The Power Platform with Dynamics 365 CE (CRM) (Video)

The Microsoft Power Platform consists of four solutions: Power BI, Power Automate (formerly Flow), Power Virtual Agents and Power Apps. These powerful solutions allow you to automate processes, build solutions, and analyze data.

In this recorded webinar, learn how you can harness the power of data and discover the impact these solutions have when integrated with Dynamics 365 CE (CRM).

Transcript below:

Melissa: Hi there, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. We’re gonna be talking about the Power platform and how it works with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, aka CRM. So, we have Ziad and Pierre with us today. And I think Ziad is gonna start us off.

Ziad: Hey, thanks, Melissa, so much. Welcome everybody to our webinar again. And today, we’re talking, as Melissa said, about Power Platform and Customer Engagement, or the CRM application within Dynamics. And really, we’re gonna walk through, initially, the Power Platform and how you can actually create, share, and manage these apps and dashboards and automated flows, and understanding those building blocks to support your businesses, with use case scenarios that you can take back.

And then near the end of our presentation, we will also see a demo or a visualization of how that Power platform and what we talked about can actually be integrated with Dynamics CE.

Now, before I begin, I wanna talk about data culture. And data culture is something that needs to be developed to improve where individuals and teams can gather data, and benefit from that data, from the entire organization. And data culture is something that has really, over the last, I would say, two years or maybe a year-and-a half, has really been developing with, often, organizations going remote or online. And we’re noticing that there’s a lot of data that is available, but customers are having a hard time figuring out, or clients and businesses are having a hard time figuring out how we can effectively use that data and turn it into some meaningful conversations, utilizing that data that we can tap into to have self-service capabilities. Or turning that data into natural language queries and automations. Or taking the data that we’ve gathered over the many, many, many years of business we’ve been in and getting some actionable insights or visualizations from that data.

And what that does is when you’re able to kind of get that secret formula, hint, hint, you will get that today in this webinar, you’re going to basically be able to transform your products, if you’re using products for your organization. You’re gonna be able to optimize the operations that you have got, because the data is working for you now. You’ve got, you can empower your employees because now they have a clean user interface they can utilize and become more productive in their work. They can overall transform their user experience through the technology as well. And lastly, you can engage your customers. I wouldn’t say lastly, there’s lots of other advantages. But you can engage your customers in a different way than you have been, and in fact, a different way than we’ve ever had, as well.

So, it all starts with a very successfully created data culture, that essentially helps you transform a lot of this into fruition, as well. And this really, in my opinion, is the definition of digital transformation. And the way that Microsoft has pushed this out over the last few years of great success is through its Power platform. And Microsoft’s Power platform is really a vision that has four different applications that all work together towards a common vision. And those applications are Power BI. And we’ve done webinars and blogs and a whole lot of content on our website around this as well, for each one of these applications. Power BI, basically, being a business analytics tool, where you can create visualizations and really cool reporting.

Power Apps, you can build out low-code Power, low-code applications, basically, on mobile or desktop devices, any device really, without needing to hire programmers or data scientists or coders or anything like that. There’s a lot of citizen development that’s developed here as well. And then Power Automate, where you can actually take workflows and automate it. You know, those rudimentary or mundane type of tasks, you can create automations out of them, so you don’t no longer have to do them manually, as well as you can integrate across multiple different systems and applications and services that you use as well. And lastly, Power Virtual Agents, which really are intelligent virtual bots that can help you 24/7 be able to gather data and collect data using AI and other things as well.

Now, with all of these applications, the way they’re so successful is they can actually not only be standalone applications, but be linked through multiple data sources, through these data connectors. And there are hundreds and hundreds of data connectors for each of these applications that are out of the box, that you can kind of incorporate into these apps.

More on these applications, though, just so you have a clearer vision of what the Power Platform is and how it’s actually going to be utilized within your Dynamics environment, is these automatic workflows, or automated workflows, can basically transform your business processes. There are organizations out there that have become that much more efficient and effective by creating some of their processes, business processes, through workflow automations. And these flows basically work through a trigger, action, response. So, when there’s a trigger set in place, let’s say, an email comes in, it can now take an action to take the documents or attachments from that email and move it to, let’s suppose, a Dynamics CE opportunity, right? So, there are these actions and triggers that can essentially be created and worked on, to be able to have that work for you.

Now, another example, or other examples of how Power Automate can be utilized is approval processes. We’ve seen lots of different, whether it be expense approvals for operation managers, or it be nonprofit grant approvals, or it be a whole bunch of different industry experiences, you can have approval requests that are created through workflows and then, again, shared out that approval process from the workflow that’s built.

Now, the best part is, is some of these approval processes, you no longer have to build from scratch, because there are templated or out-of-the box or model-driven type of workflows that you can utilize, as well as just plug in your data basically. And so it’s really a matter of minutes for some of these, whereas others, of course, can be a little bit more sophisticated as well, as you need to. So, there’s a lot of scalability when it comes to these applications as well. And, of course, you’ve got the whole security model on each of these applications as well. So, you’ve got Microsoft Enterprise-level security on these components, so you’re sleeping at night more assured than ever.

Now, some attributes of Power Automate, as well, include, like I was mentioning, the ability to connect data from a lot of different services. And whether that be…you know, there’s literally over 300 applications, or 300 services and apps that you can connect to, including Adobe or Zendesk or a whole bunch of other applications that you can utilize, Salesforce, Dynamics, you name it, hundreds and hundreds of triggers. So, there’s lots of different out-of-the-box triggers that are created, that can be connected to your applications. You can actually reoccur tasks, whether it be tasks or whether it be options for scheduling or pre-scheduling, those kind of tasks. If it’s a monthly or weekly or bi-weekly kind of thing that happens, you can allow Power Automate to tap in there.

And, of course, there’s a lot of that seamless integration between not only the Power Platform family, but also things like Microsoft Teams, within Office 365, or we’re gonna talk about Dynamics today, or even Azure, for that matter. And we can address these maybe at another conversation. If you have more questions about how that can be utilized standalone, reach out to us individually, and we can talk about it as well.

Power Apps. This is your ability to easily create highly customized low-code applications across web, the mobile, you can embed them, you can have standalone applications. Really, the power is in the user’s hands, in order to how much they can develop from Power Apps. There is an immersive model that exists here, in terms of clean applications, modern applications that are created, again, that can be integrated to your data, and essentially help you be able to do certain things differently. For example, we’ve seen a number of apps being created, whether it be for a planner board, whether it be applications that are there for customer success, whether it be applications that are created for so much more, and there are, again, out of the box, pre-built apps as well, that all you really need to do is click two clicks and create.

More on that as well, though, Power BI, again, we’ve done a lot of content around Power BI as well. This is something that has existed for a while now in terms of being able to create data visualizations, have maybe a one-pane screen for your executive dashboard, where you can see in one canvas how your organization is doing as a whole. You can drill down on each of those components as well. You can search on the application. You can work through Excel columns and rows within Power BI. You can create a whole bunch of different visualizations, from live visualizations to colorful, very aesthetically appealing visualizations across your phone, tablet, laptop, PC, whatever you have, on the go.

I’ve seen users complementing Power BI’s ability to create dashboards and gather a whole bunch of different data and connect it into one dashboard to make, again, that data work for you, so that it’s meaningful in the way that you’re representing and presenting it. And you could do that, again, on the go. So, these really smart dashboards can be utilized to infuse the insights that you have in your data or in your organization already, and essentially drive action from the power that is there, as well. So, again, more on this as well, online, as needed.

Now, I’m not gonna drill too far into this as far as how you can transform this data into insights. But it is important to understand, both from a Power BI perspective, as well as any of the applications that we’re talking about is, the first step is to be able to get your data. And when you can get data and connect those data sources, you can really transform and shape and clean that data. And the cleaner it is, the easier it is on the application to be able to work for you. And, again, Encore does help with this component as well, so that it’s [inaudible 00:11:41]. There’s a lot of pre-work that can be put into this before you get your hands dirty on this stuff.

But you can connect those data sources, you can extend that service to be able to analyze that data that’s there, in, let’s suppose, Power BI. You can use Power BI as a dashboard that you can then publish out or embed on websites, or you can use these applications as a collaborative method, where you can put data on a dashboard and then collaborate across and communicate across your entire organization internally, right?

So, there’s lots of different models in terms of how you wanna be able to create those visualizations. And really, where Encore can kind of help shape this is to see which application is gonna be most suited for your needs, and where those applications need to be, and how we can map that kind of strategy out.

Now, how does that all work and play with Dynamics CE? Dynamics CE, again, is a cloud-based CRM, customer relationship management tool, that helps you drive sales productivity, improve your value for the marketing efforts that you put in, for the social insights that you’ve gathered, take all the business intelligence that you’ve got and run campaign management, and so much more. But from a perspective of what is a Power App and how does it relate with Dynamics CE? How can I make my customer engagement model…how can I maximize the value of my investment with Dynamics using Power Apps? Well, Dynamics CE is actually a Power app. It’s built out of the functionality and components of Power Apps itself.

So, you might have seen recently as well, if you went on to Dynamics, it actually says Power Apps on there. And so you can really create applications. You can build a whole CRM out of Power Apps. That’s how big the potential, or scale, is, in order to do that. Now, there are specific applications that you can build, that are maybe a little bit smaller scale, let’s suppose customer-facing applications that, again, can be templated. Some examples include, like, leave requests or customer success.

Here’s a screenshot of an application template that is there. As soon as you go into Power Apps, and you go into some of the models or templates that are there, you can see customer success or applications that are…really it’s a Canvas app, but all you really have to do is create this application based on the data that you’ve got, and it will create an active application for you to be able to utilize, and again, deliver value to your customers.

You can look at another one here for, that also connects with Office 365 and Dynamics CE, in terms of gathering customer insights. So, you can utilize this template to take the data from all these different sources, and essentially create insights for your customers as well, through Power Apps. Power BI and customer engagement connection between this is enormous in terms of the different possibilities that exist. But essentially, you can configure these dashboards and visualizations to gain those insights on a dashboard.

Now, you can embed Power BI visualizations on a Dynamics 365 dashboard as well, including that of CE. So you can then analyze the data that is there for sales, for example. Any data that is relevant to using your different charts and data tables, and so on, so forth can all be done within CE. You can also integrate not only new reports, but also existing Power BI reports that you might have created, and have those dashboards be published into Dynamics CE. For example, if you wanted to look at usage metrics from Power BI on one central hub, Dynamics CE can be that one hub.

You can combine that data with multiple data sources as well, so let’s suppose you had not only the Dynamics CE, but you had an ERP system, let’s suppose Business Central or another application, or F&O, which we’ll talk about I guess in our upcoming webinars as well, or other marketing applications that you might have, or any custom databases that you might have, you can actually integrate and combine that data with Power BI on the application of Dynamics CE and, again, make that data work for you. So, there’s lots of potential there as well.

And lastly, Power Automate and Dynamic CE. When using Power Automate, again, the idea here is to be able to integrate and connect a whole bunch of data sources, as well as automate some of the tasks, or automate some of the transactional type of components that are there in your day-to-day user’s life, as well.

So, in this case, there’s a lot of different ways you can do this. In fact, there’s different workflows that can be created to trigger, let’s suppose you had a OneDrive or Google Drive or SharePoint, any of these data management, file management connectors, you can actually use these and create a flow from all these applications to configure a trigger when there’s a new file that’s dropped into this folder, right? So there’s an automatic flow that will take place. You can move data from one folder to another folder, one device to another device, one application to another applications, as well, from this technology that exists.

You can also connect various systems through automated responses. So, let’s suppose you have any components, let’s say there’s an RFP that comes in. What does that RFP have to do? You can actually take that file from an attachment from an email, to a SharePoint, to a CE environment, and so on, so forth, through the various stages of your sales process, for instance. You can update customer data from Power Automate as well. So, as there’s changes that might come in, you can use workflows to be able to do that as well.

So, there’s a lot of different functionalities, different ways you can utilize flow to make your life easier in terms of your utilization within Dynamics CE. So, creating leads, creating those records, copying different accounts from different systems, between different Dynamics environments, between all these different applications and services, have that unified kind of experience that exists.

And I’ll end on this and hand it over to Pierre. The idea is to be able to create a unified experience between all these applications. And I guess the glue that sticks all of this together is Power platform. And without any delay, I’m gonna hand it over to Pierre, who will take on the last part of this, and show you guys the different ways that you can utilize Power platform with Dynamics CE. You’re about to see his screen now, and he’ll show you a case management type of situation. And it’s going to be very interactive and cool for you guys to see. Thank you so much, and we’ll chat again soon.

Pierre: Thanks, Ziad. And I’m assuming my screen is showing up okay.

Melissa: Yep, looks good.

Pierre: Perfect. So, thank you for joining us today. I’d like to call your attention to the components that we’re gonna be working with today. And what I’m about to demonstrate to you really only took about five minutes to complete. So, it’s very straightforward and it lets you extend your Dynamics 365 CE environment to your mobile device. So, what I’m going to be showing you is a push notification from the case, a customer service hub, to a mobile phone. So, if you think about different ways that you can implement these, it could be for opportunities or field service, anything like that, where you would want to provide your users the ability to get notified of items that have been assigned to them, so that they’re able to take more timely action to things, and don’t necessarily need to be tethered to their desk.

So, what we have here is, as you may be familiar with, the Customer Service Hub, so this is My Active Cases within Dynamics 365. And as Ziad mentioned, the Dynamics 365 product for CE is built on Power Apps. So, this is the Power Apps portal, and the Customer Service Hub model app is right here. I didn’t have to create this. By deploying Dynamics 365 in our environment, this Power App was provided to us. So, we don’t really need to worry about this part of the process. We’ll just go ahead and move on to the next area, and this is Microsoft Power Automate.

So, what I did is I created a flow using this Microsoft Power App invocation method. So, you can pick any mechanism you wish. I choose whenever a record is created, updated, or deleted in the case table, and the scope would be for organization. And the next thing we need to do is make sure to get a row using the User table. So, here, I selected the Owner value. And the reason I do that is because when a record is updated in the Cases table, the case owner needs to be the one to receive this push notification. So if you don’t do this step here, you’re not gonna be provided with the next bit of information you need for your Power Apps push notification.

So, here, we have this “Send push notification V2 (Preview).” And typically, I don’t like using preview features within production environments. But in this case, this preview feature is only sending a push notification to your phone, so it’s quite safe. I’m happy to recommend it. And then basically, I just told it, okay, the Power Apps is the item that I wish to invoke. You could also choose Field Service, or enter a custom value. But in our case, Power Apps is what we want. And we’re going to choose the Customer Service Hub. So, this is going to be the Power App version of this environment here, this view here.

And then, you can just, basically, primary email is why we needed to retrieve this user record, to say we want the primary email of the case owner to receive this notification. And then we just type this freeform text. It could say anything you want. So, in this case, one of your cases has been created or updated. And I also wanted it to open the app. And the entity is still, again, we’re going to be focused on the case entity, or table. And what I wanted to do was show the form, so I told it to show me the view of my active cases opened in the last seven days. And really, you can have it go in whichever part of the app makes sense for you, but that’s really what I wanted to do, just to kind of filter some of the details.

So, this experience here, this is my mobile device, and it is live. If I move the screen, you can see that. So, what you need to do from the mobile experience is, if you look at the bottom, we have the Google Play Store right here. So, what you need to do is install the Microsoft Power Apps program from the Play Store, or from the App Store, if you’re using Apple device. And then it gives you access to the…I’ll just tap that now, to launch Microsoft Power Apps. So, now you see we have access to the Customer Service Hub and all those other model-driven apps.

So, if I tap the three buttons on the far right, the ellipsis button, I have the ability to open or view the details of. Or in this case, I chose to pin it to my home screen. So, that’s why…I’ll just use my mouse so you can see, that’s why this particular item is here. Now, you don’t really need to pin it to your home screen, because we did tell it to automatically launch the app when there’s a push notification, but your users may want to have that button on the home screen, just so they can launch the app in a timely manner.

So, now here, if we go to a case, and this is just a case that I created. I’m just gonna quickly update the description. And so, then I’m gonna to hit Save, and I’m gonna go to my phone, and you should see a push notification come up in just a moment. And then what we’ll be able to do is once that notification arrives, we just tap it, and it’s going to immediately launch the app, and then… pardon me. I guess because I had gone into Power Apps earlier, it didn’t quite launch as fluidly as I would have liked, so we’ll just quickly delete this and try that again.

So, now we’ll wait for that push notification again. And here it is. So now it’s gonna go ahead and launch Power Apps, and then take us to the Customer Service Hub, and bring us right to My Active Cases opened within the last seven days. Now, I can go ahead and I can tap on any of these cases. And what it’s going to do is now show us the full view of the Dynamics 365 case management ability that you have. All right, let’s reconnect that.

All right, this will just take a moment to reconnect. And so, what you can see is you have the full case visible here. And if I click on this phone icon beside the phone number, it will go ahead and even activate the phone app on my mobile device, so that I’d be able to go ahead and just create that, or do that phone call with the customer. Okay, I apologize. I’m not sure why it’s disconnecting so much today. Let’s just get that reestablished.

And so now that we’ve got that reestablished, you also have the ability to go to a dashboard. And here you’ll be able to even see all the active cases that are within the queue, my activities, etc. And so, you’re able to just fully interact with your Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement System, and do everything you could if you were in the office, while you’re on the go.

So, that’s just a quick overview to just show you how quickly, yeah, within just a few minutes, you’d be able to extend your Dynamics 365 environment to your employees through their mobile devices.

So, I don’t know, Melissa, if there’s any finishing tasks or anything you’d like to discuss before the termination, the end of the webinar.

Melissa: I don’t think so. It looks like we’re just about at time. I don’t have any questions here. But just to let everyone know, we did record today and we will be emailing out a recording of this to everyone. And, of course, you can always reach out to us if you have any questions. And just wanna say thanks to Ziad and Pierre for going through all this. This was really great.

Ziad: Thanks, everyone. Take care.

Melissa: Okay. Take care.

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