Here are few tips on some of the small improvements in functionalities under the Project accounting module in D365 F&O.
Prevent project closure if open transactions exists: This is one of the most common requirements to make sure the Project is not closed out if there are pending transactions such as time, expense or invoices that are created but not yet posted to the project.
With this parameter marked, if a user tries to change the stage of a project to Closed/Finished, system will automatically detect if there any pending transactions and if there are, then it will not the user set the stage to Closed/Finished.
Advanced resource validation filtering enabled: This is a small enhancement that now allows you to filter employees based on their employment status. When enabled, you will see a new option to select the Employment status. This will make it easy to manage resource validations on projects when employees are terminated or when new employees come in with start date in the near future.
Allow sales orders for projects with multiple funding sources: When you have more than one funding source setup under a project contract, the system never allowed to create a sales order for the projects under that project contract. This has been one of the most important limitations of the system for a long time.
It is a very common requirement to have contracts funded by more than one funding sources/parties and if these contracts requires you to create sales orders, then it was not possible earlier. System would prompt with an error message as shown below.
With this new parameter marked, system will now allow you to create sales orders for projects which are setup with multiple funding sources. When you Mark this parameter, you will be able to chose whether you want the customer to be defaulted from the funding source or from the project.
The funding source which you select when creating the Sales order will be used when you invoice the sales order on the T&M project.
Allow batch process for publishing of Project WBS: When you have a Proejct work breakdown structure that is large and complex, having the option to publish the project WBS in batch (In the background) can come in very handy. This is a welcome change and improvement.
Automatically set accounting date to open ledger period for project journals: When a general ledger financial period is closed for transactions entry/posting, it is usually a requirement to allow the posting of the transactions automatically to the next open general ledger period. In earlier releases you could setup required parameters under Projects and Expenses module to post expense reports and project time sheets to post automatically to the next open GL period, if the fiscal period for the current transaction date is closed for entry.
With this new parameter, you can do the same thing for project journals. So for example you are trying to post a project journals into a GL period that is closed for entry/posting, then system can automatically post to the next open period.
For example, I have closed August 2019 for the Project module.
If the parameter is not marked, then you will get an error message as shown in screen below and the journal won’t post.
With the new parameter marked, I now try to post a project hours journal for the month of August. When this is posted, you can see the GL voucher is posted to September 1st (Next open GL period) automatically .
One Version(Evergreen Application), Power Platform, AI, Mixed reality, Virtual agent (BOT), Machine learning, IoT. These are buzzwords that are not uncommon to hear these days, when you talk of any business application.
The landscape of ERP and business applications has changed significantly, faster than we all expected. If you really think about it, the core fundamentals of business process requirements are not changing that much, but how you implement and accomplish those business process automation is certainly changing in a big way. No code, Low code app building service like Microsoft PowerApps, business process workflow automation service like Microsoft Flow and data insights building service like Microsoft Power BI are big components of it.
These different services are part of the Microsoft Power Platform and these combined with features like AI builder, Portals and services like Common Data Service, Azure Data Lak etc. makes the overall Microsoft Business Applications platform one of the best business applications platform for companies of any size.
Today in this post, I wanted to pick on one of the newest features in Dynamics 365 for F&O called “Business Events” and explain my experience with it with a very simple business scenario.
So What are business events?
Business Events in D365 F&O is a mechanism which lets external systems receive notifications from D365 F&O. The external systems can then perform additional business actions in response to the business events.
When a business process such as a Purchase Order confirmation, Sales order invoice, payment posting or even a workflow approval is initiated, a business event automatically fires up and generates a data payload. Endpoint such as Microsoft Flow, Azure Service bus can subscribe to these business events and get the payload information to trigger additional automated actions, both within D365 F&O as well as in external systems.
There are several business events that are shipped out of the box with the standard D365 F&O, and you can always customize and create custom business events that are suitable for you. The main objective is to notify service end points and there by external systems when a certain business process is completed within D365 F&O, so that you can carry out further tasks automatically. Screenshot below shows the business event catalog.
To illustrate how this functionality works, I took a very simple requirement. I wanted to notify the requester of a purchase order when the items arrive at the warehouse, so that they can go and collect those.
I built a Microsoft Flow which triggers when a “Purchase order received” business event gets fired up. My flow listens to this business event and gets additional information about the requester and purchase order from D365 F&O and then does the following things automatically.
Sends the requester an email. I used outlook for this.
Sends the requester a text message on phone. I used Twillo for this.
Posts a IM message in Microsoft Teams as a Flow BOT.
Screenshot below shows the Microsoft flow configuration.
I will now go ahead and create a Purchase Request and Purchase Order with me as the Requester and will receive the items on the PO.
Let us now go ahead and receive the goods and post the goods receipt note/product receipt document.
As as soon the Product receipt for posted, the business event was fired up in D365 F&O and Microsoft Flow was able to listen to those and automate the intended actions of notifying the requester via email, text and Teams IM message.
Screenshot below shows my flow was run successfully and also the different notifications i got automatically on my email, cell phone text and IM on Microsoft Teams.
Now, that illustration was a very simple business requirement and scenario. I could take this further and automate complex task automation such as,
Update a data record in F&O.
Create new data in F&O.
Initiate Microsoft Flow approvals for all workflow item approvals of F&O for richer email approval experience.
Connect to other business apps such as SharePoint, Common Data Service, Dynamics 365 for Sales and more to automate further business tasks.
Notify customer when their order is shipped with Tracking info
I was able to do these without writing a single line of code. That is the Power of the Microsoft Power Platform. The amount of process and task automation you can do with the Power Platform are endless.
That’s it for now and we will take a look at a more complex scenario next time involving a workflow approval. Till next time!!!
Last few months have been pretty busy with lot of our customers getting ready to move to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations “ONE Version. All of you should probably know already what “ONE Version” is and what are some of the key expectations around this. The objective is very simple. “All customers should run the latest version of Dynamics 365, Always“. This means, no more expenssive and extenssive upgrade projects and timelines.
For common questions on ONE version, you can find more info here.
With that said, I wanted to write about the ALL NEW Project timesheets mobile app in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, that launched with the ONE version. (The app was released a few weeks ago alongside the ONE version release in the first week of April 2019). In the earlier releases of D365 F&O, there was the Project time entry mobile workspace, which did allow you to enter your project timesheet on a mobile device, but it had very limited functionality. Now, there is a new dedicated mobile app called “Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Timesheet” in both Apple Appstore and Google playsytore. This new mobile app is fully redesigned and provides full functionality for timesheet management using a mobile devide. Some key highlights of this app,
Standalone app that seamlessly connects to Dynamics 365 F&O.
Modern responsive and fast user interface which is easy to use.
Easy time recording and internal/external comments/description entry.
Mobile timesheet entry submissions.
Mobile Timesheet Approvals.
Enter start and stop times.
Configurable Data fields visbility
To get started, you need to download and install the mobile app from App Store or Playstore. Once you have done that, the syustem admin of your organziation will need to enable this mobile time entry within Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operation.
Navigate to Project Management and Accoutning > Setup > Project management and accounting parameters > Timesheet tab.
You can also pick and chose which data fields to show on the mobile app and which ones not to show. That’s it!!
Now launch the mobile app and the timesheet entry process is very startight forward. You can Copy timesheets from previous, favorites and assignments. More importantly, you will always see the list of most recent projects you worked on, so that it is easy to find and select. The user interface for entering the time and comments is clean and welcoming. Great job Microsoft on this one and I am sure this will get new features in future versions.
Here are some screenshots from the testing I performed and it worked like a Charm!! Try it and provide your feedback to Microsoft directly in Appstores.
The October 2018 release of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (Version 8.1) introduced several new and very useful features in the core financials management area of the application, along with several other new functionality and enhancements across various other modules, analytics, overall platform, extensibility and more.
In this blog post, we will review some of the key new features under the core financials area, which a lot of end users will certainly fall in love with.
Central view of Settlement Transactions: In the past, when you had to see the settlements on a customer or vendor transaction, you always had to make a few clicks and jump to more than one screen to find the relevant information, which was time consuming. With the new “View Settlement” form/option on the Customer and Vendor transactions form, you can now see the full settlement details, related transactions, accounting, history and more, all at one place. Here is an example.
A customer invoice is posted: The View settlements form shows just the required details of the invoice.
Let us now settle this invoice against a customer payment along with some cash discount. Here is what you see in the view settlement form.
On this new “View Settlements” form, you can,
View any related transaction lines for the invoice, payment, cash discount lines etc.
You can dig into the Settlement history, if there a transaction was settles, unsettled multiple times.
You can view the accounting entries directly from this screen, for each individual line.
You can also initiate the Undo Settlement process from this new form.
Customer and Vendor data field change approvals: On the
Customer and Vendor master records, if you want approval process to be in
place, when certain data fields are changed on the customer or vendor records,
you can now enable that functionality optionally. This is a pretty neat
feature, which let’s you chose which data fields you want to control from being
changed accidentally, and then configure a detailed one or multi step approval
process, so that the changes can be reviewed and approved, before the new field
value comes into effect for the customer or vendor. In the post today, we will
see this on the Customer side, but it is the same functionality on the vendor
side as well.
So the first step is to Enable the approval process. As i mentioned, this is completely optional and if you do not need, you just leave the feature turned OFF. To enable this, go to Accounts Receivable > Setup > AR Parameters form and mark the “Enable customer approval” check box under the General tab.
The next step is to actually configure the approval workflow, which will be used for routing the proposed customer account changes for review and approval. This workflow is similar to other workflows in the system. In my case, i have setup a basic workflow with just one step approval process.
Once you have the workflow configured, let us now see this functionality in action. Navigate to the customer master and you will notice that the data fields you selected in the parameter screen , will now show as “requires approval” indicator. This is super helpful and easily tells the user that this field if changes will require approval. Let’s try to change the customer credit limit and customer group field.
Let’s try to change the customer credit limit and customer group field. When you save the changes, system will create and show the change proposal, which shows both current values and the proposed changed. At this point, the user if wishes, can discard the changes they made.
Notice now that the status of the Customer account says “Changes not submitted”.
One important thing to note here is, when the changes to the data fields are in process, you can still transact with the customer. System will just use the current values.
Once you are done with the changes, click Workflow > Submit to submit the changes to the workflow for review and approval. When the changes gets assigned to the approver, they can view the Proposed changes on the customer record directly.
Important note: There is a periodic option to submit all changes created for customer accounts in bulk. You can do it both manually and in the background/batch.
The changes to the data fields will come into effect after the change proposal has been approved. It works the same way for vendor records as well.
Financial Dimension values on Derived Dimensions: In many of the implementations I have done, a common requirement we here is to have some of the master records such as Item, Project, Customer etc. to be configured as one of the financial dimensions, so that customers can do adequate financial reporting on those. We use Derived dimension values for this and often end up having to select the financial dimension value manually on the master data record or we end up doing additional customization to automatically populate this value when new records are created in the master data table.
With this new functionality, you do not need to do any customization or even setup the dimension value manually when new records are created. If enabled, the system will automatically set these up now. Let us see this in action.
Additionally, there is another new functionality available on the financial dimensions area, where you can now setup certain dimension values to be defaulted when you select another dimension value. For example, when you select a specific business unit, you can have the system automatically default a cost center value for you.
To set this up, go under Financial dimensions > Select the dimension record and click Derived dimensions button. Here you can setup the value combinations of the defaulting of dimensions.
In this case, i have setup to default Cost center and Department values to be defaulted when i select a certain business unit.”. Let us see this in action.
With the above setup, when I select Business Unit dimension on a master record setup such as Project/Customer or anything else, the Cost center and Department dimensions will be auto populated, and i do not see to select them specifically. This is a pretty handy feature and will certainly save a lot of time for users in some cases.
For example, when i select Business unit 001 on my customer record, the Cost center and Department values auto populates to what i have setup.
The same defaulting functionality works on journal entry as well. For example, when I do a general journal entry and select the Business Unit dimension, i can have other dimension values defaulted (as long as they pass other account structure related validations)
Financial Journal Validation: Additional functionality to simulate posting during journal validation is available, which allows you to basically run the whole posting process, without actually posting the journal. As a result, you can see the possible errors, messages or warnings and you can take corrective actions on the journal.
Global Shared Number Sequence for Customers and Vendors: The global shared number sequence functionality allows you to use a single number sequence across many legal entities for customers and vendors. With this, you can also copy customers and vendors easily between legal entities. Since you cannot share master data using virtual companies anymore in D365 F&O, this might be a functionality you want to use to share the customer or vendor master if needed in your implementation.
Note: This functionality is not a replacement of the Virtual company feature by any means. It is just a possible alternate that can be leveraged to have same customer ID and info for one customer across multiple entities, but they will live as separate data records and have their own transactions.
The first thing you have to do is configure a Shared number sequence and then you will need to select the same shared number sequence under the Number sequence parameter.
Then you need to make sure you select the same number sequence code for the customer account under the AR parameters page in all the entities where you want to use the shared customer account ID.
With that setup, let us now see how you can copy customer accounts from one entity to another and they will use the same customer account number and other related info for the customer.
In USSI entity, I created a new customer account. Notice that when i create the new customer, system does not assign a Customer account number immediately. This is because, if you want to copy the customer from another entity, it will use the same customer account number. If not, it will assign a new shared number after you save the details on the customer. (We will see this copying feature when we create this same customer in another entity USMF).
Now i have filled the required details for this new customer and i save the data. System assigned a customer account number using the shared number sequence we had setup.
We will now copy the customer in the USMF entity. Let us see how that process looks like. I will navigate to the Customer master in the USMF entity and click New on the All Customers page, and then i will type in the customer name i want to copy. System will automatically find the match and if they are an existing customer in another entity, it will present an option to copy the customer account.
You will now see that the Customer information is copied into the USMF entity and it used the same Customer account number.
Note: You will need to make sure all the dependent data fields for the customer account are correctly setup in both entities.
Now that we have the shared customer account numbers setup and customer accounts copied, let us look at another new feature that complements this feature.
Global Customer and Vendor Transactions List page: If you are using shared number sequence for customers/vendors and have copied the accounts between multiple entities, you would obviously want to see a centralized view where you can see the transactions of the customer of vendor in all the entities they are copied in. I have already posted some transactions for this new customer “Marshal’s New store” in both USSI and USMF entities.
Invoice posted in USSI:
Invoice Posted in USMF:
Let’s see how the look in the new global transactions list page. I am in the USMF entity now and i will navigate to the global transactions list page.
Notice that the new page shows me all the transactions for this customer account form multiple entities. You will notice here that when you select the transaction for the specific entity on this page, the system automatically switches the company account, so that you can perform required operations on the transaction correctly.
That’s it for today’s post. In the next post, we will discuss in detail about another new feature in the core financials module called ‘Dual currency” and learn how it works and what are some of the significant changes that were introduced as part of this functionality.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 For Finance and Operations provides integration with 3 exchange rate providers out of the box.
Central Bank of Russian Federation
Central Bank of Europe
Depending on the country of your operations or your preference, you can use any of these providers to import currency exchange rates directly into Dynamics 365. Usually, OANDA is the widely used and most trusted exchange rate provider.
The configuration of these is pretty simple and straightforward. The integration with Central bank of Russian Federation and Central bank of Europe does not require you to setup an API key within Dynamics 365, where as for OANDA, you will need to get the API key from OANDA and set it up in Dynamics 365. OANDA also lets you do more flexible setups, such as how many decimal places you want to use, what quote type you want to use.
Lets take a quick look at how the process for setting these up and importing the exchange rates looks like.
The first thing is to setup the Currency exchange rate providers within Dynamics 365. You can do this under General Ledger > Currencies > Configure exchange rate providers form.
If you look at the default key configurations for the Central Bank of Russian Federation and Central Bank of Europe, there are pre-populated by Dynamics 365 with the Key values, which are basically the service endpoint (XML files). Screenshot below shows the configs.
To demonstrate the feature, i have created 3 separate Exchange rate types for the 3 different providers.
Now that the exchange rate providers and exchange rate types are setup, lets ee how the import of the exchange rate works. I will first do it for the Central Bank of Russian Federation and Central Bank of Europe and then i will do the setup for OANDA feed, since that involves some additional steps.
There are 2 options of importing the exchange rates. You can trigger the import manually every time you require or you can set the process to run in batch at specified recurring intervals.
To initiate the import, navigate to General Ledger > Currencies > Import currency exchange rates.
On this screen, you can select the Exchange rate type into which you want to import the exchange rates.
Then select the Exchange rate provider (CBRF, CBE or OANDA)
You can import “As of today’s date” or you can specify a date range as well (From date and To date)
If you using the Central Bank of Russian Federation as the exchange rate provider, you can tell the system to automatically create the currency pairs. This is nice !
You can chose if you want to override existing rates also.
Here you can setup the import process to run automatically in the background(batch) at specified recurring time intervals)
After you click OK, the import process will start and you will get a confirmation message telling what was imported.
If you are using the Central Bank of Europe as the exchange rate provider, you can additionally tell the system to prevent import on national holiday.
After the import process is complete, you will find your exchange rates in the Exchange table.
For OANDA as your exchange rate provider, you will do some additional setup. First you will need to get a API key from OANDA. If you have a paid subscription with OANDA, you will already have a API key for exchange rates. But to test, you can just start a 30 days free trial by simply specifying your email ID. You will receive the API key in your email.
One you have the API key from OANDA, you will need to set it up under the Exchange rate service provider configuration.
With this setup, You are all set!!. Now the import process for OANDA is the same as we saw above for CBRF and CBE. Only thing you need to note is, with OANDA, you will need to create the currency pairs depending on how many currencies your organization operates in.
You can verify that the exchange rates are imported.
You can see below that i had created 3 currency pairs (USD to INR, USD to EUR and USD to GBP) and the import process imported the corresponding exchange rates.
Here is a quick tip for an error related to data import of Project work breakdown structure – Draft entity using the Data Management framework in Dynamics 365 For Finance and Operations.
If you are trying to import the Project work breakdown structure – Draft entity(ProjProjectWBSDraftEntity) and you are getting the error below, then follow the steps below to get around this issue.
Results. Field ‘Project category’ must be filled in. Results. Matching record for the read only data source ‘ProjPlanVersionDetail’ does not exist
Steps to Work around this error:
Navigate to Project Management and Accounting > Setup > Projects > Work breakdown structure templates.
Create a new record
Enter a Name and Description
Make sure the Active checkbox is marked.
That’s it. You do not need to create the details under the WBS template.
With this default WBS template record in place, if you try to import the roject work breakdown structure – Draft entity, system will import the data just fine.
NOTE: This is an issue in the July 2017 release with Platform update 12 and I have not validated this in the Spring release yet. To me, it looks like a glitch/bug in the DMF entity that needs to be reported to Microsoft. But i just wanted to share this info in case any of you are dealing with this issue and trying to find a solution.
It has been quite sometime i have not written here. Last few months were very busy with several things and that did not allow any time to spend on blogging. I finally managed to get some time here!!
In one of my earlier posts, I elaborated some of the functionalities of the Vendor collaboration/Vendor self-service feature of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations – Enterprise Edition and what was coming in future releases. With the Fall release (Version 7.3), Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations has much more to offer to automate vendor self-service and collaboration, specifically around the vendor user and organization onboarding aspects.
In this post, lets take a look at some of those new features, specifically in the vendor onboarding area.
The diagram below shows an overall representation of how the data flows from a Prospective Vendor to an Approved vendor in D365FO.
Let’s now dig into some of the finer details of the processes and steps underneath each of these steps in the vendor onboarding process.
ProspectiveVendor shows interest to become a potential vendor: Before an organization or individual wants to become a vendor for your organization, they are referred as “Prospective Vendors”. They can apply to be a vendor for your organization either via a website you may have, with anonymous access, or they can apply via a contact at your organization. If they come in through your website, you can have an OData integration with D365FO, to send the prospective vendor’s data into D365FO. Alternately, you can also use Data Management Framework to import the prospective vendor data periodically into D365FO.
After the initial basic data for the perspective vendor comes into D365, it will appear in Prospective Vendors registration under Procurement & Sourcing > Vendor collaboration requests.
Procurement Personnel from your organization reviews the details and initiates the vendor invitation process:
Before a procurement personnel from your organization reviews these requests to initiate the vendor invitation process, lets take a look at the workflow that is set up behind the scenes to do all the heavy lifting.
Under System Administration > Workflow > User Workflows, you can set up workflows for adding, modifying or inactivation of a new prospective vendor/existing vendor user. For a new prospective vendor user, the workflow provides your various options to fully control the new user provisioning in Azure AD and new user creation in D365FO.
Take a look at the screenshot below which shows this workflow.
To initiate the invitation process for the new prospective vendor, the procurement personnel will select the required user and review the details. If they decide to proceed with initiating the invitation process, they click the Invite User button.
At this point, the Processing status of the vendor registration request changes to “User requested“. This means a request for setting up a new user account in Azure AD and in D365FO has been initiated in the workflow.
As soon as the user creation request is creation, the personnel setup in the workflow for this will get notified and will process the request further. If you notice the screenshot of the workflow above, the first step in our workflow is to review and approve the user request even before the Azure AD and D365FO user accounts are created.
The Personnel responsible goes into the user request and reviews the details to approve it.
The next step in the workflow is to set up the B2B user account in Azure AD. You can use the manual task within the workflow and assign it to the required person, who then can download the external user setup CSV file for import within Azure AD.
Alternately, you can use the automated task for provisioning the Azure AD B2B user account.If you chose to use the automated task, you need to make sure to complete the below setups.
Register the D365FO app within Azure AD in Azure portal.
Complete the required setup for the API permissions for Microsoft Graph for the D365FO app. The automated task of the user setup workflow will invoke this to provision the user account in Azure AD.
Setup the Client ID, Application Keys within D365FO B2B invitation configuration page of D365FO.
With the above setup done, the automated task will provision the Azure AD user for the vendor user automatically. In the next step of the user setup workflow, you can set up automated tasks for provisioning the user account within D365FO and also send the email notification to the vendor with a URL link to D365 for signup and registration. You can set up an email template and use (%portalURL%) placeholder in the email message, which will automatically include the URL of D365FO, when it sends the email notification to the vendor.
In this demo, the prospective vendor i added was John Smith whose email id was firstname.lastname@example.org. Since i had done all the setups above, ( (John Smith, the vendor) got the email notification with a URL for sign up.
Prospective vendor signs up to D365 and completes registration Wizard:
Now, it is time for the prospective vendor to sign up and complete the registration wizard and provide additional information about their organization.
When the vendor logs in to D365 by clicking the URL in the email invite, they are directly taken to a registration wizard, which appears as shown in screenshot below.
The vendor selects the Country/region first in which they operate in. In this case , i selected USA.
On the next few screens, vendor enters their business information and all necessary details as shown in screenshots below.
You can also configure and assign predefined questionnaire and assign it to the vendor to answer and you also let them select procurement catalog.
New Vendor request created in D365 for review and approval:When done, the vendor submits all the information at the end of the wizard.
This create the new vendor request in D365FO, which will then be reviewed and approved by a procurement or AP person of your organization. Procurement personnel can navigate to Procurement and Sourcing > Vendor collaboration > Vendor requests to see these.
New vendor details reviewed and approved:
The Procurement personnel then completes the review process of the new vendor request and upon confirmation, the new vendor record is automatically setup in the Vendor master. After that, the vendor can have full access to the vendor collaboration portal and they can communicate with your organization in real time on purchase orders, invoices, consignment inventory, RFQs and responses, bidding and more.
That essentially completes the overall vendor onboarding process in D365FO. Stay tuned for more on this.
The Data Management Framework of Dynamics 365 For Finance and Operations – Enterprise Edition provides advanced data management capabilities, which makes the overall data export and import really seamless easy, for both standard Dynamics 365 data entities, as well as any custom entities that you might have developed for your business requirements. This framework provides an easy to use front end interface for data export and import management, so that regular pro-users of Dynamics 365 can interact with it, without requiring advanced knowledge of development and database.
In this post today, let us discuss about one of the features of this Data Management framework called the “Data Templates“, which will help you accelerate the data configuration and export/import management in your Dynamics 365 Implementation.
So, what are these data configuration templates ? One of the things you would have always done in every D365FO (Dynamics AX earlier) implementation, is probably use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of setup and master data configuration checklist and their sequence of import. While this works, it also requires extensive manual tracking, supervision and may lead to lot of human errors and mistakes.
Data configuration templates in D365FO are basically a predefined list of data entities for each module area, which are sequenced , so the data import will be processed in correct order automatically. This reduces human error in the data import sequence, save a huge amount of time in data import/export.
The templates are sequenced using Units, levels and sequence numbers and predefined dependencies between data entities. For example, before you import/upload your customer master data, you need to make sure all the number sequences formats, customer groups, payment terms etc. are imported prior to that. The data configuration templates addresses this and takes care of sequencing.
Let us now understand what is underneath these data templates and how these are managed in D365FO.
Microsoft started releasing these predefined data templates with the July 2017 update and these are right now made available directly within D365FO. From home page of D365FO, Navigate to System Administration > Data Management Workspace > Click Templates tile and click the Load default templates button. This will load all the default templates which are made available by Microsoft.
Note: In future, these will be made available in the shared asset library of LCS(Lifecycle Services), just like other assets such as the Power BI report models, Software deployable packages etc.
You can use these out of the box templates, modify them to meet your business requirement, or you can even create your own templates and define the entities under it. For example you might have customized D365FO to meet your business needs and you might have created various custom data entities for this. So you can create your own templates and include those entities.
How are these entities sequences within a data template for processing? The “Execution unit”, “Level in execution unit” and “Sequence” fields under the Entities tab of the templates defines how the entities are sequences for processing.
Execution Unit: Entities that have different units are processed in parallel.
Level in execution unit: Entities that have the same level within an unit are processed in parallel.
Sequence number: With the same level, entities are processed according to their sequence numbers.
Note: At some point in future, Microsoft will make it possible for the sequencing to happen automatically when you add entities to a template and will they will try to provide templates for every standard D365FO configuration and setup.
The Module, category and Tags represent the entity category or classification for better understanding. Module represents the actual module name of D365 to which the entity belongs, Entity category shows if the entity is related to setup data, reference data or master data and the tags shows additional information tags.
There are other miscellaneous features on this templates so that you can export and import templates, Open the list of entities within a data template in Excel to make changes to Units, levels, sequences, module, tag etc., or you can even create the templates from a data project.
Now, let us see how we can use these data templates (Predefined or custom created) in an actual Data project for export or import.
Navigate to System Administration > Data Management > Click Import tile.
Enter a name for the project and click Save. Now click “Apply Template” button. You will see all your data templates that you can select and add them to the data project. You can add more than one data template. Let us say I want to use the GL-Shared data template to load all the data for the GL shared area. I can select that and select preferred source type (EXCEL, CSV etc.) and click OK button.
Notice here that all the data entities that were part of the General Ledger-Shared data template are automatically loaded and all the level and sequencing of these entities is also inherited from the template setup. Now, you can just upload the excel/source data files for all these entities and schedule the data project to run. It will run and automatically process the entities in the correct sequence as per the definition in the template.
This is certainly a huge time saver and you don’t have to select individual entities and import them one by one remembering their sequence.
Similarly, you can use the templates for exporting too, so that system will automatically provide all the source files for each module, depending on the data template you selected in the project.
As an example, I have exported the same GL Shared template in a data project and it exported all my relevant data entities with more than 500 records within few seconds.
I can now download these packages and see the data on the files. See screenshot below.
I find this feature very useful and this will help save significant time in data export/import and will also enable users who are not experts of the system to seamlessly export and import data for all required modules by leveraging these templates. This is also a great step towards standardizing data configs as much as possible, so that customers don’t have to reinvent the wheel in every implementation.