PowerApps and Microsoft, Where does it fit?

While some people say that PowerApps is Office, others will say PowerApps is Dynamics. They are both correct.

Canvas

Canvas apps si exactly what it sounds like, a blank canvas you create. Here you can choose where to store data: SharePoint, SQL Server, Office 365, OneDrive for Business, CDS , Excel, and many other data sources. For the ease of use I often see storage within SharePoint lists here.

Model Driven

Model Driven app is essentially the Dynamics database, but without all of the bells and whistles that come with Sales/Service/Marketing/Field Service/Project Service etc. It is a clean database where you can start from “scratch” and create fairly complex applications within a short period of time.

Why make a fuss about it?

Well, if you know Microsoft as an organization you will understand me asking this question. Office is now called Modern Workplace, and Dynamics is Business Applications. PowerApps is both, so where does it belong. What team will be the ones promoting the product, and who will gain from selling PowerApps licenses?

Up-sell, Down-sell or Cross-Sell?

Office – “Up-Sell”

While Office consultants se this ass an “Up-sell” and potentially expensive
Office E3 20$ + Plan 1 7$ = 27$
+ Plan 2 20$ = 40$

Dynamics – “Down-Sell”

Dynamics sees this as a “Down-sell”
Dynamics Sales 95$ —> Plan 2 40$ = 55$ savings pr customer

PowerApps – “Cross-Sell”

If you read Jukka’s post about PowerApps maybe what we are doing is creating a bridge between it all, the “Cross-Sell”. I can no longer only focus on Dynamics, and have to embrace PowerApps Canvas and Model Driven. Eventually I think the Office users also will see the benefits of the Model Driven, and then we can start adding value inn all areas to a common database.

On-Premise Data Gateway integration

My state of mind at this moment is hard to describe, but Malin Martnes sendt me this link from Urban dictionary 😂

This is Part 2 of the Gateway SETUP

The final settings

This is where we left off in the last post:

We need to do one config in CRM/CDS before we continue. For the integration to work we need to create a KEY for it to match on. The source doesn’t know of GUID, so I create a key for “Account Number”. In Norway we are lucky that this number is unique and applies to all organization’s.

Open the entity you are integration to (Account for me), and create a new field called KEY. I am choosing to use the “Account Number” field here as my Unique KEY. Remember to publish changes!!

First thing I do is limit the number of accounts while testing.

Then I remove all the blank fields in the KEY, to make it equal to the user input in Dynamics. You don’t have to do this, but chose to for simplicity.

In the next step you choose the entity to connect to in CDS/CRM, and map the field. I am choosing to only map “Name” and “Account Number” during the test.

And the magic continues. Here you can setup how often you wan this awesome sync to happen. Our data is fairly static, so once a week is fine:)

Wait until the query is done, and check out the newly created/updated Accounts in Dynamics. This is just a gamechanger for me.

Pricing (a little uncertain)

As far as I can see/understand, this is using Azure Message bus, and it prices everything to messages pr hour. Below is a snipp from https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/service-bus/ In my case this would practically be “free”.

Basic
Operations$0.05 per million operations
Standard
Base charge 1$0.0135/hour
First 13M ops/month Included
Next 87M ops (13M–100M ops)/month $0.80 per million operations
Next 2,400M ops (100M–2,500M ops)/month $0.50 per million operations
Over 2,500M ops/month $0.20 per million operations

On-Premise Data Gateway setup

So the On-Premise data Gateway itself might not be the most awesome thing in history, but in combination with the data integration of PowerApps it is just incredible! Carina wrote about this earlier, but I had to see it for myself 🙂

My example is based on the need to integrate my On-Prem ERP (SQL) server with Dynamics 365 online (aka PowerApps).

This method does require that you have username/password credentials to a view in SQL that will allow you to read data. After the setup, Part 2 – Final Finnish.

I need data from On-premise to Online

I needed to integrate my ERP system (On-Premise) to D365 in the cloud. There are several ways to complete this normally with code, SSIS, Scribe etc. I wanted to learn what the PowerPlatform was capable of.

I am not a developer, so I am always seeking for solutions considered No-Code, Low-Code. Integrations was something I always had to involve developers to complete.

Until now!!

Installing software

Install latest Onprem Gateway software – Be sure to update this from time to time due to function/feature/security updates from Microsoft.

The software should be installed on a server, because of the need for 24/7 uptime. While testing, you can easily install the software on your personal computer as long as it is in the same network as the SQL database you are trying to connect to.

Open the software, and set it up. I chose to use my login credentials for this action. These credentials where also the ones that were “creators” in Dynamics.

Remember the Gateway Name and Password

When this is done you should find the Gateway in your PowerApps.
NB!!! It will only install under the Default instance for now!!

Check connection with PowerApps

Last step is to open up your browser to PowerApps and see if we can retrieve the data. Open PowerApps

Make sure you navigate to the Dynamics Production environment

Then you open a new integration project

From here you connect to the On-Prem SQL DataGateway.
Don’t worry, the credentials and IP are not real here:)

So the important thing on the next step is to use the credentials for your SQL server. These credentials only need to be read from a database. This means that you might have to ask someone to create read credentials for your database.

Choose the tables you want to sync. Debitor is Accounts in our ERP system.

If you are lucky, you will see the following result!! You are now one step closer to actually complete a NO-Code integration with an onprem SQL server.

HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!!

Part 2 Final Integration

Interview – Megan V. Walker

So in my first ever interview I was so lucky to talk to Megan V. Walker MVP.

Megan is a huge contributor to the community, sharing examples of real life business value. She is very active on social media with weekly posts (Twitter, YouTube and blogging). The content is easy to absorb, and leaves you with the comforting feeling that “I can do this myself”. She recently got the MVP title, and I am sure we all agree that it was well deserved!

Follow Meghan in the following channels
Blog
YouTube
Twitter

Thank you Megan for participating 🙂

Dynamics 365 – Teams. Love at first SITE (pun intended)..

The Team

Hi everyone, meet Knut and Kjetil.

Knut is a salesperson at Point Taken. He just came across a HUGE deal that he has registered in Dynamics 365. This deal is so big that Knut will need the assistance of several resources to deliver. One of these resources is Kjetil, a SharePoint consultant.

The setup

Knut enters the details needed for the Dynamics 365 deal

Knowing that this opportunity is HUGE, Knut starts by creating a new channel in the Offers Team (name is “General” for demo purposes).

The connection

Knut has now setup the structure for collaboration, and is ready to connect Teams and Dynamics 365 together.
Well done KNUT!! 🙂

Add the Dynamics 365 connection for the tab in the channel

Knut chooses the correct opportunity record.

When Knut is done, he can see the newly created connection message in Teams. The above message indicates that Teams and Dynamics successfully connected.

The harmony begins

Kjetil begins right away with the PowerPoint they will need to win this deal. Kjetil does not have a license for Dynamics, so he creates the PowerPoint in Teams because this is the natural place for collaboration.

Knut can now choose to navigate Teams or Dynamcis 365, because the systems are working with the same document location.

Knut and Kjetil represent 2 different work processes, but are harmonizing well when referring to the ONE TRUTH document. Well done you to!!!

Dynamics and Teams in perfect harmony!

Dynamics 365 – Teams Settings

So this part 2 of the setup is not mandatory, but will help you change some preferences and look/feel of the integration. The settings area will also give you direct access to the chat bot, and I will explain more about that later.

Open the Dynamics 365 app in Teams

In settings you choose what environment you are showing, and the app. The App has to be UI app for it to show. Because this user might not need full access via Teams, maybe you should consider making a smaller app just for Teams.

The last setup you can do is connecting the BOT to your data.

Now it is possible for the chatbot to read and work with data in Dynamics.

The result

The final post about Teams and Dynamics coming together