Common Data Service(CDS); Talk the talk, but not walk the walk yet

With every new release and platform update we see a clear Microsoft commitment to support deeper integration across the D365 portfolio. It’s still in the early stages, but we see the direction. New developments such as parts of Dynamics 365 for Talent is using the CDS. I think that we in the future will see more business apps utilizing the CDS as the data storage. The benefit of the common data model is that applications can work against data without needing to explicitly know where that data is coming from. To see what the Microsoft business platform are, take a look at https://businessplatform.microsoft.com

The CDS also have an important role in both process and data integration between the Sales(CRM) and Operations(ERP) apps, and the current status after the July release and Update 9 is that we have 6 templates that we can use to test some scenarios with D365. The Business platform admin center is where the CDS data integrations can be set up. You can reach this from https://admin.businessplatform.microsoft.com or from https://admin.powerapps.com

The first needed to be set up is Connection sets. Connection sets are a collection of two more connections, organization mapping information, and integration keys that can be reused among projects.

In this case I have set up a integration where data can go from D365 for Finance and Operations à CDS à D365 Sales:

Then also to map the organization ID’s across the 3 services.

And finally the integration key’s.

After the connection sets have been setup, the CDS knows how to connect to the different systems. We can then create an integration project

We can then select between the current 6 templates.

I have only been able to test the Accounts and Products. The Sales Quotes did not work for me (but they are also in preview currently).

After the integration project have been created it is possible to add more integration tasks and make changes to the mapping. If there are issues with the mapping or you need to map additional it will show in the “Issues” column.

N the mapping transformation functions, like this where the item type is changed when transferred from CDS to Dynamics 365 for Sales

The integration can also be scheduled to run at specific times:

Some unofficial benchmarking, I managed to transfer 200 products to CRM in 40 seconds.

Summary:

We are definitely going in the right direction, but we are yet not ready to “Walk-the-walk”. Microsoft currently only support synchronization in one direction, but bi-directional synchronization are in the roadmap. This is important to support “multi-master” system where the same fields can be authored on either side. Like Customer Name etc. It seems Microsoft is focusing on providing business scenario’s like “Prospect-To-Cash”, and what we mainly have now is a preview of how this would look in the future. The mapping is not complete from the templates and needs more work.

My final comments are that we will in the future have a very easy to use system for connecting the unified business operations apps. It was hoped that this business platform would be more ready with the July release, but it needs more releases for this to be useful in actual implementations. This feature needs to grow beyond the “Minimum-Viable-Product”. I hope and expect that we will see in place through the fall, and that the next release will have more mature integration templates. So far, good work Microsoft, but please hurry ! To learn more take a look into the https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/common-data-service/entity-reference/dynamics-365-integration.

 

 

 

 

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations On-Prem

Now the On-Prem system requirements are available : https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=55496

To get it running the minimum recommended requirements are:

Total Number of instances(VM/Machines) : 21

Total number of CPU cores : 104

Total Memory : 408 Gb

This minimum configuration will estimated be able to support 240-1200 users.

To sum it up: Go Cloud . Much smarter.

Localized Dynamics 365 documentation

The transitioning from ax.help.dynamics.com to http://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/operations is going great. One of the benefits is that we now have localized documentation.

So if you prefer to look at the documentation in Chinese URL : https://docs.microsoft.com/zh-cn/dynamics365/operations/

If you like Norwegain try https://docs.microsoft.com/nb-no/dynamics365/operations/

D365!

Dynamics 365 CSP; What happens when a customer is not paying their monthly bill?

Disclaimer: In this blog post I would like to share my understanding on what is happening when customers no longer pay their bill for Dynamics 365. Please consult with your partner or Microsoft to get the actual and official interpretation.

First some definitions; Most mid-size customers will buy Dynamics 365 through a partner that is a CSP (Cloud Solution Provider). Larger corporations will have the opportunity to buy Dynamics 365 directly from Microsoft through a EA (Enterprise Agreement). The information here is related to the CSP way of purchasing licenses.

When buying Dynamics 365, most customers will receive a monthly bill from their CSP partner. But the great thing about the CSP, is that you may adjust the number of users for the next period. Dynamics 365 have a low limitation of 20 licenses, but above this the customer may make changes.

But keep in mind that even though you receive a bill for the upcoming month, there is still a commitment for the base subscription period. For Dynamics 365, the subscription period is normally 12 months. I think I finally understood why the name is Dynamics 365; The reason may be that you have to buy it for at least 365 days

As stated earlier the customer normally receives a bill each month. But what happens when the customer stops paying the bills?

1. Well first the normal procedure is that the customer is notified by their CSP that payments are missing that follows the normal procedure.

2. The next step is that the CSP partner will suspend the subscription. This is done when by changing the status on the subscription to “Suspended”.

3. When a subscription status is changed to “Suspended”, this puts the subscription into a “data retention” mode. This means that end-users will not have access to any services, but administrators will still have access to the data associated with this subscription.

4. At the end of 60 days after a subscription is Suspended, the subscription is moved to a “de-provisioned” state. At this time, all data is removed.

The conclusion is therefore; Pay you bill or lose your data.

When I think of it…… it’s just like paying your electric bill.. no pay…no power.

 

 

Dynamics 365; New VM type cut your Azure bill

When deploying your Azure based VM’s the most common VM Size is D13 with 8 cores and 56 GB RAM. This VM costs approx. 924 USD per month according to the pricing calculator.

Microsoft have made some new sizes available :

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/price-reductions-on-l-series-and-announcing-next-generation-hyper-threaded-virtual-machines/

The new size is named D13 V2 Promo, and will cost 749 USD. If you have MSDN the costs are further reduced to 429 USD/Month

You cannot select this size in LCS, so you must log into your azure portal after deploying, and change the size there.

Nice

Dynamics 365 ideas

Microsoft have released a new site for posting and voting on ideas to the Dynamics 365. https://ideas.dynamics.com

It is assumed that this is replacing all other forum and sites, like connect, yammer etc for suggesting new and exiting functionality. It covers the entire Dynamics 365 stack, and the concept is that each person can suggest and vote on up to 50 suggestions per forum. Microsoft have also created statuses on each suggestion, and additional comments can be added by registered participants.

A small suggestion to Microsoft on the site; Allow us to use our ADFS login, and not just our Live-ID login. (I guess I have to create a suggestion for this)

 

D365FO Channels, Insiders Preview and Update Policy

As announced with the update 4, Microsoft will release monthly updates so that new and existing environments can stay up-to-date with the latest innovations with a click of a button. Hopefully this make it easier to stay on the newest platform. We are also assuming and hoping that this approach in the future will extend to also cover business functionality (eg ApplicationSuite). A faster update cycle also results that there are more versions currently used in at customers. As seen here are all the official releases that Microsoft have made available for Dynamics 365 for operations. With a monthly update cycle the list will be extended quickly. Keeping track on versions does not give any actual customers value. But in a SaaS approach, creating faster and simplified updated on business functionality will require a better and more visible release policy, not based on build numbers.

We need to make this upgrade and update experience easier to understand and easier to follow. The work that the Microsoft Office and Windows team have done is a great example that I think is something we also should have for Dynamics 365: The introduction of release channels.

Update channel

Primary purpose

Feature updates

Platform updates

Security Updates

Preview Channel

Provide users to evaluate the newest features of Dynamics 365 as soon as possible. The channel is only available through an insider program, and is not deployable into a production environment.

Weekly

Weekly

Weekly

First Channel

Provide users with the newest features of Dynamics 365.

Monthly

Monthly

Monthly

Current Channel

Provide users with the released and stable features of Dynamics 365.

Every 3 months

Monthly

Monthly

Deferred Channel

Provide users with new features of Dynamics 365 only a few times a year.

Every 6 months

Monthly

Monthly

 

What channel you would like to have should be a setting in LCS, and the customers can switch between the channels as wanted. Visually the release and update schedule could then look something like this.

With the introduction of Microsoft AppSource and for ISV’s this would mean that they could commit to a specific channel, and “front-runners” like myself would have early access to the newest and hottest. Some customers are deadly serious about stability, and new features could potentially cripple business processes. In this way customers can for them self’s decide their speed for adding new functionality.

Dear Microsoft; Can we have something like this also for Dynamics 365?