I was very honoured and excited to be involved with the very first D365UG/CRMUG North West Chapter Meeting earlier this week, hosted at the Grindsmith just off Deansgate in Manchester. This is the first time that a D365UG/CRMUG event has taken place in the North West, and we were absolutely stunned by the level of interest this event generated - all in all, 37 people attended, representing a broad spectrum of Microsoft partners and organisations of varying sizes.
I very much got the impression that the amount of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (D365CE) users in the North West far exceed any number you could assume, and I am really looking forward to seeing how future events develop as we (hopefully!) get more people involved. Despite a few technical glitches with the AV facilities, the feedback we have received to both presentations has been overwhelmingly positive, so a huge thanks to everyone who turned up and to our presenters for the evening
In this post, I wanted to share my thoughts on both sets of presentations, provide an answer to some of the questions that we didn’t get around to due to time constraints and, finally, provide a link to the slide deck from the evening.
Transform Group - The Patient Journey
The first talk of the evening was provided courtesy of Bill Egan at Edgewater Fullscope, who took us through Transform Group’s adoption of D365CE. Bill provided some really useful insights - from both an organisation and a Microsoft partner’s perspective - of the challenges that any business can face when moving across to a system like D365CE. As with any IT project, there were some major hurdles along the way, but Bill very much demonstrated how the business was able to roll with the punches and the very optimistic 16 weeks planned deployment presents an, arguably, essential blueprint in how IT projects need to be executed; namely, targeted towards delivering as much business benefit in a near immediate timeframe.
The key takeaways from me out of all this was in emphasising the importance of adapting projects quickly to changing business priorities and to recognise the continued effort required to ensure that business systems are regularly reviewed and updated to suit the requirements of not just the users, but the wider business.
Power Up Your Power Apps
The second presentation was literally a “head to head” challenge with Craig Bird from Microsoft and Chris “The Tattooed CRM Guy” Huntingford from Hitachi Solutions, seeing who could build the best PowerApps. In the end, the voting was pretty unanimous and Craig was the proud recipient of a prize worthy of a champion. I hope Craig will be wearing his belt proudly at future events 🙂
I found the presentation particularly useful in clearing up a number of worries I had around the Common Data Service and the future of D365CE. The changes that I saw are very much emphasised towards providing a needed facelift to the current customisation and configuration experience within D365CE, with little requirement to factor in migration and extensive learning of new tools to ensure that your D365CE entities are available within the Common Data Service. Everything “just works” and syncs across flawlessly.
In terms of who had the best app, I think Craig literally knocked the socks off everyone with his translator application. Although I include myself in this category, I was still surprised to see that PowerApps supports Power BI embedded content, courtesy of Chris - a really nice thing to take away for any aspirational PowerApp developer.
Questions & Answers
We managed to get around to most questions for the first presentation but not for the second one. Here’s a list of all the questions that I am able to provide an answer to. I’m still in the process of collating together responses to the other questions received, so please keep checking back if you’re burning question is not answered below:
- Can you create publisher prefixes in PowerApps? Yes, similar to how things currently work within D365CE, this is definable across both PowerApps and D365CE. Please refer to the following article to find out how to do this in PowerApps.
- How do you embed an app into a dashboard? Gustaf Westerlund has done a great post showing how to embed a PowerApps as part of a D365CE Web Resource. Using this method, it should then be a simple case of adding the newly created Web Resource to your Dashboard of choice.
- How much is a PowerApps license? Pricing depends on whether you are wanting to develop canvas or model-driven apps. For the former, Plan 1 will give you everything you need at £5.30 user/month. To take things further with model-driven apps, then Plan 2 will be your best choice at £30.20 user/month. Plan 2 is also included as part of select Dynamics 365 plans. Additional discounts may apply for charity/education organisations or if you are transacting your licenses through the Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) programme. You can find out more about licensing on the PowerApps website.
For those who missed the event or are wanting to view the slides without a purple tinge, they will be downloadable for the next 30 days from the following location:
The next chapter meeting is scheduled to take place on the 2nd of October (venue TBC). If you are interested in getting involved, either through giving a presentation or in helping to organise the event, then please let us know by dropping us a message:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: @CRMUG_UK_NW