Harnessing the power of dynamics through collaboration and connection

DateApril 2022

Collaboration and connection are at the core of Microsoft’s business initiatives. I heard a great soundbite recently that some of you may have already heard me use which is “collaboration first, business application second”.  It feels like finally, we are really beginning to realise the dream of users being able to work in the business application they are most comfortable with, be that editing records with ease in MS Excel or chatting to colleagues about a particular record in MS Teams and it’s all syncing up with the relevant Dynamics 365 record. 

There is so much interoperability signposted on Microsoft’s site, some are probably not all that relevant to users of Silverbear 365 given we have our own productised Membership Management solution and aren’t quite in the “holo-lens” bracket of users, but this should not be a deterrent to immediately start using some of the nifty functions which are going to get you started on the collaboration journey.

Here are my top items you should be using or enabling in your environment now


You are probably familiar with those little icons on the top right of your screen which show you which of your colleagues are currently also editing that MS Word document or Excel spreadsheet in SharePoint.  Well, they now exist in Dynamics 365 notifying you of a colleague who is also working on the same record so that you can reduce the risk of duplicating effort on things like application review / processing a refund or any of the many tasks you share across a team.

When you see their co-presence icon, you can click it and immediately initiate a Teams chat or send an email.

Enable Teams meetings for D365 appointments

While technically this is automatically rolled out with the Wave 1 release of 2022, it still needs to be enabled for your environment.

Not only does this allow you to schedule the meeting directly in Dynamics 365, but also allows you to see the connected record in the Teams meeting when it begins negating the need to log in to Dynamics 365 ahead of the meeting to get your overview data.  We all know those spare minutes (or seconds in some cases) between meetings are best spent on comfort breaks than logging in to another application so this really feels like a hero feature.

Excel online editing

This one is so simple but probably my favourite. (Yes, yes, Excel geek, I’m not even in the closet about it)

Whenever you find yourself opening a single record to update it, close & save it, and then do the same thing on the next record in the list you’ve found a candidate for editing in Excel online.    Historically, we would have exported a spreadsheet, made the edits, and then re-imported the data.  This works, but to an unfamiliar user they may accidentally delete some of the record identifying fields (which are in the hidden columns A-D) or they may assume that they can delete a row or change some column headers not realising the impact it has on the data.  Online editing opens a mini spreadsheet within the Dynamics 365 interface making it more obvious that you are editing D365 data.

Off the top of my head, the best example I can give for ease of use is to update your annual price lists.  It’s a tedious task to do one record at a time (and yet some of you still put yourself through that pain!) so this is really where you will come to love the power and ease of the Excel online edit.

You’ll probably need to get a good view of the data you want to edit (hint hint…it’s called the Price List Items table) Maybe swing over to the Silverbear community and see what everyone else is doing or ask for some support from me there.

Customer Voice

I’ve recently done a webinar on this so go check it out, but the headline is that it’s Microsoft’s survey tool and it’s great!

Survey responses are linked directly back to the contact record in Silverbear 365. There are some fab out of the box reports, it can link survey questions to NPS scores, you can create alerts to follow up any NPS detractors (or hero NPS promotors) and you can automate their sends based on an action occurring in Silverbear 365 (think… event attendance update or new member joiner)

If that doesn’t convince you to log in and explore the functionality, there is a gorgeous pug in a bow tie as one of the format template images that are surely worthy of your time.

Visualise with Power BI

This is the new kid on the block having just released in 2022 wave 1 so I’ve not had too much hands-on time but my first impression is that this is going to be such a valuable resource.

Once enabled, your environment will show a “Visualize this view” button on the toolbar.

Just give it a click and Power BI will spin up, assess the data, and build you a dashboard. No separate license is needed!

There are still some known issues that Microsoft say they are working on, most notably that lookup fields are not shown using their “friendly” name but rather their logical name – this makes it quite difficult to decipher the field names if you’re not familiar with these but I do hope Microsoft recognises this and get it sorted asap.

Don’t let it put you off though and if you do use it, please come to the community to share your findings!

You can read a bit more here Visualize your data in a view quickly with Power BI service - Power Apps | Microsoft Docs

Happy collaborating!


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