Common Data Service for Apps, Dynamics 365 for Talent and Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, The integration story with the new Power platform from Microsoft

In some of my earlier posts, I discussed briefly about the testing I did for the first version of Common Data Service to integrate Dynamics 365 for Sales and Finance & Operations. That was primarily for syncing customer accounts and all associated information. Microsoft also ships several data integration templates out of the box for this, which covers pretty much all key entities in the Prospect to Cash scenario.

Today, we will take another deeper look at the Dynamics 365 integration story using the overall Power platform which contains the power of Common Data Service(CDS 2.0), Microsoft Power Apps, Flow and Power BI. We will learn about the new version of Common Data Service, which is referred to as CDS for Apps (CDS 2.0) and we will test an integration between Dynamics 365 For Talent and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

Create the Power platform environment (CDS For Apps environment): The first step here is to make sure we have a correct environment created and setup under Power platform environments. For this testing and demonstration, I have created a new environment specifically for the D365 Talent to Finance and Operations integration. This environment is where the D365 for Talent app will surface the data and this environment will also host all the associated Powerapps, CDS, flow etc.

Create the Talent project in LCS and link the project to the CDS environment and Provision the Talent environment: Now that I have the Power platform environment setup, I will go ahead and create the D365 Talent project in Lifecycle services and then will provision the D365 Talent environment that I need for this testing. To do this, login to Life cycle services (LCS) and create a new project.

We will now need to link this LCS project to the new power platform environment we created above. Navigate to the Talent app management tile and click Add button.

You will notice the environment we created in the Power platform admin center will appear here.

I will mark the “Include demo data” checkbox, so that my Talent environment will have some prepopulated demo data that i can use for my testing.

The new D365 Talent environment should be provisioned now with Demo data and you should see the status of the environment as “Deployed”. Now, let us access the newly deployed Talent environment to make sure if we are able to access the required components of Talent successfully.

Click on the Log on to Talent link in the Talent App Management area. I now have the D365 Talent environment successfully deployed and ready for my testing.

After this deployment, You will also notice that these Talent solutions will appear under the Solutions tab of the Powerapps environment and the data from the Talent environment syncs in real time with the CDS. This means all the components of the D365 Talent solution where deployed into the CDS environment.

Talent Solutions deployed in PowerApps environment

You can also see that the demo data i got in my D365 Talent app has already surfaced in the CDS entities.

Note: All the data created in D365 for Talent will surface in Common Data Service automatically and we will use that for integrating with D365 F&O.

On the other side, I have already deployed my D365 for finance and operations environment and that is ready for the integration with D365 for Talent.

Configure the Connection Set in Power platform admin center: The next step for us is to configure the Connection set, which basically defines the 2 environments/applications and their respective organizations/entities for data mapping and integration. In this case, I have created the Connection Set, which contains my D365 Finance and Operations environment and the CDS 2.0 environment.

We will leverage the out of the Data integration project templates which Microsoft ships already to configured our data integrator project. To configure the data integrator project, go to Power Platform Admin center and create the data integration project.

As you can see in the screenshot above, under this data integration project, I have selected the Connection set i configured above and I have also used a data integration template called Core HR, which is provided by Microsoft already.

If we go into the tasks of the integration project, you will notice that for each of the tasks, the source and destination data fields are already predefined in the template. If you want, you can modify the mappings based on your needs, or you can even extend the integration by creating your own tasks to integrate additional entities.

We now have all the environments and the integration configurations we need to have in place. Let us go ahead and create some data in the Core HR App of D365 Talent and we will then run the integration project manually for this demonstration. Ideally, i can have the integration to execute automatically periodically.

Note: I am not using the ATTRACT or ONBOARD apps of Talent in this demonstration/testing, but if you use those, the data from both of those applications surface directly in CDS 2.0 (Common Data Service) and the Core HR app syncs in almost real time with CDS 2.0 to sync those data (Data such as Jobs, Applicants, new hires etc.).

I have created a job named “D365 Tech Architect” in Talent as shown in screenshot below.

Now, let us run the Data integration project manually under the Power platform admin center and verify if the data syncs correctly to D365 Finance and Operations.

You can monitor the status of the execution of this under the Execution history tab.

As soon as the New job record was created in D365 Talent, it surfaced in the CDS Job entity.

The data integration project execution has now finished. We will go check in D365 F&O and see if the new job record got created. As you can see the new job record now exists in D365 F&O automatically.

Note: You can think of the end to end integration story between D365 Talent and D365 F&O, where you will start all the way from attracting the talent (Recruitment) then continuing to Onboarding, hiring in D365 for Talent, and finally have the employee and related data created automatically in D365 F&O.

When you use the Attract and Onboard apps of D365 Talent, they surface/store the data by default to the Common Data Service (CDS 2.0). The Core HR app f Talent the n automatically syncs the Attract/Onboard data from CDS. The sync is almost real time. Then when your Data integration project runs in PowerApps, the data from CDS will sync to D365 Fin and Ops.

As a concluding note for this post, I will say, “The Microsoft Power platform now looks ready for prime time and it is time for us to encourage our customers to start leveraging these and innovate, and think what they can do with these tools to digitize their business processes and improve process efficiencies. There are new features that Microsoft is introducing every month for this platform to make it more and more capable and to enable customers to be able to extend and integrate their Dynamics 365 and other business apps apps in low code, no code fashion.

That’s it for today’s post!! More to come.”

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Give your new hires the ultimate Onboarding experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent

The workforce of the 21st century will be the millennials. They will be the dominant workers of the future for most of organizations in the years to come. Attracting those young talents and making sure they go through a seamless hiring and onboarding experience will ensure success in your overall talent acquisition process.

Dynamics 365 for Talent is a full-blown talent and HCM management cloud application suite which can help you with all aspects of talent acquisition and core HCM operations management.

This post today highlights some of the key aspects of the overall onboarding functionality in Dynamics 365 For Talent and shows how easy it is to use this app to automate everything you need to ensure your new hires go through a seamless onboarding experience.

In one of my earlier posts, we discussed a little bit about the ATTRACT experience of Dynamics 365 For Talent and how that integrates with LinkedIn and Office 365. Once your candidates have gone through the interview and job offer process, the ONBOARD app helps you automate the various tasks you need for a successful onboarding.

On your landing page of D365 For Talent, you can navigate to Onboard workspace or click the Onboard menu link to launch the Onboard app and you will see the Onboarding guides for all your new hires.

Onbaord MainPage1

You can create new guides from scratch, leverage predefined templates if you have any, or you can even use some sample guides that comes within the app, just like you would use an excel or word template doc to create a new one.

Onbaord Guides Page

In this case, let’s go ahead and create a onboarding guide for Ted Smith, a new hire for the Purchasing Manager position at Contoso. Just enter the name of the new hire, their email ID (Personal email or work email if there is one already setup for them) and select the employment start date. In just a couple of clicks your entire onboarding guide for Ted is now almost ready.

Create New Guide

Note: The email ID you specify here will be used for communicating with the new hire for their onboarding. In some cases you may create a work account for them already and use that for communication and in some cases you will just use their personal email account, until they are fully onboard and an official work email account has been setup for them.

Onboarding Guide Introduction Page: Now you can start making your changes to the Onboarding guide that you copied from the template, or just use of the content from the template itself. You will begin with a warm welcome note for Ted in the Introduction section. Along with plain text, you can include things like URLs, files, maps and you can manage fonts and alignments.

Ted Onboard Guide Intro

Onboarding Guide Activities Page: Next, you will configure the list of tasks/activities the new hire should complete as part of their onboarding with Contoso. This is like their onboarding checklist. You will include things  like “Complete a background check”, “review your required training”, learn more about your role etc.

You can add YouTube videos, Microsoft Sway presentations, custom apps that you have built using Microsoft PowerApps or even a custom web content (Such as iframe). For each activity, you can assign a Due date, you can provide descriptions and enter persons in your organization that the new hire can reach out to in case of questions.

You can also use Sample activities that comes out of the box in the app for ease.

Activities

Onboarding Guide Contacts Page: You can add a set of contacts that the new hire can contact in case of any questions for any matter during their onboarding process. This integrates very tightly out of the box with Office 365 and you can see persons from your organization when selecting and setting up contacts in real time.

Contacts

Onboarding Guide Resource page: In the onboarding guide, you can associate all the resources that a new hire needs for the onboarding. The resources can be a file, image, URL, maps etc.

Resources

When you are done, you can see preview of the onboarding guide to see how it will look for Ted.

Preview

You can then send the onboarding guide to the new hire (Ted in this case) and you can customize the email before sending as well.

Email

Emai8l2

Lets now see how the overall onboarding experience looks for the new hire Ted. Ted receives the email notification and he can launch the Welcome guide using any device (Laptop, tablet or phone), because it is 2018. 🙂

Below screenshots shows the sample email notifications and the  various screens of the onboarding process for Ted on his phone. Ted can continue and complete everything that he needs to do as per the instructions provided in the onboarding guide. He can then mark the Activities as Completed.

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As Ted starts to complete the various tasks assigned to him, the HR executives can see the status of Completed activities in real-time.

Ted CompletedTaslks

When the Onboarding process and tasks are completed, the onboarding guides can be archived.

That was high level overview of how D365 for Talent can help you onboard your new hires !!

Regards,

Sandeep