Monday, October 21, 2019

Using Twitter analytics data in Power BI – Part 1

I have been using Twitter for over 10 years but I never paid a lot of attention on engagements or impressions statistics but after listening to the Microsoft flow with Jon Levesque podcast  from @nz365guy I decided to take a look at what are drivers for more impressions or engagements on my Twitter account. So I decided to create some Power BI reports based on Twitter activity exports.

I only used Power BI in proof of concepts up until now so this was a good opportunity my Power BI skills which got a little bit rusty after not using it for more than a year. To get started I first exported my tweet activity report in CSV format from Twitter Analytics  (I did it manually but there is a REST API available as well). Next I combined the different CSV files while loading it into Power BI (I followed these instructions - How to load data from a folder in Power BI). After the usual data cleansing (remove unused columns, rename columns, setting appropriate date types) and data transformation I started extending the data model. Since I also wanted to know whether there is a difference in engagements/impressions based on the day of the week the tweets was sent, I created a custom date dimension. Power BI creates a default date dimension as well but I decided not to use this – see Power BI Date Dimension: Default or Custom? Is it confusing? for more info.

I also wanted to remove the urls/hyperlinks from my tweet text before building up a word cloud with the most common terms. Luckily Power Query supports some interesting transformation, you can temporarily transform a text into a list using Text.Split(text, “”), perform operations on each word and then reassemble it again using Text.Combine(list, “ ”)  (Trick found on Multiple replacements or translations in Power BI and Power Query)

I used a similar trick to found out the number of hashtags used in a specific tweet.

The Power BI report is still a work in progress but if you already want to have a temporary copy - DM me on Twitter


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Quick tip: Using XrmToolBox with a MFA enabled login

More and more customers are introducing Azure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Dynamics 365 CRM and while this is a good idea, there are some gotchas. If you are using XrmToolbox – the Swiss army knife in the Dynamics CRM consultant tool belt – you will need to revise the way you setup connections to your CRM/CDS environments.

Use the SDK Login Control when choosing a connection method

Next click on Open Sdk Login Control – this will open the standard browser login page and will allow you to fill in the details required in MFA.


Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Dynamics 365 monthly reading list September 2019

Preview 2019 Wave 2 release topics

Technical topics (Configuration, customization and extensiblity)

Topics for Dynamics 365 Business Application Platform analysts, project managers and power users

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Getting started with Forms Pro : customer feedback is the ultimate truth

On  July 1th, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Forms Pro. Microsoft Forms Pro is an enterprise survey tool built on top of Microsoft Forms and the Common Data Service (CDS). Forms Pro allows you to design surveys in a user-friendly manner, distribute these surveys to your target audience and afterwards analyze the results using the built-in dashboards or using Power BI. Microsoft Forms Pro has been part of the Microsoft Forms Pro April 2019 release.
Forms Pro has been built on top of the Common Data Service (CDS) which allows for a deep integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales & Customer Service. (For background on CDS and Dynamics – read Making sense of XRM,PowerApps and some other acronyms (CDS,CDM, etc..)).

The goal of Forms Pro is to capture customer's (or employees) feedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products or services. By analyzing the response and taking appropriate action, you can increase customer loyalty, decrease customer churn and improve the way that your organizations interacts with customers, etc …

The goal of this blog post is to highlight some of the features I have been using on the project I’m currently working on  – for more extensive information I can highly recommend the blog posts by Megan Walker on the subject (see list at bottom of only  few out of the 20+ posts) as well as her Youtube FormsPro play list. Another option is to listen to  Episode 58 of the CRM MVP podcast

Getting started
To get started you need to install Forms Pro from AppSource (the Forms Pro solutions are already installed on a Dynamics 365 CE instance but are hidden by default) which will enable the forms editing and management environment. When you open it for the first time ( – it will show you a sample survey which is created in the default CDS instance.

If you want to create your surveys in a specific CDS (or Dynamics 365 instance) – you need to select this instance in the top right corner.

Creating a survey
I really like the survey design environment which is very easy to use. You can quickly add different types of questions – choice, text/long text, rating, date, Likert, Net Promotor Score, … with the ability to also format the questions (basic options such as bold,italic, font type/size, etc…).  Some question types you will have additional features e.g. render choice questions as dropdown or choice options, for ratings using stars or numbers and ability to use 1-5 options, …

You can personalize your surveys by inserting placeholders/parameters but  also by adding conditional branching rules in your surveys for the different questions – e.g. if a low NPS rating is given, you might want to ask extra feedback. You can hide questions and then make them visible using the conditional rules.  For more details see

Theming your surveys is quite easy with the ability to change colors  and add images (for background and header) as required – at the moment there is no support (yet) to add custom CSS.

Distributing the survey
There are many ways of distributing your survey, manually send it, embed it in a web page, using your own distribution channel (e.g. SMS or other marketing platform) or using a QR code. But Forms Pro also comes with Microsoft Flow integration which provides Flow templates to send Survey invitation on common business transactions like sending out a survey when a customer case has been closed, asking feedback after a purchase, etc …. You can customize these Flow templates or create from scratch depending on business needs.

Viewing and analyzing survey responses
On the overview tab, you are able to see summary data about your survey like number of invites, number of responses received, Net Promotor Score (NPS) etc… You are also able to drill into the details of the question responses etc and export the data to Excel from here. Another interesting functionality is Survey Insights which uses AI and machine learning to find correlations between question answers and calculation of a sentiment score for text-based questions.


Forms Pro is a new product but it builds on top of both Microsoft Forms and the CDS platform of which a lot of functionality is leveraged. Although the foundational functionalities are very strong,  there are still some gaps and rough edges that you will encounter during an implementation.  But having worked with the Forms Pro product team in the previous months reassures me that the product team is open to feedback and are working hard on improving the product. Customers who are currently using the Voice of the Customer module should plan a migration path since  (source: Replace your Voice of the Customer Surveys with Microsoft Forms Pro)  If you think that some  functionality is missing I highly recommend you to use the Forms Pro Suggestion box on UserVoice .
In a next blog post, I will delve a little deeper into some of the gotchas and share some tips and tricks when implementing Forms Pro.


Blog posts by Megan Walker on Forms Pro:

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Introducing the PowerApps Checker PowerShell module to check PowerApps solution quality

Microsoft recently updated their tooling for checking the quality of  CDS/PowerApps/Dynamics 365 solution files by releasing the PowerApps checker PowerShell Module . With this new PowerShell module it is possible to receive a detailed report for your solutions identifying problems/issues taking into account best practices around performance, usage, upgrade readiness, supportability and maintainability. The static code analysis is based on rulesets which are provided by Microsoft and which are updated on a regular basis.

The main difference with the previously released tooling in the PowerApps maker portal (See Announcing general availibility of Solution Checker) is that you can now also do checks to validate both managed and unmanaged solutions (CRM2011 to current) so include on-premise solution validation.

The PowerShell module can be installed from  and provides a number of commands that you can use to perform the checks.

Before you can use the Invoke-PowerAppsChecker PowerShell cmdlet ,  you need to create an Azure Active Directory (AAD) application in a tenant with PowerApps or Dynamics 365 licenses. Follow the steps on Get started using the Microsoft.PowerApps.Checker.PowerShell module to correctly do this using either PowerShell or manually.

The PowerAppsChecker cmdlets in interactive-mode (meaning you need to login everytime you run the checker) or using an application-based token.

Behind the scenes the PowerShell module will connect to the PowerApps checker Web API

The output of Invoke-PowerAppsChecker  is a zip file containing one or more reports in a standardized JSON format. The report format is based on static analysis results referred to as Static Analysis Results Interchange Format (SARIF).

By analyzing results and fixing indicated errors, you can learn how to write high-quality code and decrease the cost of fixing issues later.

Depending on the size & complexity of your project, I might be recommended to include it as part of your ALM strategy.

Other blog post:

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Dynamics 365 monthly reading list August 2019

Preview 2019 Wave 2 release topics

Technical topics (Configuration, customization and extensibility)
Topics for Dynamics 365 Business Application Platform analysts, project managers and power users

Monday, August 19, 2019

D365 CE 2019 Wave 2 Preview: Dynamics 365 Business card scan preview feature

Top request by customers: scanning business cards and capturing the information will be available in the upcoming Dynamics 365 release and is now available in instances with early access enabled. It worked remarkably well except for my own business card ...


The functionality seems to be provided by the new "AI Builder Business Card control" which is added on the quick create contact form. Next on the todo list - testing out modifying the mappings.