Business Applications 2018 Update Virtual Launch Event
I had the opportunity to watch the Spring Launch event, and while there is a lot of the Dynamics space that I don’t know a lot about, there was plenty of things I did find exciting. If you weren’t able to catch it, you can watch the video here - https://dynamics.microsoft.com/fr-ca/release/spring-2018-release/
Alternatively, you can try to tackle the 221-page document that details the complete spring release and can be downloaded on the same page linked above. The following are my first impressions on the presentation / document.
I’m most excited about the overall vision. Microsoft is doing a phenomenal job building the story. Working to ease the pain points for organizations and integrating solutions to make it an intuitive and flexible platform. Putting the power in the hands of business to initiate immediate change and drive impact is what is being realized with these offerings and I can’t help but get a bit excited about what the future holds.
Making these Dynamics products work in conjunction with each other to create a seamless data stream is awesome. I work in consulting, and I manage the majority of our internal reporting, so I know first-hand the difficulties presented to organizations like ours that hold events, pass info to sales, engage and close deals. So, there was a huge part of this presentation that resonated and initiated conversations again. So, the first 3 demos around Marketing, Sales and Talent were probably my first highlight. The integrations with LinkedIn in both the Sales and Talent areas has huge potential.
Argh, another great demo, another reminder I need to spend some more time in this area. There is an immense amount of power this gives end users, and I need to dive into it myself to understand things. My knee jerk reaction has always been, “It seems easy, but is it really”. I’m always wondering about the learning curve… of course, many probably say the same about Power BI. What I am certain of is the integration of this tool into Power BI revamps what "reporting" means. In one report we can get a pulse on our current business, take action via Power Apps in Power BI, and look into the future by using built in forecasting abilities or leveraging ML, R or statistical datasets.
I loved seeing the adoption and deep integration that Power BI has in all these applications, and I think that showed in the demos towards the end. Power Apps integration is a stellar story, and I can’t wait to implement a solution with it because it offers an immense amount of power.
But probably the most exciting announcements for me were in the documentation. The announcement of SSRS style reports coming to live in the Power BI Service is a transformational step in bringing all report types together. This announcement has me giddy.
The second of my favorites is now being able to access workspace dataset models via Visual Studio and Enterprise tools. This is a huge advancement to bringing in born capabilites in Power BI to scale to Enterprise needs.
Both these new offerings are apparently coming in preview in April to the Premium license, which makes sense because Premium is essentially the “Enterprise” version of Power BI. These investments in premium now introduce some potential cost savings that might push businesses closer to adopting Power BI premium if they can cut infrastructure costs in other areas... I'll be keeping a close eye on these new features.
The landscape for businesses has been changing. It is more important than ever that organizations understand how rapidly these tools can transform their business. With toolsets like these presented, that can streamline business processes, capture and transform data, and bring insight so quickly it is pretty apparent how important it is for businesses to make a commitment to transforming themselves. Its an exciting time to be involved in the data world, and I’m happy to see that Power BI is a main part of that story, and I’m excited about learning how to make all these integrations come to life.
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