Microsoft 365 for Nonprofits: Software Grants
Apr09

Microsoft 365 for Nonprofits: Software Grants

Microsoft makes it easy for nonprofits to get the software they need for office productivity through grants of Microsoft 365 to eligible organizations.   Microsoft 365 is a suite which includes Windows and Office 365.  It is available in Basic, Standard, and Premium editions which contain different products: Microsoft 365 Business Basic — Free up to 300 usersMicrosoft 365 Business Standard –… Continue...

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Microsoft Power Apps Community Plan
Apr07

Microsoft Power Apps Community Plan

  If you follow this blog or have attended any webinars or other events where I present, you know that Microsoft Power Apps is growing like gangbusters and that many people are turning to Power Apps for their line of business solutions. But where should you start?  For some organizations, the best way is to choose a Dynamics 365 app such as Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise or Customer Service and… Continue Reading...

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Meet Power Fx: The Language of Microsoft Power Apps Canvas Apps
Mar09

Meet Power Fx: The Language of Microsoft Power Apps Canvas Apps

Last week Microsoft made many announcements on Power Apps.  One of the most important was naming Power Fx, the unified language used in Power Apps Canvas Apps and other Power Platform products. This announcement is more than just naming a language because it unveils a long-term plan for standardizing the Power Platform stack of development tools.  April Dunnam of Microsoft provides a concise… Continue Reading...

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Low Code Software Tradeoffs
Mar02

Low Code Software Tradeoffs

Recently I wrote on The Enduring Appeal of Low Code Software Development and 6 Reasons to Choose Microsoft for your Low Code Application Platform which explain why low code development is popular and why Microsoft is especially successful among the low code application development platforms.  Like many decisions, moving to low code software involves tradeoffs, so this post is devoted to some… Continue Reading...

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More Microsoft Clouds for Industries, Including Nonprofits
Feb24

More Microsoft Clouds for Industries, Including Nonprofits

Today Microsoft announced three new industry computing clouds for financial, manufacturing and nonprofit.  The new clouds join the healthcare and retail clouds.  Based on Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform and other Microsoft services, the industry clouds consolidate components, tools, solutions, and data models that are geared toward industry needs and standards.  Since my focus… Continue...

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Multi-Channel Customer Support
Jan29

Multi-Channel Customer Support

Customer service automation is evolving rapidly, and I experienced this myself this week.  Here is an example of excellent use of multi-channel customer service from SiriusXM Satellite radio.  The entire transaction when smoothly even though it switched between four channels. Channel 1: Mail I received a letter telling me that my SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription was up for renewal, and my… Continue Reading...

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More on Microsoft Power Apps: Model-driven Apps, Canvas Apps and Portals
Jan20

More on Microsoft Power Apps: Model-driven Apps, Canvas Apps and Portals

  As I have written elsewhere in this blog, Microsoft is one of the leading providers of low code software development platforms with its Power Apps family including Power Automate, Power BI and much more. One of your key design decisions is when to use model-driven apps, canvas apps and portals. One place to start is with your database.  The most low code approach is to use model-driven apps… Continue Reading...

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The Enduring Appeal of Low Code Software Development
Dec31

The Enduring Appeal of Low Code Software Development

  As we bid farewell to 2020, we can look back on the tech trends that shaped the world response to the COVID crisis.  The shock of COVID and resulting lockdowns accelerated existing trends such as digital transformation, remote work, and even software development methodologies and tools.  For decades, organizations could only choose between off-the-shelf products and custom software… Continue Reading...

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My Debt to SharePoint
Dec14

My Debt to SharePoint

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jeff Teper announced last week that SharePoint is now reaching 200 million cloud users worldwide. This is an impressive milestone by any standard, even the high adoption normal for Microsoft.  This announcement made me realize that I owe a professional debt to SharePoint.  Back in 1999, my company InfoStrat was one of the first Microsoft Gold Partners to… Continue Reading...

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6 Reasons to Choose Microsoft for your Low Code Application Platform
Dec09

6 Reasons to Choose Microsoft for your Low Code Application Platform

  Low code software development has been in the news in 2020.  The COVID crisis has disrupted many businesses, and they have been forced to transform themselves rapidly.  We have never seen so much digital transformation since that term was coined in 2012.  Low code development platforms have been chosen for many of these efforts because they can bring software solutions to fruition more… Continue Reading...

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Governing the Dataverse: Peaceful Living with Microsoft Power Apps
Dec04

Governing the Dataverse: Peaceful Living with Microsoft Power Apps

Microsoft has created a business software platform which not only includes complete commercial products such as accounting and CRM, but also development tools which may be used by professional software developers and power users.  Microsoft is enpowering power users, sometimes called citizen developers, with tools that require less coding and more configuration through templates and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Understanding Microsoft Unified Support
Nov30

Understanding Microsoft Unified Support

Microsoft has recently added a new support option for its enterprise customers: Microsoft Unified Support.  This offering is in addition to the Microsoft Premier service offering which may be familiar to large organizations that rely on Microsoft software. Microsoft Unified Support is designed to reduce downtime through on demand risk assessments, improve productivity through enhanced user… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Power Apps for Nonprofits and the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator
Nov23

Microsoft Power Apps for Nonprofits and the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator

Microsoft Power Apps and Dynamics 365 provide prebuilt apps and a framework for building custom apps for a wide range of the software needs of nonprofits. Dynamics 365 is a family of products which include accounting, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software. Power Apps was derived from Dynamics 365 and offers a framework for building standalone web apps… Continue Reading...

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Managing Grants through Microsoft Power Apps Portals
Oct26

Managing Grants through Microsoft Power Apps Portals

Microsoft has overhauled the portal capabilities of the Dynamics Portal product which was formerly available as an add-on component for Dynamics 365 apps such Sales and Customer Service,  now making these capabilities available as Power Apps portal.  Power Apps portals allows you to build websites with static pages and content as well as, more importantly, forms and views to display data from… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Power Apps and Power Platform: Build Apps without Limits
Oct15

Microsoft Power Apps and Power Platform: Build Apps without Limits

 Microsoft is not only a leader in packaged software products for business productivity, operating systems and accounting, but also in providing the development platforms for creating custom solutions.   The Microsoft Power Platform is a family of products that are seeing rapid growth.  The Power Platform includes Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual agents.  It features… Continue...

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Constant Change: The Hidden Cost of Cloud Computing
Oct07

Constant Change: The Hidden Cost of Cloud Computing

The benefits of cloud computing are widely known, and most organizations have moved or are planning to move from their on premises data centers to cloud facilities hosted by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google or other providers.  One of the cloud computing benefits is that the cloud provider is responsible for continuously improving the environment that hosts, and that these updates and… Continue Reading...

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Azure Stream Analytics for Real-Time Fraud Detection
Sep28

Azure Stream Analytics for Real-Time Fraud Detection

 The following is a guest blog post by Dmitri Riz from the InfoStrat Tech Blog.  Microsoft Azure Logic Apps is a service that allows you to design and build scalable solutions for app integration, data integration, system integration, enterprise application integration (EAI), and business-to-business (B2B) communication, whether in the cloud, on premises, or both. One of the features I wanted to… Continue Reading...

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Solicitations for Cloud Computing Need to Reflect Cloud Reality
Sep22

Solicitations for Cloud Computing Need to Reflect Cloud Reality

  For several years the information technology industry has been migrating from traditional on premises deployment of software in the data center to cloud computing hosted by industry leaders such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.  Solicitations for new software often fail to reflect the reality of cloud computing. Here are some of the ways that solicitations (also called tenders and… Continue Reading...

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Personalize Your Sales Process with CRM
Sep10

Personalize Your Sales Process with CRM

Sales force automation is one of the most popular apps of customer relationship management (CRM).  Whether you choose Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, or another CRM product, sales is likely near the top of your priorities.What makes a sales organization successful, however, varies significantly from one company to another based on the targeted sales segments and the position of the company… Continue Reading...

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Energize your Intranet with Microsoft Power Apps and Customer Voice
Sep09

Energize your Intranet with Microsoft Power Apps and Customer Voice

This is a followup to my earlier post “Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps” which discussed the discontinuation of the InfoPath form tool which was previously used in conjunction with SharePoint for many internal corporate applications typical on an intranet. Since then, Microsoft renamed the Forms Pro product Dynamics 365 Customer Voice. This is not to be confused with Microsoft’s… Continue...

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InfoStrat Wins SAVIN Contract with State of Iowa
Aug31

InfoStrat Wins SAVIN Contract with State of Iowa

InfoStrat, a division of Serenic Software, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a contract with the State of Iowa Department of Justice, specifically its Crime Victim Assistance Division (“Iowa”), to implement and fully support its SAVIN 360 victim notification solution. The contract lasts through June 2024, and may be extended for up to two additional three-year terms at Iowa’s… Continue...

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Grant Management Implications of New Accounting Requirements for GAAP – ASU No. 2018-08
Jul27

Grant Management Implications of New Accounting Requirements for GAAP – ASU No. 2018-08

While grant management may seem like a simple, mature process to the outsider, it is constantly changing to meet new regulatory requirements. Nonprofit organizations are implementing changes to Generally Acceptable Accounting Practices (GAAP) for gifts and donations which were originally released in June 2018 by the Financial Accounting Standards Board as Accounting Standards Update (ASU)… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Introduces Dataflex to improve the Microsoft Power Platform integration with Microsoft Teams
Jul22

Microsoft Introduces Dataflex to improve the Microsoft Power Platform integration with Microsoft Teams

Yesterday at the Inspire event Microsoft announced a new product called Dataflex which is build on the Power Apps Common Data Service.  Dataflex simplifies building and deploying apps and intelligent chatbots in Teams with Microsoft Power Apps and Microsoft Power Virtual Agents.  The Common Data Service has now been renamed to Microsoft Dataflex Pro.  The rapid expansion of remote working… Continue Reading...

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Data and Documents for Grant Management
Jun26

Data and Documents for Grant Management

Managing government and non-profit grants usually requires a combination of structured data along with documents to track all the information required for applications, review, award and post-award reporting.  One of the more important design decisions you can make in implementing grant management software is to determine the proper place for structured data and documents, that is which… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Understanding Microsoft Dynamics Products
Jun17

Understanding Microsoft Dynamics Products

One of Microsoft’s growth engines is the Dynamics family of products.  These are business software applications that include enterprise resource planning (ERP), accounting, finance, operations, human resources, customer relationship management (CRM) and even mixed reality and artificial intelligence. In contrast to operating systems and general purpose applications such as Office 365, Word,… Continue Reading...

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CPA Practice Advisor 2020 Review of Serenic Navigator for NPO
Jun16

CPA Practice Advisor 2020 Review of Serenic Navigator for NPO

The latest review of Serenic Navigator for Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) is featured in CPA Practice Advisor. The review describes the modules offered for a range of accounting requirements of non-profit organizations, such as accounts payable, inventory, purchasing and budgeting.  Serenic Navigator includes grant management capabilities to help grantees meet compliance requirements of grant… Continue Reading...

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NaviPayroll from Serenic Software Now Available on Microsoft AppSource
Jun01

NaviPayroll from Serenic Software Now Available on Microsoft AppSource

Serenic Software is now offering it NaviPayroll on Microsoft AppSource. NaviPayroll is an integrated payroll and HR solution and the most widely used add-in for businesses using Microsoft Dynamics™ 365 Business Central. By using NaviPayroll as part of Dynamics 365 Business Central, organizations maintain full control of their most sensitive employee data.  NaviPayroll provides a range of… Continue Reading...

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COVID-19 Crisis Highlights Need for Online Presence for Businesses
May29

COVID-19 Crisis Highlights Need for Online Presence for Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people and businesses to adjust to social distancing with new behaviors.  Many businesses such as retail and restaurants have had their physical locations closed and forced to conduct all their transactions online.  Some of these businesses already had web infrastructure and delivery capabilities in place.  Others scrambled to create new ways to place orders and… Continue Reading...

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Victim Offender Mediation Tracking
May22

Victim Offender Mediation Tracking

InfoStrat’s SAVIN 360 solution provides comprehensive victim notifications for prisons and jails, and that is not all.  The victim and offender data required for victim notification may be used for related solutions, such as victim grants, case work, and more, as part of a wholistic approach to victim offender services.Victim-offender mediation (VOM) or victim-offender dialogue (VOD) is a… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Case Study: Victim Notification for State of Texas
May18

InfoStrat Case Study: Victim Notification for State of Texas

InfoStrat, a division of Serenic, specializes in government software solutions. Some of these solutions are for applications you may not have thought of, such as victim notification.  The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Victim Services Division provides notifications to victims of crimes and their supporters about changes in offender custody and status.  Business Situation TDCJ… Continue Reading...

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Serenic Software Acquires InfoStrat
Apr28

Serenic Software Acquires InfoStrat

This week marks the biggest news ever for InfoStrat – the company that I founded 33 years ago. We are pleased to announce that InfoStrat was acquired by Serenic Software, through its parent, Sylogist Ltd. We are excited to join an organization who offers complementary solutions for key markets including public sector, nonprofit and NGO organizations. This is a significant investment and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Congratulate Jimmy Kuo for 20 Years at InfoStrat
Apr28

Congratulate Jimmy Kuo for 20 Years at InfoStrat

I am happy to congratulate Jimmy Kuo on his 20th work anniversary at InfoStrat.  Jimmy has served as our chief technology officer and director of the InfoStrat Azure and SharePoint practices. More than that, Jimmy has exemplified that can do attitude and continuous learning that InfoStrat seeks in its consultants.  He is one of the few people I have known who are both developers and… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat's Robert Shurtleff Named as Microsoft Dynamics 365 FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect
Apr22

InfoStrat's Robert Shurtleff Named as Microsoft Dynamics 365 FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect

Congratulations to InfoStrat Senior Solution Architect Robert Shurtleff as one of the 36 elite 2020 FastTrack Recognized Solution Architects for Dynamics 365.FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect is a recognition conferred by the Dynamics 365 product engineering team upon a practicing solution architect, for consistently exhibiting deep architecture expertise and creating high quality… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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User Stories for Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors
Apr17

User Stories for Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors

[COVID-19 Note: When the COVID-19 crisis took hold over the United States, I stopped blogging.  Now that we have become more accustomed to our current social distancing and have a clearer forecast of the end of the crisis, I am back.]One of our most popular InfoStrat solutions is Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors.  At some point, most government contractors reach a point where they are… Continue Reading...

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Building a Team for a Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM) Implementation
Mar17

Building a Team for a Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM) Implementation

For most organizations, implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) is a team effort.  The size and composition of the team will depend on the scope of the implementation, the timetable, and related efforts such as data migration and integrations. Here are the roles that my company InfoStrat typically sees for a medium-sized implementation project: Project Manager. The PM and… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus Overview
Mar12

InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus Overview

Grants Manager Plus is one of InfoStrat’s most popular software solutions.  We developed Grants Manager Plus to help grantor organizations streamline their grant processes.  We’ve built Grant Management Solutions for public sector since the late 1990s.  We developed Stimulus 360 for Microsoft in 2009 to help state and local government track stimulus funding.  Grants Manager Plus was...

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Elaborating Dynamics 365 Requirements
Mar09

Elaborating Dynamics 365 Requirements

When implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), one of the early steps in the process is to elaborate requirements so they can be mapped to Dynamics features or to configurations or customizations needed to fulfill the requirements.Many customer requirements start off as rather vague, and require further investigation before they can be the solid basis of the project.  Let’s… Continue Reading...

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Dynamics 365 Upgrades: Migration, Refactoring and Rewriting
Feb25

Dynamics 365 Upgrades: Migration, Refactoring and Rewriting

Microsoft, like other cloud software providers, ensures that you will be using the latest version of software such as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics 365.  Enhancements are continuously released and major upgrades take place more frequently than they did when most organizations ran their software on their own servers.Many of InfoStrat’s government clients are at last moving their Dynamics… Continue Reading...

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Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps
Jan30

Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps

Source: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/ Microsoft has offered a number of forms automation products over the years, and the most long running was InfoPath which was released as part of Office 2003.  InfoPath is a powerful and flexible product that stores user data in XML while offering form features such as rules, data validation, scripting, and integration with SharePoint.  The… Continue Reading...

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Plug-and-Play Grant Management Software
Jan29

Plug-and-Play Grant Management Software

Today I received an email inquiry regarding InfoStrat’s Grants Manager Plus solution. The customer was looking for a plug-and-play grant management system.  I assume this meant that the system would require little configuration or customization.I am not aware of any grant management system which could be called plug-and-play.  The reason is that a grantor usually has a number of business rules… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Internal Training Topics
Jan21

InfoStrat Internal Training Topics

This week my company InfoStrat hosted internal training delivered by our consultants to share what they have recently learned in our software development and devops specialties.We are going to turn many of these into blog posts on the InfoStrat TechBlog.  Here is our list of topics: Project Management StandardizationCreating Virtual Assiat Bot with Dynamics 365 ConnectionUnderstanding Logic… Continue Reading...

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Happy New Year to My Blog Readers
Dec31

Happy New Year to My Blog Readers

Happy New Year and thank you to all who have read my blog and provided blog post topic suggestions.  A blog is a hungry beast and I’m planning to do even more in 2020 to share fresh content on CRM, grant management, government contracting, victim notification and other topics.It was exciting to cross over the 1 million page view metric in 2019.  Next year will hold many new developments and… Continue Reading...

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ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service
Dec17

ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

I met Lou Guercia when he was president and CEO of Scribe Software, the leading CRM integration tool.  Scribe was acquired by TIBCO Software in 2018.  I recently reconnected with Lou and learned about ScreenMeet, the company he joined as chief operating officer.   The following is a description of the product provided by ScreenMeet:ScreenMeet is a cloud-based remote support tool designed to… Continue Reading...

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Navigating through Complex Cloud Computing Choices
Nov21

Navigating through Complex Cloud Computing Choices

By now most organizations are familiar with the benefits of moving their computing to the cloud, such as scalability, reliability, security and elimination of hardware costs.  What may be less clear is that for all this to work as advertised, a business process or application needs to be designed properly to work in the cloud.Cloud computing presents information technology departments with a… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Community Business Development
Nov05

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Community Business Development

Local governments agencies such as the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in my hometown of Washington, DC, – work on behalf of residents to improve living conditions, create economic opportunities and jobs by attracting businesses and helping businesses thrive. A customer relationship management system is key to work in community business development.  If you are… Continue Reading...

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Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes
Oct31

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes

Types of Dynamics Entities To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.Entities are the most fundamental part of… Continue Reading...

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PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal
Oct29

PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal

In case you have been reviewing Microsoft’s new pricing for its Dynamics products which was released this month and have been unable to find Dynamics Portal, it has been rebranded as PowerApps Portal and shifted to the PowerApps side of the Microsoft product family. Rebranding the portal product underscores the importance of app scenarios involving external users such as customers and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: October 2019 Update
Oct28

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: October 2019 Update

This month Microsoft announced new pricing for its Dynamics 365 family of products. This is the first major change in pricing since October 2017, when Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP products were rebranded, and several new apps were released.The current major Dynamics 365 apps are: Category Apps Marketing MarketingCustomer Insights Sales SalesMicrosoft Relationship Sales

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For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low
Oct24

For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low

According to industry analyst companies such as Gartner and Forrester, enterprise customers are increasingly turning to no code and low code platforms as an alternative to traditional custom development (now called hand-coded to evoke a feeling of labor intensity) in order to increase their agility and reduce expense and personnel.According to Gartner, Microsoft is a leader in enterprise… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution
Oct22

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises.This post introduces some of the key terms and how these concepts are important for planning your implementation.While Dynamics 365 is available on premises, it is most commonly… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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