Licensing Guide for Dynamics 365 Online – October 2019 Update


With October release right around the corner, Microsoft will be moving away from the plan-based structure to base-and-attach licensing model to allow customers to mix and match applications depending on their consumption. The new licensing model will allow customers to purchase the applications they need when they need them, or as some would like to call it -an a’la carte sales model.

But, as close as we are to the fall update, I am still hearing some concerns and questions regarding the new Dynamics 365 licensing. It may seem a bit complex and might require some to do some math after, but it is intended for customers to have more control of their subscriptions and therefore allow them to “pay only for what they use”  As Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President of Business Applications and Global Industry assures us…

In October, Microsoft will be moving from “one-size-fits-all” Microsoft Dynamics 365 licensing plans to focus on providing customers with the specific Dynamics 365 applications that meet the unique needs of their organization. Customers need software that aligns to their functional roles and scenarios, and they require the ability to add or remove applications as their company grows and changes over time. The new licensing model will allow customers to purchase the applications they need, when they need them. Each application is extensible and applications can be easily mixed and matched to configure integrated solutions that align to a customer’s unique business requirements.

How it works

Every user starts with a base license. The Base license is the first application purchased for individual use within an organization.  The Attach licenses can be purchased on top of the base license as incremental applications at a heavy discount.


Both Base and Attach licenses provide access to the same application functionality.


This new model allows each organization to use the right layering for each individual user depending on their needs. But depending on your consumption, this new model might still affect your monthly payment. Payment is based on usage per user per month. I suggest reading the full pricing guide and check Microsoft updates.

Restrictions and things to consider…

  • The Dynamics 365 for Marketing app will remain tenant-based and can only be purchased at the standard price of $1500 for new customers. Attach licenses will NOT apply.


  • Additionally, Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation and Talent are NOT available as Attach licenses.
  • The minimum 20 seats for Finance and Operation will still take effect. At least 20 licenses must be purchased for any one of the applications.
  • Common Data Service will still be allocated with Unified Operation apps without additional licensing, but multiplexing issues will still apply.
  • Storage SKUs will remain unchanged and can be purchased and allocated as needed.
  • Base license must be the higher-priced app. For users that require using apps from Customer Engagement and Unified Operations, Unified Operations must always be the Base License. The same applies between CE Enterprise licenses and CE Professional licenses – Enterprise must always be the base license.


Customer Engagement

See below for the placemat view pricing guide for Dynamics 365 applications under Customer Engagement.

Some entities are accessible as read-only and are categorized as unrestricted. Update to restricted and unrestricted entities are also being made with the goal of enabling more users to access data directly through a PowerApps application or Flow workflow without requiring a Dynamics license but more on this on a separate post.

But if you require to use all the Customer Engagement Apps, you can purchase Project Service Automation as Base License and add the rest as Attach Licenses.


Unified Operations

One of the key changes that are also coming this October is the separation of Finance & Operations module into two separate applications — Supply Chain Management and Finance.

Both of these apps can be purchased as base and attach licenses of one another, depending on your needs, and would still require the 20 seat minimum.


The functions are broken down into these two applications…


Below is the placemat view of the pricing guide for Unified Operations applications.



New customers can no longer purchase the Dynamics 365 CE and UO plans. The new Base and Attach license model will apply from the 1st of October. So, it is important for potential and existing customers to be made aware of these changes.

For existing customers, the changes will only take effect after their renewal date. So, for a 1-year long subscription purchased on January 1, 2018, the changes will take effect on the same date the following year and must be converted before then. To those that still have concerns, make sure to keep an eye out for more updates.

These changes are easy to understand but may still have a substantial impact on your existing subscriptions. Depending on your organization’s needs, it is important to seek the advice of a consultant/partner regarding this matter.

How to Enable the PowerApps AI Builder

Hey, Will here – just a quick post. I’ve had quite a few people come up to me asking how to enable the new “AI Builder” for Power Apps on their environment – which strikes me as slightly strange as it comes enabled as default. However, here is how you do it.


  1. Go to: 
  2. Then using the navigation pane select “Environments” then select the environment you wish to turn the ‘AI Builder’ on for:
  3. Then select “Settings”:
  4. Then select “Features”:
  5. Then enable the PowerApps AI Builder:

Now go forth and build something AWESOME!

Connect Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations to CDS – new CDS environment, integration, new entities & populations – Article Two

This article is part of a series of articles that is going to run you through setting up the following:

  • creating a new CDS database,
  • creating custom entities within CDS
  • creating an integration from F&O to CDS
  • Creating a new view
  • Exposing this new data within a CanvasApp

Article two of four – integrating Finance & Operations to CDS and creating a new view. Find part one here(!)

Now that we have our entity focused around projects we need to integrate it with Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations to fill it with some sweet, sweet data! Let’s head over to and go to “Data Integration” from within the navigation pane:

From here go to the “Connection Sets” tab and then “New connection Set”:

Give the connection set the name Project, then select your CDS environment and F&O environment – now a key part is stating the organisations you wish to connect. Provide the Legal Entity ID of the Finance & Operations company you wish to connect to and then the ‘org’ name of the CDS environment – found by going to then looking at the bracketed (org######) string – this is the  organisation ID

Then go to the “Projects” tab and hit “New Project”:

Provide your project with a name for example “F&OtoCDS” and then select the template “Fin and Ops to CDS” then hit ‘Next’:

Select the connection set you create earlier named “Project” and hit “Next”, then select the “Organizations” grouping you created along side the connection set earlier and hit “Next”. Then agree to the ‘Privacy notice and consent’ without reading it because, well, life is too short to be boring and not take risks – by hitting “Create”!!

You’ll then be greeted by your new Project! But currently it is an empty carcass that is achieving nothing – so hit “Add Task”:

Now, name your tasks “Project”, select the “Projects” data entity from Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, select the “Projects” entity you created within the Common Data Service then select the “Organizations” created earlier. Then hit that big GLORIOUS button “Create”.

This will then create the new ‘Projects’ tasks, select the task which will then drill-through to allow us to start mapping between the two entities, map the following and hit “Save”:

Now for the exciting part, let’s execute/”run” this integration and see the data flood in! Hit “Run”! This will now kick-off the integration and take you to the “Execution history” screen

Then you’ll be greeted by the greatest sight of all a big green tick under the ‘Submitted’ column meaning it was successful:

Now let’s go check out that data – head back to and go to the custom “Projects” entity you created, now before we can see the data using the “Data” tab we need to create a new view, so go to the “View”  tab within the “Projects” entity and hit “Add View”:

Give your view a name and a description (if you’d like too) and hit “Create”:

Now select the fields from the left you want to appear on the view (simply by click on the ones you want will automatically transport the to the view) then hit “Save” then “Publish”:

Then go back to your entity (previous tab within your browser) and hit “Done” which will refresh and bring in your newly published “Main” view.

Now let’s go and check out the results, go to the “Data” tab and switch to the newly created view:

And now you can see all your awesome data (annoyingly i forgot i made some changes to my DE so the name hasn’t come in correctly but yours will be fine):

This concludes part two!


Connect Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations to CDS – new CDS environment, integration, new entities & populations – Article One

This article is part of a series of articles that is going to run you through setting up the following:

  • creating a new CDS database,
  • creating custom entities within CDS
  • creating an integration from F&O to CDS
  • Creating a new view
  • Exposing this new data within a CanvasApp

Article one of four – creating a new CDS database and new entity (this is not a deep-dive more of a beginners run through, deeper dives will be created soon(!))

1] Creating a new CDS database:

Go to and  select “New Environments” located in the top-right hand corner of the screen, then provide a name, region and environment type as shown below:

Then hit create, a new dialog box will pop-up asking if you wish to create a new database – of course the answer is yes:

The next dialog box will ask for more settings related to the CDS environment, select the currency and language you want it to be deployed in and whether you wish for sample apps and data to be included in your environment then hit “Create database”.

Your new environment will be provisioned, give it some time but it will happen.

Now head over to so the real work can begin!

First we need to select the newly provisioned environment from the environment drop-down list located at the top of the screen:

Then from the navigation pane on the left hand-side go to “Entities” then ‘New Entity’:

A new dialog box will pop-up – provide this with a relevant display name, it will automate a plural display name but this can be changed if necessary, then a name for the actual CDS entity which cannot be changed once created.

Once all filled out hit “Next” this will spin up the new entity.

It will automatically place you in the “Fields” tab – hit”add field” and we are now going to create a series of these new field starting with “Project ID”. Provide the new field with a display name, name (system name that cannot be changed) and the data type of “Text”:

then hit “done” – now rinse and repeat this AMAZINGGGGGGGGGG process for all the fields show below (Contract, CustAccount, Customer Name, ProjectName):

Once you have completed all that hit “Save entity” and…

VOILA your first entity is created and thus completes the first article in this series! Click here for part two (which runs through integrating F&O to the CDS)!

All the voices

“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.”  – Melinda Gates


Companies love dashboards. The idea of progress, of something to announce, is like a drug. Naturally, companies use data and dashboards to measure diversity.  With one click, we can see how many people of what origin, education and sexual identity are employed anywhere within that company.  What those dashboards can’t tell you, no matter what your amazing PowerBI skillz (sic) may be, is the actual effectiveness and impact of that diversity down to the team or individual level.   Data and dashboards struggle with the intangible, with context. (I say this with all due respect to data scientists and my “blue” colleagues.)  Dashboards struggle to tell you if all those amazing voices that the company has invested so much in recruiting are actually being heard. This is the nuance of inclusion.

This is where checking the box on the dashboard stops and the application of the sought-after differing points of views begins.  And honestly, this is where so many teams fail.   The representation is in the room, but the team culture hasn’t evolved, the manager is still talking at people, the environment isn’t functioning.  The loudest voice still stands out.  Suggestions are quickly brushed aside until repeated by another more well-known contributor.  Questions are directed at the wrong person.  And then people just shut down, go back to their old ways, and that highly sought-after talent leaves.  Oh well, she wasn’t a good fit anyway. 

The pressure on groups to produce results quickly isn’t going away.  This intangible nuance of hearing all voices is easily pushed aside in the name of speed since it can be very difficult to measure. Worse yet, incorporating all the voices can actually slow things down at first, while in the end making the output so much better. How to show that the end justifies the means?

I propose that the best way to measure something is to start with a remarkable subset.

Enter the #msdyn365 community at 365 Saturday.  For me, it started in Dublin.  Actually, it started way before then, it just became more deliberate in Dublin thanks to the event organizers (looking at you, Janet and Raz) then took further shape in London and most recently solidified in Glasgow.  At these all day events (on a Saturday, just like the name implies), informal groups of women at various stages of career gathered for an hour under the umbrella of Women in Technology (#wit), not quite sure what to expect.

Each session has been different, because as with many things, the conversation is a result of the sum of the amazing diverse parts.  Topics varied, yet it all came down to one overarching theme: communication.  Whether that be the how, the when or the why of when to use our voices.  We talked about #confidencehacks, about how to establish ourselves without crossing a line that makes us uncomfortable (and practicing not caring about making others uncomfortable), about connecting and expanding our networks, and then most importantly we talk about amplification – how we can help others’ voices be heard.  All voices, not just female.

Note: There are so many other cultural considerations here, for which I lack a point of reference.  There is also a whole discussion to be had about how people consume, digest and respond to information.  For example, the work culture that I grew up in was as follows: get in a room, review a PowerPoint, have a passionate discussion where the loudest voice usually wins, determine next steps, assign actions items, repeat.  That format doesn’t work for all.  What about the voice of the incredible introvert in the room that needs time to digest the info, consider all sides, and then voice their opinion?

And there is the other amazing thing about our #msdyn365 community.  Others want to know how they can help.  Sure, I was teased about “super-secret lunches” by male colleagues.  I saw that for exactly what it was – curiosity and a sincere wish for dialogue.  Why is it necessary to have a “womens’ anything”? Shouldn’t it just be about hiring the best person for the job?  How should we feel about this?  We all treat each other with respect, right? Isn’t it up to individuals to make themselves heard?

Truth is, I agree with everything above.  Inclusion, by its intent, is about everyone.  And therefore, everyone has a responsibility to feed this culture and in the end everyone will benefit. We all can and should help amplify the voices of others. What I love about getting small groups of women together is that the coaching and dialogue that happens in a really safe environment then goes out into the diverse world and multiplies. It starts with a subset. Never underestimate the ripple effect of small actions.

Fifty percent (50%) of the speakers at 365Saturday Scotland identified as female.  Fifty percent.  That is crazy insane goodness.  It did not just happen.  This was the result of a community (led by Marc, Janet, Claire , Iain and so many others) rallying to make sure that opportunities were presented and seized, that a safe place was created and maintained, and that voices were heard.  Shouldn’t that just happen naturally?  Yes, ideally someday the flywheel will be spinning with such momentum that this will be the case (oh, and 50% of the attendees will also be women… work to do there as well).  Then the focus will become how to maintain and feed that system.  The moment you take your eye of something, you risk losing the muscle memory. Omission by unintentional oversight does not remove responsibility.

There is a meme about equity vs equality running around our social media feeds.  The one that show people of different heights trying to watch a baseball game over a fence.  The size of the boxes they are standing on depicts the difference between being treated equally (same sized box) and equitably (different sized boxes raising all to the same level).  The lesser known version has a twist – it shows what it would look like if there was no fence at all.

This is the nuance of inclusion.  This is how the #msdyn365 community is working to remove the fence.  It starts with these conversations, these opportunities. Listening to all the voices takes time and deliberate effort.  This community is all in.

Raise your voices. 🙂



Power BI & Emoji

This video will showcase on below

  • How to add emoji in Text BOX in Power BI reports.
  • How to add emoji using UNICHAR() function.
  • How to create your own reference table in Power BI for emoji.

Please feel free to answer the question ❓❓❓ at the end of the video ???.

Also the question is mentioned below. Please guess the message communicated in below picture using emoji.

Please send your answers let’s see who gets it correct. ??️‍♂️?

Hope this helps !!!

Please download the Power BI file from Power Platform Bank using below link.

Power BI & Emoji

Audit Workbench – Dynamics 365 for Finance And Operations

Within Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations sits a module named the Audit Workbench, this is starting to feel like a start to a short children’s story book but I promise it’s an article ha! This module allows you to setup certain audit policies for Expenses, Purchase Orders and Invoices. Some examples of Audit Policies include the following:

  • Checking for duplication of Expense reports based on predetermined criteria
  • Check for keywords in Expense Reports to detect for expenses around items such as alcohol, possible bribery etc.
  • Check for duplicate invoices to ensure you’re not Invoicing>paying a supplier more than once.

It is also possible to select only a sample of source documents to check for policy violations.

When a policy violation is detected a new case is created, these violations can be grouped into violations such as grouping expense violations by a specific worker or purchase orders by project. The cases can then be followed up to investigate the violation.

To set up a policy is easy simply go to Audit Workbench > Setup > Audit Policies:

Create a new policy by selecting at the top-left of the action pane, as the same with the other policy setup throughout Finance & Operations (Expense, Procurement etc.) you will have to provide a name, description and the Legal Entities the policy governs as shown below:

In this example I will setup a policy that looks for a keyword, in this case any expense report that has the word “alcohol” in it.

First i’ll select the “Expense Keywords” Policy and select “Create a new policy”:

Here you select the table name, so for this particular case ‘Expense Header’ or ‘Expense Lines’ then the field you would like the audit policy to monitor – then select the conditions, or for this example the keywords:

If needed you can test the new policy by selecting the “Test” button, or if you are happy with the setup select “Ok”. The next stage is to set the dates you wish the policy to run for – go to the action pane Audit Policy > Additional Options:

Select the start and end dates then hit “Batch” and then “Ok”.

Now to do a test it, I created an expense report with the following as the ‘Additional Information’ (please excuse the misspelling of bought):

Once this was submitted an approved a new ‘Audit Case’ was produced, I found this by going to Audit Workbench Audit Cases, a new case was created with the description of “Audit Expense Keywords” and myself as the “Employee Responsible”:

Upon opening the case I can see from the ‘Associations’ fast tab that this relates to the worker ‘William Dorrington’ and for expense ‘000052’ which allows me to droll through and open the expense:

Expense drill-through:

Now you can chase the worker for why they did not invite you to drink some glorious beverages with them!



Purchase Order Receipt and Follow Up

So recently I’ve had a few conversations with some of the community where we dived into the deep dark world of Accounts Payable. Some of conversations contained a point a little like this “it is a shame that we cannot see a list of Purchase Orders that are yet to have GRNs assigned to them…”, then suddenly “BOOM” I hit them with a fact of awesomeness and tell them about the ‘Purchase Order Receipt and Follow up’ Workspace.

“Will, what is this mythical workspace you speak of?” Allow me to tell you!

The ‘Purchase Order Receipt and Follow Up’ workspace is an activity orientated area focus on control and maintenance of POs – it allows you to view your POs and the various states they are currently sitting in – as show below (or as it says “on the tin” look at purchase order receipts and follow up on them):

This includes:

  • Pending Receipts by vendor – POs that are yet to be receipted against
  • Delayed Receipts by vendor – POs where receipts are overdue
  • Registered not received orders
  • Returns by vendors

It also provides other salient details around POs that are waiting to be invoiced and, of course, other quick links to initialise other inquiry based activities that we would expect from a workspace. The entire workspace focused on processing Purchase Orders.

Making Tax Digital – Dynamics 365 FnO/AX 2012 R3

Will typing out blog on a train: As we all know HMRC are bringing the tax that we all love… that is VAT into the modern age – well at least a step in the right direction and will make it mandatory for companies to submit their obligatory VAT returns automatically through to the HMRC system i.e. “MAKING TAX DIGITAL”.

Random concerned user: But wait!!!!! I use Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations (…and my little bro uses AX2012 R3) how am I meant to comply with this, am I meant to comply with this – who is meant to comply with this arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!??!?!

Will: Firstly, calm down. Secondly compliance concerns itself with those whose VAT return amounts to over 85,000 GBP (£), if you don’t have to return over that threshold then it’s entirely up to you if you comply…However, this threshold and compliance limit may change in 2020 – so be ready! VAT returns from the 1st April 2019 will have to be submitted, for those who fall into the compliance bracket, via the MTD process.

So HMRC have blessed all of us with a selection of APIs which allows us to:

  1. Retrieve VAT obligations (mandatory)
  2. Submit VAT return for a period (mandatory)
  3. View a VAT return for a period (optional)
  4. Retrieve VAT liabilities (optional)
  5. Retrieve VAT payments (optional)

The beautiful people at Microsoft will ensure Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations (and AX 2012 R3) can achieve the first 2!!!

With regards to point 2 FnO will collect info for the VAT return, as per usual config, but will then allow the relevant user to send the report onward to HMRC – then you’ll be able to see the HMRC responce to your submission in the system….winning!!!!

To view the Whitepaper from Microsoft click here =>

HMRC MTD overview => 






Was “Hit Refresh” by “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” – Part 2

As mentioned in the previous post, with all those thoughts from “Hit Refresh” fresh in my mind, I just fully immersed myself into the event for the next two days. The keynote speeches, the HoloLens demo, Virtual reality demo, classroom sessions on various topics ranging from AI, Quantum computing to Augmented reality, PowerApps etc. were just amazing and fantabulous.

with Will Dorrington

For me personally, one of the major highlights was the mixed and augmented reality demo I had wearing the HoloLens and experiencing first hand what I had read so far on the topic of MR and AR. The demo was about the remote assistance, where the supervisor is guiding the field technician from his office. I was the technician in that demo and I got a chance to wear the HoloLens and perform the operation myself taking the cues from the HoloLens. With HoloLens on my head, I could see the skype window with supervisor’s face in it, on the left-hand side and the instruction steps on the right-hand side. The actual circuit on which I had to perform the operation was in front of me. The supervisor, on the other hand, was seeing exactly what I was seeing in front of me from the HoloLens. The supervisor then used pointers, highlighters on his Surface Pro, to guide me with what I need to do with the circuit that I need to fix. Whatever he was highlighting, I was able to see it overlayed on the actual circuit and based on his inputs and guidance I was able to perform my job. This was an amazing experience as I got to believe in what I have been reading so far on this topic.

I was already in awe with this experience and before that effect could fade away, I experienced one more mind-boggling facet of the unbelievable HoloLens technology and that was more around mixed reality. By the way, just one clarification, before this event I used to interchangeably use the words ‘Augmented reality’ and ‘Mixed reality’ and I used to think they are the same. But in this event, I got to exactly know and experience the difference between the two. The difference is as below:

  • Augmented reality superimposes the physical world with digital objects/animations of any sort.
  • Mixed reality integrates digital objects into the physical world making it look as if they are really there, completing the entire picture for the user.

Just to complete the spectrum, I am mentioning the definition of VR as well below:

  • Virtual reality replaces your world with a virtual one. VR was my next best experience at this event.

The first part of the demo involving the remote assistance was all about the augmented reality, where the real circuit was superimposed by the objects, animations that were guiding me to perform my job better. However the second part of the demo was about the mixed reality and that just blew my mind, literally. Long story short, there was a small part of a long turbine physically there in front of us, which I needed to repair but when I wore the HoloLens, the entire turbine was visible to me as if it was real, though it was not there physically. This technology not only superimposed the digital objects on the part of the physical machine that was there but also integrated the digital view of the remaining machine, which was not there, into the physical part of the machine, which was there. Ideally Mixed reality = Augmented reality + Virtual reality. On the HoloLens, I was able to see the entire turbine along with the computer-guided instructions to repair it, with all the hologram seen clearly from the Hololens. I was literally moving all the screens in front of me by doing all the birdy dance with my thumb and the index finger with the help of HoloLens, in the air and performing my actions on the turbine, just like the way Tom Cruise moved it in the movie ‘Minority report’. I would never forget this experience.

Other notable experience was the Virtual reality experience, as mentioned above, which was about experiencing the house even before it is built from the inside out. That experience too was mind-blowing as virtual reality would allow you to feel the end product virtually before it manifests into reality.

Experiencing VR and MR

Another notable stall was of SAP, where they were demoing the SAP HANA One Demand product. It was too good to see the Artificial Intelligence embedded in their product and what it could do with the help of IoT (Internet of things). The reporting capabilities and the AI around it too were superb to watch. Just to illustrate more on it, the presenter dragged the excel sheet with some sales data into the reporting application screen. Once the excel sheet was dragged and absorbed by the system, with AI and machine learning capabilities system itself first determined the type of data that was presented to it and then decided the best possible way to display it in the form of the visual report. This was similar to PowerBI but something even more than that. Having said that PowerBI too have AI capabilities when the user asks “Show me the sales for this quarter?” and the system displays that correctly.

Empowering a Modern Workspace with AI

This reminds me of one of the notable classroom sessions that I attended about AI and that was “Empowering a Modern Workspace with AI”. The speaker there gave very relatable examples about AI and that was really good. It was mentioned that there are three layers to AI and they are ‘Pattern recognition’, the middle layer is ‘Perception’, sensing more and more complex scenes and the final layer being ‘Cognition’, deep understanding of human language. The session again underlined the fact that though AI is in its nascent stages, everything around technology is ultimately moving in that direction only.

Apart from all this, there was one more session that I kind of did not understand fully but conceptually got what speaker was saying and that was about quantum computing. I understood the analogy of linear computing finding the way in the maze by trying one possibility at a time but quantum computing doing all the possibilities all at once to arrive at the correct answer and that too in no time. One more concept of a molecule present at two different places at the same time at a sub-atomic level, quite didn’t make sense to me, though I could relate to that concept spiritually as this same phenomenon is mentioned many times in ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ (Steve Jobs’s most favourite book. This book is an autobiography of an Indian guru Swami Yogananda). Other than that I didn’t understand much but the benefit of that session was it left me hungry to know more into that topic, which is supposed to be the future technology trend. I actually then searched on youtube about it and found very informative Microsoft videos called ‘Explanimators’. You can watch them here.

Other key highlights of the event were, interview of the great actor Sir Michael Caine CBE, speech by the famous scientist and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, keynote speech by Satya Nadella and the famous author and sportsperson Matthew Syed. All the above 4 speeches were amazing and of great value.

Sir Michael Caine CBE spoke about being honest, truthful and full of integrity with whatever you love to do and perform and pursue it with full passion and hard-work. It was an experience in itself to hear from the legendary artist.

Sir Michael Caine CBE

Scientist and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE is an amazing orator. She just left everyone in the auditorium spellbound with her passionate and inspiring speech about having a crazy dream and having a fire in the belly to go after it and achieve it. The way she presented herself on stage, telling her whole life story and her achievements, no one would believe that she was dyslexic as a child and had to change 13 schools to complete initial education. That was truly amazing and inspiring.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE

Satya Nadella’s speech was the ultimate speech as he touched upon many different topics around the emerging technologies and how ‘Intelligent cloud’ and ‘Intelligent edge’ is going to shape, transform and disrupt the future in more productive and positive manner. He also spoke more on AI as this the ultimate aim where everything is driving to.

Finally, the talk delivered by Matthew Syed was also an engaging and enlightening one. The one statement that he made in this entire speech struck a special chord in me and that was about humility and confidence. Matthew made a very subtle but valid point about it. He said a person should have confidence in execution but humility while evaluation and not the other way around.

All in all those two days were full of amazement and enjoyment of having seen, experienced, listened to something that is truly incredible, promising and exciting all the at the same time. Along with me many of my office colleagues were with me at the event.

Lucy, Dan, I, Chris and Will

Just before I end, would like to inform the readers about the Microsoft Ignite event happening on 26th and 27th of February 2019. This event is happening at the same fantastic venue, Excel London and the most important thing, it is free and registrations are open, so hurry up!!!



Was “Hit Refresh” by “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” – Part 1

What a timing I must say, I just finished reading “Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella and within a few days I received registration confirmation from Microsoft that I can attend the “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” event. I was very much excited to attend the event as that was my chance to experience what I just finished reading in “Hit Refresh”. However, before I write about my experience at the event, let me first write something more about this wonderful book called “Hit Refresh” by none other than the present Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.

Working day in and day out in the Microsoft product stack (like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, Customer engagement, PowerAps, PowerBI etc), I wanted to read something more about Microsoft, not from a technical or product related perspective but more from the organization perspective. With this thought in mind when I entered the Foyles bookstore in Waterloo and I got this book. I have always loved autobiographies as they are the first-hand account of what the person in question has gone through in his/her life. In terms of motivation and having a different perspective on life, autobiographies are way much better than the self-help books, because autobiographies are more straight from the horses’ mouth and hence more effective and long-lasting in terms of the impact that they make.

Hit Refresh

The book talks about Satya’s personal journey from his childhood in India to the point of he becoming a CEO of Microsoft and beyond. The book is a very engaging and interesting read but key takeaways from the book are some of these statements mentioned below. I actually have the habit of reading books with marker/ pen/pencil in hand, so that I can mark / highlight / underline the lines that I liked the most. In a nutshell, this book not only talks about his personal journey but also talks more about the journey on which Microsoft has been and what its journey would be like in future.


Some of the lines from the book “Hit Refresh”, which I couldn’t help from quoting it here are as below. They are mostly around leadership, technology, future trends at Microsoft.

    • Compete vigorously and with passion in the face of uncertainty and intimidation.
    • You must always have respect for your competitor, but don’t be in awe of it. You must go and compete.
    • One brilliant character who does not put the team first can destroy the entire team.
    • Leadership is about bringing the best in everyone, to bolster the confidence of the people you are leading.
    • An empathetic leader should always think about how the technology his team creates affect the daily lives of the people using it.
    • Consistency is better than perfection.
    • For anything monumental to happen, there has to be a great mind or a set of agreeing minds.
    • Microsoft mission – to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
    • The world is divided into learners and non-learners, demonstrating that a growth mindset can move you forward but a fixed mindset can limit you.
    •  Learning to fly is not pretty but flying is.
    • To be a leader in this company, your job is to find the rose petals in the field of shit.
    • Bring clarity to those you work with (while explaining this point, Satya mentioned that he does not want someone to be the smartest person in the room, but he wants that same person to use their smartness/intelligence and use it to develop deep shared understanding within teams and define course of action in the event of uncertainty.
    • Leaders need to inspire optimism, creativity, shared commitment and growth through times good and bad.
    • Success can cause people to unlearn the habits that made them successful in the first place.
    • Trust is built by being consistent over time. Trust has many components as well, respect, listening, transparency, staying focused and being willing to hit reset when necessary.
    • Partnerships are journeys of mutual exploration and so we need to be open to unexpected synergies and fresh ways to collaborate. Openness is the best way to get things done and to ensure all parties feel terrific about the outcome.
    • Being straightforward with one another is the best way to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome in the fastest time possible.
    • Tomorrow always begins with a chance to create new opportunities.
    • Time needs to be managed with Employees, Customers, Products and Partners.
    • We tend to overestimate what we can achieve in the short run but underestimate what can be achieved in the long run.
    • Mixed Reality (MR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum computing are all independent threads today but they are going to come together in future.
    • MR will become an essential tool in medicine, education and manufacturing.
    • AI will help forecast crisis like Zika epidemic and help us focus our time and attention on the things that matter the most.
    • Quantum computing will give computational power to cure cancer and global warming.
    • At Microsoft, we are betting that quantum computing will make artificial intelligence more intelligent and mixed reality even more immersive.
    • E + SV + SR = T/t (Empathy + Shared values + Safety and Reliability = Trust over time)
    • No product or policy works if it fails to reflect and honour the lives and realities of people and that requires those who design the product to truly understand and respect the values and experiences underlying those realities. So empathy is a crucial ingredient in developing a product or a policy that will earn people’s trust.
    • Trust is essential and it is also painfully vulnerable to a multitude of forces.
    • (Education + Innovation) * Intensity of tech use = Economic growth
    • Societies that utilize new tools quickly are likely to be more productive.
    • Although automation tends to reduce employment and the share of labour in national income, the creation of complex tasks has the opposite effect.
    • The third wave of globalization will come when telepresence and telerobotics(like HoloLens) become affordable.

Most Important Point, hence direct from source ?

With all this fresh in the mind, I attended the two-day “Microsoft Future Decoded 2018” event here at the Excel exhibition centre in London. More about that in part 2 of this thread, till then hit refresh..:-).



Where does CE PSA fit if I have Finance and Operations?

Updated last: 23/12/2018

This is a live blog post that will be updated with changes that are applied to the application – I’ll also update it with input from the community too. 

Right, I thought it’d be best to write a quick post on this topic as it is a question I receive quite regularly which is along the lines of…. “Hey Will, I see you’ve been working on Customer Engagement PSA – I don’t really understands how that would fit in with an organisation that has Finance and Operations system or at all”.  Then I take a deep breath and I say something along these lines…

(There are a few version of this response depending on what the business does)

PSA flow:

What we must remember is PSA is there to ultimately help the prospect to cash process, but hey we hear and read “Prospect to Cash” thrown around a lot and it doesn’t help explain anything, what I mean with this is as follows;

  1. the ability to turn someone you may have been in contact with to a Lead
  2. then qualify said Lead to an Opportunity
    1. During the opportunity process you will start, hopefully, creating a proposal and to really provide a precise as can be quote it is best to create a project with a thorough work break-down structure along with associated costs (expenses, role costs etc.) then to import this structure along with associated costs into the contract to provide a quote.
  3. Submit the quote to the customer and hopefully mark it as won – or maybe you may have to create another until you ultimately, hopefully, win
  4. The quote then turns into an Order/Contract with an associated project and all this richness can then be synced across to Finance and Operations – the contract will be pulled across along with the associated project details; project name, project contract associated, actual start date, work breakdown structure (if you’ve assigned resources then these can be brought across too) etc.

Where to place your personnel in a PSA & FinOps stack implementation:

Now the more interesting piece is where do you ask your employees to enter their Time and Expenses, where do you ask the Project Manager to carry out their tasks and where do you ask the Resourcing Manager to sit?

Now we must remember PSA – IS NOT A FINANCE SYSTEM, IT IS NOT TRYING TO BE A FINANCE SYSTEM, IT’S PURPOSE IS NOT TO DEAL WITH ANYTHING RELATED TO ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE, the purpose is to provide a buffer between account management and back office tasks such as the accounts department and to provide more granularity to items such as quoting (remember this is from a perspective when Finance & Operations exists as part of the implementation).

However, what it does do well is to provide the ability to price up quotes thoroughly thanks to this project creation functionality and it also performs some project processes well that can then be handed over for further processing.

Now let’s take a quick dive into where to place the Project Managers, Employees and Resourcing Managers.

Employees– now, personally, as an employee I prefer the user interface in CE  for entering Timesheets and Expenses rather than Finance and Operations – it is more aesthetically pleasing. However, there are limitations around expenses – there are no expense policies out of the box so this would need to be provided via customisation.

Along with other workflow requirements, and let’s face it expense workflows (from my experience implementing systems, especially in global systems) can be incredibly complex which will also be better suited for Finance and Operations as PSA only allows one level approval when in reality multi-level and conditions are required.

PSA does have the ability to bring in the hours you entered last week, or the appointments/projects you’ve been assigned in the resource scheduler but Finance and Operations allows this too.

What I’m getting at here is it is best to stick with Finance and Operations and if you wish to make the user interface more kinder on the eyes then use the mobile application functionality or throw together a PowerApp.

Resourcing Manager– now this is where I lean towards PSA, as long as you sync proficiency models, skills, characteristics, roles, cost prices, sales prices etc. between Finance and Operations and CE PSA (or if you’re company is using talent then have a network of the three Talent>PSA>FinOps) then I much prefer the Scheduling board within PSA and the way you submit requests to be fulfilled. Look at the screenshot below and how glorious it is, colours, pictures, charts – PSA has it all (you can even use the map functionality- living the dream)!

Project Manager– now this depends on the organisation, PSA allows the PM to manage their project team, monitor cost absorption (effort tracking as well), look at project estimates, submit resourcing requests (all this also exists within Finance and Operations)- but if you want your PM to also invoice clients, perform a more advanced level of WIP adjustments then this role will suit Finance and Operations.

Also the dashboards are not that brilliant in PSA – yes you can use PowerBI embedded functionality but Finance and Operations has brilliant out of the box reports, as well as enhanced areas such as the Project Manager Workspace (provides an overview of their project related activities as well as allows them to initiate their most frequent tasks) as well as PowerBI integration – soooooo…..

General Finance points related to PSA functionality: PSA does let you push through flexible journals, you can export actuals (or integrate them), you can adjust actuals (as well as few adjustment histories) and you can invoice through funding sources and billing rules (not as advanced as Finance and Operations) set out on the project contract.

Important to note that there is no out of the box functionality to tie Purchase Orders to projects, thus this is not wrapped up and summed into items such as const consumption etc. a journal can be used for this in the mean time but creating the PO in FinOps and then pushing that across as a journal to keep track in PSA may be one route (dependant on if your PMs sit there if not it really does not matter). Furthermore to this there is no commitment or encumbrance accounting to keep track of the financial health of a project with regards to Purchase Orders.

Another key part of project management is budget control. Unfortunately there is no budget control that sits within PSA only a cost consumption meter so this will have to be validated/tracked through Finance & Operations but the validation will only occur post transaction if you choose to leave T&E within PSA (not a wise move).


So let’s conclude – PSA DOES HAVE A FIT within the full suite of Dynamics 365 and for organisations that uses both CE and Finance and Operations if it is used for it’s intended purpose which in my eyes is to assist with quoting proposals and assisting with some of the non-accounting project processes to allow that smooth transition from sales to delivery.

And one more thing….. if the company DOES NOT have finance and operations but another Accounting system that does not include project management and they also require a sales system then PSA is a great fit!!!!