Tag Archives: Change

A 180-Year-Old Business and a Startup Both Manage Growth, Change in Dynamic Health and Beauty Industry

Posted by Branden Jenkins, GM of Retail, Oracle NetSuite

Bigelow A 180 Year Old Business and a Startup Both Manage Growth, Change in Dynamic Health and Beauty IndustryIn New York City’s bustling Greenwich Village, a vintage neon sign from the 1930s invites patrons to explore the vast array of mainstream and offbeat health and beauty products within C.O. Bigelow, America’s oldest apothecary. On the shelves are typical soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and the like, along with Bigelow-branded products like Lemon Body Cream, its recipe unchanged since 1870.

While the wooden shelving, brass finishes and gas chandeliers more than a century old evoke a sense of history, making it, “by far the coolest place in New York to buy anything beauty-related,” as a Stylecaster reviewer put it, C.O. Bigelow still must deal with the challenges of a modern health and beauty company.

For many, that means a carefully cultivated and evocative brand image, showcased on a sleek, image-rich ecommerce website. Key strategies to elevate a company’s profile in this highly competitive market can include celebrity endorsements, an emphasis on organic ingredients, and aggressive social media marketing.

But beauty is only skin deep. Beneath the surface, health and beauty companies need superior operational efficiency to minimize costs and delays. Inventory, ordering and customer service need to function flawlessly to meet and exceed customer expectations.

Bigelow, in its own description, “transports customers back to a time and place of personalized attention, customized formulas and healing, and therapeutic preparations.” The store was founded in 1838, moving in 1902 two doors down the street to its present location. Bigelow has stayed true to those roots throughout its 180-year history, while simultaneously embracing modern technology to succeed in today’s ever-changing market, even in the face of stiff competition and an influx of chain drug stores.

It struck up partnerships with retailers such as Nordstrom, Sephora and Barney’s, growing the wholesale channel 20 to 30 percent annually in recent years. And notably, it does brisk business with global hotels and airlines that supply Bigelow goods to travelers around the world.

Owner Ian Ginsberg, whose grandfather purchased the business in 1939, says technology is a key ingredient to Bigelow’s success in a changing world: “We’re the ones who survived the disruption. We’re a traditional business surviving in a modern world.”

“The game has changed in all facets of retail,” Ginsberg said. “As growth has slowed, you have to learn how to make money on your bottom line. The more tools and technologies you have to improve your bottom line, the better off you are.”

Since 2013, Bigelow has used NetSuite for core functions of financials, reporting, order management, and inventory management across 30,000 SKUs. Especially valuable, Ginsberg said, are dashboards and real-time reporting that help Bigelow improve cost-efficiency and its bottom line.

Ovation Hair, a manufacturer of high-end hair care products in Carlsbad, southern California, doesn’t have the history that Bigelow does, but it’s confronting many of the same challenges. The 50-person company celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017 and has seen rapid growth by every measure.

It joins other upstarts that are challenging household names like Estée Lauder, L’Oréal and Unilever by opening new direct-to-consumer channels to complement traditional distribution strategies.

It comes at a special time. Global health and beauty product sales are expected to grow 73 percent between 2016 and 2025, to $ 750 billion, says Inkwood Research, a Boston-based research firm. Manufacturers and retailers need speed and agility to take advantage of growing opportunities.

For Ovation Hairrevenue is growing annually at a double-digit pace. It has expanded its product lineup beyond its flagship Cell Therapy product, which uses a proprietary blend of proteins, vitamins, botanical extracts and amino acids to help both women and men grow thicker, stronger, longer hair. Today, customers can choose from more than 25 products, including shampoos, conditioners, shaving lotions, vitamins and accessories.

Starting out an ecommerce pure play, Ovation Hair products are now sold on the QVC shopping channel, third-party marketplaces and through roughly 75 select salons in the U.S. And the company is growing globally. Earlier in 2017, it introduced international shipping to countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa, with ordering available online or over the phone. 

Effective marketing has been instrumental in Ovation Hair’s success. Once advertising mostly through radio spots in southern California, the company now reaches customers and cultivates evangelists through YouTube, Facebook, a blog and other social channels. And it’s grown a database of 500,000 contacts for personalized marketing engagement.

On its www.ovationhair.com website, Ovation Hair offers regular promotions, refer-a-friend rewards, a loyalty program and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Subscription replenishment has proven effective in driving recurring revenue. Beyond marketing, Ovation Hair is also an in-house manufacturer, producing its products at a plant in southern California.

“Developing customer intimacy is extremely important for us,” said Erika Sherwood, Ovation Hair Marketing Manager. “The customer dictates what our next steps are in terms of product development and what they’re looking for from the company.”

Over its 10 years, Ovation Hair has capitalized on new marketing and fulfillment channels in the face of increasing competition. “The industry has evolved a lot over the past couple of years, especially with social media and influencers,” Sherwood said. “There are a lot of ‘me-too’ products out there making the same claims without substantiation.”

Deployed in late 2010, NetSuite has been pivotal to Ovation Hair’s success. The company uses NetSuite for financials, inventory, order management and manufacturing, with SuiteCommerce providing a mobile-friendly ecommerce site. NetSuite is also the repository for all customer information, providing a foundation for personalized marketing and customer service.

The ever-evolving health and beauty industry requires retailers to be nimble, agile and adaptable to change. C.O. Bigelow and Ovation Hair, two companies with completely distinct histories and backgrounds, serve as prime examples of retailers that have found success by applying these requirements. A combination of creativity, product innovation, new distribution channels and technology have helped them maintain a competitive edge and thrive. Learn more about how NetSuite supports health and beauty companies, including COOLA, Anisa International, Epicurean, Perfectly Posh and The Beauty Collective, by visiting our health and beauty page.

Learn More at NRF – Retail’s BIG Show

If you are heading to NRF taking place January 14-16, be sure to schedule a demo to experience NetSuite’s software used by health and beauty companies like C.O. Bigelow and Ovation Hair. Your brief, 15-minute demo will have a big impact. NetSuite, through RetailROI, will be donating $ 300 to the Miracle Foundation for each person that schedules and attends a 15-minute demo during NRF, providing clean water to orphans in need.

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Change agents aren't personas, they are human

image 2017 12 15 at 1 52 30 pm Change agents aren't personas, they are human

Brian Solis’ report, published by Altimeter/Prophet, is entitled, The digital change agent’s manifesto: How the people behind digital transformation lead change from within.

I have diverse interests and a huge itch to write about all of them.

But, typically, if you read my stuff onZDNet, which I imagine you do if you are reading this, then you know that I operate in a fairly narrow, not-all-that-imaginative band related to the tech industry and ideas that are associated with things customer facing. It’s rare that I find a bridge from that tech-focused, narrow band to something that I don’t get to write about much, though both relate to the area I do cover and scratches that diverse itch.

Well, we’re there. My B.F.A.M., Brian Solis, one of the 21st century business world’s leading thinkers — especially in right-brained domains like user interfaces and user experiences, has written a research report on change agents that is both fascinating for its results and interesting for its format. Plus, it begs for a second edition with the questions that it raises.

Brian’s report, published by Altimeter/Prophet, is entitled, The digital change agent’s manifesto: How the people behind digital transformation lead change from within, which is slightly mischaracterized. It probably should have been inverted to: How the people who lead change from within bring digital transformation. Either way, my nitpicking aside, this report is really interesting and potentially very valuable to those of you who have digital transformation efforts either underway or are contemplating some version of one.

To be clear, from my perspective, change agents are mission critical to any innovative or even slightly uncomfortable business initiative, internal or external. The leaders can be management — or, from the ground up, what I call field agents. They can be organic, or with a wise person in management who may or may not be a change agent, they can be appointed. But, ultimately, a change agent is sticking out his or her neck to do something that benefits the company and the employees and the customers, and, hopefully, it is recognized enough to benefit them, though that’s not a foregone conclusion. The problem, of course, with those willing to take the responsibility organically at least is that there is no real corporate shield, and they are going up against ideas that have been entrenched and, to make things even more difficult, likely to have been beneficial to the company’s success for a long time, making the battle for transformation more of either a slog in muddy fields or a fight in the trenches that awaits the moment when the change agent can lead the troops out of those trenches. It’s a bit less nerve-wracking if you are an appointed leader, because you have the cachet of being a designated leader and thus gain some immediate credibility, and you have something of a corporate shield, depending on how committed the management folks who put you in the position are.

Read also: Where’s the ROI in your CRM? It’s in the process | A company like me: Beyond customer-centric to customer-engaged | This consumer revolution is being televised

But regardless of which, the tensions that are part of the change agents every day life are very real: The fear, the loneliness of being the sole carrier of the banner at first, and the uncertainty of success against entrenched and historically highly successful practices all lead to daily angst and long-term anxieties that impact how you work.

This is where Brian’s report is one of the most singular reports on change agentry I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t, like every other somewhat right-brained research report I ever have seen, focus only on the benefits of change agents; he focuses on where they come from and — this is the kicker — what they go through. That is the single, most unique, and important part of this report.

Brian’s work shows that change agents come from pretty much what I indicated earlier — from the ground up, which he calls “grassroots,” and from the top down, which he calls “executive appointed.” The grassroots folks are pursuing innovative projects in the name of doing the right thing when it comes to digital transformation, but they don’t have the official corporate umbrella over their head. Sometimes the efforts are quiet, sometimes not so much, but what they are not is sanctioned. Executive-appointed change agents are usually individuals who are appointed as the leaders of specific projects in the area they are already in, unlike the grassroots people. They have a task. However, rather than just project managers who could be described the same way, their creativity, willingness to innovate, and their experience and existing leadership qualities are why they were chosen — not just their title or certification from PMI.

Their spectrum of experience range is in leadership and change agentry, and they can range from the least experienced in both — who Brian calls — aspiring leaders to highly experienced, and they are digital executives with experienced “digital transformers” and digital/innovation advocates in between. I’m not going to spend the time going through what characterizes each. Suffice to say, experience is the driver.

That’s all very interesting — but what makes this report unique is the section entitled Common challenges digital change agents face. If this was the typical pedestrian, politically correct report, you’d think it would come up with what is now so standard it has reached the level of, “Yes it is important to know, but who doesn’t know it?” But no, the challenges that Brian speaks of are in the following (most likely no particular) order:

  1. Managing ego
  2. Managing fear
  3. Managing bias
  4. Managing self-doubt

Each of them is couched in terms of managing the change agent’s ego, fears, biases, self-doubt, and the same for others they are trying to impact. So, for example, in managing bias, he talks about several biases that show their ugly pusses during these kinds of efforts including: Confirmation bias, which means interpreting new ideas as validating what you are thinking already; anchoring, which means locking your thinking into your initial reaction to something and locking out any further changes in your thinking; groupthink, which is an aversion by individuals to an idea that gets subsumed by “the group” making decisions and individuals going along with that; loss aversion, a bias based on not risking losing rather than fighting for gain, which has risk; and finally, present bias, which is based on short-term gains given greater credence than long-term gains (partially, I would presume, because you can see it faster).

To manage one’s own biases the recommendations are:

  1. Recognize you have them to start with
  2. Remain open minded and don’t jump to conclusions
  3. Embrace dialogue, ask questions, and be ready to live with disagreements
  4. Surround oneself with people who have other opinions.

To manage biases in others:

  1. Understand the motivations that are causing the biases in others and address them.

What I think makes this report important is that the change agent isn’t treated as a job category or a persona — he or she is a human being who can be frightened, nervous, is biased, and has an ego, as do the people they are trying to convince. Thus, these human traits become part of what has to be dealt with in order for change to be successful at a company, especially one that is tied to the digital transformation of that company, and thus, not just the programs, or the operations, but the culture of that company.

Read also: Customer engagement and the commonwealth of self interest: Part one | How customer data platforms can benefit your business | And the winners of the 2017 CRM Watchlist are…

This is also where I think a second report is merited. There is only so much you can write into a single report without making it a book. Brian covers the approaches that have to be taken by change agents to deal with their own and others various issues but not the steps or practices that provide change agent the ability to resolve, or at least the possibility of resolving those same issues. I didn’t expect it, but it would be good to get beyond the framework and down to the steps to resolution of these emotional and mental blocks that can gut change at a company. In fact, Dr. David Bray, currently the executive director of the People Centered Internet, said it well in the report: “Change agents can garner support by identifying steps to diffuse tensions among colleagues and departments, inform those who need convincing, and work together more productively.” You go, man.

However, this wouldn’t be a manifesto if it didn’t have declarations about direction, and it does. I am not going to go through them here, because there are many of them, and each of them, ranging from Embrace Being a Catalyst to Link Digital Transformation Efforts to Business and Individual Goals, is explained in detail.

OK, I have a long week ahead, but I thought that this report is important enough for me to make you aware of it — and to tell you to use the link I gave you in the third paragraph and download it today. Now, in fact. Go.

Previous and related coverage

Companies on the verge: Introducing the Emergence Maturity Index

What does it take to become a mature company that can compete full bore in a marketplace? Paul Greenberg’s newly hatched EMI will highlight the companies worth watching.

Customer service done right: How a United Airlines crew rose above an imperfect storm

This was the imperfect storm of events when it comes to United Airlines. You won’t believe it when you read it, but I swear it was true. But great customer service can beat any problem.

Are you experienced? Customer lessons from Comcast, American Girl, and Irish whiskey

The differences between customer engagement, customer experience, consumable experience, and brand experience can have significant impacts on your company’s strategy. Paul Greenberg explains it all for you.

Days of future past: Pardon me, is that laptop a real Louis Vuitton?

Style matters — and it has as long human life has existed. Thanks mostly to Apple and its devices, style now matters in technology — and makes a difference in our purchasing patterns. Paul Greenberg reprises a post from 2006: References may have changed, but the lust for and value of style hasn’t.

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ZDNet | crm RSS

TIBCO and Change Healthcare Partner to Accelerate Healthcare Transformation

change healthcare TIBCO and Change Healthcare Partner to Accelerate Healthcare Transformation

TIBCO and Change Healthcare, one of the largest independent healthcare technology companies in the United States, have announced a partnership aimed at helping providers, payers, and pharmacies better use their health IT data to improve efficiency and effectively manage complex workflows. By integrating the TIBCO Connected Intelligence portfolio with Change Healthcare’s broad portfolio of software and analytics, network solutions, and technology-enabled services, the companies will innovate new solutions for translating data into actionable insights based on business needs.

“We’re excited to be working with Change Healthcare to help improve processes around healthcare and positively impact peoples’ lives by innovating new technology solutions,” said Thomas Been, chief marketing officer, TIBCO. “We see this as an opportunity to work together to create solutions based on the TIBCO Connected Intelligence portfolio, while improving the customer experience for users of these technologies. This is only the beginning, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Change Healthcare already incorporates TIBCO’s business intelligence tool within its Analytics Explorer solution, which uses health data visualization to enable users to drill up, down, and across data—free of the dimensional constraints and IT dependence that traditional approaches require. Healthcare organizations can more quickly turn data into insights, and insights into actions that lead to better outcomes.

“Through our partnership with TIBCO, we can innovate new capabilities that turn data into meaningful information for decision-making,” said Alex Choy, chief information officer and executive vice president, Research & Development, Change Healthcare. “We’re excited about the opportunities to leverage our respective strengths in data, analytics, and network connectivity to help organizations navigate the complex transition to a value-based healthcare system.”

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The TIBCO Blog

Shiftgig Grows and Refines Its Business as It Seeks to Change the Way People Work

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director

The people at Shiftgig know a thing or two about pivoting – and succeeding.

Originally created as a job board for temporary workers (primarily in the restaurant and service industries), the business pivoted to become the leading mobile technology platform that is focused on connecting high-quality, vetted, hourly workers with businesses who need them. People looking to earn extra cash can now quickly and easily search for shifts and businesses have a more agile way to tap into workers who have been pre-vetted, and skill tagged to meet their needs.

ShiftGig Stills 3 Shiftgig Grows and Refines Its Business as It Seeks to Change the Way People WorkIn four years, the company expanded from locations in Chicago and New York to a total of 14 markets across the US and now have more than 38,000 workers, whom they call “Specialists,” and over 2,600 clients ranging from mom and pop stores to multinational retailers. With an estimated 70 million hourly workers in the US alone, Shiftgig has plenty of room for growth.

With that growth came a refinement of the business. When Shiftgig pivoted from a job board to a mobile app, it promised to “change the way people work.” Today, Shiftgig is focused on providing financial opportunity for people who want or need flexibility in work, ranging from single moms with limited free time, to students and more.

In 2016, Shiftgig extended the reach of people they are helping put to work by branching out into the experiential marketing industry.

But, like many fast-growing businesses, Shiftgig’s internal systems couldn’t keep up, making it difficult to conduct financial consolidation across three subsidiaries and handle complex requirements from larger clients. Shiftgig adopted NetSuite to manage financials across the business. As a result, financial consolidation is done in minutes and the company can now provide sophisticated client reporting, broken out by event, shift and venue, as well as across schedules. What once took three hours per client is now done in 30 minutes. Shiftgig is also able to continue to grow with NetSuite. One client alone accounts for 33,000 transactions per month in NetSuite.

For more on Shiftgig, watch the video below.

Posted on Thu, December 7, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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How to Change the Panel Header Colour of a Sub-Grid in Dynamics 365

Microsoft released Dynamics 365 July update with many new features and enhancement. One of enhancements that it came with is allowing users to change colour of a sub-grid’s panel header. To change the colour of the panel header is a very easy process and it helps users to have a greater experience by improving the aesthetics of the form.

I am using a custom Entity called “Exam Results”, and each record has a look up to a Contact record. Each exam result has a custom attribute I created called “Result”. This field’s data type is “Option Set” and has only three options – Passed, Failed, TBA.

I added three different sub-grids on the contact form, and those sub-grids are used to display exams a student has passed, failed and the exams with result TBA. The following screenshot shows what those three sub-grids look like for one of the contact records.

image thumb How to Change the Panel Header Colour of a Sub Grid in Dynamics 365

To add a colour of your choice on sub-grid panel header, follow these steps:

  1. Open the form editor.
  2. Double click on the sub-grid whose panel header you want to add the colour to, in this case I wanted to set sub-grid “PassedExams” to Green.
  3. This will open the form that allows us to update the properties of the sub-grid.
  4. Populate the “Panel header colour” field, in this case I entered a hex value #91F78F. Then select ok.
  5. Then save and publish all the changes made on the form, before I did that I changed the colour of panel header of all three sub-grids.

Following is what the subgrids looked like when I opened a contact record. Each sub-grid header had the colour I selected.

image thumb 1 How to Change the Panel Header Colour of a Sub Grid in Dynamics 365

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

Understanding Change Management within an Organisation

Stephen R Covey said that “Priority is a function of context.”

When implementing change within an organisation, it’s unlikely that you’ll get priority until the context of the change is explained. Something that often gets neglected is the understanding of what change is, the impact it’ll have and whether or not it should be managed. To answer the last part of that statement: should change be managed? The answer is a resounding, emphatic YES!

The reason for this is simple: change tends to focus on the organisational level. However, what’s not understood is that organisations don’t change, individuals do. Each organisational change impacts how specific employees do their jobs and includes, but not limited to:

•    Location
•    Processes
•    Systems
•    Reporting structure
•    Mindset/attitudes/beliefs

So what is change?

According to Prosci (www.prosci.com), change is the movement out of a current state, through a transition state, to ultimately reach a future state. The future state is ultimately better than the current and examples include:

•    Costs are lower than they were.
•    Revenues are higher than they were.
•    Errors are fewer than they were.
•    Efficiencies are larger than they were.

Because of the focus on change at the organisational level, reasons for a change tend to be poorly articulated. Consider this: How clearly are the individual changes required by projects and initiatives defined in your organisation?

I recently watched a webinar and in a poll that asked that exact question of participants, the results were:

image thumb Understanding Change Management within an Organisation

The results weren’t that surprising but alarming nonetheless! How can the ROI of change be high if there’s no understanding of what the requirements/impacts of it will be at an individual level? Individuals drive organisations and achievement of the reason for the change is dependent on if individuals understand and are able to make the transitions required?

Jeff Hiatt, developer of the ADKAR model and founder of PROSCI, defined 5 tenets of change management:

  1. We change for a reason.
  2. Organisational change requires individual change.
  3. Organisational outcomes are the collective result of individual change.
  4. Change management is an enabling framework for managing the people side of change.
  5. We apply change management to realise the benefit and desired outcomes of change.

There is a myriad of change management approaches but I believe that when implementing change, you need to start with why. “Why would you do that?” “What is your desired outcome?” and most importantly, for the individual, “What’s in it for me?”

I look forward to discussing the remaining tenets with you soon!

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

Q&A: Does Your Company Understand Change Management?

Doing it Wrong 300x225 Q&A: Does Your Company Understand Change Management?

Change Management is an often foreign concept, and yet, everybody thinks they understand it. Successful Change Management practices can save companies tons of time, money, resources, and perhaps most importantly it prevents talent from seeking new employment. Realizing how powerful this practice can be, we talked with one of PowerObjects training and Change Management consultants, Sara Jo Justice, to provide you with some must know Change Management information. If you’re seeking these services from PowerObjects, check out more here.

First things first, in three sentences or less, what is Change Management?

Change Management is a process designed to increase the probability of success, acknowledge and address employees resistance to change, build communication practices that support the organizations goals, and support and equip transitions within all levels of a company.

How does implementing Change Management best practices help an organization?

Change Management effectiveness is driven by employees adopting and using the system to drive the organization’s KPIs and goals. Without effective Change Management, organizations will not have a way to plan for and measure the results that they are looking to achieve.

ROI on Change Management is difficult to definitively label, but it’s consistently shown to be effective. What is the number one metric (quantitative or qualitative) that an organization should look to for proof of positive ROI?

True ROI in Change Management is understanding the Ultimate Utilization of the project implementation. Part of the process is having an organization “define” what success looks like to their organization at the beginning of a project so that they can truly measure through adoption, feedback, project performance, and readiness assessments if they have met their project objectives.

How do Change Management consultants differ from a business analyst? Don’t business analysts already look at organizational impacts of a project?

While both roles are critical to the success of a project, the Change Management consultant will really be focused on the significance of the change from current state to future stage. Based upon this change, communication, training, and resistance strategies are developed.

What’s the most common Change Management mistake you see businesses make?

Starting the Change Management and communication discussions too late in the game. By the time they realize there is an adoption problem, a lot of the “damage” may have already been done. People like to hear what is going on early and often.

What’s the most common misconception of Change Management?

We don’t need Change Management, because everyone is excited for this change.” Even when an organization is looking at an improvement to their current status quo, that doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps in the road. Every individual has a different attitude toward change because resistance doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Employee personal lives, their career plans, the degree to which the change affects them, and their history with change … their perspective can vary greatly!

Last, but not least: why do you love being a Change Management consultant for PowerObjects?

There is a great amount of personal satisfaction that comes from not simply tossing someone a manual and telling them what they need to do, but rather, helping an individual see how their day-to-day activities impact their organization’s ability to see success. Helping everyone see that they are an important part of the whole is better than just a “lightbulb” moment; it is tantamount to a “giant spotlight” moment.

Have questions about training or Change Management services through PowerObjects? Our expert trainers, including Sara Jo, are on standby. Contact us!

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

New from Microsoft Labs: Change Tracking Solution for Dynamics 365 released!

If you’ve ever needed to determine which system administrator made a particular problematic change to a solution, until now the process was time-consuming – restoring a backup from the date the problem occurred and querying the database.  In Microsoft Dynamics 365, an out of the box feature to capture the changes on records by the Users or System is achieved by enabling the “Audit” for an entity but there is no out of the box feature to track the changes done by System Administrators/System Customizers or anyone having access to make a change in the application.

No more!  Microsoft Labs”has released a “Change Tracking” solution to find such information easier; check it out! The solution for Dynamics 365 (version 8.2) Online or Dynamics CRM 2016 (version 8.1), Online with documentation, is available via administrators as well as user guides are available for download via:

https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us/product/dynamics-365/microsoft_labs.changetracking?tab=Overview

A downloadable solution for use by Dynamics 365 on-premise system administrators of Dynamics 365 (version 8.2) or Dynamics CRM 2016 (version 8.1), with documentation, is available via:

https://github.com/mazharmsft/changetrackingD365

Notes from AppSource:

Change Tracking Solution
Microsoft Labs

A feature that provides the ability to track the changes on D365 made by System admins/customers
The Change Tracking solution helps in tracking down the details of changes on who updated an entity, JavaScript, assemblies and processes along with the time of update. This solution is built on Dynamics 365 and as well works on Dynamics CRM 2016 (Online/ On premises)

Enjoy!

Greg Nichols
Senior Premier Field Engineer, Dynamics 365
Microsoft Corporation

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Dynamics CRM in the Field

Change your Power BI report to point to an external SSAS model

A common questions I get is to change the connection string to from my report to SSAS after I move my Power BI desktop file into SSAS. It turns out this actually pretty simple as there is an API that allows you to copy and then bind the report to ANY dataset. Let’s walk through this.

I start with a very simple Power BI desktop file that contains a single table that I imported from SQL:

 Change your Power BI report to point to an external SSAS model

I then upload it to Power BI, I added it to it’s own app workspace.

Then I created a report that points to my local SSAS and uploaded it to the same workspace, I do this to make sure I have a dataset in Power BI that points to SSAS. If you already have a dataset present you can skip this step. Of course you have to set up a data gateway in case of using a local SSAS.

So now I have 2 datasets in my workspace (I use the same workspace but you can also have them live in different ones):

 Change your Power BI report to point to an external SSAS model

SalesIt is the dataset that points to my SSAS instance and the SalesPBI is the embedded data model. I also have the 2 reports:

 Change your Power BI report to point to an external SSAS model

Now here comes the magic. I am using a PowerShell report created by my colleague Sirui that allows you to copy and bind the new report to ANY dataset in Power BI. You can find the script here. The key thing here is to make sure the 2 schema’s are the same, it needs to have the same columns, measures, tables etc otherwise the report will throw errors. In my example I didn’t actually use a imported model but used a SQL Server 2016 RTM model with the same schema and that also works.

Ok now for the PowerShell script, it does two things:

1 It creates a copy of the report

2 It binds the new report to a dataset provided in the script

The script uses to the Power BI Clone API to clone the report and rebind it..

First we need to configure the the script, I created a new “app” on https://dev.powerbi.com/apps as described in the script to get a new client Id and set a name for my new report called “SalesNowIt”. Next I got all the ID’s needed for the script to run like report and groupId’s. The script has step by step instructions.

Now after configuring I just run the PowerShell script (no additional changes necessary). And now see a new report showing up:

 Change your Power BI report to point to an external SSAS model

And now when I run the report that previously pointed to my embedded model it still works:

 Change your Power BI report to point to an external SSAS model

But when running profiler I see queries going to my local SSAS instead of the embedded model:

 Change your Power BI report to point to an external SSAS model

So that’s it, pretty straightforward and very straightforward.  Of course you can extend this PowerShell script yourself to do whatever you want, for example, loop through all the reports in a workspace and rebind them all.

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Kasper On BI

Time for a Change – Groundhog Day Edition

Back in 2013 I announced I’d be joining BlueGranite’s team. Well, it’s like Groundhog Day because I’m joining BlueGranite again. Let me explain…

For 3 years I worked as a solution architect for BlueGranite, a data-oriented consulting firm focused on BI & analytics. In the fall of 2016 I made a change to an in-house BI role at SentryOne. And although this past year has been great in many ways, I missed some things about my prior role, company, and coworkers. So, I’m headed back to BlueGranite. I’m looking forward to working on interesting customer projects with the wicked-smart people at BlueGranite. Consulting is a good fit for me because it pushes me to stay current on technology & industry changes, and I really need to be learning something new all the time to be happy work-wise.

SentryOne is an awesome place – these people care deeply about doing good work. I’m happy I spent a year there. Even though it didn’t end up being a perfect fit, it helped me identify what I value most career-wise. And, I still get to accompany the SentryOne team at PASS Summit (how cool is that?!?) to deliver a session at their bootcamp on Tuesday, Oct. 31st. During the bootcamp I’ll discuss my telemetry project which involved numerous Azure services.

Aspects of the data lake portion of that implementation will be discussed at my pre-conference workshop at SQL Saturday Charlotte coming up on Oct. 13th. (Tickets are still available. Shameless plug, I know, I know.) If you’re near Charlotte and haven’t registered for the SQL Saturday training event on Oct. 14th, you can find more info here: http://www.sqlsaturday.com/683/eventhome.aspx.

My husband says this is a little like a woman who remarries her ex-husband. (Yeah, he’s a little out there sometimes, heh heh.) I’m not sure that’s quite the right analogy, but I certainly am excited to rejoin the BlueGranite team.

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