What we took home from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Saturday event

10 December 2019

Microsoft Dynamics 365

We attended the DynamicsPower! community event — also known as Dynamics 365 Saturday — and it was amazing. There was a great line-up of speakers, all there to share their knowledge, implementation strategies, experience and expertise. And the cherry on the cake was the keynote speaker for this event, James Phillips (Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Business Applications). What he had to say and much more, you can find here.

The event took place at the headquarters of Microsoft in Brussels. The building is really inspiring, it immediately felt like Valhalla. We were amazed by the number of different sessions, it was impossible to not find a session that would interest you. Most of the sessions were given by either MVPs, Microsoft employees or Microsoft Business Application Architects.

Digitize your processes to accelerate

The keynote was delivered by James Phillips, who talked about how Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform momentum can accelerate digital transformation by enabling every business user to digitize processes. He pointed out several applications for this. You can use Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents and Power Automate (previously called Flow), which now also enables robotic process automation (RPA) to integrate your legacy applications.

We also saw a live demo of how the customer TruGreen leverages the new Microsoft Power Virtual Agents together with Customer Insights and Product Insights. Very interesting to see how the concept of digital feedback comes to life and how the cloud enables innovation. The highlight of the keynote was a great demo from Wim Coorevits. He showed how to build a store inventory tracking tool with automatic object detection using the new AI Builder capabilities in Power Apps. A true example of the power (pun intended) of the Power Platform.

Get started with our top three takeaways

Transition to Unified interface

Joris Poelmans (Solution Architect at Realdolmen), Philip Verlinden (Solution Architect at Microsoft) and Stéphane Dorrekens (CTO at Business Elements) explained why it is extremely important to make the transition to the new Unified Interface. They made it clear that the legacy web client has been deprecated by Microsoft and that implementers should plan to convert the legacy web apps of their customers to the new Unified Interface, even though some significant features like Advanced Find, Merge Records, Set Personal Options and more are not yet present in the Unified Interface. These features can be enabled in the Unified Interface displayed as legacy dialogs.

Joris showed us the new and enhanced features of the Unified Interface, including the new Timeline experience, Navigation and View Improvements. He also shared his honest opinion on these enhancements, which was very appreciated by the attendees. And last but not least, Stephane explained the two existing strategies for a successful transition to the Unified Interface.

To code or not to code

Sara Lagerquist is a Microsoft MVP and Power Platform Consultant at Konsulterna. She gave a great session about a new way of implementing automated processes in Dynamics 365 without using any code – she is a strong believer in #LessCodeMorePower. It is really mind-blowing to see what is possible today on the Microsoft platform without using any code.

In her session, she presented a great comparison of the two well-known business automation process tools Workflows and Power Automate (previously known as Microsoft Flow). She emphasized that Workflows will die sooner or later and that it is advisable to avoid using Workflows in future implementations, even though Microsoft hasn’t yet announced any deprecation regarding Workflows.

She also talked about some best practices to keep in mind when creating Power Automate processes. For example, avoid using the Common Data Service connector and use the Common Data Service (current environment) instead. She also shared a list of rookie mistakes that she or her colleagues made when they started working with Power Automate.

Experience with mobility in Dynamics 365 CRM-projects

Dominique Gire is the Microsoft Business Applications Director at Gfi. He delivered a really interesting and inspiring session about his experience as a CEO of a company that focuses on implementing mobility for Dynamics 365 CRM projects. He showed us that there are many possibilities for mobility in Dynamics 365, but they all have their specific use cases. He spoke fondly about the large-scale and successful mobility projects he has implemented and his lessons learned.

The most interesting insight from his session is his experience that customers do not always know what they want. They also don’t know what is possible. He explained that it is the job of the partner to guide the customer through this process where needed.


The power of the community

There was also a networking area where some booths were set up. There we could get in touch with other companies – a perfect opportunity to share opinions and experiences and discuss potential partnerships. At our booth you could learn how to operate a Nespresso machine with the HoloLens and Dynamics 365 HoloLens Guides. We wanted to show that you can use the HoloLens to give instructions to a machine or do some maintenance and still have your hands free. In this case, the HoloLens gave instructions on how to get yourself a delicious cup of coffee. Everyone got a nice Realdolmen coffee mug after following the instructions correctly.

All in all, it was a great day of learning. We were again amazed by the number of attendees and the general quality of the sessions and speakers. It’s always inspiring to see how many people are willing to volunteer and invest their time, knowledge and experience to help the community. The Dynamics community in Belgium is one to cherish.


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