The continued cost of the war in Ukraine and those it leaves behind

I'm traumatized. My grandson is now an orphan and I want to give him a good future. When the war in Ukraine broke out, I had to leave for Germany with my son because it was very dangerous to stay...

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365.Training Community Dynamics 365 Empowering others Events Microsoft Power Platform Training

Mid-year update on our Ukrainian cohorts

Jul 12
Since I last wrote about our Ukrainian cohorts the team has continued to be hard at work to support our efforts. And we’ve expanded a bit. Our July group started this week with 222 students. Our March and May groups...
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Advocacy Community Dynamics 365 Empowering others Power Platform Training Web/Tech

Expanding our Biz Apps Skilling cohorts

Jun 30
As I hope you know, we have been running training cohorts for displaced and vulnerable Ukrainians. We have been very successful. We built the program around having a core set of day-to-day volunteers who are Ukrainian speakers, but the support...
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Upcoming events and conferences

I’ve been late to write about conferences coming up.  But, there’s a bunch on the horizon!

First up is DynamicsCon live in Denver.

I’m delivering TWO sessions.  My goal for this event was to support new speakers.  So, both of my sessions I am co-presenting with women who are newer on the event circuit.

Julie

Tuesday the 14th, Meron and I are talking CRM.  Specifically, A Beginner's Guide to Dynamics 365 CE/ CRM Sales. We’ve got a great chat about using CRM and a detailed demo from Meron.

Wednesday the 15th is Rachel and I with our Unlocking CRM potential with Power Platform Magic session.  This session gives some foundational knowledge about both CRM and Power Platform and then we stitch together the common elements to help you do well on either or both of these technologies.

Also, this is one of those events where both Dave and I are presenting.  On Tuesday the 14th he’s delivering Architecting business applications in an AI world.  Typical to Dave, it’s a technical talk, but he makes it very approachable for anyone interested in the topic.

After DynamicsCon, we’re doing a few days of vacation on our way to Slovenia for Dynamics Minds

And both of us are presenting again.  First up, my sessions.

One of my favorite sessions to deliver is Going from Citizen Developer to Professional App Maker.  This is the session for anyone who has dabbled in app making or automation and you’re ready to take the leap to do it full time, but you’re not sure where to start.  There may be photos of me as a 5-year old in the slides.  This session is on Wednesday the 29th.

My other session is Tips and tricks for user productivity in Dynamics CRM/Sales.  This session is a bit of demo and a bit of slides.  This session is on Monday the 27th.

Dynamics Minds is where Dave is much busier than I.  First up is his workshop on Low-code plugins.  Then he’s doing a (refreshed after Build announcements) version of his Architecting business applications in an AI world talk, and finally he’s part of a panel about Power Platform Security.

I’ve also got workshops and sessions pending at several events later in the year.  Keep an eye out here for more.


Introducing the Biz Apps Classroom podcast

Yes, it’s true.  Literally everyone now has a podcast, including me.

Biz apps classroom

Jason Gumpert and I go way back.  We’ve always been supportive of each other’s efforts, but never had a chance to work together.  But a random hallway conversation at an event in Charlotte changed that.  One of us suggested we do a podcast.  I really don’t know who it was, maybe he remembers.  So we launched the Biz Apps Classroom, our take on all things learning and training in our Biz Apps space. 

Hopefully it’s interesting 😊

We are three and a half episodes in, and so far so good.

Episode 1:  Introduces the podcast and Julie and Jason

Episode 2: Why Microsoft certifications matter

Episode 3: Goals

Episode 4: (in progress talking about role-based training).

Ideas for future episodes are always welcome.  We hope to talk about training cohorts, our efforts for displaced and vulnerable Ukrainians, value of hands-on training activities, strategy for in-person or virtual training, and more.  We’ve got some guests lined up to help keep it a little more interesting.

We hope to post episodes about every other week, with a fair bit of grace until we hit our stride.

Share your feedback and your ideas, it’s how we get better.


Here’s the story of shortcuts.

About a million years ago, we opened a business banking account with Bank ABC. 

At the time, they had two primary types of accounts, personal and business.

So far so good.

Personal accounts had data fields for all the expected pieces of information one might need for a personal account.

The business accounts had all you might need for a business account.  Or so they thought.  Turns out businesses are owned by people.  People have separate information from the business.  No big deal, we can have attachments and notes.  In the note we put the names and details of the business owners and an attachment of their scanned signature cards.

Then Bank ABC merges with Bank DEF.

Then Bank ABCEDF is acquired by Bank XYZ.

Let’s smush the old data model into the new data model.  Great, all done.  Nothing to see here.

A few years later during a random account review it is discovered that a particular business account of a million years has no people associated with it, no authorized users.  There was an attachment of a scanned image with two illegible signatures on it, but no names with the signatures.

Turns out somewhere among the mergers and acquisitions, notes did not come with the business account information from older accounts that were opened when records were mostly analog and a little bit of digital.

A good bank manager found this, found us, and convinced me she wasn’t a scammer and got us to the bank in person to get our personal information appropriately related to the business information.  And then we signed paper copies of signature cards (sigh).

There are a few things to learn here.

Don’t store structured data in an unstructured place.  Build the appropriate relational data structure that you need.

Don’t cut corners when moving to a new system.  It really doesn’t matter that there were mergers and acquisitions along the way, it was a new system.  A simple review of notes on common data tables could have shown there was more data that needed to be dealt with.

At some point this would have become a blocker for access to our own money in our own business account.  Hire good people who can do good work and prevent this from happening and correct it when it does.


Ignite 2023 Copilot links

If you were in our hands-on lab sessions, we promised links.  Here you go:

Get Started With Copilot in Cloud Flows (Microsoft Documentation)

 
Create Power Platform Solutions with AI and Copilot (Microsoft Learn exercises)
 
Create and manage automated processes by using Power Automate (Microsoft Learn Applied Skills)
 
Power Automate: HTML Formatting Made Easy (April Dunnam, Microsoft)
 
Formatting HTML Tables in Flow (April Dunnam, Microsoft)

The most effective use of AI is a whisper

Copilots.

Large language models.

GPT this.

Open AI that.

The world is full of excitement for AI. 

And the world is full of doom-and-gloom for AI.

While there are many over-the-top scenarios we’ve seen, the most effective uses of AI for everyday business is in small pieces.  Add some AI here.  Streamline some work over there.  Surgical. Specific.  Purposeful.

The best uses of AI happen when combined with critical thinking directly from humans.

At 365.Training we’re using AI both directly for the benefit of the users while they are training, but also behind the scenes.  I guess that ultimately benefits the user, but less directly.

365AI

365Ai is your training copilot- While in a course, you can ask contextual questions of the copilot.  The models are of course powered by the large language models, but also grounded with our own information.  We make sure that the copilot in a specific course can answer topic-specific questions and not get sidetracked on other topics. The copilot is relevant and there when you need it.

 

mydigest- We’ve got a few different places where we’ve inserted AI. 

MyDigest Only
TL;DR- We’ve manually curated sources (more than 150 of them so far), and we have AI generated summaries of the items in your feed. 

Tldr

Categories- We use AI to help identify content topics and the job roles that are relevant for the items.

My view with counts

Your filters- you select topics, roles and importance and we calculate a score and combine that with our scoring of items and apply that to make your custom feed.

My filters

Your digest email- we apply similar logic as above and curate a custom email on the schedule you define.

Mydigest email

We’ve also used some of the Copilot capabilities of GitHub to help accelerate some of the more tedious parts of development to get us to market faster.

How do you AI in your everyday world?


My digest updates

So much great feedback!  Keep it coming.  Use the Ideas page on the 365.Training site or reach out to me directly.

So, in case you haven’t heard, my digest at 365.Training is a place to stay up to date on all things Power Platform and Dynamics 365.  We’ve got over 150 sources for you, all in one place.  My original blog post on it is here.

My digest fills your head with knowledge

So, some updates for you.

Email digest from my feed. You can set the frequency of your digest email from none to daily, weekly, monthly or after 10 days of inactivity on the site.  Your default is set to none, so if you want to get an email digest, navigate to the settings page via the gears icon on the ribbon.

My digest email

Mydigest email

 

You can now listen to our AI-generated TL:DR summaries.
Play the TL;DR

Suggest a new source.  On that top ribbon, click the plus+ and let us know a great source we may have missed. You can also keep track of your suggestions, and the outcome on the My suggestions tab.

Suggest a new source

Time to consume.  Once you’re drilled into the summary of an item from your feed, we’ve got an estimate of how long it will take you to consume the item from the source.

Time to consume

You can listen to a podcast directly from our site.  Not every podcast provider supports this at this time, but most of the ones we share will have that option for you.

Listen to podcast


Once you’ve set your filter preferences, and are viewing your feed, you can also now choose what type of content you’d like to see right now.  Use it just like you use our just-in-time my view filter.

Content type filter

Load more items to your feed. When you first get to your digest, we give you 50 items on your feed.  If you make it to the end and want to load the next 50, use the mark all read at the bottom of the feed. That will effectively dismiss all items on your feed and reload with the next 50 items.

Load more items

Still haven't tried my digest?  Go give it a try now https://mydigest.365.training 

MyDigest Square


365Ai now available from anywhere in a course

We added 365Ai a short time ago.  It' s a great tool for getting your questions asked in the context of a course at 365.Training.  We've just released an update that allows us to dock 365Ai to the course dashboard so you can access it at any time.  It's now available in several courses that have already been enabled for 365Ai.

365Ai


I made a quick tutorial.


Deprecation of classic designers for model-driven Power Apps

We all knew it was coming.  Finally, it was announced that the classic designers for app, forms and views are deprecated.   So, what does that mean, from a practical perspective?

Microsoft feels that all essential tasks can be completed in the new designers.  The new designers are all accessible by default (yea accessibility!), and generally easier and more intuitive to use.  They load up with previews that include your own data. 

There is no need to panic.  It is possible that something you do all of the time is not available in the new designers.  You just know you have to revert to classic to do just this one thing.  That is still available but must be enabled by admin on a specific environment.  The setting is found in the Power Platform admin center with other Behavior settings.

 

Display setting

Users/makers will still see the new experiences by default.  This will simply offer them the option to switch to classic as needed.

If you find yourself reverting back to classic, tell Microsoft about it. 

PS. That one thing you think you have to do in the classic designer? Chances are it’s in the new designer too, you just haven’t located it yet.


introducing my digest by 365.Training

A few weeks ago, Dave came into my office and starts scribbling on the whiteboard.  Has a great idea.  And we all agreed.  And so, we jumped into the deep end and a few weeks later, we launched my digest by 365.Training.

MyDigest Only

What is my digest?  It’s your one-stop place for news, updates, blogs, events, podcasts, videos; all things current about Power Platform.  You build your interests in your saved filters and the feed only gives you things you are interested in. You can save items with notes, organized in your own folders.  You can snooze and item to read later.  You can do ad hoc views to narrow the scope of what you’re viewing right now, without changing your saved filters.

We’ve curated over 100 sources and add more pretty much every day. 

We just launched this crazy idea last week.  So, we’re in our beta phase while we work through any minor bugs and improvements.  During this beta, every logged in user has access at no cost.  We’ll sort out how we monetize it later.

Let me know if you have sources we should add or other ideas to make it better.

Go to my digest

I made a quick tutorial of how to get the most of my digest. 


Events and on the road in October

This is starting to feel like the good old days 😊

Power Platform Conference Las Vegas NV October 3-5.  I’m not attending or presenting, but plan to be in town for a short time that week.  Feel free to grab some time to catch up.  https://365l.ink/MeetMeInVegas

365CommunityDays Knoxville TN- October 13th.  I’m giving two talks at this free community event.  Come join us! https://www.communitydays.org/event/2023-10-13/knoxville-m365-community-day#schedule

Community Summit- October 15-20 Charlotte NC- I’m on a few panels and helping deliver a session for CRM/D365 Sales users.  Details here https://connect.summitna.com/8_0/sessions/speaker-details.cfm?speakerid=724

Denver Dev Day October 27 Denver CO- Not currently planning to deliver a session, but that might change.  It’s free, join us anyway.  https://denverdevday.github.io/oct-2023/