Tag Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft urges government to regulate facial recognition systems

 Microsoft urges government to regulate facial recognition systems

Facial recognition technology is a controversial topic. Scores of investors and consumer advocacy groups rallied against Amazon for providing its face-detecting artificial intelligence (AI) to local law enforcement. In committee hearings, representatives in the House of Representatives took the FBI to task for using a facial ID system with an error rate of nearly 15 percent. And Facebook has come under fire for applying facial recognition to photos without users’ permission.

Regulatory ambiguity concerning the deployment of facial recognition tech has companies like Microsoft inviting the government to weigh in. In a blog post today, Microsoft president Brad Smith called on lawmakers to investigate face-detecting algorithms and craft policies guiding their usage.

Smith and Harry Shum, Microsoft’s AI chief, published a treatise earlier this year predicting that advances in AI would require new laws. But Smith’s post today marks the first time the Redmond company has explicitly advocated for the regulation of facial recognition systems and strikes a different tone than that of competitors like Amazon, which said in June that it was incumbent on the private sector to “act responsibly” in employing AI technologies.

“Demands increasingly are surfacing for tech companies to limit the way government agencies use facial recognition and other technology,” Smith wrote. “In a democratic republic, there is no substitute for decision-making by our elected representatives regarding the issues that require the balancing of public safety with the essence of our democratic freedoms … We live in a nation of laws, and the government needs to play an important role in regulating facial recognition technology.”

Facial recognition is becoming “deeply infused” in our society, Smith points out — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Police in India used it to track down more than 3,000 missing children in four days, and local authorities sourced a facial recognition database to identify the suspect involved in last month’s deadly Capital Gazette shooting. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for abuse.

“Imagine a government tracking everywhere you walked over the past month without your permission or knowledge. Imagine a database of everyone who attended a political rally that constitutes the very essence of free speech. Imagine the stores of a shopping mall using facial recognition to share information with each other about each shelf that you browse and product you buy, without asking you first. This has long been the stuff of science fiction and popular movies — like Minority Report, Enemy of the State, and even 1984 — but now it’s on the verge of becoming possible,” Smith said.

It’s also an imperfect technology. Some facial ID systems perform measurably worse on African-American faces than Caucasian faces, Smith notes, and others have a tougher time identifying women than men. (In February, a paper coauthored by Microsoft researcher Timnit Gebru showed error rates of as high as 35 percent for systems classifying darker-skinned women.)

“Even if biases are addressed and facial recognition systems operate in a manner deemed fair for all people, we will still face challenges with potential failures,” Smith said. “Facial recognition, like many AI technologies, typically have some rate of error even when they operate in an unbiased way.”

Smith didn’t call for specific laws or ethical principles, but posed a series of questions for regulators to consider, including “Should law enforcement use of facial recognition be subject to human oversight and controls?” and “[S]hould we ensure there is civilian oversight and accountability for the use of facial recognition as part of governmental national security technology practices?”

As for how regulations might come to pass, Smith believes that legislators should “use the right mechanisms” to gather expert advice to inform their decision-making. That includes the appointment of bipartisan expert commissions — specifically those that build on work done by academics and the public and private sectors.

“The purpose of such a commission should include advice to Congress on what types of new laws and regulations are needed, as well as stronger practices to ensure proper congressional oversight of this technology across the executive branch,” he wrote.

Smith was careful to note that congressional regulation, if and when it arrives, won’t mean that firms can abdicate their own responsibilities. He called on tech companies to investigate ways to reduce the risk of bias in facial recognition technology, to take a “principled” and “transparent” approach to developing face-detecting systems, to move more slowly and deliberately in the deployment of facial recognition tech, and to participate in a “full” and “responsible” manner in public policy debates regarding this technology.

Microsoft, for its part, has created an internal advisory panel called the Aether Committee to look at its use of artificial intelligence and has published a set of ethical principles for the development of its AI technologies. It also says it has turned down client request to deploy facial recognition technology “where we’ve concluded there are greater human rights risks.” (Microsoft declined to provide details.)

“All tools can be used for good or ill,” Smith wrote. “The more powerful the tool, the greater the benefit or damage it can cause … Facial recognition technology raises issues that go to the heart of fundamental human rights protections like privacy and freedom of expression.”

Smith’s blog post comes at a time when Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and other technology companies face intense criticism for supplying tools and expertise to controversial programs. Microsoft, bowing to public pressure, canceled a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in June. And Google employees protested the company’s involvement in Project Maven, a Defense Department program that sought to infuse drone footage with an object recognition system.

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How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

using connections in dynamics 365 crm 2 625x352 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

In this video by our Dynamics 365 CRM support team, we’ll look at how to use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales to create searchable relationships between entities.

Connections add valuable layers of relationship information to your records. For example, you can connect a contact to multiple accounts, which is highly valuable for companies that deal with agents or brokers who represent multiple organizations.

Connections also allow Dynamics 365 CRM users to track old relationships if a contact moves to a new organization. You can simply create a connection between the contact and their old account.

But these are just two common examples. Connections enable Dynamics users to create any number of relationships between any entities.

Once those Connections are in your system, they can be searched in Advanced Find, so your connections also improve user navigation through your records.

See below for video and instructions on setting up Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales:

1.) Open the record you wish to make a connection from.

2a.) Click Connect on the command bar.
2b.) Click the down arrow ∨ next to the record name, then click Connections > Connect.

You’ll see a Connection popup:

New Connection Window Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales CRM 625x584 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

3.) Click in the Name field, then scroll to the bottom and choose Look Up More Records.

4.) Choose the entity type you want to connect to in Look for, then select a record and click Add:

Lookup Record Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales CRM 625x585 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

5.) Add a role and/or description to your Connection.

6.) Click Save & Close.

Voilà! Your connection has been created.

By Peter Wolf
President, QuantaCRM

Follow me on Twitter @CRMWolf

About QuantaCRM

QuantaCRM is a Microsoft Gold partner out of Chicago, IL with nearly two decades of experience helping small and medium-sized businesses implement and succeed with CRM.

Our OnTrack CRM Success System enables CRM success from implementation to adoption and beyond, and our top-notch Dynamics CRM support team ensures you get the most from your CRM!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Important Change to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Update Policy

CRM Blog Important Change to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Update Policy

Microsoft is revising its Dynamics 365 update policy resulting in some important changes for existing customers.

In a recent blog post it announced:

  • Two major D365 cloud releases each year will deliver new functions and capabilities
  • Updates will be available from April and October each year
  • Release notes will be published on July 23 for the October 2018 update
  • Updates will be backwards compatible so apps and supported customizations remain operational post-update
  • New features involving potentially disruptive changes will be disabled by default enabling prior testing
  • Revised update timelines to help administrators validate the impact of major updates in a sandbox environment
  • Continuous delivery schedule means that customers running an older version will need to update to the latest edition
  • Revised update process applies to the D365 apps and underlying platform (Common Data Service for Apps)

What this means for Dynamics 365 users

In practice, Microsoft has consistently shipped two main updates each year but the major change for existing customers is the removal of the option to skip a cloud release.

Until now, D365 admins have been able to remain up to one version behind the latest version but this will now require all to be on the latest available version.

With all users on one version, Microsoft will be better able to focus its resources on adding new features and making Dynamics performance improvements.

As a result, customers running Customer Engagement apps (Sales, Customer Service, Project Service & Field Service) should plan to be on the latest version by 31 January 2019.

D365 v9.0 users are already using the latest version but this change in policy will require v8.2 users to complete their cloud update before Feb’2019 to avoid having an automated update being scheduled by Microsoft.

Many admins already use a sandbox environment to test updates before applying to their live environment. From April 2019, Microsoft has signaled that it will provide a separate timeline specifically to test new capabilities and train users in advance.

As well as its two major updates each year, Microsoft promises a continuous set of updates for reliability and performance. A recent step up in the frequency of its update cadence has been evident with new updates arriving most weeks.

To find out more, Microsoft has published FAQ’s about its new Dynamics 365 update policies.

About Preact

Preact is a Microsoft Gold Partner implementing and supporting CRM solutions since 1993.

Check our blog for more information about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Microsoft Tools that Increase Performance in Asset Management by Extending CRM

CRM Blog Microsoft Tools that Increase Performance in Asset Management by Extending CRM

Part 3 of a 3-Part Series: How Asset Management Firms are Redefining Sales and Services Using CRM and More

Most technology solutions can’t meet what asset management firms need to be more profitable, productive, and successful. “Horizontal” CRM solutions like Salesforce or point solution like SalesPage, you are probably missing opportunities. Microsoft Dynamics 365 the capabilities to meet these needs and more.

In this 3-part series, we show you how CRM as an operational platform goes far beyond traditional CRM. “Does Your System Measure Up? What Asset Management Firms Need in CRM Software”, outlined the must-have components of a CRM software solution for Asset Management. “5 Reasons Why Asset Managers Should Make Machine Learning Part of Their Daily Routine…and Why Their CRM Software Should Help,” dived into machine learning and predictive analytics. Part 3 discusses tools beyond CRM provided by Microsoft–tools which you likely already have–that will help further improve performance.


The right tools can mean the difference between a productive day and a frustrating one for an asset manager.

No doubt, your organization is already using some Microsoft applications such as Outlook Exchange, Word, and Excel. Is your CRM connected to these tools? It should be. Tracking email activities, appointments, phone calls, and tasks with your Office tools integrated directly with your CRM software will help you make the most of all your systems, saving time and resources.

If your CRM software doesn’t directly sync with your other Office systems, you can’t do things like inline editing with Excel online, use Excel templates to import data directly from CRM, or distribute an updatable Excel spreadsheet.

LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM

Since Microsoft owns LinkedIn, the integration between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn is very powerful. Records in your CRM, for both companies and individuals, can automatically be linked back to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. If a contact’s email address in CRM matches an email address in LinkedIn, you will automatically see that person’s information. Likewise, within LinkedIn Sales Navigator, if you want to track a new lead, it can be synchronized between LinkedIn and CRM. This benefit is available only with Dynamics 365/CRM

Other asset management tools and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Of course, you use Outlook, Excel, and Word. But Microsoft Office 365 has so much more to offer asset managers.  Because OneNote integrates with Dynamics 365, you can take notes at meetings and then easily distribute them or store them for later referral within your CRM. SharePoint and OneDrive will also integrate with your CRM at the individual record level to facilitate sharing and collaboration.

Working on a proposal response to an RFP and being able to collaborate directly within OneDrive and have that linked back to the RFP (which is posted inside CRM) is just one of many examples of how SharePoint integration within Dynamics can make an asset manager’s day much more productive.

Microsoft Teams allows you to pull data from your CRM, OneNote, OneDrive, SharePoint and other applications for sharing and collaboration. If you are using market data feeds about a particular opportunity or account, that data can appear in Microsoft Teams and become the viewpoint from which you can reference all the collaboration about a specific item within CRM.

Power BI, with its reporting and analytics, is critically important for asset managers. Consolidate your CRM data with data from other sources for a single, complete view.

Microsoft Flow is the way to integrate your CRM with other business-critical tools. Flow is an integration point to Dynamics, but also to the entire suite of Microsoft products and it extends connectivity to dozens of third-party applications that you may already have.

Power tools help you customize your systems without having to touch code

Azure Machine Learning has a visual tool that allows you to apply of algorithms and learning mechanisms for data to produce Web services that can be used within CRM to evaluate the likelihood of winning a specific RFP.

PowerApps lets you extend your data beyond CRM into more of an XRM model that creates custom user interfaces by drag and drop, no coding required, for a smartphone, PC, or tablet.  External data and CRM information can coexist using Microsoft’s Common Data Service. Gathering transactional data across the industry allows asset managers to see which firms are trading on your buying agreements, and where to focus your sales efforts.

If you’d like to explore more ways that Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you leverage the best asset management tools, contact our financial services experts at AKA Enterprise Solutions.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Biz App Microsoft Flow 300x225 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

The Microsoft Flow team has been hard at work making important improvements this year. Flows are easier to learn, use, and manage than ever before. In this blog we share a few of our favorite updates to Microsoft Team Integration, Approvals, Sharing Flows, and the Flow Documentation site!

Microsoft Teams Integration

This goes beyond the Teams connector, which already allowed you to create Flows that could take actions in Teams, for example by posting a message. This gives you the ability to interact with Flow from inside Teams. The first step is to install the Flow app from the Team store.

071018 1715 2018Updates1 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Go to the More Apps menu in Microsoft Teams to access the Flow app. The Flows tab shows your flows and team flows. The Approval tab shows sent and received approvals and the Conversation tab allows you to interact with Flow Bot.

071018 1715 2018Updates2 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Flow Bot can tell you what it can do, provide you with a list of flows it can run, run a scheduled flow on demand, run a manually triggered flow that does not have inputs, and show the description for a flow.

071018 1715 2018Updates3 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates


Modern approvals in Flow allow you to quickly set up an automated approval workflow for your data in many systems. Proposed content in SharePoint, Twitter, Visual Studio, and more, can be set up such that actions are automatically taken once the proposed content is approved. Approvers receive emails notifying them of the approval request and users can interact with approvals in a unified Approvals Center in Microsoft Flow.

What’s new in modern approvals? The detail of the approval request can now have rich text, lists, links and tables using Markdown. In addition, approvals you receive can now be reassigned to a different person.

The new History tab in the Approvals center shows all requests, both sent and received. Filter by title or direction and sort ascending or descending by date. Click on a row to see the details of an approval request including the comments and the exact time of the request.

071018 1715 2018Updates4 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

The modern approvals connector is now built on the latest version of the Common Data Service for Apps (CDS for Apps). This allows you to build flows that act based on the status of approvals you receive or send. For example, you can build flows to notify you of new approval requests, remind you of pending approval requests, or notify you when a request you sent is approved. Use the template created by the Microsoft Flow team as a starting point. Modify the data operations, variables, and conditional actions to fit your scenario.

071018 1715 2018Updates5 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Sharing Flows

We have been able to share flows by adding people as co-owners, or (for manual flows only) adding them as run-only users (which makes the flow button available to them in the mobile app). Now, it is possible to add an Office 365 Group (including a Microsoft Team) as the co-owner or (for manual flows) as a run-only user. If the flow has steps which interact with a SharePoint list, the list can be invited to be a co-owner of the flow or (for manual flows only) as a run-only user, giving access to the flow to all members of the list.

When you add owners to a flow, you will see exactly which connections and permission are being provided to them.

071018 1715 2018Updates6 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Since a shared flow always runs with your connections and data, it’s important to evaluate whether you trust the author of the flow and whether you agree with the actions in the flow before running it. When running a flow, we can now see details of all the actions and connections in the flow, including details of SharePoint sites accessed by the flow, if applicable.

071018 1715 2018Updates7 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Documentation Landing Page

As you can see, Microsoft Flow is growing and improving all the time. To help you find the documentation most relevant to where you are in your Flow journey, the documentation page now has links to different content for different audiences. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate user, expert or admin, there is a path for you. This makes it easier to find information you can use right away so you can get started having fun and being productive with Microsoft Flow!

071018 1715 2018Updates8 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Want to learn even more about Microsoft Flow? Join PowerObjects, this year’s Platinum Sponsor, at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit on July 22-24 in Seattle. Register with code HCL100dc to receive a $ 100 discount.

Please note: there are three different Flow plans. Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications and Office 365 plans may include Microsoft Flow Free, Microsoft Flow Plan 1, or Microsoft Flow Plan 2. To learn about pricing and features, please visit the Microsoft Flow Plan site.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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User Design UX improvements in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Version 9 Customer Engagement Apps

These days technology system improvements are not only about practical new functionality. It is also about making enhancements that help you to enjoy using the system even more. This is a new emerging specialty called User Experience Design (UX).

UX is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided each time you use the product. Microsoft has made some nice UX improvements in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Version 9 Customer Engagement Apps.

These changes are consistent across Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation Apps. The changes apply to all the main application areas such as forms, dashboards, grids, dialogs, and the search screen.

Top UX improvements in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Version 9:

  • Customer data is grouped in easy-to-read containers that streamline data entry. The new style makes it easier to see empty fields, and the text wraps within fields to make it easier to read.
  • Unnecessary white space has been removed on forms and dashboards. Sections for content now have defined borders with consistent spacing between sections. Empty containers have a helpful message and icon.

  • New clipboard structure for the content is shown on all pages, such as forms, dashboards, and grids improves the visual hierarchy. You can customize the colors used for the clipboard on page and panel header.
  • Use of standardized fontsgive a more consistent look and feel.
  • Tabs, buttons, and input fields on forms have been redesigned to give a more intuitive user experienceand help users be more productive.
  • Long text labels and values are wrapped when entering data on a form.Admins can control word wrap in the system level settings.
  • Sub-grid header color can be customized at the form level.
  • Advanced find now has the option to build a NOT INquery with a does not contain data For example, users can query for all cases that do not have a related task.

Download the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Spring ’18 release notes.

Of course, something else that will improve your enjoyment of using Microsoft Dynamics 365 is having it set up correctly, by a company that understands your team and your unique requirements.

For over a decade the team at Crowe CRM has been helping companies to improve their CRM experience.

If you are ready for a better CRM experience, contact us.

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner www.CroweCRM.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Version 9 – Unable to Assign Records

processing e1530543168547 Microsoft Dynamics 365 Version 9 – Unable to Assign Records

Recently, we came across an issue where multiple clients were unable to assign cases, tasks and other various records using the “Assign” button within Microsoft Dynamics 365. Users, including system administrators, would try to use the Assign button from within the record and the page would get stuck “Processing.” This same behavior would occur when trying to assign bulk records from a view of the records or within an advanced find.

What We Found

After a recent upgrade to Dynamics Version 9, we discovered the Version number did not match the Database Version for the organization. This is a known issue with Microsoft known as a database mismatch. Microsoft is working to correct the issue but is giving main priority to organizations that request the correction due to problems experienced on their systems.

1734403610 Microsoft Dynamics 365 Version 9 – Unable to Assign Records

The Workaround

One way to get past this limitation while Microsoft is working to resolve the issue is by accessing the record directly. From the individual record, users can assign the record directly from the “Owner” lookup field and save the record. Once Microsoft implemented the Database and Version mismatch fix for our organizations, the issue was resolved and has not resurfaced.

Thinking of Upgrading Soon?

Please consider the steps you can take, as a company, to minimize the risk of issues occurring as a result of an upgrade. A great practice is to have a Sandbox Organization. Upgrading a Sandbox system prior to upgrading your Production system will give you the ability to test and preview all the new features of the latest release. It will also allow you to test for bugs and issues that may occur from the upgrade. Once the upgrade to production has been done, it is too late. These problems will quickly become critical issues that need resolutions immediately so user production is not impacted.

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing and Unified Communication Solutions.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Back to Basics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Terminology

ballpen business cell phone 796602 300x225 Back to Basics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Terminology

If you’re new to and learning about Microsoft Dynamics 365, you have probably come across some terminology or functionality you do not fully understand. In this blog, we are going back to the basics to offer alternative explanations for a few Dynamics 365 definitions that may need further clarification.

An overview of what we will cover:

  1. Publishers and their role when you deploy solutions
  2. Connections vs Relationships
  3. Tabs vs Sections on record forms


The main purpose of the Publisher is to identify the user who created a specific solution. Why is it important? Even out of the box Dynamics 365 has over 20 solutions, but there may be more once you start customising the system. If you have large development teams, especially from different consulting companies, Publisher will help you identify who created what solution. Also, if you buy a solution, you will know the vendor and how to contact them.

Publishers can be identified by the prefix and name. The prefix is used for custom entities and fields, while name is used for the solution. The name needs to be created by the user, while the prefix can be either system generated (new) or set up individually, but again, for the purpose of the identification, it is recommended to set up unique prefix.

062918 1757 BacktoBasic1 Back to Basics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Terminology

Connections vs Relationships

Connections show the association between records. It is an entity and requires you to specify the connection role each time you create a connection, such as spouse, colleague, or friend. You can create Connection between virtually any entity or record.

Relationships show the association between entities. While it is also an entity, unlike Connections, Dynamics 365 does not have a view where you can see relationships. Therefore, unlike Connections, you cannot see the Relationships entity in Advanced Find. The relations can be 1:N, N:1, or N:N. Unlike Connections, Relationships are not an entity. The Relationship between entities is configured in Settings.

Please do not confuse Relationship Roles and Relationships. Relationship Roles are being deprecated and will not appear in future releases of Dynamics 365. Relationship Roles are now replaced by Connection Roles. Relationships Insight (a feature in Sales) and Product Relationships (Cross-Sell, Upsell, Substitute and Accessory) are also very different from Relationships.

Tabs vs Sections

Tabs contain Sections and Sections contain Fields. On the picture below, Details is a tab that contains several Sections – Company Profile, Description, Contact Preferences, Billing, and Shipping.

You can see the list of tabs for each form when you press Form Navigation drop-down, the button 062918 1757 BacktoBasic2 Back to Basics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Terminology next to the record name.

062918 1757 BacktoBasic3 Back to Basics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Terminology

Hopefully these explanations help in your Dynamics 365 journey! Make sure to subscribe to the PowerObjects blog for all information Dynamics 365.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Time is running out! Join our community, partners, and experts at Microsoft Business Applications Summit

It’s almost here, the first-ever Microsoft Business Applications Summit, coming to Seattle July 22 – 24. Don’t miss out! Register today for two info-packed days of amazing sessions, networking opportunities and expert meet-ups.

Why attend?

  • This is the place for all things Dynamics 365, Power BI, Excel, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow – connect with peers, collaborate with your community and pack in as much learning as possible.
  • 13 pre-days and 140+ sessions – including 50+ hands-on workshops – across product lines and specialties. There’s something for everyone, so check out the session catalog.
  • Connect with more than 300 experts – share strategies and learn best practices.
  • 35+ hours of networking with business evangelists, power users, solution architects and partners.
  • Keynotes from analytics aficionado Malcolm Gladwell and Microsoft executives James Phillips and Alysa Taylor.

6f3b9463 6eaa 4a89 9181 61ef22902c1d Time is running out! Join our community, partners, and experts at Microsoft Business Applications Summit

Here are a few sessions you won’t want to miss:

Be a data ninja – Best practices for the modern business analyst using Microsoft Excel by David Monroy

Learn the coolest formulas, visualization hacks and other exciting ways to manipulate data in Excel.

Build great analytics with Microsoft Power BI and Entity store for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations by Milinda Vitharana and TJ Vassar

Learn how to build high volume, near real-time analytics.

Intro to Microsoft Power BI Desktop by Will Thompson and Amanda Cofsky

Get an overview of Microsoft Power BI Desktop’s capabilities.

Building a data model to support 1 trillion rows of data and more with Microsoft Power BI Premium by Christian Wade and James Serra

Enable high-performance, scalable BI systems in the cloud that deliver actionable insights.

Debugging common DAX performance issues by Kasper de Jonge and Adam Saxton

Explore how to improve performance by going through concrete examples.

Democratizing enterprise data scenarios with Microsoft Office 365, Excel and Power BI by Olaf Hubel and Miguel Martinez

Learn how to use the unique strength of Microsoft Excel in Power BI to boost your business analytics and insights in this demo-rich session.

Whirlwind tour of Microsoft Power BI by Adam Wilson

What’s new and exciting with Microsoft Power BI.

So you want to do data science, what now? by Euan Garden

Data science is one of the hottest areas in our industry – let’s review what it takes to do data science, who you need with what skills, and how to up/cross skill your existing team.

42cc93c1 024a 4573 a163 60b815c82355 Time is running out! Join our community, partners, and experts at Microsoft Business Applications Summit

Get all these sessions and more at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit. Check out our full session catalog here and start outlining your best conference experience with our recently launched schedule builder. Browse all sessions and workshops, or search using custom tags, then add what looks interesting to your schedule. We hope to see you there!

eea902c0 6a25 4031 8de3 7bedc88629a4 Time is running out! Join our community, partners, and experts at Microsoft Business Applications Summit

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits: Leverage your Donor Database

Donor Data 300x225 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits: Leverage your Donor Database

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the best-kept secrets in the nonprofit world for Donor Management Software. While often overlooked in Top 10 lists of Donor Software many of the most well-oiled nonprofit machines leverage it to keep their donors engaged and their mission thriving.

As a donor management tool, Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be a solid investment for the nonprofit that is ready to move out of the stone age of Excel and Rolodexes and start to transform donor data into more strategic, meaningful interactions.

Have you ever fantasized about any of the following questions for yourself or your organization?

  • What if there was a way to see a donors’ complete giving history in one place?
  • What if there was a way to easily see all donors’ pledged or planned giving for forecasting?
  • What if there was a way to access real-time totals of my Annual Fund or Capital Campaign for this fiscal year?
  • What if there was a way to easily generate a Prospect Pipeline of my major donors and then track where they each are individually in the pipeline?
  • What if there was a way to clean up all our old, dirty donor data?
  • What if there was a better way than my whiteboard or Outlook calendar to organize my Grant Report tasks and deadlines?
  • What if there was a way to easily assess the success of our Mass Marketing Campaigns, both email and direct mail?
  • What if there was a way to have Event Management or Volunteer Management in the same system as my donor information?
  • What if there was a better way for our donation and/or pledge information to integrate with the Accounting department?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has solutions to all of the above for organizations of any size. Additionally, PowerObjects can even work with your NPO to customize your database specifically to your organization’s mission, terminology, and business processes.

What does “CRM” even mean?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software. Sound somewhat familiar? At the end of the day what does your fundraising really boil down to? Building and maintaining relationships with donors, rather than customers. Microsoft Dynamics 365, while often used in a Sales or Service capacity, can easily be re-framed within a nonprofit context. Instead of sales (where customers are being sold on a product), or service (where providing timely, tailored service helps retain customers), Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Nonprofits uses the best of both worlds. Donors are managed similarly to a sales contact. You have an increased ability to sell them on your mission and follow-up with them regularly to continue to receive their support.

How will I get the buy-in from my Director or the Board for new software?

PowerObjects understands that your business is different from our business clients. You’re often coming up against thinner budget lines with minimal resources and often find yourself facing either very high turnover or extremely low turnover that might make change in the organization hard. Regardless of the particulars, we also know that every year your goal is to serve your mission bigger and better with greater lasting impact.

While software, data migration, and/or customizations can be pricy, a robust and flexible database software like Dynamics 365 is a long-term investment for your organization. Not only having but also using clean, accurate data is key for the longevity of any modern organization, for-profit and non-profit alike. Whether you are dealing with a rapidly growing number of constituents or a shrinking number of donors and donations, Dynamics 365 can help you expand and manage your growth.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 even has the ability to interface with other programs like MailChimp, Mail Merge, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel, and many others. You can look forward to having your information in a centralized location and a reduction of redundant work. Dynamics 365 even has mobile and tablet capabilities so you can access donor information on the go at fundraising events or board meetings. With optimized donor insights and streamlined business processes, your staff’s time will be better spent.

We know that in a nonprofit environment your organization has to be even more strategic about your engagements and expenditures. By using Dynamics 365, you can lay the long-term foundation for lasting change by boosting your fundraising potential with data. Need a real-life example of nonprofit success with Microsoft Dynamics? Check out this case study featuring WomenVenture.

Reach out to PowerObjects today to find out how we can help you take the next step in running your nonprofit less like a charity and more like a thriving business!

Happy D’365ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM