MB2-717 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics for Sales) – Charts

As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB2-717), I am creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB2-717 exam. In this post I will focus on charts.

From a sales point of view, charts are essential to help us monitor sales performance. They can be displayed on forms, views and dashboards within Dynamics 365. Therefore when taking you exam you will need to understand charts and dashboards, I will cover dashboards in a future post.

There are two types of charts. Personal and system.

Personal charts

  • Can be created by any user. (With correct security privileges.)
  • Are initially only visible to the user who created them.
  • Personal charts can be shared with other users or teams.
  • Can be included in personal dashboards. (not system dashboards.)

System charts

  • Visible to all users.
  • Out of the box Dynamics 365 contains several examples of system charts.
  • Developers, with customizer or systems administrator roles, can create new system charts.
  • Can be included in solutions.
  • Can be included in personal and system dashboards.

Below you can see that the ability to maintain user charts is controls by a security role setting.

Charts

Multiple chart types exist in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, via the chart designer interface users can create the following types of chart;

  • Bar – Shows data in horizontal columns.
  • Column – Shows data in vertical columns.
  • Pie – shows data as slices of a pie. Useful for show numerical proportions of data. (Such as % sales by sales territory)
  • Funnel – Shows values as progressively decreasing proportions amounting to 100 percent in total. (Often used to represent a sales pipeline.)
  • Area – used to show cumulative totals over time.
  • Line – Shows individual points on the chart joined by a line, useful when looking for trends over time.

The chart below shows a typical example of a sales pipeline shown in a funnel chart.


Tip: As shown below you can click on segment of a chart, that you have the ability to further filter on any field. Clicking the blue arrow will drill into the chart can represent the data in any one of the five chart types available in the filter. (Bar, Column, Funnel, Line and Pie.)

It is also possible to export the XML of the chart, edit it and re-import. This process allows other chart types to be created, including;

  • Doughnut
  • Candlestick
  • Radar
  • Bubble
  • And many more

Tip:
In addition to changing the chart type in the XML other parameters such as colour, labels and drawing style can be customized.

Note: with system charts we can create two more chart types! Tag and doughnut. These chart types apply to entities which are enabled for use in the interactive service hub (ISH) and show in the ISH multi-stream dashboards. You can see these highlighted in the screen shot below.


Note: The customization of charts using XML is beyond the scope of the MB2-717 exam. But knowing they can be exported, changed and then re-imported as either a personal chart or a system chart maybe important.

Charts can be single series or multi-series. A multi-series chart can represent data using two chart types, one laid over the other. For example, a column and line in a single chart. Below you can see a sample chart showing the number of opportunities created each month as a count, then their estimated revenue is shown as a line on the same chart. Column, area and line charts can all be combined in multi-series charts. This is not possible on some chart types such as funnel and pie. Also bar charts can only be associated with other bar charts.


Another variation of a multi-series chart is a stacked chart, these apply to column and bar charts. Stacked charts are useful when comparing data. Charts can be shown as standard stacked charts or 100% stacked charts. The difference being that the stacked chart shows the actual values whilst the 100% stacked chart represents the data in terms of a proportion. The chart below is an example of a 100% stacked chart. The chart tells me that 100% of the opportunities created in May have only a 10% probability. It doesn’t compare the number of opportunities in May with other months just their probability!

When plotting charts, it is possible to limit the data returned using options to show top “n” or bottom “n” rows. For example, the chart below shows my top 5 opportunities by estimated revenue.

Personal charts are created in the chart designer. (As shown below) Options within the chart designer allow us to select the chart type, limit the rows included, stack the chart, add a series etc.

Once the personal chart is saved we can use the “…” menu to edit the chart, share it with other users / teams. It is also here that we can import and export charts.

The share option can be used to share personal charts with user or teams. It is also possible to govern the access level each person is given. You could opt to only allow them to read the chart. Or you can add in write, delete, assign and share privileges as required. Keep in mind that when you share a chart only the chart is shared not the underlying data. Meaning the security model is preserved.

Later you may add charts to dashboards and share out those dashboards. It is important to also be aware that the chart would need to be shared separately. Sharing the dashboard does not automatically share the charts and views on the dashboard.


Data Aggregation

Charts are a useful tool to aggregate / group data. Giving the capability to show an average, count, max, min or sum of a value.

When producing a chart containing a date field we can group the data by day, week, month, quarter, year, fiscal period and fiscal year.


Tip: As charts are graphical your best way to learn about their capabilities is with some hands on experience.

I hope this post has given a feel for the concepts connected with charts that you’ll need to understand for the MB2-717 certification.

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