Gary: Well, thank you, Melissa, for setting this up. I appreciate that. And thank you to everybody who has joined this webinar. I appreciate that. We’re going to spend some time today talking about MS Flow. And my name is Gary Harrison and I’m a D365 consultant for Encore Business Solutions. And I’ve been working with Dynamics CRM since version four. And I couldn’t be more excited about the growth of the product and its extensive ability with other services via MS Flow. MS Flow is a great addition to the Microsoft tool set. As Melissa mentioned, as we’re going through this webinar, if you don’t mind, to save your questions and comments towards the end. We’ll have some time there at the end to go over some of those. So thank you very much.
Before I get started, I just wanted to give things out to a few individuals one of those is Debra Ward, who is the D365 practice inside sales for Encore. She’s the one that essentially initiated this webinar. So thank you, Debra. And also to Melissa and Tess from marketing here at Encore. They’re the ones that helped kind of get things together and organize this actual webinar. So thank you. And Patty Schreiber, she is the D365 practice lead here at Encore and she’s provided a lot of support and also to my D365 fellow consultants. So they’ve been great support and help and always enjoy working with them.
So I just wanted to mention about who this webinar really is for. So we’re talking about using Microsoft Flow with Dynamics 365. This really is a bare bones introduction to Microsoft Flow. If you have intermediate or experienced with Microsoft Flow, this webinar will be more of a review for you. And so really, we’re just going to talk about some of the base concepts of Microsoft Flow and then we’re going to see some examples here in a little bit.
So as I mentioned, we’re going to provide an introduction to MS Flow. And we’re going to view a few live examples. And even though Flow can connect to a myriad of services, today what we’re going to focus on is really how MS Flow can support Dynamics 365 customer engagement. We will go through some PowerPoint slides for a portion of this webinar. And then we’re going to take a risk and we’re going to go to the internet and we’re going to try some of these examples out and hopefully, everything will work out fine. Okay, so these are some of the topics that we’re going to cover this afternoon and is basically what is Microsoft Flow? What can it do? How can I use it? How do I access it? What are connectors? What are templates? What are triggers and actions? And then we’re going to see it actually in action.
So what is Flow? Flow is…I apologize. My GoToWebinar thing is right in the way so we’re going to see if we can shrink that at all. All right, perfect. So Microsoft Flow is a Cloud service that helps you to connect to two or more apps or services. So for example, you can synchronize files, you can get notifications, you can collect and move data. So one way to think about MS Flow is that it carries or flows data from one service to another. You can also flow commands or messages. And I tried to think of an analogy to compare MS Flow and what I came up with is your average phone system. And so as you know, you can go to your house or to a place of business and you can pick up the phone and you can call somebody. But also, you possibly have a mobile phone and you can also call somebody. But it’s not just that you can have a voice conversation, but you could also send a text or you can send a fax.
And so how that relates to MS Flow is MS Flow can do a lot of things. You are sending data or information from one point and it’s being received at another point. The nice thing about MS Flow is it’s not just sending and receiving, but you can also have commands and executions that are part of this as well. So Flow is built on top of Azure Logic Apps. They share the same workflow designer. They also share the same connectors. So the nice thing about this is you can start with MS Flow. And if complexity increases with that Flow, you can convert it to an Azure Logic App. So you’d be able to build at a basic level. And then as things increase, complexity increases, demand increases, you have the ability to change that to an Azure Logic App.
So what are some things specific examples of what MS Flow can do? Well, some of the things that it can do, again, specifically related to Dynamics 365 is that it can create records in the 365 system. You can move and synchronize files with an online storage, whether it’s SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox, or box.com, anything of that nature. You can schedule tasks or recurring events. You can send emails, text messages, or you can forward emails. You can actually save email attachments from your D365 system to an online storage. You can receive notifications, for example, if a PDF document has been signed. You can create events in online services like Google Calendar.
So when would you use this for your organization? Well, it really depends on what the need is that you’re trying to meet. But some specific examples and actually some of these we’re going to cover here in just a little bit. But specific examples of when you can use MS Flow is if you want to move data from Cognito Forms two Dynamics 365. Cognito Forms and we’re going to look at this in a little bit but it is the tool that allows you to embed forms into existing website. So when a user goes to that form and submits data, that data can go through MS Flow into your Dynamics 365 system. You can also synchronize Dynamics 365 appointments with a Google Calendar. You can retrieve the latest exchange rates. You can move Dynamic 365 attachments to an online storage. And you can create some custom folder structures in SharePoint if that is needed.
So how do you access MS Flow? There are several ways and we’re going to cover just a few but you can actually go to flow.microsoft.com. And here, as you can see, you can sign in if you already have an account and that would send you to the homepage of your login account and you will be able to access your flows that way, you would be able to create new flows, you could be able to monitor your flows. And we’re going to get into that here in just a little bit.
You can also access MS Flow through Office 365. This screenshot right here is actually from Dynamics 365. And then you click on the Office icon, and then you can navigate to MS Flow that way and that would take you to… And another way is through Dynamics 365 itself. This is a screenshot looking at a list of accounts and you can see the drop down menu there. One of those items is Flow and you have a couple of options there. So now we want to look at too some of the components of MS Flow and I’m going to shift out of the PowerPoint system and we’re going to go to the web here. And Melissa, let me know if things are not showing.
Melissa: Looking good so far. I actually have a question. Do you have time for one right now or should we wait till the end?
Gary: No, I have time. Perfect.
Melissa: Okay. So someone is asking, “Can we use flow and D365 for AX ERP?
Gary: I believe so. I don’t have a AX experience. But because it is an online service and that’s one of the features of MS Flow is that it can connect several online services together.
Melissa: Okay, thanks and everything looks good on screen.
Gary: Excellent, thank you. So here is Flow website. So it’s flow.microsoft.com, and we’re just going to going to look at a couple of the main items and the first thing that we want to look at is connectors. We’re going to see a very long list of connectors here. I’ll just slowly scroll through here, give you a chance to look at some of the options available. And as I’m scrolling through, one way to think of connectors is it’s kind of like a key that gives you access to whatever system. So I’m just going to look at Bing Maps here. So this connector is essentially a key into a Bing Maps service. And so it gives you access into this and once you have that access, you have the ability to create a flow that has this component. You can create or use triggers and actions to do what you need it to do.
So as you can tell, it’s quite an extensive list of connectors. These are the pre-built connectors that are already available that you can tap into. But then you can also have the ability to create your own custom connectors as well. We’ll scroll down just a little bit more. So there’s quite a few there. I’m not sure what services you have, but I definitely encourage you to go to the Flow website and see what they have available.
Okay, so continue with connectors. I wanted to look at some specific connectors related to some of the components that we’re going to talk about today. So I’m going to just search for dynamics. We’re going to get a filtered list of connectors. And as you can see, there are some connectors here related to dynamics and this is the actual Dynamics 365 system but they also have NAV. They have Business Central operations as that as well.
Okay, now we’re going to look at some SharePoint connectors. And there’s just one right here. But again, this is a prebuilt connector that you can tap into and use for flows that you need to build. We’re going do kind of a broad search for Google. What we’re going to focus on for this webinar is the Google Calendar. But as you can see, there are other connectors as well for Google. Okay, now we want to explore templates. It’s kind of the same process is there are a lot of templates that are prebuilt and we’ll just quickly scroll through here and then we’ll do a search for some specific ones.
And so how you can think of an MS Flow template is kind of like an email template. If you’ve ever used one of those, is you can open up an email template and possibly the from, the to, the subject, and maybe even the portion of the body is already filled out for you. And so you don’t have to go through those steps time and time and time again. And so that’s kind of how MS Flow template works is you have kind of the basic structure of a flow ready for you and you have the ability to modify, change, add to, or take away from it once you get into that flow.
We’re going to search some templates for Dynamics 365. Let’s go through it here real quick. I find myself looking for the icon for the program to quickly find what I’m looking for. Okay, we’re going to look at some templates for SharePoint. So if you’ll notice, you’ll see an order of icons and this gives you a general idea as far as the sequence of the MS Flow and how it works. But again, once you open up this template and begin working on your flow, you have the ability to modify as needed. And one last one, we have Google, and I’m going to narrow this down just a little bit more to the Google Calendar. So here are some templates that you can tap into that are related to the Google Calendar.
So if you’re learning in MS Flow, one strategy that you can do is once you have your Flow account and you can log in is just start with a template and begin creating the flow and then you can go into the individual components and you can explore how those templates are designed. You can see the triggers and the actions the data that’s involved. It’s a great way to learn MS Flow.
Melissa: We had another question come in. Do you want to take that one?
Gary: Yeah, absolutely.
Melissa: Okay. Says, “Hi. Can you please show more about getting notification when a PDF is signed?”
Gary: Sure. That will probably take us outside of this webinar. But again, you just do a search for template and it may or may not exist exactly how you want it. But you can find a template that relates to what you’re trying to achieve. And then you can go in there and you can modify it, if necessary. Let’s try this. We’re going to go PDF and, yeah, I don’t think we’re going to find the results exactly for that. But one thing actually, Melissa, that I wanted to mention is that is there a way to have a follow up for those that are participating in the webinar? I do have a list of resources that I would like to send out to them. And so maybe what we can do for some of these questions that we can’t answer right now is we can find an answer and then along with those resources, we can send those out.
Melissa: Absolutely, yes. I’ll send out a recording after to everyone and then, yeah, just let me know. I’ll include any resources or any answers in that email.
Gary: Sure. And I haven’t specifically ran through that particular scenario. So yeah, I know it’s possible but it’s just, you know, finding it right off the bat and then trying to go from there. That can be kind of a challenge. And you can always go to your favorite internet search, whatever that is, and there’s probably a good chance that somebody has already achieved what you’re trying to accomplish. And the community is very generous in their knowledge and they’d like to share. So you can always do that as well. But after this webinar within the next couple of days, I will look into that. And if I find anything that’s valid, I will definitely send that out.
Okay. So we’re going to actually jump back into the PowerPoint here real quick. And we’re going to talk about triggers and actions. So once you have your flow started, you need to be able to define what does that flow do? What actually triggers the flow to start? And once it’s triggered, what does it actually do? Those are triggers and actions. So triggers really are events whether that is, for example, like a push of a button or maybe it is a timer event, it could be anything of that nature. And so that actually starts the flow. And so you can think of it like turning an ignition on in a vehicle. That is the trigger to actually start the automobile. And then actions are what the flow will actually do. So it creates a record, it deletes a record, it moves a file, it sends a notification. And so those are actions. And so these are the tools that you work with with MS Flow to build what you needed to do.
And so we’re going to take a look at some of the triggers and actions. This will make more sense once you get to see some of them actually in practice. So here we’re talking about mainly Dynamics 365 triggers and actions. And so some of the triggers are when a record is created, when it’s updated or deleted, and then when that event happens that trigger, or what are some of the things that you want it to do? Over to the right, we have the list of actions where you can create a different record, you can delete a record, you can get a list of records, you can update a record. And so that kind of gives you a better sense of what a trigger is versus an action.
Thinking about SharePoint also has triggers and actions is some of the triggers are when an item is selected or a file is created or deleted or modified. Some of the actions for SharePoint is that you can add an attachment or you can copy a file or you can create a file. Some triggers and actions for the Google Calendar is when an event is added to a calendar or when an event is updated or when it isn’t starts, some of the actions is kind of the same thing. You can create, you could delete, you could retrieve, you can provide a list. So these are some good examples of what triggers and actions really are for MS Flow.
So now we’re going to jump back into the web and we’re going to go through a couple of examples. So our first example is the embedded form that I was talking about earlier. And so this is a website and I’m going to click on this link and all it does is it drops down on the page. And so here, you know, I’m just going to scroll, it’s a just a web page. This is a sample has a particular style sheet applied to it. And right here from basic contact form all the way down here, this is the embedded form by Cognito. And so you can go into the Cognito Forms website, you get an account, you can create the form, and you can publish it. And then on this website in the background, you basically apply some HTML that represents that form that you created in CRM. And so the idea is that when a user comes to your website and they fill out this information that it can be synced or pushed to your Dynamics 365 system. So we’re going to see that in action.
Okay. It’s always fun creating data while people are watching. So I’d like to receive some info about your new products for 2019. Okay, so we fill out the form and then we will click Submit. And so at least on the website side of things, it just says, “Thank you for filling out the form,” and then you’re done as far as that goes. So now we’re going to do, we’re going to jump over to Dynamics 365. And here we are on the leads page and so we have the list here. And I’m going to refresh. And as you noticed, that was pretty quick. So from the website through Cognito Forms through MS Flow, we had the data pushed into Dynamics 365. So that’s really cool.
And so real quick, what we’re going to do, we’re going to jump into actual flow and we’re going to look at what happened with that. So here we have the flow that was just used, Cognito Forms to Dynamics 365 and this list right here has more options. And I’m going to click on Run History. And so this tells you all of the things flows that have run for this and whether it has succeeded or whether it has failed. And the nice thing about this is I can go into this flow and I can see details about what happened. So not only do we see the construction of the flow, so the trigger is that a new form was submitted by Cognito. And then, one of the actions is that a record was created at Dynamics 365. And so you notice these green check marks. This is good, green is good. And so this tells you that these steps within the flow completed successfully. So we can click on here and we’re just going to do this for the first one, to kind of give you an idea what it looks like. You get to see some of the data that was passed as the flow was being processed.
So here we have in information about the host, we have the body of the output. So we have some information about Cognito. And then we have actually the information that I entered into the form. So we have Jane Smith, and we have the address. And so you can go through there. So this is a great diagnostic tool. If the flow failed, you would be able to see some error messages. And you could validate that against the data that was submitted. And then you could be able to identify really what the problem was. So let’s scroll down here to the other component, and that’s create a new record in Dynamics 365. So again, it has that same information and then as it’s going through, it’s just telling you that this is the information that was passed on to Dynamics 365. So Melissa, I’m going to stop for this first example just to see if there are any questions about this one right here.
Melissa: Sounds good. I’ll keep my eye on the question pane and nothing else is coming yet.
Melissa: Okay, we’ve got one here, actually. Okay. So and when it comes to data retrieval from D365, what’s your opinion about the difference between using Power BI dataflow and using Flow? It’s a bit of a long one, do you want me to read it again?
Gary: No. Yeah, I’m just trying to absorb. So the Power BI dataflow is that…what you mentioned?
Melissa: And when it comes to data retrieval from D365? What’s your opinion about the difference between using Power BI dataflow and using flow?
Gary: Power BI dataflow. It really depends on the two or the multiple systems that you’re trying to essentially connect. Obviously, a Power BI that is specifically for Power BI. And off the top of my head, I don’t know if that can be used for other resources. But the nice thing about Flow is that as you can, you know, remember from the templates that we looked at and the connectors that we looked at is that it has the ability to connect so many different resources. So my initial answer is it really depends on what the objective is and the tools that you’re working with. If you need to connect to several different services or apps, flow might be a better option. But again, I am not that familiar with the Power BI flow. I’m not sure what the limitations are on that.
Melissa: Okay, that’s it for questions right now.
Gary: Okay. All right. So that was the Cognito Forms example. And what I want to do now is I want to go into Jane Smith’s record. So we’re back in Dynamics 365. And so I read Jane’s information here and I saw what she wanted to do, that she wants to see some new products for Dynamics 365…oh, sorry for the company, Northwest Water Sports. And so now I want to schedule an appointment with her so we can talk about some of those things. And so I’m just going to go to her lead record, go to the activities and we’re going to create an appointment. Actually, there we go. And before I do that, I just remembered that there is a slight delay in flow for some of these. And so what I want to do and I think this will speed up the process is I’m basically going to put this on alert before I trigger the flow.
Okay. So now it says, “To see it work, now add an item in Dynamics 365.” So now it’s kind of like on the alert and it’s ready to be triggered. And so I want to set an appointment with Jane. I’m going to say review 2019 products and I will set this. Okay, this is good. So today at 12:00, Pacific Standard, and we’re good to go. So we’re going to click Save. And so this particular flow is that it will take that appointment from Dynamics 365 and it will push that out to a Google Calendar. See if I can find it. There we go. So as mentioned, sometimes there’s a slight delay but there it is. That’s awesome. So this right here was a record that was created in Dynamics 365, created that appointment and through flow, it took that appointment and created a calendar event in Google. And so obviously, you can add more information as needed. But that gives you an example of how flow can be used in that regards. Okay, any questions on this one?
Melissa: Nothing at the moment.
Gary: Okay. All right. Our next example is that we are going…okay, let me go here, find my notes. Okay, we’re going to go back to MS Flow. And we’re going to look at my flow’s list. And this is just an example of something that you can do. How realistic it is? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But this example is at a push of a button. You can go to a Web API. You can retrieve some information, and you can send yourself an email with that information. And so here we’re looking at exchange rates. Okay. So I’m just going to hit the play button here because this is a button, right? It’s not when a record is created. It’s not when an appointment is created or a file is moved. Literally, it’s the push of a button.
So I’m going to click Play and then it kind of sets the flow up and says, “Okay, do you want to run this flow?” Yes. So from the flow side, it says that the flow has run successfully. So now what we want to do is we want to go back to Google. And here is the Gmail and we are going to refresh. As you can tell, I tested this, and we want to find the newest result. Okay, so this was just sent at 11:34, Pacific Time, and it has the exchange rates between U.S. and Canada. So, again, whatever objective you need to achieve, you have the ability to just do so many things with MS Flow. At a push of a button, it grabbed information from a Web API and it sent you that information.
Okay. Next example is we are going to create a note in Dynamics 365 with an attachment, and that attachment will be pushed out to Dropbox. Okay. So back in Dynamics 365 with Jane, we want to…we’re actually, I’m going to open up her record. We moved to activities. So we’re going back to her lead record and we want to create a note. Just say 2019 plan that we want to put up on Dropbox. It’s a file. And so now you need to get that attachment. So we’re just going to go through the normal process. Oh, here we go, Plan. And so now that’s showing there. So that means it’s uploaded to this point and then we’re going to click Done. And so now when that shows up, that lets us know that this file has been saved inside the Dynamics 365 system.
I’m going to hop on over to Dropbox and I created a folder. And so within the flow, what that does is it listens for Dynamics 365 for a note that is created and it checks to see if an attachment is part of that. If all of that lines up, then it will take that document and then will push it over to a specific folder within Dropbox. And so here, I’m going refresh. And so now that document has been pushed out to Dropbox just like that. So very cool. Okay, I have one more example to share and then we can get into some more questions and answers if necessary.
So this last one is dealing with SharePoint. And so the idea behind this one is if you use SharePoint and it synced up with your Dynamics 365 system, you may need a specific folder structure. And thinking about, you know, how many accounts or contacts or opportunities that you create. You don’t want to have to possibly create that folder structure every single time for every single record that’s created that is synced to your SharePoint. And so we have a flow that when an account is created in Dynamics 365, that it will actually create a specific folder structure in SharePoint. And so we’re going to go ahead and test that. Just to keep it simple, we’re just going to provide the name and then we’re going to save.
Okay, so that record is now saved in Dynamics 365. And we’re going to look in SharePoint. Now, this is another flow where it takes, I don’t know, about a minute, maybe two minutes. So we might not actually see the Northwest Water Sports show up right away. But within a minute or two, it will show up with the typical SharePoint folder naming when it’s synced up with Dynamic 365. So we can go into either one of these and we can see what I’m talking about. So this was created yesterday and I did not do this by hand. And so when the Test 002 account was created in Dynamics 365, it triggered a flow, and then in flow, it created not only the main folder, but it created some folders for this account. So that’s pretty cool. Okay, so I am done with my examples. Oh, no, I have one more. Do we have time for one more?
Melissa: Yeah, I think we do
Gary: All right. Okay. So going back to Dropbox, here we have a leads Excel spreadsheet. And to give you an idea of what data is on this Excel spreadsheet, I’m gonna open up my local version. So this is just your typical Excel spreadsheet. And so here we have a list of leads. So we have name, email address. Okay? So this file is what is up on Dropbox. And so, again, this is really just to show you some of the possibilities of MS Flow. It doesn’t have to be leads, it could be other information. But anyway, the idea behind this flow is that at a push of a button that you can go to an online storage, and in this case, it’s Dropbox. You can get a file, you can read that file, and you can create records in Dynamics 365. So we’re going to see that in action. I’m going to go back to flows. And here, we have MS Excel to Dynamics 365 and it’s similar to this right here. The trigger is a button and so you could set this up as a recurring event to happen at a certain time of day. But we’re going to just use a button here. So same process, we’re going to start the play.
Oh, before I do that, I apologize. I’m gonna go to leads here. And we’re going to see that existing list of leads right now. So we have three. We have Jane, Tuesday, and Timothy. Okay, so we have the flow, and we’re going to trigger that flow. Okay, so the flow is run successfully. Now we want to go back to Dynamics 365 and we’re going to refresh. So it’s still in the process. There we go. I think that is all of them right there. So we have Alex, Felipe, Vicky, Shelly, and Mike, all new records in Dynamics 365. So again, what happened is at the push of a button, and realistically, that would be probably a recurring event. It went to Dropbox. It read a file and it created records in Dynamics 365. So that’s really cool. Okay, so now I’m officially done with all my examples.
Melissa: Wonderful. There’s a couple questions here. So one of them is, “Is there another flow to create sub folders under the account folder?”
Gary: That’s exactly what we did here. So let me back up here. So when you synchronize SharePoint with Dynamics 365 and you identify what entities you want synced with SharePoint, it creates that main folder in that so that’s this right here. And so when you create an account on its own, it will create a file like this. So this right here, Test 002, would be an account in Dynamics 365. And within SharePoint attaches, it appends this GUID to distinguish it from possibly another account that is named the same, Test 002. Okay, so that’s what it does out of the box once SharePoint and Dynamics 365 is synchronized. The flow that I did is it’s after this folder is created, it creates two additional folders. So these are custom and it could be whatever you want. Did I answer the question?
Melissa: Hopefully. Yes, you did. Okay, so the next one, “Is there a way to remove the SharePoint GUID or GUID at the end of your account name when the system automatically creates your folder structure?”
Gary: Yes, there is a way to do that. And that would be a full list of instructions to be able to demonstrate that. But, yes, it is possible.
Melissa: Okay. That’s all the questions I’ve got here for now, unless anyone get some in there right away.
Gary: Okay, very good. Well, that is the end of my presentation. I do want to share just one more slide. Sorry, going back here, 31. Okay. And this would be the resources that I would send out at some point, mostly I’ll let you decide. But these are some of the resources that I utilized to be able to get some of these examples together. Obviously, you can go to flow directly to the website. There are a lot of community websites, a lot of blogs websites to just gain a lot of information that you can learn from flow.
Melissa: You can send those over to me and I’ll make sure to include them in the follow up emails to everybody.
Gary: Sure. Yeah, I can do that. Okay, well, that is all the information that I had for this webinar. I don’t know if we had any more questions?
Melissa: I don’t see any but if anyone wants they can respond to my email or they can just go into our contact there at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know if you have any other questions. And that was great. Thank you very much, Gary.
Gary: Well, thank you. And thanks everybody for joining. I appreciate your time.
Melissa: Thanks everyone. Have a good day. Bye.
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