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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: 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.

Power Baseball League: We’re Back!

Welcome back Power Baseball fans!

Kylie and I took some time away to enjoy the holidays. We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and your 2021 is off to a fabulous start!

Both of us started new jobs in the past couple of months so we’ve each been busy acclimating ourselves to these new roles. We both took the leap into the partner world as Solution Architect’s. Both of us have already applied some of the knowledge we learned through this joint initiative! From our perspective that’s great validation of the time we spent on this!

Speaking of validation – by far the coolest confirmation of this work has been from YouTube viewer Frank who left a comment on one of the videos seeking some clarification on the Power Automate flow we built connecting Customer Voice to our Power App in Dynamics. After getting the addition detail he needed he kindly came back and commented:

Greetings, I just wished to advise that with your added knowledge I was able to complete the functional steps in my dev project. Thank you very much for your assistance.

What a great feeling to know that our information was consumed and used in a real world application! We’re so grateful for Frank and many others that have tuned into follow along this journey.

After reflecting on the project and looking back at our topics, we realized we haven’t spent a great deal of time actually configuring our app. As our discussion unfolded, we realized that in order to ensure we’re delivering on our goal (to share relevant, functional information with our viewers on tactical ‘how to’ topics), we decided it’d be wise to spend some time in the app preparing it for what our fictitious baseball association would require out of the gate. We intend to spend some time covering things such as:

  • Entity architecture
  • View management
  • UCI View Editor
  • Chart creation
  • Dashboard creation
  • Power Automate – On-Demand Flows
  • Email Templates
  • Marketing Lists

This gives us plenty to run with over the next couple of months.

We are excited to continue and we look forward to hearing your comments and questions. And don’t forget, if you want to join in on the fun we’d LOVE to have you on as a guest! Perhaps you have another topic you’d like to explore with us – don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss!

Remember, swing for the fences! (Actually that’s horrible baseball advice – solid defense and consistent on-base percentages will go a long way to winning games, but that’s a topic for another day…and a different blog all together!)

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 Credit: Photo by Tomas Eidsvold on Unsplash

Power Baseball League: End of the Season

We have covered so much this year in the Power Baseball League! I’m late posting this as I was in full on ‘unplug’ mode over the holidays.

One of the things I reflected on toward the end of the year was things I am grateful for from what was an odd year. One of the top of the list items for me was this project alongside Kylie. I learned a great deal, dabbled in some things I wouldn’t have done otherwise, and earned some points with my kids as they saw my face on YouTube. I may not be a super cool scooter trickster or streaming insane ‘Fortnite’ skills, but both of my boys thought it was pretty cool to see and hear me on the interweb! A sincere THANK YOU to Kylie for her willingness to partner with me on this initiative!!

Toward the end of the year, Kylie and I did a short wrap-up as the final pitch of 2020. We talk briefly about what we have done and where we are going next. Listen in to this video to remember the season.

Kylie is her usual cheery self…I, on the other hand, appear to be taking this way too seriously! 🙂

Thanks again to everyone who has joined us on this journey so far! We would love to hear from you! Reach out in the comments or on social media to let us know what you would like to see next year. You can even volunteer to be a special guest – we’d be thrilled to have you on.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season! See you after a few away games!

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: Customer Voice and Power Automate Build (Part 2)

Let’s keep going on our work with Dynamics 365 Customer Voice and Power Automate! As we learned last week, the data from Dynamics 365 Customer Voice is stored in the Dataverse (formerly Common Data Service). However, we want this data in our standard entities such as Contact. So, we are going to use Power Automate to move it into place.

In part 1, I created the caregiver contact record – in system (and, ironically, human) language, this is the “parent” record. Today, I create the “child” contact records and link them to the caregiver. Each parent can have multiple children, so these entities are related in a 1:N (one-to-many) relationship. Yes, one could argue that there would be more than one parent/caregiver. In our fictitious example, we’re going with the logic that there is ‘one parent advocate’, if you will. In the video, I outlined the steps to use in Power Automate and share some issues I worked through. (Here is the post referenced for linking the records in Power Automate.)

Power Baseball League: Customer Voice and Power Automate Build (Part 2)

That’s all there is to it! This session has been a great exercise to help use learn more about Dynamics 365 Customer Voice and Power Automate. The possibilities are endless!

How can your organization make use of these tools?

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: Customer Voice and Power Automate Build (Part 1)

We have been talking for a few weeks about Dynamics 365 Customer Voice and using this to get data into the Power Baseball League. Today we are going to start the Dynamics 365 Customer Voice and Power Automate build!

Keep in mind that the Dynamics 365 Customer Voice data will already be in Common Data Service (CDS) / Dataverse. However, this data is in entities specific to customer voice and separated by question. So we want to move this data into the core entities like Account and Contact.

We talked through some architecture decisions last week. This week, I put our plan into action. I tried to break it down and show you how the data processes through Power Automate to help you understand the process.

Dynamics 365 Customer Voice and Power Automate Build (Part 1)

Stay tuned next week when I take this a step further and use Power Automate to create the child records and link with the parent record created today!

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: Customer Voice and Power Automate with Special Guest Todd Mercer

It’s time for another special guest! Todd Mercer (BlogLinkedInTwitter) joins the Power Baseball League crew to talk about Customer Voice and Power Automate. We talk through how the Dynamics 365 Customer Voice responses come in to Dataverse (formerly Common Data Service). Then how we will use Power Automate to move that data around.

This is a great discussion where we discuss multiple ways the solution could be architected. Plus talk through some of the constraints to keep in mind. We hope you enjoy listening to us work through our struggles to make a plan with actionable next steps!

Power Baseball League: Customer Voice and Power Automate with Special Guest Todd Mercer

How would you solve this same issue? What other ways could we architect this solution?

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