Dynamics 365 / Power Platform / Microsoft Business Applications – There is just so much!

Overwhelming – a fitting word for someone jumping into the world of Dynamics / Power Platform / Microsoft Business Applications.  There is no shortage of things to learn in the community and limitless configurations and processes in your organization.

For the past 18 or so months, we’ve seen the Power Platform evolve as the core to a business applications suite that is nothing short of spectacular!

If you’re just coming into the fold, there are a number of things you should understand.

Endless Options to Enhance Organizational Efficiency

Common Data Service – a cloud-based hub for your business applications. You’ll find great literature from Microsoft directly, as well as various explanations from various community leaders. The best explanation I’ve come across is from MVP Sarah Critchley, found here.

Dynamics – Microsoft’s collection of industry relatable systems focused on everything from finance to manufacturing to business operations to really anything you want it to be. Overtime we’ve seen various naming for these products. When I first started we had Microsoft Dynamics CRM (“Customer Relationship Management”), Microsoft Dynamics NAV (“Navision”), Microsoft Dynamics GP (“Great Plains”), among others. These have transformed over the years and we now find ourselves with a Dynamics 365 spanning various applications including:

  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Field Service
  • Talent
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Retail
  • Business Central
  • Commerce
  • Marketing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Mixed Reality
  • Business Central

You can learn about these here.

The Power Platform is a fountain of function. I could attempt to outline its breadth of features and functions here, but Microsoft’s site does a great job of this already. Additionally, the Power Platform Adoption Framework does a stellar job at articulating its value and laying out the necessary aspects for integrating the platform at scale in an organization. Kudos to Andrew Welch and others who have produced this fabulous resource.

Just the Beginning

This is quite literally the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to it all, but these elements give you a decent start.

Alright – time to check in, how are you feeling? Confused? Overloaded? Like you’ve stepped off a plane in a new country staring at signs in a foreign language – a pang of excitement yet shrouded in a blanket of nervousness? Allow me to let you in on a little secret…

You are not alone.

You are not alone.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

It’s a lot to soak in. Start small. Keep a journal of sorts (might I suggest a OneNote Notebook!?). Picture tabs (“Sections”) across the top representing the various systems you want to learn more about, and on the first Page in each Section answers a few questions such as:

This tool does…

Users of this tool might be…

This tool could impact organizational function by…

(Perhaps you can think of more! Comment below with your ideas)

Good Content – Where You At?

As I noted in my introductory post, there are so many incredible contributors to this amazing community which spans the entire Microsoft Business Applications umbrella. Just a few of my personal favourites…and trust me, these are just a few:

Kylie Kiser

Todd Mercer

Nick Doelman

April Dunnam

Ed Gonzales

Emma D’Arcy

Luise Freese

Seth Bacon

Gus Gonzales

User Group Communities offer tremendous value as they are ‘for user, by user’

Twitter (try #PowerAddicts , #PowerPlatform or #Dynamics365)

There are also plenty of training services out there. From App in a Day courses to bootcamps to blackbelt series, there is a format and method that near anyone can bite into. A few searches through your favourite search engine will yield plenty of options in this regard.

What Events Should I Consider?

At time of writing, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic casting a great deal of uncertainty over the in-person event market. Plenty of events have or are shifting to a virtual format, and many were already taking place.

I’m a bit biased given my speaking/presentation history, but Dynamic Communities “Summit” events have been, in my opinion, of tremendous value. They are well attended and I personally value sessions from “every-day people” sharing “every-day realities”. Great content and connections with industry peers is a great way to spend a few days.

That said, there are so many great options out there. Microsoft offers great events – Ignite and the Business Applications Summit I’ve heard are excellent. There are also many other groups offering various forms of conferences. Not too long ago the Scottish Summit took place and I’ve heard nothing but incredible reviews of the event structure, the hosts, and the content itself.

There are also great options/listings from Dynamic Communities, D365 Saturday, and 365 Power Up

We are all different humans, so what works for one may be different for someone else. I encourage you think about what you’re looking for in an event and content, and then scope out the various offerings and available. You’re sure to find something that aligns with your needs and learning style.

Let’s Wrap This Up

I’ve rambled long enough for this post! Yes, been an admin can be overwhelming and a lot to soak in, but instead of thinking of it in those terms, think of the limitless potential these tools offer you and your organization! The best part? You are a key part of stewarding the use of these tools to bring efficiency AND effectiveness to your users. You’re right up there with the Avengers in my opinion.

If I had to give one piece of advice – and this is advice I need to heed myself – it’s to engage in the community as much as you can! Put yourself out there. Tell people what you want to learn and you will be amazed at the resources that land on your…umm…internet-step. This community is as supportive, welcoming and engaging as you’ll ever find. I guarantee the majority of those you meet will be genuinely interested in pointing you in the right direction.

We are ALL learning. Why not learn together?!

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