Microsoft Update

Dynamics 365

Newsletter - December 2020

Message from our Microsoft General Managers

2020 has been a year that threw everything at us, including the kitchen sink! We have all learned to adapt to new ways of working within our own businesses, as well as how we engage with our customers.  From traditionally sitting on our phones at our desks, to now turning on our cameras from the comfort of our homes, it has been quite a different experience! This has brought some golden moments that have brought smiles to our faces, with children walking in with a random question during a presentation or people’s pets making noises in the background. It has definitely been a unique experience, but one that we have felt has opened our minds to seeing how we can be more innovative in the way we do business with our customers. Our team have enjoyed working with our customers to see how we can continue to push the boundaries in order to create greater value. 

 

While we know COVID was the talk of the town for most of 2020, there were plenty of exciting things that happened in the Microsoft Dynamics space that you may have missed! 

 

  • We launched the Fusion5 Marketplace, an exciting initiative based on feedback we had received from our customers seeking an easier way to manage their licences. For people who are not familiar with Marketplace, it allows customers to manage their Microsoft licences in a single portal on a month-to-month basis. Marketplace also provides usage metrics and configurable alerts on your Azure consumption, to help remove the risk of any end of month nasty surprises with your billing. Head to our website to find out more. 

  • The Power Platform continues to be a key differentiator for Microsoft and an area that Fusion5 continues to invest in internally. We are seeing our customers leverage Power Apps to gain efficiencies in all areas of their businesses. As an example, Fusion5 released an Employee Wellness Check-In App, built on Power Apps, that customers could use absolutely free throughout COVID. This is why we love Power Apps; because you can quickly configure solutions for your business without having to write a line of code. Our team has been running “App in a Day” sessions in collaboration with Microsoft all year, to share how easy it is to build your own Power Apps. Due to the success of the sessions in 2020, more sessions will be held in 2021. 

  • Running events became a new experience for everyone in 2020 and we’ve successfully held a number of Microsoft Teams Live Q&A events for our customers. Traditionally wed have been running in-person events for the latest Dynamics 365 releases, but this year we’ve adapted and provided the Dynamics 365 Wave 1 release using Microsoft Teams Live Event technology. It was great to see the support from our customers and the enthusiasm around the new features being released by Microsoft. 

  • We were extremely proud when one of our rapid COVID-19 engagements was featured in the keynote for Microsoft’s premier global conference, Inspire. One of our customers, Manawanui, needed to send critical communications to people with disabilities as well as capturing their requirements for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the Ministry of Health (MoH). Fusion5, with Manawanui, were able to launch Dynamics 365 Marketing to run a campaign in 11 hours to achieve the MoH’s ‘same day’ deadline. What’s even more exciting is that in addition to delivering essential information, Dynamics 365 Marketing and Sales is now being used by Manawanui to work with the Ministry of Health and other health providers to continue to provide PPE to those in needThis has opened a whole new revenue stream for Manawanui in providing this ongoing essential service. 

  • We grew! – We were fortunate enough to expand our teams throughout the year as a result of the increased demand from our customers testament to the great outcomes we’re obsessed in realising. Further, we acquired the Mindfull business late in the yearThis team provides incredible Corporate Performance Management solutions, helping you plan for the future and rapidly evolve in times of change, based off data-driven decisions. We can’t wait to introduce these powerful tools to our customers in the coming year. 

 

As you can see, there has been a lot of exciting activity in the Microsoft space and Fusion5 continues to be one of the leading Microsoft partners who have the depth of capability to continue delivering great solutions to our customers. We want to thank all of you for your continued support, feedback and partnership, which means the world to all of us here at Fusion5. We hope you all have a wonderful break and get to spend some much needed time with your friends and families. We look forward to achieving great things with you in 2021. 

Kristy Brown and Paul Griffin
Fusion5 - General Managers of CRM for NZ and Australia 

Fusion5 Brings Home a Double Win!

Microsoft NZ hosted its annual Partner Awards on Friday the 27th of November, the only Microsoft subsidiary around the globe able to hold an in-person event, and we are humbled and delighted to announce that we were successful in two hotly contested categories, bringing home both the Business Applications and the Transforming Products awards. We were one of only two NZ partners to bring home a double accolade! What a night, and a pleasure to be able to bring some along some of our winning customers, and consultants to the celebration.

 

Our Transforming Products entry was centred around our phenomenal Power Platform work, primarily featuring stories from our customers Manawanui, and Life Care Consultants. It showcased just how the combination of a great platform, brave customers and an incredibly clever team can produce remarkable results. You can read more about what Manawanui achieved in Microsoft’s customer story here.

 

The Business Applications Award told our Higher Education transformation story, which focussed on the incredible achievements two of our key customers in this sector have made, Otago University and Otago Polytechnic, delivered with our team using the powerful Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement platform.

 

It's been a challenging year for a lot of our team, and our customers, so we couldn’t think of a better way to wrap 2020. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to our loyal and supportive customers, and our amazing team. These achievements would be impossible without you. And also to our local Microsoft team, your ongoing support is crucial to our success, and these accolades remind us we are on the right track. We will continue to relentlessly strive for outstanding success for our customers, using your innovative solutions.

Highlights of Changes and Depreciations

TLS RSA Cipher Suites

Microsoft is making changes to the Transport Layer Security (TLS). Effective from October 30, 2020, the following cipher suites were deprecated from Microsoft’s servers.


"TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384”
"TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256”
"TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA256”
"TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256”


Cipher suites are used to encrypt messages to secure a network connection between clients/servers and other servers. Microsoft removed the above list of cipher suites to comply with their current security protocols.

 

Beginning March 1, 2021, customers can only use Microsoft’sstandard cipher suites. This change impacts clients and servers that communicate with the servers, for example, syncing emails from your Microsoft Exchange server, running outbound plug-ins, using native (local) clients to access the servers. 

 

Customers must upgrade their servers before March 1, 2021. For more information about configuring TLS Cipher Suite order, seeManage Transport Layer Security (TLS). 

 

October 2019 license updates and enforcements effective 

Microsoft granted customers a lot of additional time to prepare for Dynamics 365’s October 2019 license announcements.  These will now be enforced as per the below dates. 

 

  • Dynamics 365 Team Members: Existing Dynamics 365 customers who acquired the Team Members license prior to October 1, 2018 can continue to renew their existing Team Members subscription through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020).  Starting January 1, 2021, all renewing customers will need to transition to the new Team Members license. 
     
  • Technical enforcement for Dynamics 365 Team Members For licenses acquired or transitioned after October 1, 2018, technical enforcement of compliance of the Team Member licence restrictions will come into effect on January 31, 2021 (extended from September 30, ,2020). Contact us if you’re concerned that you may not be compliant with this “lite” license’s intended use. 

 

  • Dynamics 365 storage & prod/non-prod instances: Existing Dynamics 365 customers can continue to renew their existing storage and production/non-production instance use rights through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020). Starting January 1, 2021, all renewing customers will need to transition to the new model. In the meantime, Dynamics 365 customers can use their existing storage and production/non-production instances. 

 

  • Dynamics 365 portals: Existing Dynamics 365 customers can continue to renew with their portal use rights through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020). Starting January 1, 2021, all renewing customers will need to adhere to the new portal licensing use rights.  

 

  • Dynamics 365 Plan customers: Renewing Dynamics 365 Plan, Customer Engagement Plan, and Unified Operations Plan customers can use qualifying offers to transition through June 30, 2021(extended from June 30, 2020.   

 

With all the above changes in flight, it is very important to stay on top of your licensing and continue optimising your solution as the changes roll out.

 

Legacy Web Client   

In September 2019 Microsoft announced that the legacy web client would be deprecated, and customers must transition to the Unified Interface before December 4th, 2020.  After December 4th, 2020, Microsoft will not provide support, security or other critical updates to the legacy web client. The Unified Interface allows organisations to take advantage of Microsoft’s ongoing investments in reliability, performance, and functionality.   

If you are experiencing any issues or would like to speak to someone about the Unified Interface, please raise an iHelp to speak to a consultant or reach out to your Service Delivery Manager. 

Recent deprecations: 

  • Dynamic 365 for Outlook was deprecated on (1 October 2020)

  • Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Tier 1 RDP changed on (1 November 2020)

  • Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Tier 1 Developer environment was removed on (1 November 2020)

 

A full list of deprecations is available here

Dynamics 365 Release Wave 2 Features

Sales: Usability Enhancements

Sales: Flexible Forecasting Configurations 

Sales: Enhancements to Forecasting and Predictive Scoring 

Customer Service: Email and Timeline Usability Improvements  

Power BI Updates

Power BI has been continuously evolving over the last few months as part of Release Wave 2.  Here are some of the latest and greatest updates from the past few months.  

 Reporting

  • Rectangular lasso select for data points (preview): You can now create a selection rectangle to select data points within a visual for some visual types (such as data points for line, area and scatter charts), giving you a more convenient way to select multiple visuals at once. Simply hold down the Ctrl key while clicking and dragging within a visual.  
  • On-canvas watermarks: On-canvas watermarks are a new feature targeted at new Power BI users – it acts as a guide and shows the steps to get data, populate the fields pane as well as create visuals. 
  • New AI Visual – Smart Narratives: The Smart Narrative visualisation helps you to quickly summarise visualisations by generating a text narrative – great for addressing key takeaways and highlighting trends! 
  • Personalise visuals: End-users can now make tweaks to visualisations in the reading view. This means that they can now rearrange columns in a table as they are viewing, or change the visualisation type. Users can make bookmarks to save their changes and any personalisations that are not saved do not affect the report. 
  • New field list and model view (preview): The field list across the data, model and report view in Power BI Desktop has been updated. Adding to this, the model view has been updated with improvements such as data type icons and the ability to pin keys to the top of the table. 

 

Analytics 

  • Direct Query support for Q&A: You can now use Q&A even if you are connected via SQL Direct Query. SQL Direct Query sources include SQL Server 2019, Azure SQL database and Azure Synapse Analytics. 
  • Q&A now supports arithmetic operations: You can now ask Q&A to add, subtract, divide or multiply. A useful example of this would be summing the sales value of multiple regions. 
  • Anomaly Detection (preview): A new feature for line charts that detects anomalies in time series data. Also provides explanations for anomalies to help with root cause analysis. 

 

 Power BI Service 

  • Data lineage and impact analysis enhancements: Searching has been enabled for lineage view in Power BI Service. You can search across all your content in the workspace, as well as view the data source impact analysis in lineage view. 
  • Power BI Premium per user (preview): Premium per user is a new way to license premium features on a per user basis. This provides much more flexibility than Premium on the current per capacity licensing model. This means access to Power BI premium at a lower cost entry price point.

Check out Fusion5’s summary of the PowerBI’s top new features in the video below” below the Power BI service points

Planning Optimisation Service

To enhance performance and minimise the SQL database load during master planning runs, the built-in Supply Chain Management master planning engine is being replaced by Planning Optimization. Planning Optimization allows for fast planning runs that can be performed even during office hours. This enables planners to react immediately to changes in demand or planning parameters. 

Companies familiar with Master Planning know the existing process can take significant time and resources to run, especially when dealing with large-scale quantities of products. In this service, users should be able to look forward to Planning Optimization cutting the service time to minutes, instead of hours, while reducing overhead placed on server resources. 

Planning Optimization parameter is set once. Master planning jobs will also leverage the planning optimization service. There will be minimal end-user impact and the user experience is unchanged in how the Master Planning process functions. 

 The advantage of running Planning Optimization during office hours: 

Architecture 

High-level data flow for regeneration runs 

  1. The Supply Chain Management client sends a signal to request a planning run from Planning Optimization.
  2. Planning Optimization requests the required data via the integrated connector.
  3. The SQL database sends the requested information about setup, master, and transactional data to Planning Optimization via the connector. The connector translates information between Supply Chain Management and the Planning Optimization service.
  4. The Planning Optimization service holds planning-related data in memory and does the required calculations.
  5. The planning result is sent to the Supply Chain Management database via the connector. The results include information such as planned orders and pegging information. Planning Optimization sends a signal to Supply Chain Management to indicate that the planning run has been completed. It also sends any relevant messages and warnings.

Key notables for the current release include: 

Microsoft’s planned roll out will start with purchase demand requirements only, with production requirements to follow in subsequent updates. 

  • Distribution Requirements Planning: In the first release, only demand requirements against your supply chain are available. Any production-based requirements are converted to a planned purchase message. 
  • Intercompany Planning:Not currently available with the initial release. 
  • On-premise Instances: This service is currently only available for cloud implementations. In a future release, on-premise instance will have the ability to call to the available cloud service.
  • Licensing:If you can run master planning by using your current license, you do not have to buy an additional license to start to use Planning Optimization. Future additional planning functionality might come with additional charges. 
  • Environment: The requirement for Planning Optimization is a LCS enabled high-availability environment, tier 2 or higher (not a OneBox environment), with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management version 10.0.7 or later. If you try to install the add-in on a OneBox environment, the installation will not complete and you will need to cancel the installation.

 

Install the add-in 

To use Planning Optimization, install the Planning Optimization Add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management. You can access the add-in from your LCS project and turn on the Planning Optimization functionality from the Supply Chain Management user interface (UI). 

  1. Sign in to LCS and open the desired environment.
  2. Go to Full details.
  3. Scroll down to the Environment add-ins Fast Tab.
  4. Select Install a new add-in.
  5. Select Planning Optimisation.
  6. Follow the installation guide and agree to the terms and conditions.
  7. Select Install.
  8. On the Environment add-ins Fast Tab, you should see that Planning Optimization is installing.
  9. After a few minutes  Installing should change to Installed (you may need to refresh the page). When installed, you are ready to activate Planning Optimization in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Planning Optimization Fit Analysis Tool 

Before you dive in and start using the new features, Run the Fit Analysis Tool. The results of the Fit Analysis show places where the planning service will not honour your current setup. In other words, they show places where some processes might be ignored or might not be supported. Use Microsoft’s Fit Analysistools to check your set-ups. 

Based on the review of Planning Optimization, here are the adoption recommendations. 

  • DRP Only: If the company has distribution requirement planning only, then it is a good candidate for early adoption. Run the fit analysis in a minimum Tier 2 test environment to determine the viability to your live system.
  • Long Batch Run Time: For companies with long batch run times under DRP requirements, leveraging the planning optimization service will significantly reduce the run time and server overhead.
  • MRP Requirements: If the company has full MRP requirements, this will benefit from an early review of planning optimization to plan for the transition later when MRP is available as a general release. Early review will give an insight into the reduced batch run time benefits, as well as understanding from the fit analysis if there are any foreseeable issues with your Master Planning setup. This will give you time to address any issues ahead of a full implementation.

Enable Planning optimization service 

Activate Planning Optimization in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management 

Planning Optimization functional enhancements 

  1. View plan history and planning logs

To view the history for a plan, open the plan by going to Master planning > Setup > Plans > Master plans and selecting History. The history lists all the jobs for the selected plan. The list includes completed and active jobs. 

In addition to seeing the start time and status of jobs, you can view the log for a specific job. The log includes additional information and warnings. Not all jobs have a log. To view the log for a job, select Log. 

  1. Apply filters to a plan

You can apply a filter to a plan. The Plan filter will always be applied during a master planning run. A Plan filter is useful when you want to limit a plan to a specific group of items and make sure that no other items are included as part of the resulting master planning. 

If a Plan filter is applied, and a runtime filter is also applied during the master planning run, only the intersection of the two filters is included in the planning run. 

The Plan filter can be accessed from Master plans when Planning Optimization is used. 

  1. Go to Master planning > Setup > Plans
  2. Select an appropriate plan for the planning run
  3. Select Plan Filter
  4. Setup the filter
  5. Cancel a planning job

You can cancel an active planning job that uses the Planning optimization functionality. When you select Cancel in the dialog box when a Planning optimization job is triggered directly from the user interface (not in the background), this will not cancel the Planning optimization job.  

  1. Go to Master planning > Setup > Plans
  2. Select an appropriate plan for the planning run
  3. Select History
  4. Select the planning job to cancel
  5. Select Cancel

The job status will be Cancelling until the Planning Optimization service confirms that the job has been cancelled. The status will then be changed to Cancelled. 

Meet the team!

Meet the Fusion5 Dynamics family across Australia and New Zealand and get to know more about the team behind your solutions. 

Hendrik DeClercq -  Solution Architect F&O

Could you tell us about your career background?   

I started my career in a manufacturing environment where I was responsible for MRP and production processing. During this period, I got involved in an ERP implementation and from there I transitioned into a new role as ERP specialist. Based on this experience, I decided to become a full-time ERP consultant for Microsoft Dynamics AX / D365 Supply Chain Management and never looked back.  

 

What interested you in the role? 

My current role is a combination of being a solution architect on projects and doing presales. I like staying close to what’s happening on projects as well as enjoying a fast-paced presales role, trying to pull the best solution together. And in case nobody knows, I like the Power Platform! 

 

What did you bring to Fusion5? 

I was keen to join Fusion5 because the FinOps practice was just starting up in Australia so it was an excellent opportunity to be part of a growing team. Also, after working for larger companies, I appreciated the smaller, less political culture. 

Finally, tell us what you like to get up to in your spare time? 

Kids, walks, going for a run. 

Ronelle Raath - CRM Consultant

Ronelle could you tell us about your career background? 

From a very young age I loved technology and tinkering with things. So, after school I decided to pursue the world of technology and completed my diploma in information system engineering.  

I developed many roles in my career, including but not limited to IT girl, Call Centre Agent, NOC Operator, Business Analyst and now Functional Consultant acquiring additional diplomas and certificates as applicable.  

Throughout this time, I worked with many amazing people in a wide range of different industries. From big universities, banks and ISPs to a growing entrepreneurial meal kit delivery service and even archaic printmaking. Always solving issues and helping people. 

 

What are some of your career highlights? 

Being awarded a trip to Scotland for outstanding customer feedback (NPS) received as a support agent across call centres spread over South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. 

A project that I pitched, designed and developed, that exceeded our wildest expectations by saving millions in revenue within the first few months of release instead of our targeted 2 years. 

Consulting with a start-up meal kit delivery service, delivering only 50 meal kits a week to becoming the largest meal kit delivery service in the whole country.  Expanding into several warehouses and delivering thousands of meal kits a week. In addition, I was able to do delicious pre-meal testing, expanding my knowledge in world cuisine, what a bonus! :P 

 

Ronelle what are you looking to bring to Fusion5? 

I aim to use my strong analytical and problem-solving skills and love of collaboration with people to make ideas become reality. Which is why I joined the Fusion5 Customer Success Team, where every day I can help provide support and solutions to the wide range of queries and issues our clients might have. 

 

Finally, tell us what you like to get up to in your spare time? 

I love the outdoors so you will most likely find me fishing in remote rivers or kayaking far into the ocean waters. Additionally, I love crafting things, whether it’s making sourdough bread, home brewed beer or leatherwork, woodwork and gardening. 

Read our previous August newsletter

Read now

Contact

Great outcomes start with great conversations