As I prepare for my MB2-716 exam I’m producing a series of blog posts that collectively should help others revising for the MB2-716 Certification. (Microsoft Dynamics 365 customization and Configuration.) This time I will look at dashboards.
Why are dashboards the next logical topic? Well because they are a visualization of mainly views and charts. Once you understand views and charts dashboards will hopefully be a nice easy / fun subject!
You can see below from the skills measured statement that we need to understand how to create dashboards, what components they can have and also how we control access.
There are actually two types of dashboard in Dynamics 365. The “traditional” dashboard that will be the initial focus of this post but also we have the Interactive Service Hub Dashboard. More on those later!
Dashboards are personalized pages. Just like your car dashboard they provide a snapshot of key information in an easy to access format. Dynamics 365 dashboards typically include charts and list views but you can also add iframes, web resources, PowerBi charts, Microsoft Social Engagement insights etc.
In addition to simply viewing data it is also possible to interact with the information presented. For example, you can drill into charts on a dashboard in exactly the same way as you can from list views elsewhere in Dynamics.
As with charts and views there are two types of dashboards. System and personal.
- Users can create personal dashboards
- Initially only the user creating the dashboard can see it
Personal dashboards can be shared with other users and teams.
- When sharing dashboards, it is important to ensure that all personal charts and views contained in the dashboard are also shared.
- Sharing does not break any of the security model rules. You are sharing the dashboard not the underlying data!
- Out of the box various system dashboards exist by default.
- System dashboards can be created by developers with the system customizer or system administration roles.
- System dashboards can be made available to all users or have access restricted based on security role.
As the image below shows, out of the box Dynamics 365 ships with multiple system dashboards. Some have a customer service focus and some concentrate on sales. Others are specific to optional Apps within Dynamics 365, such as Field Service, Project Service and Microsoft Social Engagement.
Having clicked on a chart on dashboards three icons become visible. These allow the chart to be refreshed, opened in a full view (showing related records) and expanded to fill the screen.
Whilst creating a new dashboard the user can select one of 6 templates, as shown below.
Once the template has been selected you can add charts, views, ifames and web resources as required.
By default you will have four icons on the dashboard panels, supporting charts, views, iframes and web resources. Below you will see that I have six icons! This is because I have also enabled PowerBi and Microsoft Social Engagement in my Dynamics 365 instance.
As you select to insert components a dialogs will prompt for the required details. As an example I have shown the dialog for adding a chart below.
Once the chart or view has been added to the dashboard you can then alter the layout to expand (or shrink) its height and width as required.
It is possible to share personal dashboards with other users and teams. (Just like charts and views.) Simply select the SHARE DASHBOARD option in the ribbon bar.
The sharing dialog will then appear. It is worth knowing that the process to share views (advanced finds) and charts is pretty much the same. Users and teams can be added and then you select the privileges as required. By default, just the “Read” privilege is given but you can ass additional access permissions as required.
An important tip about sharing is that if you have added any personal charts or views to the dashboard you will need to also share each of those separately.
It is also important to be aware that the Dynamics 365 security roles apply. Sharing does not allow you to circumvent the role based security model. When sharing dashboards, views and charts you are only sharing the view. You are not sharing access to the underlying data. For example:
If you share a dashboard with a sales person that contains cases and they don’t have access to cases, they would not be able to view that section of the dashboard.
Creating System Dashboards
We create system dashboards in a very similar manner to personal dashboards. Except only developers with system customizer or system administrator roles have access. When customizing the system, we have a dashboards option that gives access to existing system dashboards and allows the creation of new ones.
When creating a system dashboard, we have two options, dashboard and interactive experience dashboard. The first being the “traditional” dashboard the second being those available in the Interactive Service Hub.
If you select the Dashboard option, you will be presented with the same screen as when creating a personal dashboard. From this point on the process is pretty much the same. (Expect you will need to remember to publish the dashboard once it has been defined!)
As we saw earlier, in my system I can add PowerBI and Microsoft Social Engagement visualizations to my personal dashboards. With system dashboards I cannot add PowerBI Visualizations. Meaning only 5 icons are available to me when building a system dashboard.
One key difference with system and personal dashboards is that their access can be controlled based on user roles. Using the enable security roles option.
As shown below we can enable the dashboard for all roles or select specific roles.
Interactive Service Hub Dashboard
The interactive service hub is a modern intuitive interface tailored to enhance the user experience for agents with a customer service role. It contains interactive dashboards to help visualize information and determine which tasks need to be looked at. There are two types of interactive dashboard, multi-stream dashboards and single stream dashboards.
Interactive Service Hub – Multi Stream Dashboards
The interactive hub contains a multi-stream dashboard specifically designed to help first line support staff. The agents can view and act on cases / activities quickly across multiple data streams which show data from views or queues. This might include “My Activities”, “My Cases”, “Cases from queues I’m a member of” etc.
Interactive charts provide KPIs on key items and act as a filtering tool to help zoom in on the required data. You can opt to see only lists / tiles and toggle charts on / off. Plus, you can apply global filters to help focus on important pieces of information.
You will find an option under settings to access the Interactive Service Hub.
Another way to quickly access the interactive service hub can be found on the articles option within service;
Having selecting the interactive service hub there will be a short pause whilst it loads;
Notice that the dashboard initially displayed is called “Tier 1 Dashboard”, this can be changed by selecting the down arrow. The tier one dashboard includes panels include;
- Active cases
- My Resolved cases
- My Draft emails
- My Activities
The visual flyouts (charts) can be toggled on / off using the chart icon. These differ from charts in traditional CRM dashboards as clicking on a portion of one chart forces the other charts and lists on the dashboard to interactively adjust to reflect the newly selected data.
As you filter the data by clicking on the charts, “bread crumbs” of your selections are displayed in the filter area. Below you can see that I drilled in on origin and then subject.
These filters can be individually added or removed. Plus, you can click on the filter icon to gain access to further abilities to filter your selection.
The dashboard defaults to using this week as its timeframe but you can change it to look at today, this month or even a custom date range.
Having used these filtering options to “zoom” in on the required case(s) you can click on the items in the dashboard lists to load individual cases to work on them.
It is possible to rearrange the dashboard from a stream view to a tile view by using the tile / stream icons in the bottom right hand corner.
In addition to the standard Tier 1 Dashboard users can select from other pre-created dashboards or create their own.
Interactive Service Hub – Single Stream Dashboards
A single stream dashboard will typically show an aggregated view of workload. (From a single entity such as cases.) The single steam dashboard has tiles that can show information from views or queues like on a multi-stream dashboard. They also contain visual filtering capabilities like the multi-stream dashboards.
The tier 2 dashboard is an example of a single stream dashboard You select it from the dashboard picker.
You can immediately see the different between multi-stream and single stream dashboards once the tier 2 dashboard is selected. A single tier dashboard contains just one view or list. In this case a list of active incidents. Also panels and charts are displayed instantly, giving a quick way to view more detailed data about the currently open cases.
It is important to appreciate that a single stream dashboard gives a detailed view of one entity, whereas a multi-stream dashboard can include multiple entities, The Tier 1 dashboard we reviewed contained cases, activities and queues.
Meaning the Tier 2 single stream dashboard is targeted at an agent working on specific cases whereas the Tier 1 multi-stream dashboard is more appropriate for a service manager who needs a wider view of the information.
Creating Interactive Dashboards
CRM comes with a number of preconfigured dashboards you can also create your own dashboards. Unlike the standard CRM dashboards this can only be completed by customizers / system administrators. (As there is no personal dashboard option for interactive service hub dashboards.) The act of creating an interactive dashboard is actually very similar to creating a traditional dashboard. Within customizations select to add a new dashboard and opt for an interactive dashboard.
You then use the wizard to select if you’d like to create a multi-stream or single-stream dashboard and what layout is required.
Next you define the entity that will be used to filter the views, in my example I have selected accounts. And I have based the content of my dashboard on all active account. You can also default the date the records will be filtered on and define the default time frame. So in my example I opted to see all account created this month.
Next you’ll add the visual filters into the dashboard, clicking on the chart icon lets me select a record type, view and chart to display.
I can now opt to add additional visual filters as required. In my example I’ve included account by month, owner and industry type.
Now I add the stream(s) to my dashboard. These could be queues or entity views.
It is important to know that to make my new dashboard available I need to publish it.
Once I reload ISH my new dashboard will be available and will contain all the same filtering capabilities as the out of the box pre-configured dashboards.
The description above covered the creation of a multi-stream interactive service hub dashboard. But as you have seen we can also have an entity focused single stream dashboard. The creation process is actually very similar except we first navigate to the required entity. See below that a dashboards option exists for each entity. And that for case we have an interactive service hub dashboard.
Opening the case dashboard will show us that the interface for creating a single stream dashboard is similar but it has some key differences. Firstly with the dashboard being based on one view and one entity we need to also select the required view. Then below we select the interactive service hub charts required.
I like dashboards! I hope you will enjoy “playing” around with them. As always, at this point I am going to stress the need for some hands-on time. Try creating different types of personal and system dashboards. Share them out, restrict access based on roles etc etc. Have fun!.