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?


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. 


I've updated several courses at 365.Training

I’m always thinking about what new courses the community needs.  I recently went through my library of courses at 365.Training and keep coming back to the fundamentals.  But curated fundamentals.  Courses specifically targeting practical skills. So, instead of making new courses, I’ve re-paved my most popular (and I feel most valuable) courses.

What does that mean?  First all the labs have been updated and fully retested.  Second, I’ve streamlined the talking parts, reduced it to what you need to know to understand what you are building in the labs.  And third, I’ve added summary videos of the labs, and made this video available as a preview. You don’t have to subscribe, or purchase the course before you know more about what you are doing in these courses.

You’ll see that nearly all of these include something called 365Ai.  That’s our training copilot that is there with you while you train.  You can ask 365Ai topical questions without having to leave your training dashboard.  Give it a try, I think it’s pretty swanky.

Experience Power Platform- This course takes you through a series of hands-on exercises all designed to give you practical experience building with the tools of Power Platform.  This course includes 365Ai.

Zero to model-driven- This is a hands-on labs-based course to build a model-driven Power App.  In this course you'll learn how to build a functionally complete model-driven app for Happy Tails doggie daycare. You do not need any prior Power Apps experience. This course includes 365Ai.

Zero to canvas- This is a hands-on labs-based course to build a canvas Power App. In this course you'll learn how to build a functionally complete canvas app for Happy Tails doggie daycare. You do not need any prior Power Apps experience.

Zero to Power Pages- This is a hands-on lab-based course to build Power Pages. In this course you'll learn how to build a functionally complete site for Happy Tails doggie daycare. You do not need any prior Power Apps experience. This course includes 365Ai.

You can buy any of these courses ala carte…or subscribe and get all of these and more included.  Use my link for a 30% discount on your annual subscription.  https://365l.ink/365Julie

365Logo100x400


Biz App professional skilling cohorts-Ukrainian edition/Когорта навчання "Професіонал з біснес-додатків". Версія для українців.

Когорта навчання "Професіонал з біснес-додатків". Версія для українців.

Після вдалого старту нашого пілотного проекту, ми із задоволенням розширюємо реєстрацію. Якщо ви чи хтось з вашого оточення шукає підтримку при зміні професії, приєднуйтеся. Наші фахівці працюють з передовими технологіями та знанням мов, щоб ваше навчання було максимально комфортним. Цей курс є адаптованим варіантом англомовних груп і містить матеріали на двох мовах: англійській та українській. Навчання самостійне з контрольними етапами. І, до речі, це абсолютно безкоштовно. Якщо ви бажаєте вчитися, але не готові зобов'язатися на 6 тижнів відразу, немає проблем. Матеріали основані на ресурсах Microsoft Learn, https://aka.ms/BAPskilling. Можете розпочати з цього сайту, а потім приєднатися до нас. 

Щоб дізнатися більше про курс, перейдіть за цим посиланням.

Для реєстрації в групі, клікніть сюди.

Biz App professional skilling cohorts-Ukrainian edition

After our successful pilot we are happy to open registration more broadly.  If you or someone you know is looking for help transitioning to a new career, join us.  Our team of professionals includes native speakers and some good technology to make this experience as smooth as possible.

This cohort is a modified version of the English-language cohorts.  Content is presented in both English and Ukrainian.  Learning is self-directed with checkpoints.  It is free.

If you’d like to learn but can’t commit to a 6-week cohort at this time, not to worry.  The program is based on the official collection from Microsoft Learn, https://aka.ms/BAPskilling . You can start there, and join a cohort later.

For more information about the training, visit here

To apply for a cohort, visit here 


No really, what is Dynamics 365?

Every business uses technology.  This is business management software, or business applications. These business applications can be quite simple or quite complicated.

Microsoft’s Business Applications include a suite of products and services called Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 applications can be organized into a few different groups.

Sales and marketing

Service

Finance

Commerce

Supply chain

Within the sales and marketing group you will find Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Marketing, and Dynamics 365 Customer Insights.

Within the service group you will find Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Field Service, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, and Dynamics 365 Customer Voice.

In the finance group you will find Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Project Operations and Dynamics 365 Human Resources.

In the commerce group you will find Dynamics 365 Commerce, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection, Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Marketing.

Within the supply chain group, you will find Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Insights, and Dynamics 365 Guides.

You probably noticed that a few of the products I mentioned were repeated.  That’s because these products are versatile and can support businesses in different ways.

Additionally, these products are built to work directly with other Microsoft products such as Microsoft Teams, Power Bi, LinkedIn Sales Navigator and more. 

Dynamics 365 products also work well with products made and maintained outside the scope of Microsoft.  These are called integrations.  Some of these integrations require a simple plug-and-play connector and others require a professional developer to write code to allow communications between the systems to share data and actions.

These Microsoft Business Applications are robust and solve many business problems.  They are also configurable to allow businesses to offer users the applications they need to do their jobs.  They are also customizable to allow professionals to pick and choose what to offer users with a strong foundation of the Dynamics apps.

Careers in Dynamics 365 are quite varied.

Let’s think about what it takes to make and support business software.

First you have to plan and design the solutions. This requires industry experts who understand what the business needs.  You’ll need someone to capture and document the needs and solutions.  And you’ll need a solution architect to orchestrate the overall solution to be made.

Then you need to build the solution that was just planned.  If this is with Dynamics 365, you will need professionals skilled in configuration of the apps, who also understand the requirements of the business.  Sometimes you need professional developers to write code to build these applications.  You need team members proficient in automation.  You need a team to test the solutions.  You need someone to train users.  And so on.

This is of course an over-simplified narrative.  But the point is that with Dynamics 365 you can find great career opportunities for skilled professionals. 

Looking to learn more about Dynamics 365?  Join our user group for learning.  https://aka.ms/BAPCommunity  


Getting geared up for conferences again

Wow, it's been a hot minute since we've all met in person, no?

I am immunocompromised and as vaccinated as vaccinated can be.  My doctor and I decided I can travel again, even speak at events.  So, come October, I'll be out there with you all.

I had written a post about being prepared for an event (CRMUG Summit 2016 to be precise).  And it is all still good advice.  But now we have to add a a few more items to the list.

  • We all missed in-person events, but many of us are still terrified of germs and have spent the last few years avoiding them.  Please don't be the person that gets me (or other vulnerable people) sick.  If you suspect you have an active contagious anything, stay home this round.

  • Don't be offended when someone like me is wearing a mask, or asks your vaccination status before giving that hug (can we establish a V hand signal, like V for victory and V for vaccinated??).  There are still people dying from COVID and flu.  I'd rather not be one of them.

  • Remember what we all loved about being in person.  Talking about the cool things we've been doing.  Sharing our stories from the field. Learning from each other.

  • Be forgiving.  We've all had an isolating couple of years.  We may have lost some of our social skills, we may have gained a few pounds, many have lost loved ones.

  • Be smart. Wash your hands often.  See a sanitizer station- use it.  Don't sneeze or cough toward others.

    I'm really getting excited about seeing my community again.  I really did miss you all.



    Original list:
  • Minimize distractions back at the office. Work extra hard now to avoid the trap of trying to work AND attend the conference. If you find yourself replying to emails three times in every session you attend, you aren’t really going to get much out of the session. If you have to keep up with the folks back at work, set aside time and plan for a session to spend working in a quiet corner instead of being partially engaged in several sessions.
  • To ease the stress of leaving behind people at the office that would rather be at the conference with you, get their questions to take with you. What are their burning questions or concerns? Make sure you find the answers and resources to take back with you. Share the schedule with them in advance and then set up a lunch-and-learn the week you return and share your new knowledge and skills.
  • Dress for comfort. Now, I will say no jammies for sure. But also, not a suit. Good shoes are the best thing you can bring. Promise.
  • Stash some good snacks in your bag. You may find yourself in a great discussion and miss a conference meal or break. So grab some granola bars, some durable candy, whatever helps you make it to the meal later on. And drink water. You will be walking more than you plan, avoid dehydration.
  • Every speaker, planner, expert is approachable, so approach them. Raise your hand in the session. Wait after the talk to ask your question. Find them at lunch and sit at the same table. Go to the medics’ station. They are there to share their knowledge. So let them.
  • Plan your sessions in advance, mostly. Be open to last minute choices.
  • Get yourself a fresh CRM trial before you go so you can immediately try that new cool thing you learned. Ok, get at least THREE new free trials. I suggest one that is bare, one that specializes (like sales or service) and one with a solution like Field Service or Project Service in it. Different things work different ways with added customizations or data.
  • Take notes. Doesn’t matter if you’re a pen and paper person (me too!), if you like to scribble on your tablet or if you type it all organized. Take notes. I promise you won’t remember it all the next day.
  • There will be booze. Don’t be THAT person that acts a fool and gets everyone to pull out their cameras and you find yourself rather embarrassed.
  • Make friends, make memories.

A decade of XRM

It took us ten years to get here.  But many of us already were “here”.  We’ve been using the platform as a platform for a very long time.  In 2008 we published our first XRM book for developers, CRM as a Rapid Development Platform.

So much has changed, so much as stayed the same. Microsoft CRM 4.0 gave us so many of the core platform capabilities we still use today.

I have two quotes to set the stage.

The first is from a book review posted on Amazon.

“The perception is that Microsoft have put out a 'CRM product' but what most people don't realise is that Microsoft CRM is actually an application development platform that happens to come pre-configured with CRM functionality. “ (from Guy Riddle)

And the second is from the book itself. More specifically, Chapter 2 on making line of business applications.

“I think that it cold be argued that what Microsoft should have done with CRM 4.0 was separate its application development platform from the implementation as a CRM application. By doing that it could have established the CRM 4.0 platform as a solid development platform for building line of business applications. Then they could market CRM 4.0 as being built on this application development platform. Then developers would be able to license just the platform portion and be charged a license fee that is appropriate for using only the application development platform capabilities.”

 

CDS 2.0 is essentially exactly these two things from ten years ago.

In 2008 we were talking about the cool new features of platform functionality that we now had with CRM 4.0. Some of the things we could not even imagine going without today.

CRM 4.0 gave us user-defined workflows. You no longer needed a developer to automate the system. The birth of Citizen Developers!

And now you could trigger workflows based on more events without needing to engage a developer. Suddenly record changes were triggers. For users to define automation.

Both CRM Online and multi-tenancy were introduced.

With the addition of multi-currency and multi-language capabilities we now had the basis for an implementation that had users all over the world working together in a single tenant.

For me the relationship changes for that release are the unsung hero. Sure CRM 4.0 gave us many-to-many relationships. But it also gave us multiple relationships between entities (system and custom), and self-referential relationships. We could make create hierarchical data with this stuff. We also now had the ability to display columns of data from related entities in our views. We could see the address of the parent account while looking at a contact grid. Come on, how can we brush aside the R in CRM? Think about how you use the platform today? These items are just taken for granted.

Email integration improvements. We got email tracking that no longer required the tracking token. And we could now track emails from POP3 and not just Exchange configurations.

We also saw a host of other random platform updates that we now take for granted.

· Automatic resolution on lookup fields

· User defined duplicate detection

· Report wizard

· Callouts became plugins

· Backward compatibility.

I had the lofty goal of a blog series written by me covering feature by feature, chapter by chapter the then verses now. And now I have instead begun asking some of the super smart folks around me of writing guest posts with their take on these things. Stay tuned.