I am creating a series of blog posts that collectively are designed to help anyone preparing for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Core exam. (aka MB-200) In this post I will look at concepts around dashboards.
In the skills measured statement (shown below) under the heading “manage user experience design”, 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 will 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 three styles of dashboard in Dynamics 365.
- The classic dashboard
- Interactive experience dashboards
- PowerBI Dashboards
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, Social 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!
- Classic dashboards can be personal dashboards.
- Interactive dashboards cannot be personal dashboards.
- PowerBI dashboards can be personal 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.
- Model driven apps may include all or a restricted number of dashboards.
- Classic dashboards can be system dashboards.
- Interactive dashboards can be system dashboards.
- PowerBI dashboards cannot be system dashboards.
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. Assuming you are using the new Unified Interface you will find that each app will contain a specific set of dashboards relating to that app. Loading the sales hub, for example, would typically show you the sales activity and sales performance dashboards.
Having clicked on a chart on dashboards three icons become visible. (Two accessible from the “…” option.) These allow the chart to be refreshed, opened using the view records option (showing the related records) and expanded to fill the screen.
I really like interactive dashboards! When they were first introduced into Dynamics 365 their focus was probably more aimed at service scenarios, as they were initially part of the interactive service hub. These days, they are included in the Unified Interface and can be applied to any part of Dynamics 365.
The concept of an interactive dashboard is that you will have a primary view and filtering date. In a service scenarios this might be used to show things like open cases created this week. With a sales hat on, we might do things like showing open opportunities by their expected close date. (I’ve done exactly that to show as an example below.)
On an interactive dashboard we have a number of charts (visual filters) and then one or more streams (or lists!). The streams / visualizations are interactive. Meaning as I click on a visualization, the other charts and streams will filter to reflect the data selected.
Below you can see that I have clicked on a particular phase and rating. And my dashboard is now showing the data filtered by these elements. Additionally the ribbon bar and other navigation elements. As I can do things like hide / show the visual filters, swap to a tile view (showing totals) or edit the date range used to filter the dashboard.
There are multiple types of interactive dashboards …
- Multi-stream interactive dashboards
- Single-stream interactive dashboards
- Entity-specific interactive dashboards
Multi-stream Interactive Dashboards
Multi-stream dashboards show in the “normal” dashboards option. For example the “Tier 1 Dashboard” found in the Customer Service Hub app is an example of a multi-stream dashboard.
The Tier 1 Dashboard includes details (streams) for case, emails and activities. We could have multiple streams (views) from one entity or several entities in a multi-stream dashboard.
Single-stream Interactive Dashboards
The single-stream dashboard contains the data stream on the left and visual filters and tiles on the right. They are focused on a single stream. Meaning you might use them when the users work needs to be more focused.
For example, in my tier 1 dashboard (multi-stream) I might be interested in all case regardless of status and also any open activities I have. But when using the single stream tier 2 dashboard I would want to focus in on just active cases.
Entity-specific interactive dashboards
We access entity specific dashboards from the “open dashboards” option on a view of the entity. For example, below you can see that I have opened cases and used the “…” option to see the “Open Dashboards” option.
The entity specific dashboards perform like the multi-stream dashboards we find else where in Dynamics 365, except all the streams are from a single entity. Meaning they are focused on a single entity. An example for cases is shown below. I have multiple streams but that all relate to cases. (So, my active cases, resolved cases and active cases.)
Creating Personal Dashboards
Let’s look at how to create a personal dashboard. These can be a classic dashboard or a PowerBI dashboard. I will cover PowerBI in a separate post. Below you can see that selecting new allows to create a “Dynamics 365 Dashboard”. (aka a classic dashboard.)
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 …
- relationship assistant
- web resources
- social insights
- PowerBI tiles
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 Personal 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.
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.
We currently have two user interfaces for customizing Dynamics 365. The old “classic” method for maintaining solutions (shown below) and the new Unified Interface style which is available at make.powerapps.com.
Tip: The options available in make.powerapps.com are improving all the time. Eventually it will include all of the options available to us in the classic experience. For example, already in Oct 2019 I can maintain all dashboards from make.powerapps.com. I have only found a need to revert to the classic experience when creating new dashboards! And even that I assume will change soon. So I encourage you to try make.powerapps.com first.
I will try to focus on the newer style approach! But it is worth knowing that currently (Oct 2019) I can only create Interactive Dashboards in the classic interface. (Therefore I may reference both interfaces below!)
When creating a system dashboard (in the classic UI), 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.
Once you have selected the dashboard layout, from this point on the process is pretty much the same as creating a personal dashboard. (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. Below you can see that I have selected a system dashboard and then used the “…” option to access the enable security roles option.
Having selected “enable security roles”, I can pick the role or roles who can access this dashboard. (Or select the “display to everyone” option.)
Adding system Dashboard to Apps
With the Unified Interface we have a concept of apps. An app is essentially as set of entities, forms, views (etc) that makeup a sub-set of functionality a user will access to complete a particular job function. We can opt to include all dashboards or specific dashboards as required.
Within PowerApps we have two types of App. Model-driven apps and canvas apps. In this context we are talking about model-driven apps.
Below you can see that I have selected the model-driven apps in my solution. I can then select an app and use the edit button to access it.
Once the app is loaded I can click on dashboards and decide which ones to include. These maybe classic dashboards or interactive dashboards.
Creating Interactive Dashboards
We currently create interactive system dashboards from the classic customization options.
As a customizer we can created interactive dashboards from two locations. Firstly we have the dashboards option. Below you can see that in the classic experience I have a dashboards option. And from here I can create new interactive experience dashboards using the new option.
For the entity focuses interactive dashboards I navigate to the entity and then select the dashboards option for that entity. (As shown below.) The experience of creating an entity focused interactive dashboard is very similar to that of creating a normal multi-stream dashboard. It is just that you access the creation / maintenance of these dashboards from a different start point.
When creating an interactive stream dashboard your first task (as with other dashboards) is to select the layout. Notice that we can have different layout depending on the type of dashboard being multi-stream or single-stream. (FYI, entity focused dashboards are always multi-stream.)
I have shown an example screen of how this shows below.
Firstly we set a number of mandatory fields
|Name||The name of the dashboard, as seen by users.|
|Filter Entity||The primary entity for the dashboard|
|Entity View||The view to use for the dashboard, in my example I want to show open opportunities.|
|Filter By||What date to filter the entity view by. I opted for estimated close date.|
|Time frame||Time fane, options include things like today, yesterday, this week, this quarter etc.
Note: Users can change this at runtime.
Having set my mandatory fields. I simply cadd a number of visualisations (charts) and streams (views).
You may find the link below useful when learning how to configure interactive experience dashboards!
I have covered quite a bit of information around dashboards! I hope this is useful when revising for the MB 200 exam. As part of your exam preparation I suggest you include plenty of hands on time, creating and using both system and personal dashboards. And to also test the classic and interactive styles. Enjoy!