Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Send Survey from Dynamics 365 apps using Customer Voice

Feedback is a gift and managing feedback from customers / vendors / employees is crucial for every organization. I have written earlier about measuring customer experience. This blog is about the new enhancement to Dynamics 365 Customer Voice. Now you can send a Survey directly from Dynamics 365 apps like Sales or Customer Service.

About Customer Voice - Dynamics 365 Customer Voice is an Enterprise Feedback Management app. The app enables you to create, distribute and gather real time survey feedback from your customers and generate insights with metrics. The insights from your customers can help you to transform your products, service and business processes.

Dynamics 365 Customer Voice

D365 Customer Voice app is used to design and distribute the survey. You can send the survey in multiple ways as shown below. The limitation was you could not send the survey from within D365 apps earlier.

Multiple ways to distribute survey

Now you can send a survey directly from within Dynamics 365 Apps like Customer Service, Sales or Marketing. As shown below you can send a survey to a lead from Sales Hub.

Send survey from D365 Sales app

Below are the steps you can take to send a survey from D365 model driven apps.

1. Enable and set-up D365 Customer Voice in your D365 Tenant. 

2. Create the Project and link it to your D365 Dataverse environment. 

3. Create your Survey using Customer Voice

If you want more details for the above 3 steps please refer my earlier blogs here - Set-up Customer Voice. I will write in details about the further steps below.

4. Install the Send Survey solution 

Microsoft has provided a free app on Microsoft appsource that you can install in your D365 dataverse environment. 

Send Survey app
You will have to accept the terms of the app.

Check that the solution is installed at make.powerapps.com > solutions

Publish all customization.

5. Now you should see the Send Survey button on a lead or a case form. You can also see it on a Contact record.

6. Once you click on the Send Survey button you will get to choose the Survey you want to send. This is based on the Survey you created or someone shared it with you in Customer Voice.

7. Once you choose the Survey and click next, you will get to select the email template and locale

8. The survey invite link email will be received by the recipient. The survey invite will also be shown on the Contact timeline.

Note - The Sender is the 'user name' who sent the email and Microsoft default email address. You can change the sender email if needed. That will require some work on the org settings in Microsoft 365. (more details here)

Change the sender's email address

9. Once the recipient completes the Survey the survey response will be shown in the Contact timeline.

I hope this helps you to get started using the Send Survey option from Dynamics 365. Please let me know how you like the new functionality and your experience with Customer Voice.

Thanks for reading.

Mihir Shah | @mihircrm | 365WithoutCode


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Let your data talk for you - Interactive Power BI in Power Point

One of the new feature released during the Microsoft Build 2022 session is to have interactive Power BI report pages (or tiles) in Power Point. This enables users to play with and better understand the story from the visuals in Power Point. Here is how easy it is using Microsoft 365 and Power BI - 

1. In Power Point select a new page and select Insert  >  Add-In  - Search for Power BI and select Power BI Tiles or Microsoft Power BI (to add report pages)

Insert Power BI Add-in

2. Copy the url of the Power BI Report page and paste it in the box on the Power Point page and hit insert.

3. Once the Power BI account is done you can see the report page in your Power Point. This has all the functionality as in Power BI you can filter / slice the data in Power Point. 

Play with your data in Power Point

4. There is also a Power BI toolbar at the bottom which allows you to perform certain Power BI functions directly from Power Point. The Data Options from the toolbar is shown below -

Data Options

Add Filters / Insights

5. Now if you want to share this power point with other users they need to also be shared the dataset and have the Power BI active account. The other option is to share it as an static image if the user does not need to play with the data.

Hope this gets you started with showing your Power BI reports and tiles in Power Point.  Thanks for reading.


Friday, April 29, 2022

AI and Power Platform - Part -2 - AI Builder

 This is a continuation of my series on AI with Power Platform. Part-1 was on AI with(in) Power BI and this blog is about AI Builder.  As Apps are getting created for every possible business scenario there is also a demand for infusing AI in your Enterprise Apps. 

    Within the Microsoft Power Platform the easiest way to add AI to your Power Apps is by using AI Builder. AI Builder works with Power Automate and can instantly enhance your application by adding AI processing capabilities with your data. You can also choose to add AI capabilities using Azure AI, but if you are using Power Platform - a Low Code Platform App why not use AI Builder.

One of the main reason why you may want to use AI in your Apps is because today AI is a necessity not a luxury -  (Microsoft blog).  I am not saying every App needs AI, but it makes a big difference when you add AI capabilities within your Apps.

So how to get started with AI using AI Builder? It is very easy. Select AI Builder from PowerAutomate.com and get your first AI builder model created. Here are some things you may want to consider. 

AI Builder in Power Automate

1. Know the Business scenario that your App serves - Does you app process Customer application? Does it to Accounts Payable - Invoice processing? Is your app collecting Customer feedback? Based on that you can select the AI Model. 

Fig-1 Business Scenario

2. AI Model - Currently there are 17 AI builder model type and the list is growing every few months. It is important to select the right model type based on your business scenario. They range from forms processing, Prediction, Sentiment Analysis to Text Recognition. Every model is focused on one particular aspect of Business scenario. 

There are basically 2 types of model Builds and it is important to understand the differences between the same. 

Model Build

Pre-Built Model

Custom Model


Generic Use Case found common across Businesses and Industries

Custom – For your specific Business Use Case




# of models

11 Pre-built models

6 Custom Models

Training needed?



3. Collect the needed Data - Every model needs certain type of Data as Input to the model. The correct Data type has to be identified. You have to be diligent in knowing all possible variations and collect enough samples of each variation needed for the Custom model to be trained. There are 4 main data types as shown below. 

When collecting the Data for training the model it is important and necessary to understand the following 2 AI Integrity concepts to build a Trusted AI model. 

3.1    Bias - Bias in AI occurs when model gives a preferential treatment to certain privileged groups. AI models can become biased and that can have serious business implications. This can be because of the data that was used to train the model was not an accurate sample or had introduced the bias. So it is important to test the data and results of AI for any bias. (Refer IBM Blog)

3.2 Drift -  Drift can occur when AI models are faced with a different sets of data than what they were trained with. This can degrade the accuracy of the AI Model over time. (Refer IBM Blog)

 4. Train the Model - Every Custom model needs to be trained. Training is the critical part of AI Builder and if you do it wrong you will regret later. This reminds me of the movie - How To Train Your Dragon which can pretty much sum up as what to expect when you do not care for training your Model (Dragon). As you are training the model check for any possible Bias or Drift scenarios.

Train your AI Model

Training the model can take time based on the variation in the type of data. There is also a minimum # of sample data that may be required and recommended for training the model.

Train model

5. Manage the Model - Once the model is trained you need to manage and maintain it. AI Builder provides a snapshot of the model accuracy and confidence. If there is a degradation on the accuracy you may want to re-train the model with a fresh dataset. Make sure to test the model after every training.

Model performance

6. Deploy the AI model -  You will need to publish the model than you can use with Power Automate or Power Apps

6.1 Power Automate - You can use the model in a Power Automate flow. For example a Forms processing model can be referenced in the flow and the data can be extracted from the model and send for example via email. 

Extract data from invoice and send email

6.2 Power Apps - You can use AI Builder in 2 ways with Power Apps - 

        1. Use AI model in the Formula Bar - Example adding the Sentiment analyzed from a Text 

        2. Add AI Builder components to the App 

Add components

Things to note - 

1. AI Builder model is solution aware and can be added to the solutions. This is great for ALM.

2. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) rules also apply to AI Builder.

3. You can also do "Bring your own AI model" using Azure Machine Learning (AML) models.

Hope this helps you to get started with AI Builder and automate your tasks or generate insights. With a easy to build, low code application platform there is no reason why your App cannot have AI built in it. 

Let me know your experience in using AI Builder in your app and thanks for reading.



Thursday, March 31, 2022

AI and Power Platform Part-1 - AI with Power BI

 AI has become ubiquitously exploding and seems like every business application is now infused with it. This is also the case with many of the Microsoft business apps - Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. In this blog series I will explore the infusion of AI in the Microsoft Power Platform and business outcome benefits from it. To start this blog is about AI with(in) Power BI. 

There are many wonderful reasons to use Power BI -

1.    It is now the 'defacto' visualization tool for data with Microsoft

2.     Analytics using Power BI is easy to learn 

3.     It has built in AI capabilities that can be used without writing any code.

If you were not aware of the #3 above than now is the time to explore some of the AI capabilities. 

Power BI has many AI and AI related capabilities OOTB as detailed below -

1. Key Influencers - Provides impact and influence of key contributors on the result.

Key Influencers

The above report helps to answer Sales questions such as - What is the biggest influencer for an opportunity to be won? (or Lost) (discount as in this case and you may not need AI for that). The point is that we now have the power to quickly identify the key influencers on a particular business results. There is no more detailed modeling or manipulation of data needed and helps in understanding patterns and taking actions based on the key influencers.

2. Decomposition Tree - ability to quickly do a root cause and ad-hoc analysis using AI Splits.

Decomposition Tree

In this case we can drill down from Sales to a hierarchy of Sales by Category - by Product - by Region. The AI here is where to drill down using AI Splits to get to the next highest or lowest value. For example below shows that David So has the highest Opportunity values path.

AI Splits - Highest Opportunity value

This can be useful in identifying the biggest opportunity owner from an ocean of Sales data and making sure that the business results are met.

3. Anomaly detection - Auto detect anomalies in data and generate dynamic text summaries. Identifying anomalies in data may not be new but auto generating a paragraph that explains the anomaly can be very useful. It can also provide answers to specific questions. Lets look at the revenue line chart where there is a sharp decline in revenue. 

Anomaly detection

I can select the lowest point and right click > analyze > explain the decrease and Power BI shows me various possible reasons to identify the anomaly.

Analysis results

So now I know all the possible reasons there was a decrease in revenue in plain English. (If only it could tell me who is blank 😀 )

Additionally there are many other AI options like Q&A and Insights which provide great benefits to users.

You can add the AI insights to a report page using the Insert > AI visuals option or pick the AI visuals from the Visualizations pane.

I hope this helps in getting you started using AI in Power BI and let me know about your experience.

I will write more about AI in Power Platform in my future blogs. Thanks for reading.



Monday, February 28, 2022

Industry Cloud solutions using Dynamics 365 and Power Platform

As Cloud applications are now the global standard, there is a demand for building vertical industry specific cloud solutions that provide pre-built insights and intelligence, business processes and relevant experiences for the industry. Microsoft has introduced multiple Industry Cloud with Dynamics 365 solutions. This blog is to introduce the Industry Clouds solutions from Microsoft built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.

Currently there are 4 Industry Cloud solutions available and I am sure Microsoft is working on few more in the pipeline. They are as below.

  • Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services
  • Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare
  • Microsoft Cloud for Retail
  • Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit

Each Industry Cloud has the following - 

1. Industry specific functionality - For example the Financial Services Cloud consists of the following -

A unified Customer Profile (Customer 360) app, Customer Onboarding app, Loan Management app  Customer Engagement app etc.. The Industry apps provide tailored experiences for both the users and Customers. They help in better collaboration and decision making.

Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services 

2.  Each Industry Cloud includes specific components - Solutions, Apps, Templates and Services. It also includes data model built for the Industry Cloud. The data model can also be installed as a stand alone solution. For example The Retail Banking data model.

3. A Compliance program for Microsoft Cloud which enables the Clients to measure and control Risks and manage Industry compliance. This also includes specific architectural templates to help in designing and deploying Microsoft Cloud solutions for the specific Industry. An example for Financial Services Cloud Architectural template is shown below.

There is certain requirements that needs to be followed.

1. You need to have the specific licenses before you can deploy the Industry Clouds. 

2. There are pre-requisite that needs to be completed and after the Industry Cloud solutions are deployed there are also post deployment steps to be followed. 

3. Pricing - Each industry Cloud has a specific pricing template. The price for Financial Services Industry Cloud is approx $20k per Tenant. If you have 1000+ users this is a very reasonable (imho) price for the OOTB functionalities that the Industry Cloud provides.

Pricing for Financial Services Cloud

I would recommend to first do an internal analysis on the business processes and perform a proof of concept testing of the Industry Cloud solution. 

The Microsoft Industry Cloud are great examples of how to best utilize Microsoft cloud apps for your specific Industry. They come pre-built with the data model, AI apps and solutions that you can easily test and deploy. I am certain this will help accelerate your cloud transformation journey. 

In my future blogs I will explore some of the Industry Clouds and write more about it. Thank you for reading and let me know about your experience with the Microsoft Industry Cloud.



Monday, January 31, 2022

Intelligent Automation using Power Automate as a Platform - Introduction

Globally as demand for products and services increases there is a need for automation. Intelligent Automation is the combination of multiple automation technologies infused with AI. Intelligent automation, also known as Cognitive automation can help organization to achieve gains in operations productivity and efficiency, enhance business outcomes and gain insights for making better business decisions. This blog introduces Intelligent Automation (IA) and how Microsoft Power Automate can be utilized as a platform for Intelligent Automation.

Enterprises today have challenges with the ability to provide service across multiple digital platforms. The customer expects better standard of services with faster turn around times. Some of the use cases of Intelligent Automation are described below -

1. Finance - AP process - In an organization the finance Accounts Payable specialist may need to automate the daily task of receive an email from Vendor with a attachment of invoice, printing and manually enter the invoice in ERP system. In addition to entering the invoice the IA can also review the invoice, compare against the Vendor PO and detect any anomaly to provide insights to the business.

2. Customer Service - Receive a customer request for warranty service repair. Search and find the customer agreement on warranty repair, confirm it is a valid request. Prepare and send an RMA and Shipping instructions email to the Customer. In addition the IA can also do analysis on the Items being returned to notify the business of any issues found with returns of the same item from multiple customers. 

3. HR - New Hire onboarding process - The enterprise HR department can automate the various steps in new hire on-boarding. They can also help in guiding the new hires in the process and getting them the needed IT authorizations and assets like laptops etc. IA can help in streamlining the onboarding so it is a great experience for the new hires.

There are many such business scenario where intelligent automation can be applied to automate the process and reduce the effort.  The main benefits of applying Intelligent Automation (IA) for enterprise organization are -

1. Improve productivity and reduce operational costs - IA when applied to automate manual tasks at scale the organization gets benefitted due to improved process efficiencies and / or productivity. This also reduces the operations costs. 

2. Consistent processes - Another benefit is the consistency of processes across business units and improved accuracy and less manual errors due to automation. 

Lead to Opportunity Sales process with Cloud workflow

2. Enhance Customer experience- Intelligent Automation can provide faster turnaround and consistent delivery improving the quality of products and services which ultimately leads to a better customer experience.

3. Compliance and Regulations - Intelligent Automation can help organizations in complying with Industry procedures and provide reporting for Government regulations. 

Intelligent Automation platform with Power Automate can use the Microsoft Low code Power Platform automation and AI technologies when applied to improve business operations -

1. Digital Process Automation (DPA) - This is using cloud workflows to automate and integrate business processes. Power Automate provides cloud based workflow automation capabilities with 400+ connectors to many SaaS applications including Dynamics 365 and Salesforce. 

2. Robotic Process Automation  (RPA) -  Also known as UI automation which helps organizations improve their manual processes by automating the back office tasks. For example this can be done by capturing the clicks on the desktop and automating the manual processing of data. Power Automate Desktop is the RPA tool that can help in automating legacy business processes. 

3. Business Process Automation (BPA) - This can be used for automating business workflows like a Lead to Opportunity to Sales process. This helps in managing a consistent business process throughout the organization. The steps in the process can be automated that helps in improving the process efficiency. The standardized process can also help in interactions and engagement within the Sales team.

4. AI - AI when added can become the decision engine for automation. AI can be in the form of machine learning or cognitive algorithms that can recognize process patterns and make inferences for business. They can also detect anomalies or provide prediction based on the process data. In Microsoft Power Automate we can use AI builder to automatically process forms and documents, detect and identify images, text analysis and much more. 

AI builder in Power Automate

5. Process Mining - Process Mining can help in understanding and identifying the business process bottlenecks and select processes that can benefit from automation. Microsoft Power Automate includes Process Advisor that can help organizations in gaining deeper insights and optimizing business processes.

The combination of the above Intelligent Automation technologies can help Enterprise organizations in accelerating their digital business transformation goals and improve business outcomes. Let me know if you have implemented Power Automate for Intelligent Automation. Thanks for reading.



Friday, December 31, 2021

Making your digital transformation a successful journey with an Enterprise App Adoption Strategy

 Many organizations have embarked on their digital transformation journey with new cloud native enterprise apps like Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Power Platform. They want to ensure that they are able to achieve the goals initially set for the new business app and also get a return on their investments. Planning and preparing a enterprise app adoption strategy is essential for the operational success and future of the business. 

The enterprise transformation journey may have started as a pilot project. In an agile driven world the pilot may be implemented in a particular country / region or for a department to test the results of implementing the new app. The successful adoption of the new app will determine the next steps in the journey for the eventual implementation in the enterprise. It is at this critical juncture that the adoption playbook needs to be run to ensure the success of the project. 

As organizations venture into new cloud native apps there are many challenges. 

1. Technological change - Cloud apps are new technologies and are constantly evolving. This was not the case earlier when the on premise legacy enterprise apps rarely had changes and had worked pretty much the same for the past 10-15 years. The new cloud apps will change periodically months and will need a constant learning culture for the business.

2. Business environment change - As the past 2 years have shown "business as usual" cannot be taken for granted. The business environment can change any time, many of us could be working from where ever and still supporting our customers. We need to be ready for future business environment changes. Successful adoptions of the new apps are necessary fir business to thrive in new digital world.  

3. Employees needs change and the enterprise needs to be agile to provide the support needed for the employees. Employees want proper guidance and nurturing in the new apps they have to use. They want to be trained and empowered for success. When organizations do not support their employees with the new tools and training needed, the digital transformation may not be a success.

The above are some of the factors that an Enterprise App Adoption Strategy is required. 

Microsoft has provided a Dynamics 365 Adoption guide that can help customers implementing Dynamics 365 to have a successful application adoption. The below pic shows some of the highlights in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 App adoption guide. (link

The Enterprise App Adoption Strategy should also change, be relevant and useful as future enhancements are made to the app.  The focus is on making sure the employees adopt and customers are engaged and the app is getting better business outcomes.  Hope you have an Enterprise App Adoption Strategy and do let me know your thoughts on it,

Thanks for reading.