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Introduction

Welcome to The Nerdy Admin

Not too long ago I read a Tweet by Ed Gonzales (@PoweredbyEdg) encouraging people to ‘share their story’. My immediate thought was “Nah, I’m light years behind what others post these days”. The post was referencing another by Saron (@saronyitbarek) that said “If you’re holding back on writing that blog post because it’s “too basic” or “too simple”, stop holding back.

Damn.

Since 2011 I’ve been a part of and active within of the “CRMUG” (CRM User Group) and also within the social platforms Twitter and LinkedIn. Early on I did some presentations and participate in panel discussions which ultimately led to more active volunteer roles within the user group. Doing so lead to many, many incredible connections. People I’d meet in the halls or sessions of Microsoft’s Convergence conference or connect with on calls sharing experiences. Many of those people I now consider friends and am in contact still to this day. I also learned a great deal, both from sharing my own story and having it resonate with others (validation of my own experiences) and in the form of engaging in conversations that re-framed my position on a topic or feature, and learning how to use aspects of things I didn’t understand before.

Let me simplify that paragraph – I learned a lot because I shared a lot.

Whoa.

The irony here was that I have always felt as though I was sharing simplistic/basic content, but it seemed to resonate with some of the people who attended. I have always framed it as ‘this is my experience. I’m not the expert, I’m learning too. But here is what I’ve learned so far’.

Interestingly enough, about a year ago I had been thinking about starting to blog (or, perhaps someday, vlog – what?!). I even brainstormed a list of topics I could write about. After much reflection I ultimately decided that it was of limited value. There is SO MUCH content already out there and it’s all really good. I’m not sure anyone would benefit, I convinced myself. I packed up my brainstorm, tucked it away in a sub-tab of OneNote and moved on with life.

Ed and Saron’s Tweet inspired me to think again. I dug out that list and started to think about it more, and came to a realization. This WAS valuable information to the right audience. “Maybe I should just give this a shot”, I thought.

What Am I Doing?

I plan to post instructional content – application specific “click here, enter this, do that” tutorials. However the bulk of my content will focus on things we need to think about in our role of administrators. It can be an overwhelming world to be a part of! With the rapid development of features, functions and integrations with, well, everything, it can be daunting. It’s no secret that Microsoft produces at a fantastical pace and it can be hard to keep up. I’m going to tackle topics that I hope will make you think and reflect on the underlying challenges we face in our role. All the while pointing out many of the great resources available to admins and users alike. 

More than Tech

As a final twist, it won’t always be focussed on administration or even technology. Sometimes I’ll dive into other topics such as mindfulness, strategic thinking, trend and data analysis, or even quick tips on random business applications I’ve come to learn. These are personal interest items that I find tightly woven with the role of an admin.

But, why?

What is my goal? I can’t possible put into words what I’ve gained from the generosity of others within the community. May it be their blogs, hearing people present, following their social posts or having conversations with them directly about specific issues or problems I’ve faced, this community is chock full of intelligent, generous folks who share their knowledge at every turn. It’s time I try to give something back!

— Disclaimer —

There is one thing I need to be very clear about right out of the gate and you’re going to hear me reference often in my writings…

I am not here claiming to be the expert. I am sharing my thoughts and opinions on these topics. Even when I provide tutorials, I encourage you to chime in with your insights in the comments, especially if that’s to show a more efficient way of doing something. I am here to learn along with you, so please never hesitate to share your thoughts publicly, or privately to me directly.

I’m excited about this venture, and hope that it will be of value to those who choose to follow along!

Malcolm

Power Baseball League: Rollup Fields

We’re back at it on the Power Baseball League as we take a swing at Rollup fields. We even touch on Calculated fields as well.

Rollups and Calculated fields are smart fields in Dataverse that are set automatically by other data in the system.

Rollup fields aggregate data from other related records. This aggregate could be a sum or a max or several other options. Plus you can also filter the records that you will aggregate. Calculated fields allow you to use formulas on one or more fields already in your data.

Some quick examples? Total up the number of cases an Account has. Or the number of opportunities, or the value of open opportunities. There are plenty of options out there that could be beneficial for an organization. We touch on a few and implement one of our own today.

In this video, we walk through the step-by-step process to set up a Rollup field. Then we talk through some potential use cases for both types. Finally, we cover some limitations and best practices.

Power Baseball League: Rollup Fields

Did that give you everything you need to get started? If not, you can also review the Docs pages for more information.

See you next week for another exciting topic!

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Photo: Photo by Nick Jio on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: Business Rules

All sports have rules – well, perhaps not that one that’s got the “No Rules…” in the title, but aside from that, rules are present. Business rules exist in the world of process, too!

Business Rules allow our citizen developers to create form scripting with point-and-click customization. They allow you to do things such as set fields as required, show recommendations, show error messages or set field values. These tools bring immense value to the platform because they increase the flexibility of what we can do with the platform without needing heavy code.

To get started, you can read the docs content. Then watch our video to see us build a simple rule and share some tips and tricks.

Power Baseball League: Business Rules

It’s time to go build your own Business Rules! What are the coolest uses for them you can think of?

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Photo: Thanks to Toa Heftiba for sharing their work on Unsplash.

Power Baseball League: Marketing Lists

Back with another week of Power Baseball League! Last time we dove into detail on creating and using E-mail Templates. Today we take the next logical step and start to configure our Marketing Lists. We also talk about Quick Campaigns and how they might be useful.

Getting Started

To be able to use Quick Campaigns and Marketing lists you do need to enable the Dynamics 365 Sales app. This can be done within your environment settings. However, this does require you to have enabled your environment for Dynamics 365 Apps when you create it.

Here are a few docs to review:

Marketing Features

We tackle two topics today; Quick Campaigns and Marketing lists. Quick Campaigns allow you to create Activities for a group of records. This could be Phone Calls for the owners to complete, sending a template email, sending an ad hoc email and more.

Marketing lists let you define a set of records that you can market to later. These can be done in a couple of different ways – dynamic (where list members are generated based on a query and pulled at the time of use), or static, meaning the list must be manually curated by adding and removing members ‘by hand’.

Check out the video to see the step-by-step creation of quick campaigns and marketing lists. We will also talk about the difference between Static and Dynamic Marketing Lists noted above. Plus a few tips, tricks and lessons learned thrown in there too!

Marketing Lists, Quick Campaigns, and more!

Have you been using these tools? How can this benefit your organization?

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Image: Photo by Savannah Rohleder on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: E-mail Templates

Welcome back to the Power Baseball League! Today we are going to talk about E-mail Templates. Somehow it is already March and that means its real life MLB baseball season! Malcolm couldn’t be happier about spring training starting (not to mention the Toronto Blue Jays are looking pretty solid – not likely our year just yet but the team is fun to watch!).

This week we dove into e-mail templates. Warning: the Dynamics 365 email editor does not have many glamourous features. We believe this is intentional as the Dynamics 365 Marketing platform comes with far enhanced tools, though we did notice some enhancements that are nice additions.

You can definitely create useful notifications and emails from the out of the box features. In today’s video, we create an email template. However, we had some unexpected twists as we went through the process in the new UI. Watch the video to see and hear about our experience. Plus learn some tips on how to use this in a real world scenario. 

Power Baseball League: E-mail Templates

How do you use email templates in your organization? What potential uses do you see for this feature?

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Photo by Eduardo Balderas on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: On Demand Flow

Today in the Power Baseball League we are building an On-Demand Flow!

Power Automate brings a tremendous amount of automation power to your finger tips (pardon the pun). But it’s true! It has the ability to interact with a growing list of applications (both inside and out of the Microsoft eco-system).The potential to create linkages between systems has never been greater.

In today’s post we look at building an on-demand flow to create a new registration for a youth in our baseball league. But this isn’t just any on-demand flow – we add in a layer of interaction with the user so they are giving the information to the flow while it executes. This is a really cool feature that opens the door to a number of use cases.

P.S. We mentioned that we struggled with the creating the lookups to other entities. For more information, check out this great Blog Post for all the details. Thanks EY for the assist!

What do you think?! Do you have ideas of how you might leverage this functionality in the real world? We’d love to hear it!

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Photo: Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: Interactive Dashboards

In our second Dashboard focused session on the Power Baseball League, we scratch the surface on Interactive Dashboards. What a cool addition to the platform these are! As you know, we’re learning alongside you – so neither of us had a great deal of experience with these. The more we dove into them, the more impressed we were!

In today’s video we get a basic interactive dashboard set-up and ready to use. Then we talk a bit about the differences between single-stream and multi-stream. We also look at the differences between the ‘maker portal’ and the classic interface.

If anything is clear after producing this video it’s that there is a whole lot more to explore! Such as what they are, how they work, and what an organization could do with them. Perhaps we’ll need to revisit in a future segment! For now, we hope this video gives you a basic overview of their intent and how to get started. Plus there is a wealth of information available in the Microsoft Docs page

Join us next week as we continue our work to build out our app. We’ll be tackling how to build an on-demand flow in Power Automate to create a record in the system. Sounds simple, but we’ll be touching on how you can now have an element of interaction on these workflows to have data incorporated into the flow. So cool!

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Power Baseball League: Dashboards

It’s time for the Power Baseball League to tackle Dashboards! Over our last couple of sessions we’ve spent time building out views and charts. Views give us the table data in a spreadsheet like format. Charts transform that data into easy to digest visuals that helps us make sense of what we’re seeing in the table data.

Today we dive into Dashboards where we can bring several elements of data together to get insight into what’s happening in the organization.

We opted to slice the topic of dashboards into two parts – classic and the newer “interactive” dashboards. We tackle the classic ones first.

In our discussion we build out a basic start to a dashboard of our Contact and Registration data. As a simple example, this dashboard would provide insight for our users on both of those tables in one place. The alternative would be a user having to navigate to each table individually and then open up the chart they want to see. Needless to say, dashboard bring forth some serious opportunity for efficiency.

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Photo: Photo by Nick Jio on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: Chart Basics

CHARTS RULE! Today the Power Baseball League is taking on Chart Basics. This builds on the system and personal views we built the last two weeks. Now we want to show you a few things you can do with charts for those views.

Graphical representation of data is powerful tool. In some ways, it adds context to the data someone is looking at. Plus, it gives users a quick way to consume information. They also lay the foundation for use in dashboards which we’ll talk about in a future release.

In today’s video, we touch on the creation of a basic chart and include some insightful discussion on key aspects you’ll want to think through as you plan your own charts. We highlight the drill down capability. Then show you how to take a user’s personal view and import it as a system view so others can benefit!

CHARTS RULE!

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Photo: Photo by Jimmy Conover on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: System View Enhancements

Views are a simple yet powerful element of any model-driven app. They provide users with relevant information and help them see the information they need at a glance. As a system admin or solution architect, you have complete control over what these views show and the order of the columns.

Today we build out a basic view and include discussion on adding columns from other tables. We also touch on the new UCI filtering capabilities. Additionally, we give some examples of important considerations to make when designing your view layout.

Join us next week as we work to bring graphical representation of our data out in our segment on charts!

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Photo: Photo by Keith Johnston on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: Editing System Views for Model-Driven Apps

It’s time to spend some time improving our Power Baseball League Model-Driven App by editing the System Views. In our previous videos, we worked to get the basics of our app set-up. We added in Contacts, Accounts, and a couple of custom tables for registration data as well as the season (year). 

When you add in tables from Dataverse they come with pre-established views. We don’t need some of them, so today’s video talks about how to tidy these up in the model-driven app administrator area (commonly referred to as the “maker portal”). 

Join us as we walk through how to disable several of them. We also highlight the XrmToolBox View Layout Replicator which takes the columns from one view and allows you to select which other views should look the same. This is an extremely handy tool to bring consistency to your views. Trust us, your users (and your user feedback queue) will thank you!

Power Baseball League: Editing System Views for Model-Driven Apps

This is part of the Power Baseball League Series with Kylie Kiser (follow her on LinkedInTwitter or her Blog). You can follow the series on the Power Baseball League Series Page and the Power Baseball League YouTube Playlist as they are added.

You can find Kylie’s content at the following:

Blog: https://kyliekiser.com/

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kiser/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/KylieKiser

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7jIvOwE4mHsr1Tjk1jj3w

Cover Photo: Thanks to Toa Heftiba for sharing their work on Unsplash.