (and complex) tasks users perform in D365 can be automated using workflows. Workflows evaluate given parameters and perform actions based on predetermined logic. Such an example is the automation of sending a welcome email when a new contact is created without you having to lift a finger.
Workflows in D365 are processes that typically work in the background to automate the flow of information. D365 Workflows are comprised of triggers, conditions, steps and actions. These properties determine the behavior which you want to have occur which impact your D365 records.
There are many functions you can accomplish using workflows in D365, below are some of the most common:
- Automate Emails – Send out Emails to accounts, contacts or users when a certain criterion is met
- Transfer Information – Automatically pass data from one entity to another entity
- Update Fields – Update fields value based on different conditions and field value changes
Dynamics 365 Business Rules help organizations achieve automation by performing tasks for users based on predetermined logic. This means less time entering data and more time making key decisions. Business Rules can also be used to enforce behavior by controlling certain field properties. This allows upper management to ensure proper steps are taken daily. If these controls are implemented properly, both the organization and users will see the benefit afforded through the configuration of Business Rules.
Business Rules in Dynamics 365 are a simple way to apply logic to your business data without the need for any code. D365 Business Rules are effective, yet easy to manage. The typical Business Rule follows the “if, then” statement structure and often contains two or more parts. The first part is always a condition statement where you state the condition which will trigger the business rule to take effect. The second part is the action, meaning once the set condition has been met, what action should be performed.
Below is sample Business Rule diagram to illustrate how a typical Business Rule is setup.
As you can see, the condition statement is checking the Estimated Revenue for an opportunity, if the Estimated Revenue exceeds a certain threshold then an account manager must be associated to the opportunity. Simple rules like these can help organizations improve their daily process and grow more effective to achieve their goals.
Business Rules in Dynamics 365 can perform an explicit set of functions against records. Below is a list of the actions and what each does.
- Create Business Recommendations: Provide users a recommendation on suggested next action
- Lock/ Unlock Fields: Lock/Unlock fields to control user input
- Show Error Message: Alert users when certain key information is missing or entered incorrectly
- Set Field Values: Automatically populate fields based on set conditions
- Set Default Value: Enter default value on normal conditions
- Set Field Requirement Levels: Enforce data capture to ensure fields are completed
- Set Visibility: Show and hide fields based on conditions
Now that you know what Business Rules are capable of, why not try creating one for yourself. Checkout our step by step instructional video on how you can setup your own business rules.
Microsoft provides a robust connection between SSRS reports and Dynamics 365, allowing a user to run a report providing a summary of defined records. To create custom reports though, you will need to have a high-level knowledge of SQL/XML, or hire a consultant to build the report for you.
Why not take matters into your own hands and build your reports using out of the box components in Dynamics 365? Dynamics 365 offers both Excel Templates and Word Templates, empowering you to create reports which best suit your business needs, using the application that fits the bill.
Excel and Word templates allow you to create and share templates, so documents always have a consistent look and the necessary details included. Excel and Word templates are easily configured by selecting fields from your starting entity (i.e. Opportunity) to use as dynamic values in both Excel and Word. Not only can you select fields from the entity you began from, you also have the ability to select fields from related entities which have either a 1:N or N:N relationship with the starting entity.
With the help of Excel and Word templates, you can prepare beautifully crafted reports, which include data elements dynamically pulled in from D365. Should needs change, you can always modify and upload the revised template into D365, allowing you and your colleagues to always have the most current templates at your disposal.
Some benefits of using Excel and Word templates:
- One-click away from summary reports
- Flexible formatting
- Save time and money
- Simple to configure
- Ability to use Excel functions to analyze data
- And so much more…