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Now displaying: 2024
May 20, 2024

Julie and Jason took the Biz Apps Classroom to Denver to talk training and learning at DynamicsCon Live 2024. Our guest on this live, in-person episode is Nick Doelman, a Microsoft MVP and former Microsoft employee.

AI was all over the conference, and we start by taking on the question of Microsoft Copilot's role in developing Microsoft technology training. Nick shares his perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of today's tools for creating learning plans, classroom training, and self-learning activities. His experiences point to Copilot as a tool, not a solution, and he explains why he still has trust issues with the technology.

Nick also shares a recent experience of asking Copilot to develop a syllabus for a client. He had to balance the potential time saved, the skills a Microsoft consultant needs to properly review such AI output, and the risks of some people leaning too heavily on these tools. 

Resources: 

May 10, 2024

What can Copilot do for the average business user? Julie and Jason turn on screen sharing in this video-enabled episode to examine some of the basics of interacting with a Microsoft Copilot.

 

Conference season has begun, and attendees will find a bounty of sessions focused on AI. But organizations will have to consider two key questions as they decide to embrace AI and Copiilot in general: how to identify useful AI-enabled scenarios and how to use them effectively and responsibly.

 

As Julie shows us in this walkthrough, great results are not guaranteed with an AI copilot interaction. Prompts matter, as does the user's critical eye toward the results. In this episode we explore not only prompts and responses, but the importance of language choices and how to adapt your approach during an AI interaction to get the ideal outcome.

 

Resources:

May 3, 2024

This episode is sponsored by Evenica.

 

Public sector organizations use Microsoft Business Applications for a broad range of solution needs, and the latest advances in Dynamics 365 Commerce have empowered municipalities and other government entities to transact and interact online in a compelling new ways.

 

In a recent panel discussion, Kelly Mazur of Microsoft partner Evenica led a discussion about what’s possible for municipalities today when they leverage the full capabilities of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, including commerce.

 

Topics include:

  • Evenica's outlook on Commerce in public sector
  • How well Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations apps (including Commerce) fit in public sector organizations
  • Unique commerce-related challenges of public sector and local governments
  • Commerce in portals scenarios
  • Easing the pain of RFPs

 

A message from Evenica:

Over the past 20 years Evenica has defined Commerce as a category and become one of the leading implementers of Dynamics 365 Commerce. They work with Microsoft customers across each major industry to create synergy between transactions and interactions. You can learn more about them at Evenica.com

Apr 19, 2024

Microsoft MVP and MCT EY Kalman joins us in the Biz Apps Classroom to discuss Microsoft's Applied Skills and Applied Labs, his view on the employment landscape, and some tips on making yourself a more attractive candidate.

 

Topics of the discussion include:

  • Microsoft certifications and their value for landing a new job.
  • Other ways EY's team evaluates candidates based on technology, roles, and other considerations.
  • Why EY believes the PL-200 is a good starter exam for candidates, even if they are new to Microsoft Business Applications. 
  • Whether college matters when hiring for Business Applications consulting roles.
  • How to interpret the completion of Applied Skills by a candidate.
  • Why Applied Skills can be a headache for more experienced Microsoft professionals
  • EY's recent experiences finding skilled candidates to fill his firm's open roles
  • Tips for building your skill set without an employer

 

Resources:

Apr 11, 2024

With DynamicsCon Live fast approaching, we check in with Dynamics User Group's Ryan Harris for a quick update on the event, which runs from May 13 to 16. 

Ryan tells us about the planning and offers some suggestions on how to attendees can take advantage of the event's layout and features to get the most out of the week. He also previews some of the schedule highlights like the TechFluent Gala on Tuesday, May 14.

And listen closely to this short episode because at the end we explain how to enter to win one of MSDW's two free passes to DynamicsCon Live

Apr 4, 2024

Microsoft introduced three tiers of new partner benefits packages in January 2024 that were designed for partners to purchase to help meet different types of channel needs. Our guest on this episode, Microsoft MVP AJ Ansari of DSWi, has been looking closely at these benefit levels and joins us to share some of his observations about the elements of each offer, the value of different options, and how different kinds of organizations might be able to use them to their advantage. We also discuss what these offers say about Microsoft's channel engagement priorities today and how they differ from other programs and incentives.

 

Events and resources mentioned:

Apr 2, 2024

Microsoft MVP Malin Martnes has spent considerable time exploring the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights (Data) Specialist certification and its exam, MB-260, and she has discovered that the required subject matter is vast. In this episode, Malin tells us about her experience working with clients on the D365 Customer Insights Data application, her efforts to cover the topics of MB-260 on her blog, as well as more general Microsoft certification exam recommendations.

 

Show Notes

  • 7:45 - Malin's view of with the MB-260 exam and certification: how it compares to others and whom it is for
  • 10:30 - Who is well prepared to take it?
  • 13:00 - How to organize your efforts toward preparing for the exam
  • 16:00 - Why correct answers on Microsoft exams don't always seem logical
  • 17:45 - Good entry points for this certification
  • 23:00 - The challenge of getting customers motivated to use Customer Insights
  • 27:30 - Malin's blogging plans for the year

 

Resources:

Mar 27, 2024

This episode is sponsored by Leapwork.

 

Microsoft has recently adjusted the update schedule and policies for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations apps, with the One Version strategy now driving the delivery for four service updates per year to customers, with limited pauses allowed. Given the regular cadence,  the short testing windows, and the need to accept multiple updates per year, customers must reckon with the realities of testing efficiencies.

 

As our guest, Sune Engsig, Field CTO at Leapwork, explains, manual testing against regressions for an application like D365 Finance or Supply Chain Management can take a heavy toll on an organization, adding time and cost while preventing an organization from investing in rolling out new improvements and new solutions.

 

Sune tells us about his experiences working with Leapwork clients, how both partners and customers engage with the company on deploying automated testing for Dynamics 365, and how Leapwork thinks about the ideal ways to share responsibilities between functional testers and technical resources.

 

Resources:

Mar 20, 2024

TechFluent Academy is gearing up for a new class of students and the nonprofit expects a major increase in applications (the deadline is May 15) and participation. To learn more, the organization's founder and executive director, Liz McGlennen, spoke with Julie and Jason about their current enrollment, eliminating barriers to entry, and what it takes to prepare a student for a career in the enterprise software space.

 

Liz tells us about the origins of TechFluent, market demand for new hires with biz apps skills, the importance of mentorship and peer support, expanding to more Dynamics 365 solutions, and encouraging students embrace continuous learning.

 

Resources:

 

Mar 12, 2024

This episode is sponsored by Paymerang.

 

The world of invoice and payments automation continues to evolve, and our guests on this episode, Tiffany Allen and Brian Cook of Paymerang, join us to discuss their team's vision for serving the needs of organizations running Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

 

Paymerang's recent acquisition of KwikTag has created new opportunities for the company to advance their product roadmap, our guests explain. And with the buzz around AI and the company's focus on automation software, Brian and Tiffany also share their outlook on continuing to innovate in a competitive space.

 

We also discuss their perspective on industry specialization, share an update on fraud protection, and explain how Paymerang has gained a competitive advantage in the payments space.

 

Visit paymerang.com for more details, and check out our Paymerang overview for Dynamics: https://www.paymerang.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/SimplyAP-and-Payment-Automation-from-Paymerang-Overview-2024.pdf

Mar 8, 2024

How do you decide what's next in your learning journey in the Microsoft Business Applications space? The answer can depend on factors like your career plans, your employer's priorities, or your interests and skills.

 

Co-host Julie Yack has fielded this question many times and she shares some of the questions and concerns that she often hears from learners. We discuss some of the different options people have, from Microsoft's own training materials to conferences to working with trainers, and how to choose the right path forward. And we discuss some of the most interesting opportunities for people in the Dynamics and Power Platform ecosystem who are looking for a change.

 

Resources:

Mar 6, 2024

This episode is sponsored by Resco.

 

How does your organization handle mobility requirements on Microsoft Power Platform projects? Ivan Stano, SVP at Resco, joins us to help break down the realities of Power Platform mobility across a variety of use cases. We discuss the latest innovations to extend your Power Platform projects and grow your Microsoft business. Ivan also offers a peek into Resco's vision for Power Platform mobility and the simple steps to get involved.

 

Learn More:

Feb 16, 2024

The Biz Apps Classroom welcomes its first guest on this episode, Microsoft MVP and partner executive Vlad Sarov joins us to talk about the work he, podcast co-host Julie Yack, and others have been doing on a project to bring Microsoft Business Applications skills to adults in Ukraine through an ongoing series of training cohorts. The program follows Microsoft's prescribed Business Application professional skilling collection, but the team have taken the extra effort to translate the learning materials, adapt the guidance to allow for online interaction, and develop automated translation capabilities to allow trainers who don't speak Ukrainian to still help educate the students.

 

Vlad and Julie share the program's history, the team effort that was required to launch it and keep it running, the outcomes for graduates, and how they hope to expand the training to more cohorts in Ukraine and perhaps in other parts of the world.

 

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - Vlad's impressions of last year's MVP Summit
  • 3:45 - Hatching a plan to create learning cohorts in Ukraine
  • 6:45 - Translation technology that enables a multi-language program
  • 9:30 - Why a program from Microsoft offered a good starting point for translation and adapting to a Ukrainian cohort
  • 12:30 - Stories of some of the students
  • 14:30 - The typical student experience each week
  • 18:15 - Signups available for spring and summery 2024 cohorts - how to get accepted, what is expected of students, and how the trainers adapt to student needs like difficult circumstances
  • 23:00 - Hiring people who complete these training cohorts - what Microsoft partners can do to help
  • 26:30 - Industries that the students are coming from, and why industry knowledge helps
  • 28:00 - How students are learning about the program and gaining the trust to join it
  • 31:00 - What's next for this training approach - reaching more translations and languages

 

Links & Resources:

Feb 15, 2024

This episode is sponsored by Vertex.

 

Tax engines have a unique role to play in the performance of mid-market businesses. Our guest on this episode, Pete Olanday, Director of Consulting, Vertical Solutions: Retail, Leasing, Telecommunications, at Vertex discusses how implementing a tax engine can help mid-market companies streamline processes, enhance scalability, and ensure compliance in the face of evolving regulations.

 

Pete discusses some of the biggest challenges that mid-market firms face related to sales tax and how those tie into other strategic initiatives like process automation, business expansion, and managing operational costs.

Pete also offers context for how he sees Vertex clients aligning tax automation with their other ERP initiatives. He offers guidance for tax executives and IT decision-makers on what to expect from an investment in a tax engine and make suggestions about how to avoid common pitfalls that companies experience when trying to scale their tax solutions.

 

From Vertex:

Vertex integrates with Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain, Business Central, Sales, and Commerce. To learn more about Vertex’s tax solutions for Dynamics 365, visit https://www.vertexinc.com/partners/microsoft-dynamics-365 or email us at microsoftdynamics@vertexinc.com.

Feb 7, 2024

On this episode, we are talking role-based training: where it works well, what roles tend to benefit, and how the concept has evolved in the Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform ecosystem.
        
Role-based training in the Biz Apps space coincides with changes in Microsoft certifications, and that that has helped shift the focus of learners away from memorizing facts about software and toward developing skills, says our co-host, Julie Yack. And while Microsoft have their own overall approach to role-based training and certification, it is not the only reference out there. Julie shares some of her experiences training people in a range of roles and settings.
        
Show Notes:

  • 1:00 - How Julie thinks about roles from the perspective of a trainer
  • 2:30 - How to think about the trend toward role-based training in the broader context of jobs, hiring, and certification paths
  • 3:30 - The context and history behind role-based certifications from Microsoft - transition to a focus on outcomes
  • 5:00 - How the emergence of Power Platform and other changes at Microsoft resulted in a shift in training priorities
  • 9:00 - The relevance of Microsoft's core role-based learning paths for Biz Apps professionals
  • 10:00 - Why classroom training remains so effectiv
  • 12:00 - Career goals that align with role-based training
  • 14:00 - More tips from Julie about thinking about role-based opportunities
Jan 31, 2024

Microsoft just released their plans for 2024 Release Wave 1 of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, and the Finance and Operations suite will be adding a range of process and data-themed capabilities. Generative AI is part of that roadmap too, of course, but our guest on this episode, Microsoft VP Georg Glantschnig, shares that his broader focus is on improving automation, solution composability, and data-centric capabilities.

 

Georg discusses some of the highlights of the current release wave and, while this is not an "all AI" conversation, he explains that Copilot will continue to be a priority for the Dynamics 365 team in the future. His team's approach of bringing customers and partners into preview and GA cycles should help Microsoft launch new AI-based capabilities that users want, he believes. And he shares his outlook on how Copilot could become more advanced over time, from today's productivity tools toward a future where autonomous systems handle end-to-end processes, asking users for help only in exceptional cases. 

 

Show Notes:

  • 1:30 - Georg's background in the ERP space going back to the 1990s
  • 3:30 - Microsoft's ERP position (and dividing Finance & SCM) at the time Georg joined the team in 2019 and how priorities have evolved
  • 5:15 - How Georg positions Microsoft's ERP progress over the years
  • 7:45 - Setting priorities in product planning
  • 9:30 - Top level themes of 2024 Release Wave 1 plans
  • 13:45 - What to expect from the launch of the D365 Finance Premium license option
  • 15:30 - One Version updates for the product and what it means for customers
  • 18:00 - How have customers adapted to the cloud, especially those who have been on D365 in the cloud for several years
  • 19:15 - Automation and composabilty scenarios in the new release wave
  • 22:30 - Domino's UK story: Inventory planning at scale with D365 and AI-driven demand planning
  • 26:00 - Looking ahead to F&O product planning priorities:  operational process improvement and generative AI
  • 29:00 - The journey for AI advancements - low stakes to high stakes
  • 31:30 - Microsoft's product management approach to approach planning for future AI-related scenarios for F&O products
  • 35:30 - How much will D365 F&O AI capabilities cost users?
  • 38:30 - How is the One Dynamics One Platform (ODOP) initiative progressing?
  • 41:30 - How F&O scenarios will expand their use of Power Platform
  • 43:30 - Approaching concerns over cost of Dataverse usage
  • 45:30 - The trend of building custom capabilities on Power Platform
  • 46:00 - Other 2024 plans for Georg's team
Jan 24, 2024

Conferences play a key role in many Dynamics and Power Platform professionals' training plans. On this episode, Julie and Jason talk about the types of educational content that are gaining popularity at Microsoft-focused events, how sessions are selected, and how to get the most educational value out of the next event you choose to spend your time at.

 

Julie gives an update on planning for the next Power Platform 24 virtual event on March 20 and 21 and their call for speakers. We also talk about Jason's recent trip to the NRF Big Show 2024 event, why AI could become a bigger part of event attendees experiences soon, balancing structure and spontaneity in an event schedule, and whether session selection teams are doing a better job encouraging participation from a diverse range of presenters.

 

Show Notes:

 

  • 6:30 - Push toward beginner content at events
  • 14:15 - Julie's experience with conference session selection processes
  • 18:45 - Planning your next conference experience and setting fair expectations with session presenters
  • 23:30 - Why Julie believes AI has a role to play in all future conferences for session planning
  • 26:30 - Jason and Julie's event plans for 2024 so far
Jan 22, 2024

The latest updates to Metafile's AP Automation solution blend improving AI-based capabilities with their trusted capabilities around process and data efficiency. Company veteran Doug Bertram talks with Biz Apps Buzz host Amiee Keenan about his experiences watching the company's AI tools evolve before his eyes, with extraction and error handling capabilities improving almost before his eyes. Doug tells the story of a demo thrown off when the solution's AI engine learned to correctly interpret an invoice field that had been failing a few weeks earlier. And he explains how improvements in understanding documents raises the bar for AP fundamentals like automating 2-way and 3-way PO matching and for approving invoices without a PO. 

To learn more about the latest updates from Metafile, contact them at info@metafile.com.

About Biz Apps Buzz
Biz Apps Buzz is the newest podcast series from MSDynamicsWorld.com, focusing on breaking news and announcements from Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform channel partners. The conversation is broadcast live on LinkedIn and YouTube, and the recording is then made available as a podcast. 

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