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Author Archives: Author, Purveyor of Collars & Tack for Canine & Equine Performances, and Dynamics 365 Global Black Belt at Microsoft

In this example we will show a number of different ways that we can manage integration using standard tools. We will start off with a generic SQL database, use LogicApps to send changes to a Service Bus, then use Microsoft Flow to send the data first to the Common Data Service and then to Dynamics 365 for Sales, and finally use the standard integration to update Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations.


SQL to Service Bus via Logic Apps

How it works…

We will start off with a simple database that is deployed in Azure to simulate a legacy system. In this case we deployed an Azure SQL database and loaded it with the Northwind sample data.


We then created a Service Bus within Azure that we will use to send all of our update messages through.


Using Azure LogicApps we can create an integration monitor that checks the Customers table within the Azure SQL database for new records and then sends a message to the Azure Service Bus when changes are detected.


Whenever a change is made then a message is triggered and a message is sent to the Service Bus.


Service Bus to Common Data Service via Microsoft Flow

How it works…

Now that the message has been sent to the Message Bus, we can trigger events to collect the changes in the Common Data Service using a simple Flow.


When a message is received in the Azure Service Bus the Flow will create a new record within the Common Data Service Accounts Entity.


Here is the new record that was created because of the flow being triggered.


Common Data Service to Dynamics 365 Sales via Microsoft Flow

How it works…

Now that the record is being created within the Common Data Service we can start disseminating it to the core systems. We will use Microsoft Flow again to send the new Account to Dynamics 365 Sales.


Once the flow is triggered we will see that there is now an Account record within Dynamics 365 for Sales.


Dynamics 365 Sales to Finance & Ops via PowerApps

How it works…

The final step to is to synchronize the data within Sales with the Finance & Operations Customers. To do this we will use the Business Platform Admin Centers Data Integration service which maps the data between the two entities.


The Data Integration project will periodically run and create the new Customer records based off the Accounts within Sales.


Within Finance & Operations the Data Management workspace tracks all of the Data Integration Calls.


We are able to see all of the activity and the inserts into the system.


We can even see all of the data that is staged by the integration service.


Now the Customer record is available within Finance & Operations.


Review

How cool is that?

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With Platform Update 14 a new feature was added that allows us to add in PowerApps directly into the forms. In addition, this was demonstrated in this presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3qyA1bH-NY

If you want to create the demo then here is how you do it.

How to do it…

Start off by opening up the PowerApps site and then click on the Apps link on the left hand side menu.


When the Apps page is displayed click on the Import package (preview) button link in the header.


This will open up the Import package page where we can start importing in the zip file. To do this, click on the Upload button.


This will open up the file browser where we will want to navigate to the folder where we have the PackageTracker zip file and then click on the Open button.


After we have done that, the process of importing in the project package will start running.


After the package has been processed we will be able to see all of the package information that will be imported in. Notice here that there is only a PowerApp and no data that will be loaded in.

Now we just need to click on the Import button.


After a minute, the project will be loaded and we will get a notification of the successful import. To see the app in action, just click on the Open app link that is in the Next steps… area of the page.


When the app loads we will be able to see the shell of the PowerApp.


Now we will want to link this app into Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. To do this we will need to find the application id that will point to the PowerApp. To do this, look in the URL and copy the app id which is the last part of the URL.


Now we will want to switch over to Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations and click on the PowerApps icon within the menu bar and select the Insert a PowerApp button.


This will open up the Insert a PowerApp form where we can start defining the app details.


Start off by giving the PowerApp a Name.


Then paste in the app ID that we copied from the PowerApp into the App ID field.


Next we will want to specify the reference field that we will pass through into the PowerApp which will contain the tracking number that we will looking up. For our example we are storing the tracking number in the Customer reference field.


Then we will want to change the Application size to Thin since this is a phone style app which is taller than wider.

After we have done that we can just click on the Insert button.


When we return to the form we will get a message to say that the page needs to be refreshed. So just press F5 and refresh the form.


Finally we will want to add the tracking reference to the sales order header.

Valid tracking numbers for the app are:

1Z48263893 (Shipped)

8F28103A73 (out for delivery)


How it works…

To see the PowerApp in action, all we need to do is click on the PowerApps icon in the heading and then click on the Package Tracker
link.


This will open up the Package Tracker PowerApp and show the status of the shipment.


Review

How cool is that!

One of the new features of the Common Data Service is to use Power Query to create custom entities that are linked back to external data. This data could reside in a number of different places, including OData queries.

The good thing is that Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations allows us to surface all of the data entities through the OData connection which means that we can use this to incorporate direct connections from the Finance & Operations into the Common Data Service entities and then those entities can be used by tools like PowerApps to create new forms and integrations.

Topics Covered

  • Creating Custom Entities from OData Connections
  • Creating a PowerApp using the Custom Entity

Creating Custom Entities from OData Connections

The first example that we will show is how you can use an OData feed to create a new Entity within the Common Data Service.

How to do it…

Start off by opening PowerApps and click on the + New entity link within the menu bar.


This will open up the Choose Data Service gallery where we will be able to see all of the different Data Services that we can choose to import the data through.

For this example, we will want to get the data from Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, and we can access that data easily through an OData feed. So we will want to click on the OData tile.


This will open up the OData Connection setup form where we will be able to start defining our OData connection.


Start off by pasting in your base URL for your Dynamics 365 Finance & Operation instance and then add /data to the end of the URL.


That will then allow you to select the data gateway… although I am not entirely certain that you need this.


And then we will want to select the Authentication Kind that will be used to connect to Finance & Operations.

For this example, we will want to use our tenant credentials and select the Organizational account option.


Now we will want to authenticate so we will click on the Sign in button.


This will open up an account sign-in form where we can log in with our tenant credentials.


Once we have authenticated our account, then we can click on the Next button to continue on.


This will take us to the Choose Data form, and Power Query will start reading all of the entities that are available through the OData feed.


After a little bit, we will see all of the 1800+ entities that are available within Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations.


We can filter out the entities to easily find the entity that we are looking for. So if we type in sellable into the filter the entities so that we can see the SellableReleasedProducts entity that will allow us to retrieve a list of all of the validated products.

All we need to do here is select the SellableReleasedProducts entity and then click on the Next button.


This will take us to the Power Query form where we will be able to see a sample set of data from the OData query.


Before we continue on, we will make a quick change and change the Name to Sellable Products to make it easier for the user to read and then click on the Next button.


That will take us to the Entity Mapping where we will make some finishing touches to the query.


We will start off by selecting the Load as new entity to tell the query to create a new Entity that used the query as a basis.


Before we continue on, we will need to specify what the index or primary field is for the entity. To do that we just click on the dropdown list for the Primary Name Field and select the index field.

In this case, we will select the ProductNumber field.


Once we have done that we can continue on and click on the Next button.


This will start the load of the data, and the creation of the data entity within the Common Data Service. When it says Completed we can click on the Done button.


That will return us to the Data integration page, and we will see that a new project has been created for us.


Creating a PowerApp using the Custom Entity

Now that we have created our custom entity within the Common Data Service we can use it within PowerApps by attaching to it as a data source.

How to do it…

To create a PowerApp, we will want to start off by selecting the type of PowerApp that we will want to create. To do this, we just click on the Choose a design mode link at the bottom of the form, and we will see that we can either create a Canvas or a Model-driven PowerApp.

For this example, we will click on the Canvas option.


This will open up the Canvas gallery. We will want to create the app from scratch, so click on the Start from blank tile.


This will open up the options for the PowerApp, and we can either create a tablet or a phone app.


We want to create a phone browser, so we will select the Phone icon and then click on the Make this app button.


Now we will be asked if we want to jumpstart the app by creating a form or gallery. For this example, we will want to click on the Create a gallery link.


In a couple of seconds, we will have a simple gallery app, that is connected to sample data.


We want to connect to the new Entity that we linked into the Common Data Service, so we will want to create a new data connection by clicking on the data connection and then click on the + Add a Data Service button.


This will open a list of all of our connections. If you haven’t connected to the Common Data Service already, then you will want to add a connection.

Here we already have a link to our Common Data Service connection.


This will open up a list of all of the entities that we have within our Common Data Service.


If we type sellable into the Choose a table filter, then we will be able to find the new data entity that we imported into the Common Data Service.


All we have to do here is select the entity and then click on the Connect button.


This will automatically map some of the fields – i.e., the Product Number.


But the Subtitle field is not mapped to the right field so we will just click on the dropdown list for the field and select the productname field.


Now the data looks a little cleaner, and we can click on the X to close the panel.


That will return us back to the canvas, and we will be able to see all of the data.


We can make the gallery a little bigger so that it fills the entire form.


And also we can browse down through the data, and we can see all of the data coming directly from Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations.


Review

We have just connected a table from Finance & Operations and integrated it into the Common Data Service so that it acts as if it is any other entity within the system.

How cool is that.

The other day I saw an example of how prospective vendors are onboard in Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, and the very first step was the acquisition of the initial vendor details, which was done through an Excel import and the Data Management tools.

Although this is an OK way to do this, I was wondering if there was an easier way that we could do this, and also make the vendor request access themselves through a web page.

One of the easiest ways to gather information is through Office Forms, so I created a quick example that shows how this would be done.

Topics Covered

  • Creating a New Vendor Registration Form
  • Testing the New Vendor Request Form
  • Creating a Flow to Submit the Vendor Request
  • Using the Form to Submit a New Vendor Request

Creating a New Vendor Registration Form

The first thing that we will want to do is create the form that the vendors will be able to use to submit their initial request for onboarding. And we will do this by just creating a simple Office 365 Form.

How to do it…

Start off by going to forms.office.com and click on the New Form tile.


This will create our new form where we can start building our form.


We will start off by changing the default title of the form.


In this example, we changed the form title to be New Vendor Request.


And then we can add a little more information explaining what the form does and what the users should do with it.


If we click on the image icon to the right of the name, we can also do an image search for a logo that we want to add to the form.


Now that we have done that we can start adding our questions. To do this, just click on the Add question button.


Now we can select the type of question that we want to add. In this example, we will select the Text option.


That will add the question template for us.


We will set the first question to Vendor Name.


Now we can add a second question by clicking on the Add question button again. This next question will be for vendor segmentation, so we will choose the Choice option.


This will open up a different type of question format. We will start off by setting the name of the question to Vendor Type.


Then we will add all of the different vendor types that we want to ask for.


Now we will add a couple more questions. So just click on the Add question button again.


Then click on the Text option.


Set the Question name to Remittance address and for this field, check the Long answer option so that we can have multiple lines.


We will add one last question so just click on the Add question button again, and then select the Text option.


We will set the question name to Corporate address and also make this a long answer as well.


We can spiff things up by clicking on the Themes button in the menu bar and selecting a more exciting theme.


Testing the New Vendor Request Form

Now that we have created our form we can test it out.

How it works…

If we click on the Preview button, the form will open up just as the vendor would see it and we will be able to see all of our choices.


We can start off by entering a Vendor Name.


Then we can select the Vendor Type. In this case, we selected the Other option and was able to write in our type of service.


Then we can type in our Remittance Address.


And then our Corporate Address.

After we have done that we can just click on the Submit button.


This will submit the form to us.


If we want we can see all of the submissions by clicking on the Responses tab.


Creating a Flow to Submit the Vendor Request

Now that we have checked that our form looks good and works we will want to link it to Dynamics 365, and we will do that with flow and trigger an event based on the form being filled out.

How to do it…

We will start off this step by opening up the Flow site and then click on My flows.


This will show us a list of all of the flows that we have created and we can create a new one just by clicking on the Create from blank link.


We will see the suggested connectors, but Forms is not one of them so we will want to expand our search and click on the Search hundreds of connectors and triggers button.


This will allow us to search through all of the connectors.


All we need to do is type in forms, and we will be able to click on the Microsoft forms connector.


There is only one trigger for the Forms connector, so we will click on that one.


That will create our trigger event in Flow.


If we click on the drop-down for the Form Id and we will be able to see the New Vendor Request form that we just created.


Now we want to grab the details from the form, so we will click on the Next step button.


Then we will click on the Add an action button.


This will open up a list of all of the connectors.


We can filter down the actions by typing in forms and then selecting Microsoft Forms.


There is only one action that we can select from, and that is to get the details from the responses.


That will add the Get response details action.


We will want to click on the Form Id drop-down and select the New Vendor Request form again.


Then we can click on the Response Id and add the response id from the previous step.

Now we will want to add an action to update Dynamics. To do this, click on the Add an action button again.


This will open up the action selector.


This time, filter the actions to Dynamics actions and select the Dynamics 365 for Operations connector.


Then select the Dynamics 365 for Operations – Create record action.


That will add an action to the flow that will allow us to create a new record of Dynamics.


Click on the Instance drop-down and select the Finance & Operations instance that you want to update.


Then search through the Entity name list and select the ProspectiveVendorRegistrationRequests entity.


This will allow us to fill in the required fields for the prospective vendor from the responses in the form.

All that is left to do now is to give our Flow a name – here we set it to New Vendor Submission and click on the Create flow link.


Using the Form to Submit a New Vendor Request

Now that we have created our flow we can test it out.

To do this, start off by returning to the preview version of the Form.


Then fill in all of the information for the new prospective vendor, and click on the Submit button.


This will submit the form.


It will then trigger a flow to be performed.


We can drill into the flow and see that it successfully created the record in Dynamics 365.


If you don’t believe it, then just go to the Prospective vendor registration requests form and you will see that there is a new record there.


Review

How cool is that? We used a simple form within Office 365 to capture information and then used Flow as the integration tool to update Dynamics 365. That is too easy!

Power BI has an option to create scannable QR codes that link to the reports and dashboards that you have published in the Power BI workspaces. These QR codes can then be scanned through the mobile clients, and the user will be taken directly to the report, tile, or dashboard.

 

How to do it…

 

To start off, we will link one of our KPI’s that we have on our dashboards to a QR code. To do this, we will want to select a tile and select the Open in focus mode option.


This will open up the KPI, and we will then be able to click on the link and select the Generate QR Code option.


This will create a QR code for us that is linked to the KPI. To save the code, just click on the Download button.


Then you will be able to save the QR code away to your desktop.


Now we can open up the file and print out the code.


 

How it works…

 

To see this in action, all we need to do is open up the Power BI Mobile app and select the Scanner option. This will open up a scanner that we can then use to read the QR code.


All we need to do now is to scan the QR code that we printed out.


That will take us directly to the KPI that we created the KPI for.


From there we can drill back to the Dashboard that the KPI was on.


We can even drill into other tables and charts on the dashboard.


And if we want we can even see the report that we used to create the Dashboard from.


 

Review

 

Creating QR Codes that are linked to PowerBI Dashboards, Reports and Tiles is a huge feature. You can use this to link your reports to physical locations.

For example, you can create a dashboard that shows all of the metrics for a particular piece of machinery and then attach it to the machine. All you need to do to see how the machine is performing is just to scan the QR code with your phone. How cool is that?

Power BI allows us to create embeddable versions of any of our reports that we are able to share with others through links and also embed within websites and applications through an iFrame control.

How to do it…

To start off, we will want to open PowerBI and find the report that we want to share as an Embedded report.


Now we will want to publish the report to make it embeddable.

To do this, just click on the File drop-down menu and select the Publish to web option.


This will make the report available as an embedded report and will also create a link to the report that you can email to people and also it will give you the embeddable iframe HTML code that you can use to embed directly into websites.


After you have created the embed codes, you can access them by clicking on the Settings icon and then selecting the Manage embed codes option from the drop-down menu.


This will take you to a view where you can see all of the embed codes that you have created.


To see the codes again, just click on the and select the Get code option.


This will show you the same form that we saw when we created the embed code, along with the URL and the iframe code.


How it works…

To see this in action, all you need to do is copy the URL and paste it into a browser.

Keep in mind that this is a publicly available report now and anyone with the embed code or URL will be able to see this report.


Review

Being able to publish out or reports as embedded reports gives us a very easy way to publish the reports without allowing users to edit the details. This is ideal for internal websites, and also if we just want to embed the reports in our own applications.

PowerBI Online has a great feature within it that allows the users to create dashboard tiles just by asking questions, and this has always been a crowd pleaser to show to the users.

But if you have been using the PowerBI Desktop to create your reports then you have had to do this the hard way by manually selecting the fields.

Great news. There is a Preview feature that is now available within PowerBI Desktop that adds that same natural language query option that is available within PowerBI Online, but now it is within PowerBI Desktop.

In this article we will show you how to enable this feature and also how it works.
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