How Microsoft selected a Power Platform architecture to manage our customer implementations process
Microsoft on Microsoft Success Story
In this post, the Operations team in the Microsoft Business Applications Group describes the solution architecture they selected using Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform for FastTrack Solution Architects to manage thousands of customer engagements.
Dynamics 365 customer implementations managed by FastTrack teams (read about the program details here) require more than just a framework of best practices. Successful implementations require deployment guidance and tooling to make every solution architect managing an implementation the best of the best at their craft. With thousands of customer implementations and deployments in the pipeline, the Dynamics 365 FastTrack team requires a solution to plan, execute, review, and manage customer engagements.
Architectural needs for this solution fall into four major scenarios:
- Planning – scheduling meetings, selecting topics to include from a knowledgebase, and customizing selected topics and scenarios to fit the customer’s scenarios
- Execution – capturing notes during meetings along with other documents and other materials used or generated during meetings
- Compilation – editing notes, documenting issues and risks that can be managed as part of the ongoing engagement
- Reporting – generating a report for customers and partners summarizing findings
Offline support is important for some of these scenarios in environments with limited or no connectivity.
Our selection of technologies for this solution was based on Connectivity and Functional Needs for each of these scenarios:
|Planning||Offline support desired, online-only OK for now||
|Execution||Offline support required||
|Compilation||Offline support highly desirable||
|Reporting||Online-only OK||Store reports along with assets referenced above|
We’re leveraging the Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets app to meet offline requirements.
With Power Apps component framework controls, we are able to improve on the default model-driven app user experience in several ways:
- tree controls enable our solution architects to navigate through a complex knowledge base schema with fewer clicks and windows
- lookups as combo boxes enables us to provide a simple experience to associate existing Common Data Service (CDS) records along with the ability to update the options available by app admins with no additional development
- rich text editor with spell-check helps our knowledge base authors produce quality content
We’re utilizing Microsoft Teams integration with model-driven apps in Dynamics 365 for document management requirements. Going this route also gives us stronger ties between our engagement management experience and Teams collaboration capabilities.
With the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, solution architects can track customer meetings and reviews directly from their Outlook calendars with no double entry required.
Microsoft Power BI Reports and Dashboards running on top of CDS enables our FastTrack leadership team to manage across all their engagements effectively.
Lastly, model-driven apps give us all kinds of Dynamics 365 goodness for no additional effort such as advanced find, personal and shared views, very low code development, robust solution management, multi-user development, and much more.
Selecting this architecture positions us to provide a rich, streamlined, offline-ready experience while leveraging the high productivity of building model apps. If you are looking to satisfy a similar set of requirements, we hope this helps.
Stay tuned for a follow-up to this post regarding the implementation and lessons learned.