Report your bugs, free-riders!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the fastest innovation and most agile business software in the world. A very feature rich solution with a packed very fast moving roadmap. We see new possibilities and features coming monthly in platform update, fall/spring releases. if you look at the entire platform-stack including windows, office, and platform (power* apps) new features being made available on a daily basis. Being first and fast have changed and challenged the Dynamics 365 ecosystem. Mostly for the good.

But we have to recognize that it is people (and highly productive) behind this innovation tsunami. In such an environment there are thousands of elements that must to fit together. If you look towards the number of combinations on how you can use and setup Dynamics 365, I would assume that this is millions of combinations in the core product. And when adding office and power* apps, combinations just increases exponentially.

People are people, and there is a limitation to the numbers of combinations that can be tested, both from a manual and automated testing scenario. This leads to scenarios that there is no capacity to test everything before the product is released. It is not possible to test all of the millions of combinations, and I know that even Microsoft do not have unlimited people and resources to cover every test scenario.

This evidently results in issues and bugs that will be found when implementing Dynamics 365, and these needs to be reported to Microsoft support so that the fixes becomes part of the future solution.

Searching, testing, reporting a solution takes time and do cost money! Each time I find a bug, I report this to Microsoft so that all of the community can benefit of a fix. But as some have recognized that reporting issues/bug is requiring effort and resources. You report the bug, analyze the issue, report the issue, Microsoft provides hotfixes, the hotfix needs to be validated and testing and then deployed to the environment. This takes time, but is necessary!

With this blog post I urge both partners and customers to report your findings to Microsoft, so that all the rest of us can benefit that we are an ecosystem together. As I hope most of you know, we are quickly moving towards Dynamics 10, that is often referred to as the “ever-green” solution. This means that there are ONE version, that all customers are using, and that follows the Microsoft roadmap. When one customer reports an issue, and it is fixed, then all benefit from this.

Then there is the issue with the “free-riders”. These are the people that recognize the issue, find workarounds and DON’T take the investment in time and resources of reporting the issue. They know and see the issue, but choose to live with it or ignore it. Then in many cases, Microsoft if not even aware of any issue, and the issues just continues to be present in future releases. The best way is to report what you see to Microsoft support or to Microsoft ideas. Then Microsoft can take action on it, because they know of it.

So, I urge my fellow community friends to not be a Free-Rider, but report your issues. This will ensure that we all can share the resource/time burden among us, and we also improve and strengthen Dynamics 365, that we all will benefit from.

PS! Dynamics 365 is the BEST business application in the world!

Vote on Dynamics 365 ideas

Do you know that you can influence the direction of Dynamics 365? But you may be unsure as to whether it really will make a difference. Microsoft have a site where the community can add ideas and vote on them. Go to https://experience.dynamics.com/ideas/ and create your ideas. If the idea is valid and they get enough votes, Microsoft will act and include them in their product backlog. But equally important is the ability to vote on other’s ideas.

  • Voting is the most important way to make the community voice heard on the issues that concerns the roadmap for Dynamics 365.
  • Voting gives you an opportunity to be part of the priority that affects Dynamics 365.
  • If YOU don’t Vote Others will make the decisions for YOU!

As we speak, there are 1673 ideas for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and 212 ideas for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail. Microsoft employees are some of most actives to add ideas to their site.

The ideas portal allows you to see as the ideas more from an idea to being part of the product:

An important unofficial note is that for an idea to be moved from “New” to “Under Review” it requires at least 10 votes. Also discussions is possible on the ideas, and to add additional substance to the requirements.

You can also keep track of your own ideas and votes you have submitted.

If I have a few minutes of spare time, I like to go in and look at the new ideas submitted and read them. When there are ideas I like, I vote on them.

The more we use this channel to give ideas and feedback, the more important it will be. So please go in and vote at https://experience.dynamics.com/ideas/

(And if you find some of mine, please give it a vote )

MSDYN365FO: Automate repetitive tasks – the easy way

Here the other day, I got the task of posting a few thousand Retail Kit orders / BOM-Journals because they failed at the first time. I started, and managed to manually post 50 journals before my fingers got cramps and I started to feel dizzy. I could not multiselect the journals and post them, so I had to manually click “post” on each journal.

I surely sent a SR to Microsoft explaining that this should be easier in standard, and that SR is in process. But it will probably end up as a “As-Designed” state, or “post it to ideas.microsoft.com”.

But there is an easier low-tech way to solving this. Just install a Mouse-ghost app, and it will repeat the task for you. So I used the app “Mouse Recorder Premium” to post all the 1300 journals, and it went smoothly. Just record the clicks and then repeat for a 1000 times.

To make sure I did not “lock” my PC while this was performing, I started the task in a Hyper-V VM, and then it can run in the background.

That’s today’s small trick to get rid of repetitive tasks

Measure sales per Retail Category in Power BI

Drill down on sales per category, employee, and department is key essentials for Retailers. Doing this gives a more specific view of what’s generating sales and what isn’t. Having insights into top categories or departments might help make decisions about purchasing and marketing. A good point of sale comes with reporting and analytics, so you can quickly get the data you need, whenever you need it — without manual calculations.

Power BI is a must have for all retailers, and this blogpost is about creating a retail category hierarchy in power BI.

If you have worked with Retail Categories, you know that there exists a “parent-child” relationship between the categories as illustrated from the following data in the Contoso demodata set.

In power BI it is possible to also create such hierarchies, but it requires some minor changes to reflect this. My inspiration came from Power BI Tutorial: Flatten Parent Child Hierarchy. I will not go through how I build a retail power BI analysis, but I can share that I use ODATA entities, and here is the entities I’m using:

More information on the data model is available in DOCS her.

The “trick” is to create a new column named “Path“, and a column named CategoryL[X] for each level in the hierarchy, that for the RetailProductHierarchyCategories looks like this:

Here are the column formulas

Path = PATH(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[CategoryName];RetailProductHierarchyCategories[ParentCategoryName])

CategoryL2 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];2)

CategoryL3 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];3)

CategoryL4 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];4)

CategoryL5 = PATHITEM(RetailProductHierarchyCategories[Path];5)

…etc

Then I create a new hierarchy column for, where I specify

And I use the Hierarchy Slicer that is available in the power BI marketplace.

In power BI I then get a Retail Category slicer, and can filter and measure sales per category in power BI

Microsoft are in process of aligning ourselves with future of Power BI and create the new version of Retail Channel Performance with New Common Data Service for Analytics capability coming to Power BI https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/cds-analytics/

Keep on rocking #MSDYN365FO!

Failed ERP implementation will change partners to become trusted advisors.

A norwegian customer won a compensation case against an ERP implementation partner after the customer terminated the parties’ agreement on the supply of a new ERP. The customer was compensated by the Norwegian district court assessed at 288 mNOK (36,7 mUSD). Originally the contract was worth 120 mNOK. You can read the complete story here http://www.selmer.no/en/nyhet/felleskjopet-agri-wins-district-court-case. The court decision is expected to be appealed.

Luckily this was NOT a Dynamics 365 implementation, and the customer is actually replacing the failed ERP system with Dynamics 365. The reason why I wanted to write about this story is that it has implications on how much risk and responsibility an ERP implementation partner can take. A major part of the ERP partners are smaller companies with less than 100 employees, than cannot take the risk of getting into such a situation. There are always problems and risks that is beyond what a ERP partner can control. Partners are not the developer company of the standard software. They are implementing, and in some cases adding additional extensions. Also the cloud based software are running on azure that is beyond the control of the partner.

How can this change partners behavior? Partners are changing towards becoming verticalized trusted advisors, but with limited responsibilities. We can give recommendations based on what we know about the software and how to use it efficiently but the costs are more on a T&M(Time and Material) basis. It will more be the customer them selves that is responsible for the implementation and time-tables.

Some customers will not accept this change, but other do. There are currently resource constrains in the Dynamics 365 partner channel and we partners avoiding customers that takes a back-seat approach towards their implementation projects. The sales focus will change towards those customers that take more of the responsibility themselves, and that do understand to take a more dynamic and agile approach. A 400-page requirement document is not a good start for an ERP project, as we see the digitalization possibilities are accelerating. We also see that customers don’t run a 2 year ERP implementation project before going live. They run a 90 days project to get live with only parts of their requirements. The project then takes on other areas and they extend their use of the Dynamics 365.

At the end, I include some trusted advisor recommendations that I think can inspire anyone that is about to start a project.