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

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 dashboards.

In the skills measured statement (shown below) you will see a reference to dashboards.

In this post I will focus on the dashboards available to us in the core Dynamics 365 product. But you may also need to be aware the that we can view Dynamics 365 data on a PowerBI dashboard or include visualizations from PowerBI on a Dynamics 365 dashboard.

There are actually two styles of dashboard in Dynamics 365. The “traditional” dashboard that will my focus in this post but also we have the Interactive Service Hub Dashboards (ISH).

Note: As ISH is focused on service and the MB2-717 exam concentrates on sales I will not cover ISH here!

What is a dashboard??? …. 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, Power Bi 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.

Personal Dashboards

  • 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!

System Dashboards

  • 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.

Out of the Box System Dashboards

As the MB2-717 exam is a sales exam having an understanding of the types of information included in the out of the box system dashboards for sales may be beneficial.

Tip: In my opinion, the out of the box system dashboards should be considered a template that can be changed and enhanced. Some of the charts / views may need adjustment to report the results you’d like to see!

Dashboard Purpose / Content
Sales Activity Dashboard As the name suggests the sales activity dashboard give us a sense of your “activity” in sales. Meaning this would commonly be used by a sales person to see KPIs for their activity and a view of any open activities they need to progress.

Charts include;

  • Sales pipeline (for my open opportunities)
  • Percentage achieved (for my goals this period)
  • Top opportunities based on revenue (for my open opportunities)
  • Leads by source (for my open leads)
  • Top customers based on revenue (for closed opportunities this fiscal year)

Views include;

  • My open activities
Sales Activity Social Dashboard The sales activity social dashboard is actually very similar to the sales activity dashboard, the key difference is that it shows the sales persons personal wall. In the wall the sales person could engage in “conversations” about their activities.

Charts include;

  • Sales pipeline (for my open opportunities)
  • Leads by source (for my open leads)
  • Top opportunities based on revenue (for my open opportunities)
  • Top customers based on revenue (for closed opportunities this fiscal year)

Web resources include;

  • Personal Wall, showing posts and relationship assistant (Note: Will show Yammer is enabled.)

Views include;

  • My open activities
Sales Dashboard The sales dashboard is again aimed at the individual sales person but contains many more views. I guess this might be considered to be one place to visit for the key things they need to review. Such as their open activities, open opportunities etc.

Views include;

  • My open activities
  • My open opportunities
  • My open leads
  • My active accounts

Charts include;

  • Sales pipeline (for my open opportunities)
  • Top customers based on revenue (for closed opportunities this fiscal year)
Sales Performance Dashboard Unlike the previous dashboards the sales performance dashboard generally looks at companywide KPIs.

Charts include;

  • Sales pipeline (Open opportunities)
  • Goal progress (for my goals this period)
  • Goal progress (for my group’s revenue goals this period)
  • Percentage achieved (for my group’s revenue goals this period)
  • Sales leader board on revenue (by owner for closed opportunities this fiscal year)
  • Deals won vs deals lost by owner (for closed opportunities this fiscal year)

Creating Dashboards

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.

Sharing Dashboards

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.

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 as part of your preparation for the MB2-717 exam. Have fun!

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