Create a Power App to Extend your Dynamics 365 CE Data Using Microsoft Dataverse (Video)

Watch this recorded webinar to learn how to create and deploy a secure model driven Power App with your integrated Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement solution. We walk through how you can connect your data through Microsoft Dataverse, build powerful apps and automate processes, and extend the value of your Dynamics 365 solution with Power Platform.

Transcript below:

Melissa: Hi there, and thanks for joining us today. My name is Melissa. I’m a marketing specialist here at Encore. So today we’ll be talking about Creating a Power App to Extend your Dynamics 365 CE Data using Microsoft Dataverse. We’ve got Ziad Paracha here and Pierre Manaigre. Hi, there.

Ziad: Hey. Thanks so much, Melissa. So, today we’ll be talking about, introducing a little bit more of what Dataverse is, which is really a segment of the Common Data Model or Common Data Service that we formally know it as, as well as how Power App and the Dynamics 365 CE can work together in your larger solution. And we’ve done some webinars and content online that, kind of, is in series to this Power Apps and Power Platform integration with or extending that solution with Dynamics 365 CE.

So for today’s purpose, I’m gonna be going through just a few slides just to give you a high-level context, and then Pierre will show you a little bit more deeper in-depth, as well as show you a little bit of a demonstration of how Power Apps can be utilized in that capacity. The Microsoft Model for Power Platform really instills around four main applications. The one being Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agent. And all of these have various sources of data connectors and models that can be connected and implemented with, to be able to deploy a larger solution or extending your existing solution to be able to use these tools to integrate other components.

And one of the things that Microsoft uses is this Dataverse, which basically is this collective information that can be shared across all of these applications, as well as the rest of the Microsoft family of products and services that exist. So, the power really is in how much data is collected and what we can actually, you know, unlock in terms of its value or its ability to do certain things for you. Now, Power Apps, what we know Power Apps to be able to do is to create, you know, applications and connect those applications and datas whether these are custom build applications or custom tasks that you wanna be able to create a role-based Canvas App from and connect multiple sources, or it be an integration to an existing system, or it be allowing you to be able to embed those applications that you’ve created on the web or, you know, through a mobile or any devices.

The idea is to be able to create these immersive applications that can use the data that you’ve got and modify these business process, create some business logic, and be able to manage all of those apps as a solution, not only for those who are pro developers but also giving that to citizen developers or people that can, you know, create these applications without any development experience. And all of this integrates really nicely with many of the Dynamics solutions, and in particular today we’ll talk about the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE or CRM type of experience. And these business applications come together with this ecosystem in mind where, you know, you have this unified experience across all of these applications, whether it be the Power Platform, which I’ve got on the bottom here, as well as all of the other Dynamics solutions that you have and through the power of Dataverse, you can create that common set of development of logic, of other BI tools and access all of these solutions and extend those solutions in these applications as well.

So, with that in mind and understanding that the business can be, you know, essentially how you wanna create it, and you can utilize these tools to aid you in that system, I’m gonna pass it over to Pierre who’s gonna share in some more details around what Dataverse can do as well as how we can build these Power Apps with your Dynamics CE environment. Over to you, Pierre.

Pierre: Thanks, Ziad, and good day, everyone. Today we’re gonna be diving into a Dynamics 365 model-driven app. And, so before we quickly jump into that demo, I just wanted to show you two slides. I promise it’ll be brief. And, so as Ziad mentioned, the Power Platform consists of a number of different products, and we’re going to be focused specifically on Power Apps and Power Automate to a lesser degree. I’m just gonna mention it by name, and I just wanted you to be aware of that.

So, what does Microsoft have to offer? And the main capability of Power Platform is that it includes the components that Ziad had mentioned, and it’s all built on the Dataverse, but it’s more than just a database, and really what Power Platform is, it’s so scalable and it’s robust. So, this is the platform that Microsoft uses to build their first-party apps. So when you look at Dynamics 365 Sales, for example, what you’re seeing there is a model-driven app, and that’s what we’re gonna dive into today on how you can create your own model-driven apps, or even customize the existing ones that you have.

And so, all of that was built on Power Platform. So Microsoft is providing you the same tools they use so that you can also build robust, scalable, and secure solutions. And you can also use this to extend Dynamics 365, as well as Office 365. And Power Apps is the technology within Power Platform where we can create those applications, and there’s a couple of different application types. So, there’s a Canvas App, which if you’ve attended our previous webinars, you’ve seen what that looks like. So, that format is typically a smartphone format. And, so that’s what you’re seeing on the screen right now, and it’s also pixel perfect. So if you have a picture for example, and you wanna make it a certain size, you can. And a model-driven app, as I mentioned, is exactly like the Dynamics 365 apps that you see. And the experience in the App Designer is what you see is what you get.

So, many people compare Power Apps, Canvas App Studio where you create your Power Apps to something along the lines of PowerPoint and Excel, so that the different screens for your app, for example, are similar to slides that you’d have in a PowerPoint deck, and where Excel comes in is that it’s not just visual, you can also apply some logic in the form of one or more lines of code that looks similar to a formula in Excel. So here, if we look here, you can see this is one of the lines of code. And so if you’re familiar with this formula structure within Excel, then you’ll be very easily acclimated to the formula structure within Power Apps. And, so I’m just gonna close this, and now we’re just gonna dive into our demonstration here.

So, this screen that I’m at right now, if you’re not familiar with it is make.powerapps.com. Now, you need a certain amount of access and licenses…So, if you browse to this page and you don’t have access, you need to check with your IT department, depending on what you’re wanting to do, you’ll need…it might be included in your Dynamics 365 License for example, if it’s an enterprise license and, if you don’t have that, then you might need a Power Apps Per App or Per User License in order to engage some of what we’re gonna do here today.

And I just wanna draw your attention to first. So, if you go ahead and you click on apps and you think, oh no, like I know I had a bunch of apps here, but I don’t…there’s nothing more, I lost them, what you wanna do is check your environment at the top right here. And most likely you’re just on the default environment and you need to change to the Dynamics 365 CE environment, or your environment might also be called something else, perhaps your company name. And then now when I go to apps, we can see I have all my apps here. So, that’s the first point that I wanted to make, just so that we don’t panic about losing something that might have been gone.

And I wanna draw your attention to data and then tables, and we’re gonna be working with the account table today. And the reason I want to talk about this briefly is because Microsoft, as Ziad mentioned, they now call the Common Data Service is Microsoft Dataverse, so Microsoft loves name changes and tables used to be referred to as entities. And, when I take you into the Power Apps Model-driven App Designer, you’re going to see that the Account table here is going to be called an entity over there. And I just didn’t want there to be any confusion between the names that are being used here. So, now…and then columns, and they’re just making this more conventionally friendly for people, especially because we wanna encourage citizen developers to jump in and work with these things. So, people are more familiar with the concept of a table and a column as opposed to calling this an attribute, which is what it was called before.

And so, in the account table, we see a number of columns and these are included by default out of the box. And if you do have a Power Apps License or an Enterprise License, you can add up to 15 custom entities or tables as well, if you need to capture some different data, or you can also modify the existing tables here and add additional columns. So, we’re all familiar with columns and what those represent. And now, so relationships, those are specific to the record in the table. So for example, if you create an account, you know, there’s an account owner or a created by item that will create a relationship in this particular table.

And then we have business rules. So, here’s where you can set certain logic to do things that you might want to in terms of, say, an account is created and you might wanna set an automatic business rule that will create an activity for you to send them a welcome letter maybe the next day or something like that. And, so that way it helps to automate some of those. And views, now, if you’re familiar with Dynamics 365, and you look in, say, for example, the all accounts or active accounts area of the program, that’s going to be a view. So, if I go here to Dynamics 365 Sales, and I click on Accounts, and then I go to Active Accounts. So now this particular view is exactly what we’re showing right here. And the beautiful thing about this, as well, is any modifications you do to these views or forms, etc., they are going to be translated into all the apps that use this item. So, it’s not like you’re gonna have to make a bunch of different changes. Once you change this view, it changes it for all associated apps that use this view in the system.

And then here’s the form. So again, you know, you have your account form. So, if we go ahead and we browse into A-Datum Corporation, now this is the account form that we see right here. And now dashboards and charts are interesting. You saw one at the top of the page there, I’ll just quickly go back now. So, this is a Sales Activity Social Dashboard, and these are nice, but really any kind of chart or dashboarding that you’re going to be doing in Dynamics 365, I highly recommend that you talk to us about Power BI. The visuals are a lot more stunning. There’s a lot more capability for you to add data slicers and machine learning and other AI insights into those dashboards as well that you really just can’t get in this experience provided here.

And then lastly, we’re gonna look at data. And so here, if you recall, A-Datum Corporation, and you might’ve seen some of these other names as well, this is me looking at the actual data that is in the Dynamics 365 accounts table. And so now, what we’re going to do is I’m just going to quickly go back to the home button. And I’m going to show you how to get started with creating a model-driven app. So now here, when we go to the Apps item, then we click on New App. If you attended the other discussion that I had for Canvas Apps, you know that we created a new Canvas App by clicking New and then Canvas App, but now we’re gonna click on New and then Model-driven.

And so, we’re gonna wait for that to come up. And now, I’m maybe just going to call this my Sales Model App. And so you have a number of different options that you can do here. So for example, I’m just gonna use the default icon, but you can go and create your own icon and have that. And, you can also use an existing solution to create an app or go from scratch like we’re gonna do. You can also have a welcome page if you wanna include some type of description as to what the app is all about. And you can also enable offline mobile access. So, we’re gonna click on done. And then now it’s gonna bring us into the Model-driven App Studio. And this is where we’re gonna start designing the app.

So, the first thing that we need to go and look at is the site map. Now, this can cause some confusion as to what exactly this site map does or represents, and this is where we’re going to go and design the app itself. So, I clicked on the pencil icon to bring me into this area here. And there’s three elements you need to worry about. So, there’s a new area, a new group, and a new sub-area. And I’ll just explain what these items mean by showing you within the Sales App itself. So, if you follow my mouse to the bottom here, you’ll see that where it says Sales, this is where you define your area. So this is the main areas of your app. So you would have an app settings and sales insights and so on, so that is the area. And where the group comes in is where you group things together. So, here we have My Work and they’ve created sub-areas for Dashboard and Activities. So, same thing. They’ve created a customer’s group and they have accounts and contacts within there.

So, what I’m going to do is, we’re gonna create a new area and I’m gonna call…I’m just going to name this Sales Area so that you can see, when the app is there, what these items represent. And so here, I’m gonna say My Work Group, all right. And now, for the subareas, we’re going to go ahead and choose…So now, as I mentioned, here’s where the confusion is gonna start. So we pick Entity, they haven’t called it a table, and I’m gonna go and click the dropdown here, and I’m gonna choose Account. And then, the next thing I wanna do is click on plus, add another sub-area, and then I’m gonna go ahead and choose an entity again. And you don’t have to click the dropdown, I’m just doing that, but you can actually go ahead and just start typing. And so, here I’m gonna choose Contact and then we’ll add another one and we’ll go ahead and click Appointment, there we go. And so now we’ve created our site map for this particular app. And, I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to click on save, and then we’re just going to go and, just close this window right here.

So, now we have our Sales Model App and, you can also, you can go ahead, you can click on edit, you can click on play, although it’s not ready for us to use it yet. So, this is where you would go and you can modify your app or work with it, etc. This Bookstore App is one that I created earlier. So you’ll see that, we can go ahead and deactivate the app, it’s currently running. And so we’ll just go back to the next stage of the app creation. And so now you’ll notice the site map no longer has that red warning sign attached to it. So that means it’s happy with what we’ve done, and we’re gonna go ahead and start looking at Business Process Flow.

Now Business Process Flow is where you can create certain rules. So, for example, you’re creating an onboarding app with HR, and you wanna make sure that each step is followed specifically to the process rules of your business so that nothing gets missed and nobody can forget any particular item. And the reason that I wanted to illustrate Power Automate before I mentioned it by name is just because with Power Automate, you can add that to a business process. So for example, if HR has created a letter of offer, then you can have a Power Automate Hire and then maybe send a message to the person, the practice lead that’s doing the hiring so that they’re alerted that the letter of offer is ready to go and they could review it before it gets sent off to the prospective hire. So, there’s a number of different things you can do with it.

And so here, you can also limit how many business processes, or views, or forms, etc. are available. And I’ll show you that in just a moment, but we’ll jump right into creating a new business process. And this is hopefully not…okay, great. I was worried it was gonna take a little bit of time because it did this morning when I went through my first dry run, but…So, I’m gonna call this PRS Process, and then we’re gonna go ahead, and again, we’re gonna do this on the account entity, and we’re gonna go ahead and click okay. And then this is gonna take us into the process designer, and I’m just going to expand that so that you’re able to see everything.

Now, there’s a couple of weird behaviors within this window, and I just want you to be aware of them so that you don’t get hit with any of it. So, the first one is that you need to click apply every time you make a change. So, here I’m gonna call this…okay, so we’re gonna call this New Account, and then I’m going to hit tab. And then what I’m gonna do is click on the plus sign and add another stage. And now I’ve added another stage. So if we go back here, you’ll notice because I didn’t hit apply, it basically didn’t save my changes. So, now I’ve lost what I’ve typed there. So, you always want to make sure that you hit apply and when you are doing that, we’ll just go ahead, and again, we’ll make that change and click apply, there.

So, now we have New Account has been added. So, that’s good there, we didn’t lose our changes, and then we’re going to be clicking on Details. And now here’s where we have a data step. So, this is where you’re looking for a specific entry in order for you to go ahead and move on to the next stage. So, we’re going to pick a new step and we’re gonna choose Address 1 City, and you can go ahead and make this a required field if you want, it’s not necessary but that just shows you the different capabilities of the system and certainly ensuring that your business rules exist. So, we’ll go ahead and we’ll click apply there, and you’ll see Address City 1, as well as data step. It shows the field there, so I know that I’ve clicked apply.

Now, you can also go to components and…let’s see if this works for me now. I can just drag it to the plus and drop it, so that…I prefer to do that than interact with this menu, which can sometimes be a little flaky and not really give you what you need in terms of the ability to put a component there, like the menu often disappears, and it can get very frustrating. So, I don’t want you to fall into that either. And then what we’re gonna do is we’re going to maybe choose a step for Number of Employees. And so there, I just typed N-U-M so that I could easily get to that area. But again, you have the ability to just scroll through the entire list if you’re not familiar with what the table would look like. And so I clicked apply again. So, now we have Number of Employees showing there. So, we’re off to a great start. And what I wanna do is add a condition.

So, if I take this condition and I drag it, and you saw that plus sign appears there, so I’m gonna drop it right there. So, now the condition that we’re gonna go ahead and add is if the number of employees…so again, we’re gonna say is less than, and we’ll pick a value of 100. And so, here we’ll go and we’ll click apply. So, now this condition, the business logic says that if the number of employees is less than 100, then go to the final step. But if we have employees that are…if we have a business rather with a number of employees that is more than 100, I want to do some extra validation in there. And, oh, pardon me, I’ll go ahead and add this data stage and drop that. So now, if it’s not less than 100, we’re gonna go to this next stage.

And so what we’re gonna do is do a data step there. And, so what we’re going to do is we want to maybe ensure that we get maybe an account, Primary Contact Names. So, we wanna make sure that we get people’s primary contact name, and again, I’m gonna click apply and make sure that’s set there as well. And then, the next stage, we’ll just maybe do…pardon me, we’ll go for accounts, apply, and go to this data step, and we’ll just go ahead and get an account rating and then move on to the next stage, which will be finalize account, oops, and apply.

So, now we’ve created our business process flow, and what I have to do next is I have to hit save. Then once it’s saved, I’m gonna validate it. And if there’s no errors, then I can activate it. And so we’ll go ahead and we’ll click on save, and now I’m gonna click on validate. Oh, and see, we actually have a number of errors. So, I’m gonna go ahead and…I’m sure it’s because I didn’t click apply. So yeah, here we go. Data step, it didn’t hit apply there. So, we’re gonna go ahead and choose…we’re gonna go ahead and get that fixed up. First of all, it will do this account rating here. Okay, bear with me. Able to tie that. And, all right. Actually, we’ll just, we’ll get rid of this last stage here. I’ll just delete that, all right. And then…all right. And then we’re gonna go ahead and get that primary contact…or actually, wait, is this…?

Actually, in the interest of time, what I’ll do is I’ll quickly go to the process that I created earlier just so that you can see what it looks like. But here, if I go and I click on the Bookstore App, I’m just gonna edit it. And so, I’m gonna go to process, and so here I have a Number of Employees process, so I’m just going to click the edit button there. And, so here we have the process as it should appear. And so we have the account rating and the Address Primary Contact. So, as you remember we wanted to get the primary contact added before finalizing the account. And, so if I click on validate, then we see that there’s no errors, and then now I can click on activate, and this is gonna take a moment to activate.

And so basically, what we’ll do here is once this rule is activated, we’re gonna go ahead and close this and we’ll quickly jump to our Bookstore App. So if I click on Sales Hub, now you see there’s a Bookstore App. So when you create a Power App, a Model-driven Power App, it’s gonna show up in this screen here. And then, so here we have an icon that’s been changed and so on just to give you an idea of what’s possible. So, when I go into the Bookstore App, then we see Active Accounts and All Contacts.

Now, the reason that there isn’t all the different views available like there was within the…as you saw before, we specifically selected only certain views. So, if I click on here, I basically could uncheck all of these, and then only show, like, Active Accounts and All Accounts, for example, and then that way you only see those views. So, that’s how you can really manage your apps so that you really guide the users only to where you want them to be. So, if I click on All Accounts here, I have all these views. So then, now, because I’ve gone and I’ve reduced them to two, and then same thing if we go into Contacts, we can reduce those as well. And, I’m not gonna save it now because it’s gonna take too long to publish and refresh.

But what you can see here, if we go and create a new account, I’m gonna go ahead and show you how that business logic has worked. So, here we have the Number of Employees is the name of the process that I created. So, you see that the process is active, and so we have Customer Acquisition, New Stage, and Finalized Account. So if I type a business name, and I’m just gonna go ahead and click here, and city, I’m just gonna add Winnipeg, and number of employees, I’m gonna put five. And so, I’m going to hit save, and now it’s gonna save that record for us.

And so here we see the number of employees up here is five, and keep your eye on this New Stage item here. So, once I change the number of employees to a higher number, so I’m gonna change that to 5,000, and I’m gonna just hit save, you’re going to see that this is gonna change to Extra Love. So that way we wanted to…I mean the stage earlier was I wanted to give that extra love and have a primary contact in there. So, it’s just to show you how a number of conditions can be set so that you have different processes for different outcomes in terms of customizing your model-driven app.

So, that’s a very quick rundown of how to create your first model-driven app, which really you can get done quite quickly. And you can also customize views as well. Unfortunately, we’ll have to stop it there today and I’m gonna pass it back to Melissa.

Melissa: Awesome. Thank you so much, Pierre. That was great, and yeah, it looks like we can shut down for today. We don’t have any questions, but of course, if anyone has questions, they can contact us here at Encore. So, thanks very much, everyone. Thank you, guys.

Ziad: Thank you, guys. Bye.

Pierre: Thanks, everyone.

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Dynamics 365 CE (CRM) How-To eGuide

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