15 Microsoft Ignite not-to-miss non-Dynamics Session

A few years ago, and earlier, every time when I attended some conference I’ve chose the topic I’m familiar with. For example, probably in 95% of my time I attended Dynamics NAV sessions or something very close with it.

But in the last few years I changed my attention to very different sessions. In these times, everything is different, and everything is changed. Now if you want to survive in your ERP or CRM world, you need to learn a lot of different topics outside of your primarily interest. Solutions are more and more connected and now nobody want to buy i.e. ERP, but they want to buy completely solution… and if you want to provide it, you have to me familiar not only with ERP, but with IoT, AI, ML…

Because of that, I want to write a small recommendation not-to-miss sessions for all Dynamics ERP or CRM experts on this Microsoft Ignite. As Microsoft Ignite will start in a few days (September 22-24, 2020) and registration is free of charge, be sure you registered and try to attend the following sessions:

Of course, there are a lot of other Dynamics topics and I can suggest watching sessions about solutions you don’t implement. You will expand your knowledge and in this era it is very important to know how to choose what to and when to implement; when to customize and when to integrate… Of course, this is just my opinion and prediction… if you think differently, do as you think. Definitely, try to enjoy this virtual event.

Cloud Partner Competencies and Business Central

You are involved only in Business Central business and now you have Enterprise Resource Planning competency. But this competency is not in the cloud and if you want to get Cloud Business Application competency you can choose one of the options as a two different paths in achieving competencies:

  • Customer Engagements options
  • Unified Operations option

The first one is for CRM partners and the second one is in ERP. But when you read details, this is for Finance, Supply Chain Management, Retail and Talent (F&O) and all required exams are from F&O. If you want to continue only in Business Central and want cloud competency as Business Central is cloud product, you probably don’t know how you can fit with these requirements.

OK before I continue, I need to mention that this is my private text and it doesn’t represent Microsoft official statement, and this is not an announcement. Everything I’m writing here is based on Cecilia Flombaum presentation on the Microsoft Inspire a few days ago. If you want to see whole presentation, session is still available here (first part of presentation is mostly about Partner Contribution Indicator, but you can find BC details from cca 13:30).

She mentioned that we can expect a Business Central differentiation as well as Power Platform differentiation if you are focused only on one of these solutions. That will allow Business Central partner to achieve their silver and/or gold statuses in Cloud Business Application competency.

Currently we don’t know what will be required to achieve competency and statuses and if it will be connected with recently announced BC exam (probably yes).

But Business Central implementers will have one more opportunity – to achieve Small and Midsize Cloud Solutions competency through a Business Central differentiation opportunity. Probably there will be some differences i.e. slightly different threshold.

OK, this is everything we know for now. As sook as we have more information, you can find it on the Microsoft Partner Network.

What happened with CDS and what’s the hell is Dataflex?

Two days ago when we started with Microsoft Inspire, Charles Lamanna published new blog post about Introducing Microsoft Dataflex, a new low-code data platform for Microsoft Teams. But he also announced that Common Data Service has now been renamed to Microsoft Dataflex Pro… and everybody were confused.

What happened with CDS, what is Microsoft Dataflex and what is difference in comparison with Dataflex Pro? Many of people went to Wikipedia and found DataFlex there…

I will try to avoid any additional confusing on this topic and try to be very short and very clear.

First, DataFlex you found on Wikipedia doesn’t have anything with Microsoft Dataflex (& Pro). You can go there and read what it is, but this is not my topic.

As the second fact, Microsoft Dataflex Pro is Common Data Service. Nothing more and nothing less. This is just rebranding. You can see that we still have old URL with common-data-service there. If you know CDS, you will know Dataflex Pro. If don’t, you can find a lot of materials on Microsoft learning site… and I’ll highly recommend starting to learn it if you are doing with Microsoft BizApps.

As this rebranding can confuse, I tried to create one timeline with all these changes. I’m not 100% sure I didn’t miss something, but it will be more then enough to understand what happened here.

And not as a third topic – Microsoft Dataflex (without ‘Pro’). What it is and what it isn’t? This is built-in, low-code data platform for Teams, and it is built atop the Common Data Service (or to use new name, atop the Microsoft Dataflex Pro 😊). This tool will help Teams users to easily build custom apps inside. You will not need to leave Teams and to build everything inside it with really user-friendly UI. You can build apps using Dataflex as environment and together with Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents. And this is not full CDS… this is just a subset of Dataflex Pro capabilities and usage is limited to within Teams.

As I said I’ll be short, I don’t want to write details about it and I’ll just recommend to read Charles Lamanna blog post about it and to find some good presentations on Microsoft Inspire digital event: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-microsoft-dataflex-a-new-low-code-data-platform-for-microsoft-teams/.

Dynamics 365 Sales Professional vs Sales Enterprise

In my previous post (video), you could learn how to create Dynamics 365 Sales Professional demo environment. If you are experienced with Dynamics CRM solutions you can recognize differences between this solution and enterprise version, but if you are newbie I would like to introduce you with all differences you can find there.

03-What-is-Dynamics-365-for-Sales-Professional

On the first place, we can split them to the two types of clients:

  • Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise – full sales capabilities
  • Dynamics 365 Sales Professional – core sales functions at a reduced rate for businesses with simpler sales force needs

But if you want more details and especially if you need to promise something to your client, you should have details. Let’s start with details. First list is list of all features Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise has, and Sales Professional has not:

  • Access via Portal or API
    • Non-employees only: Work Orders
    • Non-employees only: Opportunities
  • Entities (Create, Update, Delete)
    • Max 15 Custom Entities
    • Competitors
    • Embedded Intelligence
    • Forecasting
    • Product Families
    • Product Hierarchies
    • Product Relationships
    • Quick Campaigns
    • Sales Goals
    • Sales Hub
    • Sales Literature
    • Territories
  • Entities (Actions)
    • Business card scanning as add-on (10 users/month: pooled at tenant level)
    • Business Units (Define and Configure)
    • Knowledgebase (create, update, publish, configure, search)
    • Teams (Define and Configure)
  • General System Use (Actions)
    • Max 5 customized Business Processes Flows
    • Max 2 customized Forms and Views per entity
    • Max 15 custom Workflows
    • Max 5 custom reports, charts, and dashboards
    • Without custom system reports, charts, and dashboards
  • Additional Services and Software
    • Dynamics 365 Gamification (Player & Admin)
    • Microsoft Forms Pro
    • Microsoft PowerApps
    • Dynamics 365 Sales Insights
    • Max 10 ISV solutions

If your conclusion is that Sales Professional doesn’t have a lot of features it is not a true. Sales Professional has a pretty big number of very good features and it can cover probably the most of SMB company requests.

But let’s add some of advantages of Sales Professional. This list is maybe not so big, but quality of this list is more important than quantity:

  • Price: full price is 65$ and this is 30$ less then enterprise version
  • Attach license to Business Central; if you already have Business Central, you need to pay only 20$ for license. As you already have integration in Business Central with D365 Sales, it is a real benefit both a price and functionalities.
  • UI is better (mostly in configuration) as this is intended for SMB customers.

If you need core CRM functionalities and solution easy to implement, Sales Professional is the right solution for you, but if you need all CRM functionalities you should choose Sales Enterprise.

As I see Sales Professional as a great opportunity for small companies and especially for those who already use Business Central, I’ll be focused on this solutions with the following posts (probably mostly videos).

How to integrate Business Central with Dynamics 365 Talent – part 1 (Introduction)

When I think about new Business Central features, the first thing in my mind is openness for integrations. As a part of Dynamics 365 family, the main power of this solution is when it can work simultaneously with other. Because of that, I showed these capabilities in a few conferences. As I got lot of requirement to explain it in more details, I’ll write about good example of BC integrations with one other Dynamics 365 solution – with ‘Dynamics 365 Talent’.

‘Dynamics 365 Talent’ is a new Microsoft Dynamics HCM solution (new name ‘Dynamics 365 Human Resources‘). This solution was initially based on AX HRM, but now it is separated solution. As we can use it independently and this solution is really amazing HCM system, I think it can be interesting how we can integrate this solution with Business Central and make them as the powerful tool together… and with no code.

If you are thinking how to make it and how to make it with no code, the answer is using one of the Azure services – Logic Apps. As ‘Dynamics 365 Talent’ has entities on CDS and Logic Apps has connectors for CDS and for ‘Business Central’, only what we need to do is to map entities and fields in both systems and of course, to think abut business logic on the first place. Depends what is the primary reason for integration, we can choose some of the options:

  • integrate HRM core system with HR in Business Central
  • integrate Attract or Onboard apps in Talent with Business Central.

In second option, we will use HR module in Business Central and use only one or two parts from ‘Dynamics 365 Talent’. On the other side, in first option we will use core HR in ‘Dynamics 365 Talent’. In this text, I chose to explain the first option.

In this first text, I’ll just explain some basic concepts and you will find more details in the following texts with this topic.

Basic setup in Business Central

First, as we don’t need all HR capabilities in Business Central (we already have all of them in dedicated HR solution – ‘Dynamics 365 Talent’), we will move only data necessary for other areas in Business Central. In this example I’ll show how to move data to Employee table as this table can be used for example in a Payroll system or you can use this information in Fixed Assets card.

Locate information in Talent

Now when we have the basic configurations, we can continue with integration. First, we need to find where an employee’s data are saved in Talent. To find this we need to open list of CDS entities and we can do it using PowerApps platform.

When we have these basic information, we can continue with technical parts how to do it in a practice.

Sessions from NAV TechDays – day 2

As I’ve promised a few days ago in my previous post, I’m completing the collection of all session from NAV TechDays 2019.

Let’s see what we had in the second day of this amazing NAV/BC event:

Leveraging the power of the cloud

Build, test, deploy and deliver your app by one file

NAV/BC for high demanding environments

{Connect app}²

Business Central with Power Platform – more than ERP solution

…and of course, this is my session where I’ve talked about PowerPlatform with BC together with an MVP Renato Fajdiga… expect feedback here 🙂

The Power Platform for Business Central Techies

If you liked my and Renato session, I’ll highly recommend to continue with this session from Arend-Jan Kauffmann.

Make the most out of Business Central on Docker

Migrate your customers to the cloud, and manage them there

How to make AI work for your Business… Central

Sessions from NAV TechDays – day 1

NAV TechDays 2019 has just finished a few days ago and I can say this was amazing event and again the biggest one – with 1452 attendees. As I promised the last year, I prepared session this time and made it together with an MVP Renato Fajdiga. I hope to see you next year again.

In a meantime, all sessions from the first day are already published and I want to have all of them on the one place. As soon as we have sessions from the second day published, I’ll add them. There are all of them:

Opening Keynote

The road from C/AL to AL

Development Methodologies for the future

How to run faster in SaaS

Unlocking new integration potential for 365 BC with Azure Event Grid and Azure Integration

Give Business Central access to your data files

Control Add in development supercharged

Developing for Modern clients

Using Docker and the ContainerHelper to convert your C/AL solution to an AL solution

#MSDyn365BC new Era of Integration: Intelligent Edge, SmartLists, Azure Service Bus and more!

Business Central – Spring & Fall ’19 Release

In my previous post, I’ve introduced you with the news from Directions ASIA and Business Central spring release. As I said in this previous post, there are a lot of improvements. Some of them are on this slide, and as very important improvements in performance, reliability and scalability, we can find that now we have

  • 50% faster Role Center load time
  • 40% faster in Lead to Cash scenarios
  • 2x improvement in RapidStart

Of course, there are a lot of other improvements. I’ve recently had a session about this topic in eXtreme 365, but this time I’ll not write about them, because you can find all of them in the following:

In total, there are more than 100 enhancements and some of them are extremely usable.

But what is also interesting? We got some hints what will be in Fall ’19 release. And as I mentioned yesterday, the first things – there will not be Windows Client and C/SIDE anymore; only Modern Client (web) and AL with VS Code. But in on-prem, you will get full BC code as an app and you can change this code as you used to work with that in old Development Environment. Not exactly the same, but you can do it. But even if you can do it, this is not recommendation as we heard that in one moment in the future we will continue with extensions only even on on-prem. Nobody can say when exactly, but this is a future. Because of that, start with extensions immediately.

Of course, team will continue to improve proficiency, to reduce ISV friction, enhance migration tools, to improve service fundamentals… and now we can see plans for CDS in 2020 and further.

What is not so good information (especially for countries without MS official localization) is that team announce that we can expect expanding localizations after October release, not before that ☹. But on the other side, team will invest in really cool things in this period.


And on the end, Directions NA will come in May and we will see if we have stil something new regarding all these topics.

Directions ASIA 2019 – After Keynote

Directions ASIA has just started a few hour ago. On a first day keynote, we could hear a lot of interesting information. I’ll start with some numbers. As this is third Directions in Asia, number of attendees still increase every year. This year we have the following statistic:

  • Number of attendees: 453
  • Attendees from 157 companies and from 32 countries
  • Number of sessions: 70
  • Number of speakers: 55 (Microsoft, MVP’s and industry experts)

Now, what we could hear about product and market? Based on showed information, Business Central and NAV together are implemented at 223.000 customers with more than 3.3 million users in 196 countries. Impressive numbers, right? And I really hope, this solution will continue as previously and even better.

As this is announcement of Business Central Spring ’19 release, we can see what is new in this release and the full roadmap for this solution. During keynote, we could see that product team is extremely proud on stability, security and performance. Of course, there is a lot of new features. In my following texts, I’ll write about all these things.

Currently, we could see new roadmap for our solution, and it looks fine:

We can see that system already got a lot of new feature, especially trying to improve user experience. And I can conclude, they really succeed with this.

But if we look in more detailed roadmap, you will find two very important facts. This release will be the last one with Windows Client and with C/SIDE and C/AL.

From October ’19 release, we will have only Modern Client (web client) and VS Code + AL in development side. If you used only BC on a cloud, you will not recognize some difference, but if you used on-prem solution, then it is the right moment to migrate to web client asap. And in development, please start with extensions immediately. But to be honest, in on-prem solution you will still be in situation to change a code, but this time in VS Code using completely BC system as an App. But it will still be much better if you start to move all your customization to extensions.

Of course, there are some other news, but I cannot put everything in one blog post, but you can expect all this news soon.