All about MultiSelect Option Sets in the latest version of Dynamics 365

With the July 2017 Update of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (v9.0), Microsoft introduced a long awaited feature: MultiSelect Option Set. As a matter of fact, it was not possible, until now, to select multiple values in a pick-list.

MultiSelect Option Sets are available for both the Enterprise Edition and the Business Edition of Dynamics 365, although they look a bit different (more on that later).

From a customization perspective, they are simply a new type of field:

What you need to know about MultiSelect Option Set

  • They cannot be used to sort a view.
  • They cannot be calculated fields or roll-up fields. So their field type is read-only and always “simple”.
  • They can use existing Option Sets. This means that global Option Sets can be used by both regular and MultiSelect Option Sets.
  • In a view, for a record, the options they contain are ordered by the Option Set value, disregarding the set order of the options.

Look-and-feel differences between the Web Client Visual Refresh and the Unified Interface

On the new “Unified Interface” (available with the Business Edition), they look like this:

When their values are edited, they look like:

In views, only the first alphabetical option is shown to the user, and “+ X more” is displayed.

On the the regular “Web Client Visual Refresh” (only supported user interface in the Enterprise Edition), they look slightly similar on forms:

In views however, you can display all selected options:

What about the Advanced Find?

They are quite similar to regular Option Sets, but you now have to distinguish between the “Contain Values” and “Equals” operators.

The “Contain Value” operator in the query will return any results that contain at least the selected options. So in the following example, all records that contain A (even if they are set to A and B)

The “Equals” operator will only return results that offer an exact match: this means the exact same set of options selected.

Understanding the Microsoft – Adobe partnership, its current state and its impact on partners

Microsoft professionals are looking more and more into Adobe since the announcement of a strategic partnership between the two editors.

Last May, I attended the Adobe Summit EMEA conference in London, and I was impressed by the very advanced vision Adobe had on customer experience. Many C-levels & VPs (from T-Mobile, BMW, Coca-Cola, Adidas,…) shared testimonials and success stories that reinforced Adobe’s leadership in the Digital Marketing space.

On top of their vision, Adobe built (or acquired) a powerful set of interconnected solutions that meet their clients’s marketing and experience management ever-growing needs. These solutions are offered under the “Adobe Experience Cloud” umbrella.

Summary of the facts:

On September 26th, 2016 Microsoft and Adobe announced a strategic long-term partnership. Adobe brought in its expertise and leader position in Digital Marketing while Microsoft brought in its Cloud experience (Azure) and its Business Applications (Dynamics 365).

Adobe and Microsoft partnered because they share a vision for the future of the enterprise. A vision organized around the following themes:

  • Cloud-first
  • Mobile-first
  • Exceptional experiences

Microsoft and Adobe have come together to create a long-term strategic vision and plan for the era of the empowered digital consumer. This vision and plan enable companies to:

  • Bridge the worlds of the CMO and CIO, by bringing together content and data in one end-to-end platform.
  • Create a unified global platform for customer engagement and experiences across sales, services, and marketing.
  • Help enterprises embrace digital transformation and deliver compelling, personalized experiences through every phase of their customer relationships to strengthen their brands.

What have Microsoft and Adobe committed to with this partnership?

Adobe will make Microsoft Azure its preferred cloud platform for the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Document Cloud.

Microsoft will make Adobe Marketing Cloud its preferred marketing service for Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition. This is especially targeted at customers for which solutions such as “Dynamics 365 for Marketing” (Business Edition) or from ISV (like ClickDimensions) are not sufficient in terms of capacity or functional coverage.

How is this partnership technically implemented today?

From an integration perspective:

  • Integration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Adobe Campaign (the entry point in the Experience Cloud).
  • Use of the Data Visualization (DataViz) capabilities of Microsoft Power BI with Adobe Analytics.

Form a platform perspective:

  • Hosting of the Adobe Experience Cloud, Creative Cloud and Document Cloud Adobe on Microsoft Azure.
  • Establishment of an industry-standard semantic data model to provide a common language for understanding and driving real-time customer engagement.
  • Collaboration and investment in advancing the state of the art in areas of deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) as it relates to customer journey
    experiences and applications.
  • Integration of the Adobe’s developer platform with Microsoft’s developer platform to drive a combined developer and ISV program.

Adobe and Microsoft continue to extend the integration of their solutions and their for roadmap for 2017 / 2018 will bring many new features and enhancements.

What next?

As a conclusion, one can wonder how current Microsoft and Adobe partners are going to position themselves on the market to offer end-to-end solutions to Dynamics 365 and Adobe Marketing scenarios.

As a matter of fact, as of today, few of them cover both technologies. And even if Microsoft and Adobe respectively opened their training portals to their partners (Dynamics Learning Portal for Microsoft and the Solution Partner Portal for Adobe), both technical universes remain complex to master for new-comers.

Some, such as Avanade and Accenture Interactive, already have the teams that can cover the full technical and functional spectrum of these editors, but they still have to train architects to design end-to-end solutions leveraging Dynamics 365 + Adobe Marketing.

Coming soon: an article dedicated to the integration Dynamics 365 with Adobe Campaign!

A history of Dynamics CRM certifications

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 1.0 came out in 2003. A the time, it was named “Microsoft Business Solutions Customer Relationship Management 1.0” (learn more about the Dynamics CRM history in this article by Fiona Bond).
CRM Certification Exams came out shortly after in 2004 with version CRM 1.2.

Since then, certification exams were always organized in these main categories:

  • Customization and Configuration
  • Applications (the functional ones, now being spit between Sales and Customer Service since CRM 2016)
  • Installation / Deployment (with a strong focus On-Premise deployments but not available after CRM 2016)
  • Extending (focused on specific developments, but not available after CRM 2013)
  • Online Deployment  (introduced with CRM 2015)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 1.2

  • MB2-185: Microsoft CRM Customization v.1.2
  • MB2-186: Microsoft CRM Applications Professional v. 1.2
  • MB2-184: Microsoft CRM Installation and Configuration V.1.2

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0

  • MB2-422: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Customization
  • MB2-423: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Applications
  • MB2-421: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Installation and Configuration
  • MB2-498: Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

  • MB2-631: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Customization and Configuration
  • MB2-632: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Applications
  • MB2-633: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Installation and Deployment
  • MB2-634: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Extending Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

  • MB2-866: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration
  • MB2-868: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications
  • MB2-867: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment
  • MB2-876: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Extending

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

  • MB2-703: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration
  • MB2-700: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Applications
  • MB2-702: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Deployment
  • MB2-701: Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

  • MB2-707: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization and Configuration
  • MB2-704: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application
  • MB2-708: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Installation
  • MB2-706: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Deployment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

  • MB2-712: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration
  • MB2-713: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Sales
  • MB2-714: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customer Service
  • MB2-711: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Installation
  • MB2-710: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online Deployment

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

  • MB2-716: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration
  • MB2-717: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales
  • MB2-718: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  • MB2-715: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online Deployment
  • MB2-877: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service

Other related certifications

On top of these regular CRM Certifications, Microsoft also published exams on the Sure Step methodology and Dynamics Marketing (both being retired now):

  • MB5-858: Microsoft Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations
  • MB5-705: Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations
  • MB2-720: Functional Application in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing
  • MB2-709: Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

Now my question for you is: what was your first CRM certification?
Mine was MB2-866: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration.

All about Dynamics 365 Certifications

With each new major version of its CRM product, Microsoft does a little refresh of its certification exams.

This exams are important to validate by Microsoft but also to to the market your level of competency on the Dynamics solutions. Therefore they are particularly important for service companies.

What certifications are available?

4 exams are available for the Entreprise Edition of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement:

2 MCSA and MCSE certifications:

Microsoft also launched this year 2 new certifications of MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) levels:

The MCSA and MCSE certifications are automatically granted as soon as you cumulate several Dynamics 365 exams:

How to revise and prepare for certifications?

If you are a customer, I advise to get in touch with your Microsoft interlocutors or directly to training centers offering Dynamics trainings.

If you are a Microsoft Partner, you should have access to its Partner Source portal and to its Dynamics Learning Portal (DLP).

On top of available E-Learnings on the DLP, I recommend hands-on practice, even if it is only on trial instances, in order to deeply test each product module and feature.

Microsoft also offers “Exam Guides” and “Assessments” on the DLP, providing for each exam:

  • Exam specifics
  • Covered topics
  • Recommended E-Learnings
  • Exam-like questions

Share your results

With its new partnership with YourAcclaim, Microsoft allows you to make your accomplishments more visible. You get badges and get to easily share them on Social Networks.

YourAcclaim also comes with a public profile where people can see you record of Microsoft certifications (an example with mine).

You get one badge per certification:

A last word of advice

While E-Learnings videos can sometimes be long and hard to focus on, you can always download the course resources and especially the PowerPoint files.

I always download all PowerPoint presentations on a OneDrive folder and read them on my smartphone while I commute. Of course, I always go through the application to practice on a trial instance.

Good luck!

Dynamics CRM is dead, long live Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement!

With the launch of Dynamics 365 at the end of 2016, Microsoft blurred the lines between its CRM and ERP offering:

Classic Dynamics CRM modules became “Dynamics 365 for Sales” or “Dynamics 365 for Customer Service”, while Dynamics AX was referred to as “Dynamics 365 for Operations”

With the July 2017 Update of Dynamics 365, Microsoft clarified its license plans names, and generally what was previously in Dynamics CRM is now included in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.
Similarly, what was part of AX is now referred to as Dynamics 365 Unified Operations.

To summarize the current Dynamics 365 offering (excluding the Business Edition):