Time to expand the scope of the CRM Chart Guy blog

Dynamics 365 has now arrived, and as any other update to the Dynamics CRM/365 product for the past five years, it pretty much contained zero updates to the built-in charting engine. The good news there is that all of my blog posts from the past five years are still valid and I won’t have to update any of them. That, of course, is also the bad news. I believe there are a few areas where Microsoft could have enabled more features on the charts. Features like properly formatting keywords and adding these to annotations. Something the .NET charts are capable of, but for mysterious reasons, are not enabled in Dynamics 365. Enabling this would, for example, allow you to add a nicely formatted total value to a funnel or pie chart.

It is clear, that the direction Microsoft is taking for analytics in Dynamics 365, is to take the data out of Dynamics 365, create visualizations and KPIs elsewhere, and then display the results back inside Dynamics 365. This has been the case with Power BI, and it is also the case with the new Customer Insights and Relationship Analytics features.

The best example of that, which is available now, is the Connected Field Services solution that allows you to embed a record specific Power BI tile inside a Dynamics 365 form, proving a much tighter integration than what we have seen previously.

Power BI tile, record specific in Dynamics 365 form.
Power BI Tile in Dynamics 365
Selector for Power BI tile in Dynamics 365 form
Selection options for Power BI Tile in Dynamics form.

Coming soon is the Relationship Analytics solution, powered by Azure Customer Insights, which also contains visualization and KPIs that are record-specific and is another example of where analytics and charting in Dynamics 365 are headed.

Relationship Analytics, powered by Azure Customer Insights

I have recently written a longer piece detailing these different solutions including a comparison matrix. You can find that on the Elev8 Solutions blog here.

While I have very much enjoyed writing a blog focused exclusively on getting the most out of the built-in analytical features in Dynamics, it is time to expand the horizon. Power BI is no longer an external reporting tool and there are many exciting new features coming with Customer Insights. All intended to be an integral part of the Dynamics 365 offering so I will start to include these new tools in my blog posts.

In other words, Dynamics 365, and getting the most out of the data in there, will still be the primary focus for this blog, but the toolset is changing.

This does not mean that I will stop writing about the built-in charts and the XML. This area still has some distinct advantages and I certainly intend to keep my “Ultimate Sales Dashboard” project open as long as people are downloading it.

Hope everyone else is as excited for the new features, and the new scope for my blog as I am.

As always, thanks for reading and please follow me on Twitter  and sign up for my newsletter.

Ulrik B. Carlsson (CRMChartGuy)

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