Thursday, July 19, 2018

What’s New for the User Interface, Workspaces, and Reporting



I just recently finished up a series of webinars that I did for the Dynamics User group called Functional Fridays. My goal with the series was to highlight new features in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations targeted at a functional audience. I did this like every Friday for like 3 months. About three Fridays in, I was asking myself "What I have I signed myself up for."

We had a few hiccups and missed weeks due to scheduling, technical difficulties and so on, but alas, we are finished! So with a bazillion webinars out of the way, I figured I would take some time to write a little bit. I am going to write one blog that coincides with each of my webinars giving you some additional food for thought and tidbits that I did not give in the webinar. And in case you missed the webinar I will share the link where you can watch the recording.

First up: D365 Functional Friday Series: User Interface, Workspaces, and Reporting

So for my blog I wanted to highlight my top 10 favorite new features in the user interface (David Letterman style).

Top 10 Reasons Why Every User Will Love the New Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations User Interface

  1. Embedding PowerApps
Coming in at number 10. Embedding PowerApps. Although many users will never discover this feature, or have security to use it. IT folks far and wide love this. You can build a PowerApp that enhances D365 or connects to other data sources and embed it right into any page in Finance and Operations. Similar functionality also exists for Talent with some limitations, and the roadmap has plans for this functionality to come to Customer Engagement as well.

  1. Mobile workspace designer
This is another of those features that most users will never discover on their own, but again IT folks will love. Some might even think that Microsoft is trying to put you out of a job…I think of it as you get to use really cool technology to blow your users' minds. With this awesome new feature, you can create a new mobile version of any page in the system. Some technical experience may be required if you want to get fancy, but if you can use the task recorder, you can likely learn to use the Mobile workspace designer in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

  1. Home.Dynamics.com
It really is the little things in life on this one. The fact that you can quickly and find all your environments by opening a web browser and navigating to https://home.dynamics.com is just amazing to me. For users far and wide, this means your boss can expect you to work from home on that snow day now (assuming you have internet access). Yes that's right you can access Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations anywhere, at any time from just about any browser or mobile device. So much for a work life balance. But buh-bye Citrix and Terminal Servers to connect to your environments.

  1. Embedded Power BI
Some might say, no big deal, its some reports and dashboards, those have been around for ages. Well, Microsoft has really double-downed on their new reporting and analytics platform. They are bringing the sexy back to reports. The beauty and function of these reports and dashboards really shows that Microsoft has made the investment. What's even better, is that Microsoft continue to make investments in this area and we are just seeing the beginning.

  1. Create new fields
If embedding PowerApps and the mobile workspace designer have not put your IT guy out of a job yet, then this new feature might. Again, users may not discover this or have rights to do it. But, with NO development, NO code, and little to no effort, you can extend the interface and add a new field with the click of a button. This new feature is part of the personalization toolbar and can be accessed by clicking a button.

  1. Action search
Productivity is soooo important when you are using a system all day every day. The new Action search is not only great for the new user, but is it even better for the seasoned user coming from an older version of AX and is just lost in the sea of Action Pane tabs and buttons. With this new feature you can quickly and easily search for a button on any page and access the search by pressing Ctrl+'

  1. Task recorder
Now you might think I am on something for putting this so high up in my list, but man is this thing cool. While the task recorder has been around for a while, the completely reinvented it. I would like to take credit for it as well (haha) since I thought they should do this years ago. Unfortunately, no one is going to give me the credit. Anyways, the new task recorder is worth a look. It has new features to allow editing, playback, guided playback, the ability to make developer recordings for testing, integration with LCS for easy online help and so much more.

  1. Workspaces
If you thought the action search was going to make you amazingly productive, these new workspaces are going to make you think you can do twice as much. Microsoft has delivered a lot of out of the box workspaces with the end user really in mind. But no worries, if you don't like what you get out of the box, a user can build a new one with just a few clicks. You can custom tailor these things to nearly do your job for you!

  1. Personalization Toolbar
We have been personalizing the user interface in AX for as long as I can remember. But teaching someone to do this for real has been a challenge. That crazy old right-click > Setup screen with crazy looking hierarchy is gone and replaced with a sexy new intuitive toolbar that anyone can use. Then to top it all off, you can import, export, share, control access to personalization, and so much more through a new Personalization administration page in the System administration module.

  1. Page search
And at number 1, it has to be the page search.  I don't know why it took Microsoft 7 major releases of their software to think up this one, but man do I love it.  You can quickly and easily find any page in the system by starting to type the name or a portion of the name of the page.  You can access the search by keyboard shortcut by pressing Ctrl+/

And now for my shameless plug to the Dynamics 365 Days in Portland I am hosting on August 17th. Get registered soon as space is limited.  http://pages.d365ug.com/dynamics-365-day-portland-rsm

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