The Microsoft Power Platform can be integrated with Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations to allow you to automate processes, build solutions, and analyze data.
This blog will show you how to create, share and manage your apps, dashboards, flows and more while understanding the building blocks and how you can best use the Power Platform to support your business when integrated with Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.
Note: Even though most customers, commentators, and consultants still call it Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, Microsoft now technically licenses it as Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management.
More and more organizations are starting to develop an environment where teams and people can come together and empower the users of their organization to use the data that is available to them. Making the data work for you and being proactive in its effectiveness, as well as the benefits of what the data can bring to you, fall under this umbrella of digital transformation.
Digital transformation allows you to not only transform the way you do business and your operations, but also allows you to optimize that data for your external users and your internal processes. And at the same time, engaging your customers in a different, more meaningful way in the world that we live in today, as well as empowering your employees to be able to do more with the data that is there.
This idea of digital transformation has shifted to now include applications that can help and allow you to manage your business on the forefront.
Microsoft Power Platform
These innovative technologies are what we call the Microsoft Power Platform:
The idea of the Microsoft Power Platform really comprises five main components:
These components of the Power Platform work together in terms of the Common Data Service now known as Dataverse. Dataverse utilizes data connectors from multiple different systems to have the power of data in your hands.
This article focuses on how the system of the Power Platform can work with Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, but there’s a lot more power in this in terms of linking it to your Office 365 or Microsoft 365, other solutions within Dynamics 365, both ERP and CRM, as well as third-party applications
Power Apps gives you the ability to create and build low-code, no-code, powerful applications that generate an immersive view of your business. Not only can you create these applications through canvas apps, (which are more customized, build from scratch type of applications), or model-driven apps, (which would include some logic in it), but you can data model some business processes and utilize pre-built templates that allow you to access these applications.
You can embed these applications into your existing systems like Dynamics 365 F&O, or use these applications standalone, both externally and/or internally within your organization.
There’s a lot of power in creating and building these solutions. In fact, many of the Dynamics 365 solutions are built off the model and the architecture infrastructure of Power Applications.
Later in this blog we will show you an application, a Power App, that has been built in the Dynamics CRM system.
Power Apps and Dynamics 365 F&O
Within Power Apps, the ability for Dynamics 365 F&O systems can be utilized in different industries. Whether it be the financial sector, manufacturing, public sector, or private sector, there are many different ways for you to utilize this unified global financial data system to implement and include processes in your business. The value of those processes can be extended by using Power Platform.
Within Power Apps, for example, there are cases where you can build a whole line of custom applications within your environment, or create, for example, customer-facing or external applications that you can template from a model-driven or a canvas app.
You can configure Dynamics 365 to show you, for example, the status of various purchase orders in your environment, or through a Power App, that you can share with your vendors. And they can browse through your vendor records, for example, to help you process your business.
Another example could be if you were loaning out equipment to internal staff members, you can go through your loan equipment functionality or utilize your HR module and integrate the two together to build a Power App. That Power App, perhaps, scans barcodes on equipment that you can then loan out or search those loan records on this application as well. You can then connect Power Automate to send up alerts or send an email or put that data somewhere in SharePoint.
There’s a lot of different ways you can create Power Apps, whether it be for replenishments or for different areas and different modules within Dynamics 365. And again, it’s not necessary to have a lot of development experience to build these Apps because of the templates available to build off from.
Power BI gives you the ability to create real-time dashboards to gain insights, regardless of where your data lives within Power BI.
Dashboards can be created through custom visualizations, integration of live dashboards, or interactive reports that can be consumed, either on the web or on a device. Your dashboards can be integrated between all the different families of products within Microsoft and be infused, providing a real-time pulse on the business. For example, you can create a Power App, gain insights from that app, and present your data on a dashboard to make it meaningful and work for you.
You can create an executive dashboard or a one-pane view of your entire organization. Power BI integrates with the Microsoft stack with services such as Microsoft Teams, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, providing anywhere access to insights. Dashboards can be personalized to be aesthetically appealing while providing rich meaningful data that you can understand and transact from.
There is a lot of power in creating these dashboards and these reports to help generate, share, and collaboratively work together between all these applications.
Power BI and Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations
There’s a lot of power in creating, configuring, sharing, and pinning these dashboards onto your workspaces to gain actionable insights from the data that you’re capturing within your system.
This can be embedded within the experience of Dynamics 365, and you can analyze the data that is relevant to your systems in these modules as well. All these sources can come together with these applications and Encore is here to help you leverage the power of that.
Power Pages is a low-code platform that enables users to create external-facing websites, and it is the newest addition to the Power Platform. Power Pages websites can be used to collect or display Dynamics 365 or Power Apps data with your customers, partners, suppliers, and vendors. There are also some Microsoft tools for Finance & Operations built with Power Pages. The Supply Chain Center web portal and Intelligent Order Management are two examples. We expect to see more from Microsoft and its partners in this space soon. Talk to your Dynamics partner about whether leveraging tools like these could be helpful to your business.
Power Automate is an automating tool that allows you to create multi-step workflows that can automate mundane, rudimentary, transactional-type tasks across your organization, across the different apps and services that you have, and across the various systems and solutions.
You can integrate, for example, approval request processes, set up reminders and alerts, or take an email in and extract the data from that and post it in other systems that you’re using, such as a CRM system like Dynamics 365 Sales, for example, or within Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.
This all works together to create a process for you to automate your regular transactional tasks.
There are many different workflows that you can use and templates that have been published for services that are connected and related to Power Automate with Dynamics 365. You can use trigger events to automate a response, you can add workflows to directly work within Dynamics 365. You can use automation to create lists in other systems or take account data from your Dynamics 365 F&O and put it in Dynamic 365 Sales.
Of the attributes of Power Automate, there are many different data connectors that connect various systems together:
Power Automate Connecting With Dynamics 365 F&O
There are numerous amounts of possibilities in terms of what you can do with Power Platform. I’m going to share some examples of pre-built Power Automate templates available that you can utilize.
This workflow allows you to connect Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, to extend notifications to a task that you might have assigned to a person and a work item that needs to be done:
Access template here.
Between the connection of Dynamics 365 and Office 365, you can create trigger alerts and ensure that your flows can be executed between the emails and what needs to be identified in your workflows and operations to help support that as well:
Access template here.
This ecosystem has been constructed towards building these applications together and integration provides an immersive experience so that you have the power to do more with your data. You have the power to utilize these applications, and not waste money on developing or customizing. You can take the power that is already there, extend the value of the solution that you have, and incorporate the power of Power Platform and its applications to help you get there.
Licensing in Power Platform
For users who already have Dynamics 365 F&O, you can get licensing for Power Platform as well. It will depend on what licenses you already have, so it includes Office and other licenses you may have to better understand and advise as to what you’re trying to build and how you can get started on the licenses.
If you want to get a head start in Power Apps to learn more about the technology and play with it, you can sign up for a Power Apps Community Plan. It is a free plan, but the caveat is that you cannot use anything created within your production environment. This plan is designed to allow individual users to use Power Apps for free and get comfortable with it.
We also have another blog on our website regarding Power Apps Licensing.
Integrating Dynamics 365 F&O with Power Platform offers you endless possibilities of enabling users with low/no code applications, interacting with real-time data dashboards, and automating processes. Contact us if you have any questions about Power Platform and integrating it with Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.
How Power Platform Integrates With F&O
I’m going to share an example of the Power Apps five-star vendor rating app in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.
Embedding a Power App Canvas App into F&O
In Dynamics 365 F&O, on the all-purchase order forms, there is a Power Apps icon on the top right of the screen:
If I click it, I can then go to ‘Add App’. I need to add an app name and, in this case, it’s going to be called Add Vendor Feedback:
Next, I will need to provide an App ID, you can get this from your IT department.
If you have access, click on ‘Home’ which takes you to all the apps you have in Microsoft 365. I’m going to click on the Power Apps tile, which brings me into the Power Apps Build Hub, which is this entire website here:
What I need to do now is click on ‘Apps’ and then go to my first app, which is Add Vendor Feedback:
I’m going to click on the ellipsis button and then click on ‘Details’:
Going back into F&O, we can paste our App ID into the required textbox. Next, we need to provide the source context needed to pass through the Power App from F&O. In this case, it’s going to involve the purchase order. If you hover your mouse over the control name, we see we have the purchase order, which is from the Purch table, and we need the Purch ID field:
This is going to hold the information the Power App is going to need to execute. Lastly, change the app size from wide to thin, so it fits properly in the window.
I’m going to click ‘Insert’, and that’s all there is to it. We’ve just added our first Microsoft Power App that you can see when you click on the Power Apps button:
What we’re going to do next is add a second app. I’m going to click on the ‘Add App’ item again. This time, we’re going to select View Vendor Feedback, which is a different Power App that we need to view the vendor feedback that’s been provided.
Then we go into our Power Apps Build Hub and click on the ellipsis button, then select details, and then you’re going to copy your Power App ID back into F&O.
Now, the View Vendor Feedback is a little bit different.
The source of input context that we’re going to need here is the vendor account number from the purchase order. Type in vendor account and it will filter for us, select the vendor account. That’s from the purchase table, order account field. And that’s going to be the context that we’re going to use here:
And again, we’re going to change the app’s aspect size from wide to thin.
And so now, if we click on the Power Apps icon, you see that we have two Power Apps on the all-purchase orders forms.
The use case for these apps is to provide an easy way to get a star rating for a vendor without having to go through the full non-conformance or quality order process. Power Apps gives us this capability.
This app is easy to create because Power Apps is a low-code, no-code development platform. And by utilizing the F&O data connector in the Power Platform, we can easily connect and integrate data without having to touch the source code for F&O.
Adding Vendor Feedback
We’re now going to look at Power Apps. On the form shown below, I have selected a PO, and then I’m going to click the Power Apps icon and select ‘Add Vendor Feedback’:
What’s happening now is it’s retrieving the data from F&O, which is the PO number and the vendor account number, that’s why we see this information appear in the header:
In the next step, we need to provide our rating as well as the feedback for the vendor. So, I’ve keyed some data in before, but I’m going to modify my rating slightly to three stars. So now we’ve submitted our feedback and can go ahead and click ‘Submit’.
That’s how easy it is to give a feedback rating for a vendor.
Vendor Feedback in the Dataverse
Now, I want to show you where this gets saved. I’m going to take you to the solutions section of Power Apps Build Hub because the vendor feedback is a solution:
As you recall, there’s two Power Apps associated with that, and we have a security role for this app and the table as well:
This table sits in the Microsoft Dataverse. I’m going to click on ‘Data’:
It’s not showing me my columns so I will need to change to view to ‘All columns’.
Now, we have all the rows and columns available for you as the Vendor Feedback App.
Anyone who has access to the Dataverse table can do further analytics and reporting, if required.
Now, we’ll jump back to F&O, and we’re going to select ‘View Vendor Feedback:
This is going to show me the current feedback for this vendor, so the different purchase orders. You can see who submitted it, as well as the overall star rating and the feedback that they gave. You can also search for other vendors.
By clicking ‘View Other Vendors’ the search spyglass icon will appear. It shows the current vendor that we have. I’m going to search for a vendor by name, and we can then see the feedback associated with them:
As you can see, it automatically filters the details for your other search criteria. And that’s how simple it is to use Power Apps and embed them in F&O.
Sharing Apps in Power Apps
Next, I’m going to discuss how to share apps within Power Apps. This will be done in the Power Apps Build Hub, which is where we retrieved our two Power Apps IDs and looked at the Dataverse.
Sharing your apps will be very useful within your organization. Co-owners of the app will have the ability to share, this is done a couple of ways:
If we go to the Power App itself, and click the ellipses again, you’ll notice there is a share icon.
Go ahead and click ‘Share’, you can also perform this action with the share icon on the top bar:
Type in the email address of a colleague of yours and select that person. You will want to set them up as a user, but you could also set them up as a co-owner, if you wanted to give them those additional permissions.
You need to make sure that the colleague selected is licensed accordingly so that they will have access to the Power App to function properly.
Clicking ‘Share’ will notify them by email that you’ve shared an app with them.
For further details, watch this recorded webinar from 2021. Note that this video was recorded before Power Pages was added to the Power Platform.
If you have questions about integrating the Power Platform with Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, please contact us.
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