Custom Icons for List View in Dynamics 365

Visualization is always helpful when it comes to identifying and highlight the set of data. With the new feature provided by Microsoft in Dynamics 365, it is possible to display list views with Icons or any kind of graphical representation to make the desired data stand out.

Here are the steps to follow.

In my example, I want to display indicators for active accounts list according to their membership statuses in Green (Current), Grey (Dropped) and Blue (Prospective).Therefore, the things which we need are:


First, we will need some images to store in Web Resources for icons. I have used 16*16 pixel .png format images. So, I have used three images and stored them in the Web Resources in my Solution.

list view in microsoft dynamics 365

You can see here that the images are in PNG format and you can choose to give any name for the images.


We will also need an Option Set to display the indicators based on options selected for the record, the indicator will get displayed. Here I am using OOB Status Reason field in which I have added options as Current, Dropped, and Prospect. You can use any other option set as well.


Very important JavaScript Web Resource to store the code containing the business logic.

Here is the code. You can use this code to implement the solution.

list view code solution in microsoft dynamics 365


1.       The status code used in the script is the schema name of the column where I want to display the icons.

status code

You can see here that I have used default Status Reason field so I have used statuscode to retrieve the value of the column. You can use the schema name of the options set you are using.

status code 1

2.       In the script below.

status code 3

a.       1 is the value for Active status in the option set.

b.       imageName is schema name of the image.

active status in microsoft dynamics


Link the JavaScript to the columns in the View, by clicking on Change Property option.

microsoft dynamics membership status

column properties in microsoft dynamics 365


Save the view and Publish Customizations.


Go back to view and you will see the icons

list view icons in microsoft dynamics 365

We need to make few considerations here:

There are a few things to consider before diving in:

1.       This only works on a standard grid. It does not work on the newly introduced Editable Grid.

2.       Icons can only be displayed on the Web Interface. The Outlook and Mobile Apps will not display the icon.

3. Tooltips can be defined for multiple languages/locale ID (LCID). In this example, I’ve set Canadian English (LCID 4105) as the default and included Canadian French (LCID 3084) as the alternative. More Locale ID values can be found here.

How to Setup Search Topics in Dynamics 365 Social Engagement Tool

The Social Engagement tool is a fantastic social interaction tool for sales, marketing and customer service professionals who want to proactively engage with their audience and customers on social media. It collects data from various sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube and relevant blogs. The visual reports help you spot emerging trends from people’s comments, whether positive, negative, or neutral. It can even read emoticons and emoji’s =)

Why Social Engagement?

Every business needs to build their brand presence and reputation in the market and to create that social media is a very good platform. There are stand-alone tools out there to help analyze your activity against success measures and objectives. They look at metrics such as clicks, shares, likes, most popular posts and so on. Ideally, you’d use a tool that maximizes existing activities to boost ROI by:

  • analyzing trends in customer sentiment
  • improving existing product lines or creating new products and services
  • creating sales lead in your Dynamics 365 system
  • automatically creating support cases for any complaints posted online

social engagement tool gives all the above features to analyze data and take proper action on it.

To collect that information from various sources user, must set up the search topics inside the search setup section.  At least one active search topic is required to acquire social data. There are different categories present in the search setup like competitor, accounts, contact, lead, campaign, & products. the user can also add their own category. Search topic gives the filtered data related to sources and different rules which user provide to it.

Steps involved to set up Search Topic:

1.    Find out the sources

Social Engagement covers multiple sources where you can track public posts, and publish messages and replies. All sources can be filtered in Analytics for an up-close look at your data. Find out what is covered by using the following available sources.

a.    Blogs

b.    Facebook

c.     Twitter

d.    LinkedIn

e.    News

f.      Reddit

g.    Videos

2.    Create Search topics

You can add search topic names that contain up to 35 characters. The search topic names are only for your reference; they aren’t included in the actual search. Search topic names are like titles for your search topics so you can quickly relate to and use or reuse them.

Microsoft Social Engagement

1.    Add a rule to the search topic

Social Engagement supports the following search rules. You need to be a Social Engagement Administrator or Power Analyst to create or modify search topics.

a.     Keyword rule

b.    Facebook page rule

c.     Twitter rule

d.    Instagram rule

e.     Private message rule

f.      Custom sources rule

g.    YouTube rule

h.    LinkedIn page rule

Microsoft Social Engagement 2

2.    Refine your search rules to find relevant content

Analyze your results and optimize your search queries regularly to make sure you get the most relevant data. Your searches may return posts that are irrelevant in the context you are looking for.

Microsoft Social Engagement 3

3.    Manage your post quota

Keep track of the number of posts that result from your search topics and count toward your solution’s post quota. Your solution is priced based on the number of posts you can acquire per month.

These are the steps which help a user to setup search topic and engage with your customer.

Advantages of Social Engagement Tool

  • A major advantage is this tool is the part of Dynamics 365 and it allows us to create lead or cases directly from social posts
  • Collect all relevant data from various social sources like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • We can track competitor’s social activities
  • What is being shared and communicated by whom, and when?
  • We can find who is the big influencer in our industry
  • We can engage with our customers, fans & Critics through social media

And many more……

Small Business Essential Tools

We are a technology consulting firm and our main initiatives are around the modern digital workplace. We talk to customers about Digital Transformation, cloud applications, and productivity.

As a Programmer myself, I think back to the days when we developed applications for desktops and servers. Then came this wave of the website for eCommerce and then all cloud computing power. There was a proliferation of apps for mobile devices, and now, the only applications I run on my computer, besides Microsoft Office is just my browser.

Everything I need to access my business and my entire life is available through the browser or the apps on my cell phone. Even my office files are accessed this way. We don’t have single file share in our office and we make a very serious attempt not to even send files over to each other in email. One of the last and lingering reasons for me to keep any machines in my office was my QuickBooks application.

QuickBooks desktop version kept me wanting to maintain a server, it was the way I ran payroll, invoicing and payment collections. Some very important functions to keep my business running.  We had a power outage because of a storm and I was out of town. The power didn’t return back for multiple days and my UPS didn’t last. This crashed the server on which the software was running and I spent days recovering all the information on that server.

One of the main applications on the server was the QuickBooks applications and I knew that I had to move that also into the cloud.  So here is a list of some of the essential applications that we use as SaaS cloud-based applications.

  1. We host our website through a managed hosting company and our website is built on a CMS technology just like WordPress or Joomla.
  2. Our Email, file sharing, and Web-conferencing are all run through Office 365. We use Skype for Business to run our online meetings, we even use Skype for business as our Telephone provider. We use SharePoint online for our intranet and file sharing
  3. Our website is integrated with our Marketing Automation solutions for which we use Dynamics 365 and Click Dimensions. When you visit our site you complete a form and that information is directly sent into our CRM System which is built on Dynamics 365.
  4. We have some eCommerce capabilities on our website and for that, we use as our payment gateway.
  5. We moved to QuickBooks online 2 years ago from QuickBooks on-prem. We felt like we lost some functionality when we first moved, but since the move, we have not once had to worry about backups or file management. We used Intuit to do our payroll and the QuickBooks online app integrates with so the online transactions all flow through automatically. Of course, there are many other great solutions out there for small business accounting and operations.

However, between Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Quickbooks we have a solid foundation to keep scaling. These systems are cloud-based – we can work from anywhere and they are secure.

Group and Overlay Calendar in SharePoint

We would like to talk about a group calendar that enables you to see multiple calendars at the same time. For example, a group calendar is helpful when you schedule a team meeting because you can see the availability of team members and conference rooms.

Another great feature is to overlay your another SharePoint calendar onto it to create a combined calendar view. For example, when you overlay a calendar to a SharePoint group calendar, you can see your own schedule and the group schedule at the same time. This can be helpful for choosing a time for a team event or planning a time to present training.

Note: You can overlay another SharePoint calendar as long as both SharePoint calendars are in the same site collection.

Overview: Group Calendar

Microsoft Office 365 provides fantastic collaboration options.

  • Collaborate with your colleagues and management
  • Work smarter not harder


  • No risk of double booking or underused resources
  • Benefit from SharePoint features, without having to know a lot about SharePoint
  • Great features for keeping your team organized

When to use:

  • CEO of a company would like to share his/her calendar to all business heads so that it will help them to schedule their meeting accordingly.
  • HR can create a holiday rooster and share with all the employees. It would help project managers to plan their project plan accordingly.
  • This functionality can be extended to share information about Events, Seminars, Tradeshow, etc.

Overview: Overlay Calendar

Colour coded calendars for team members to

  • Organizing, scheduling, and sharing information (Jobs, Projects, bookable resources, etc.)
  • Role-specific access permission


  • Simple, Flexible, Time-saving
  • No risk of double booking or underused resources
  • Benefit from SharePoint features, without having to know a lot about SharePoint

When to use:

  • Reservation: Use it to book everything from rooms and equipment.
  • Team / Staff Calendar: It’s easy to know where everyone is and who’s working on what. All updates are accessible to the whole team in real-time.
  • Event Calendars: Event calendars show all events on one page. Color code event categories, filter, and share with anyone anytime. Great for schools, non-profits, sports clubs, and corporations.

This functionality can be extended to share information about Events, Seminars, Tradeshow, Sports events, etc.

Configure a calendar as a group calendar

NOTE:  To change calendar settings, you must have at least the design permission level for the site.

  1. In a calendar, in the ribbon, click the Calendar tab, and then click List Settings.
  2. Under General Settings, click Title, description, and navigation.
  3. In the Group Calendar Options section, set Use this calendar to share member’s schedules to Yes. This enables you to create events in the calendar with attendees.
  4. If you want to use this calendar to scheduled resources, such as conference rooms, as well as people, set Use this calendar for resource reservation to Yes. This enables you to create events in the calendar that include resources, such as conference rooms.
  5. Click Save.


NOTE:  If the Use this calendar for resource reservation option is not available, the Group Work Lists feature is not enabled for the site.

View multiple users’ calendars in a group calendar

NOTE:  The view created using the following procedure is temporary. Each time you refresh the browser, only the initial calendar will display.

  1. Go to the group calendar and click the Calendar tab in the ribbon.
  2. In the ribbon, in the Scope group, click Day Group or Week Group.
  3. In Add Person, type the name of the person or group whose calendar you want to view and then click the check names icon. You can also click the browse icon, and search for the person or group.

Following is an example of a group calendar created using the previous procedure.


Overlay a SharePoint calendar with a calendar from SharePoint

The following procedure describes how to overlay a calendar onto a SharePoint calendars for a SharePoint calendar. After you overlay the calendar, you can use this calendar to create a special calendar view.

To overlay a SharePoint calendar, follow these steps:

  1. In a SharePoint calendar, in the ribbon, on the Calendar tab, click Calendar Overlays.


2. In the Calendar Overlay Settings page, click New Calendar.

3. In the Name and Type section, type the Calendar Name and select SharePoint.

sharepoint-overlay-setting 1

4. In the Calendar Overlay Settings section, type a Description for the calendar (optional), and change the default Color theme for the calendar (optional).

5. Click Find to automatically fill in web addresses and click Resolve.

6. If you want this calendar to always appear with the SharePoint group calendar, click Always Show. When Always Show is not checked, you will be able to turn overlays on and off from the page. If it is checked, the overlay calendar will always appear on the page’s calendar.

7. Click OK and then click OK again.

NOTE: Repeat steps 2-7 to add another calendar(s).

The final output would look like as shown below.


How to Select Business Process Automation Software

Plus, which BPA software do we recommend?

Business process management (BPM) and Automation (BPA) software are one of the fastest-growing fields in technology, with estimates for company expenditures on BPA/BPM software ranging fromUS$13.5 to US$23 billion in the next few years. These figures are likely low-end estimates as well, given the wide-scale digital transformation occurring across industries and the speed at which companies are looking to technology to give them a competitive edge.

In such a fast-growing market, hundreds of software companies from Appian to Zapier have thrown their hat into the business process automation software ring. So how do you choose the best business process automation platform for your business?

We recommend you begin by answering the questions below, which will help you determine your software evaluation criteria:

  • How quickly can you implement a solution? Business process automation gives your organization a strong competitive advantage by reducing costs and expanding capacity. The faster you can put your solution in place, the more quickly you’ll start realizing returns that can increase your competitiveness.
  • How “future-proof” does your system need to be? Are your business processes largely static, or do they change each quarter? If you need to make regular changes, do you have IT staff available to help, or will your business process automation software need to be a “drag-and-drop” style tool that any user can master?
  • What level of support and customization will you require? Depending on your internal resources and the complexity of your business process automation workflows, you may need to look for a business process automation partner to help customize your system.
  • What integrations will be necessary for your existing systems? Does your business operate with closed, proprietary software, or are you on a platform that easily supports outside integrations? You may want to look for tools that plug into your existing infrastructure directly.
  • What is your business process automation volume? Are you planning on automating a few dozen tasks each month, or a few million? What failure rate, if any, are you able to tolerate at these levels? What level of redundancy, reporting, and record-keeping will you need?
  • How many functions/different workflows will your BPA system support? Will your business process automation software support a single department or your entire organization? Will it be used for a particular purpose (e.g. invoicing) or does it need to be a swiss army knife capable of supporting any automation you dream up?

Once you’ve answered the questions above, it’s time to go shopping. As you evaluate the various business process automation software options, the following questions can help you in your comparisons:

  • How common is the tool on the market? More broadly used tools will generally support more automation and customization functions, and you’ll have access to a deeper pool of developers with experience working with the software.
  • Does the tool support add-ins and apps? Today’s best software benefits from crowd-sourced plugins and apps that offer key parts of functionality and can considerably speed up your development process.
  • What are the price and licensing options? Flexibility here is key. Every business is different, and you’ll want to find the right balance of seats, service level, and affordability.

Our Recommended Business Process Automation Software

At IOTAP, we’ve been working with business process automation software for decades, guiding some of the world’s largest customers through their digital transformations. And with that experience, we recommend a combination of Nintex and Microsoft SharePoint.

These two tools provide a flexible, affordable solution that is robust enough to handle the majority of BPA scenarios. Even better, SharePoint and Nintex have the potential for almost limitless customization and can support a much broader digital transformation as part of the popular Office 365 suite.

Advantages of Nintex for Business Process Automation

Nintex has developed a highly rated business process automation tool that integrates directly with Microsoft Sharepoint: Nintex Workflow. This combination of tools offers the following benefits:

  • An unrivaled speed of implementation and ease of use
  • A very attractive price point in an industry where affordable enterprise solutions are few and far between
  • “Drag-and-drop” workflow creation that does not require any coding
  • Integration between Office 365, SharePoint and other external systems (DocuSign, Twitter, etc.)
  • Robust user role and visibility support, which allows you to present only relevant information to your different audiences with a single platform
  • Document management and storage is built right into the system, allowing you to set up deliverable approval flows with ease
  • Cross-platform notifications, via email, text and even IM
  • “Lazy Approval”, which allows users to approve workflows or tasks from any alert on a device
  • Lists, email alerts, and various workflow configurations are easily configurable by any user
  • The ability to assign tasks and schedule appointments automatically
  • Built-in business process automation documentation with the annotate feature
  • User account and permission assignment workflows that work with Active Directory
  • The ability to reverse or elevate workflows to different business logic states depending on approval levels to ensure a workflow reaches the correct outcome
  • Automatic document updates

That was certainly a lot of information to cover. If your organization is considering business process automation and automation software, we invite you to talk to IOTAP’s BPA experts today. We can help you select the right tool and process to help accelerate your business.

Where SharePoint Excels at Business Process Automation

Companies seeking an efficient solution for business process automation often look up to Microsoft SharePoint for an effective platform. While SharePoint workflows have some limitations, having a third party engine on top of it can really make a difference. Business process automation using SharePoint in conjunction with something like Nintex workflows can help to streamline operations, reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve customer service, and provide consistency for document-heavy business processes.

In this blog, we look at the different business processes that can be automated with SharePoint.

1. Document Feedback and Approval

Today’s leading organizations face document overload: an overabundance of documents that must pass through numerous hands before being approved. Proposals, contracts, service agreements, sales presentations, employee training materials, and other documents often go through a multi-step feedback and approval process before they are ready for use. SharePoint offers a convenient resource for efficient document management, allowing stakeholders to provide feedback and approval as new documents make their way through the workflow. Documents can be reviewed and edited online in SharePoint, allowing multiple users to contribute to a project without any confusion over where the latest version can be found.

The SharePoint approval workflow routes documents from one party to the next, assigning review tasks and following up with reminders to ensure that work is completed quickly and efficiently.

The document approval process can cause big backlogs for organizations that don’t have a system in place to manage documents and alert owners when they need to weigh in. Using SharePoint’s built-in features to upload, edit, and manage documents allows organizations to expedite the approval process for all manner of important documents.

2. Holiday and Paid-Time-Off Requests

Employee scheduling is crucial to keeping any organization running smoothly, and inaccurate paid-time-off tracking is costly. However, tracking holiday time and other PTO for a large company can be a drain on management and HR employees’ resources. Using Work 365 Leave and Time Management Apps that syncs with SharePoint, employees can submit requests for time off, managers can approve those requests, and available time off can be updated automatically so that employees, managers, and human resource specialists always have an accurate accounting of an employee’s used and available PTO.

3. Customer Support and Customer Service Requests

SharePoint is a powerful tool for organizing and managing lists of activities, which is especially useful when managing customer support requests. Customer service workflows can be configured to support the activities below, reducing the number of time employees must spend responding to customers and increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction:

  • Service request or incident tracking
  • Providing status updates on technical support resolution
  • Alerting managers and assigned representatives to new tickets or status changes on existing tickets
  • Tracking shipment and order statuses
  • Customer service scheduling and appointments
  • Progress toward complaint resolution

As customers demand increasingly fast and personalized service, SharePoint automation helps organizations keep up while alleviating some of the strain on their busy customer service and support departments.

4. Employee Onboarding and Off-Boarding

Fragmented onboarding and off-boarding processes can cause big problems for organizations of all sizes. New employees need an efficient, accurate way to receive the information they need to perform their duties, and existing employees need to be handled with care to avoid legal consequences and loss of employee knowledge. SharePoint can help organizations address both concerns with workflow processes to streamline the way employees join and exit the company.

Some onboarding and off-boarding automation that can be set up via SharePoint include:

  • Online form submissions and a central data repository that can be accessed by involved employees and departments
  • Workflow automation and alerting to avoid missed deadlines and expedite approvals for onboarding
  • Secure online portals to limit unauthorized access to sensitive, proprietary assets for existing employees

Document-heavy processes are easy to automate with SharePoint. Talk to IOTAP’s specialists today to learn more about business process automation solutions designed to fit your organization.

The above examples are just a few of the ways in which business process automation can be implemented in your business. If your organization is struggling with process management and coordination, we invite you to talk to IOTAP’s BPA experts today.

An Introduction to Business Process Automation: Why It’s Worth the Investment

The robots are coming, and there may never be a better time to be in business.

A recent McKinsey study found that approximately 45% of the activities that workers are currently paid to perform can be automated with existing technology. That figure represents approximately US$1.1 trillion of wages in India and US$2 trillion in the United States, an incredible opportunity for businesses to lower costs, free employee time for more valuable activities, and increase profits.

In this context, the question most businesses have today is how exactly they can capitalize on the various technologies in the market. And the answer is Business Process Automation (BPA).

What is Business Process Automation?

Put simply, Business Process Automation is the technology-enabled automation of activities or services that accomplish a specific function or workflow. Many businesses likely have some version of BPA currently in use within their organization. Some of the most commonly automated functions across industries currently include:

  • Accounting and Invoicing
  • Receiving and Delivery Operations
  • Sales and Marketing Operations
  • Quality Assurance and Corrective Action Reporting
  • Materials and Service Ordering
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Human Resources
  • And More!

How Can Business Process Automation Help Your Business?

There are a number of areas where BPA can help increase efficiency. Below are a few examples:

  • Reducing or eliminating repetitive tasks that do not add value to the customer
  • Speeding up the execution of tasks that are always triggered based on a timeframe, customer activity, or another frequently occurring event
  • Increasing efficiency by offering greater self-service options
  • Reducing manual involvement in a back office and administrative functions

Ultimately, wherever you need to free up resources by reducing the time spent on a commonly executed task is a good candidate for BPA.

What Industries Benefit the Most from Business Process Automation?

One of the advantages of BPA is its applicability to virtually any industry. The functions below are largely common across industries and are prime candidates for Business process automation.

  • Sales and marketing (via automated lead nurture activities)
  • Management (via reporting and analytics)
  • Operations (improving efficiencies in product delivery)
  • Supply chain activities (automating inventory management, etc.)
  • Human resources (providing access and training to new employees, filtering resumes, etc.)
  • Information technology (managing and integrating existing systems)

What are the Benefits of Business Process Automation?

McKinsey finds that companies who have invested in BPA typically see an ROI of between 3 and 10x their investment. These returns commonly come from the following areas:

  • Reduced Costs: Anywhere automation can reduce manual labor on a task represents a significant saving to the business. BPA also helps significantly reduce inefficiencies and rework as well.
  • Improved Customer Service: Customers benefit from a host of efficiencies that increase the speed of service and satisfaction. Improvements in the areas of ticket assignment, response times, self-service, and follow-up all help contribute to a lift in overall service quality.
  • Motivated Employees: Numerous studies have shown correlations between employee engagement and company performance. Employees freed from the tedium of repetitive tasks that do not add significant value are more likely to devote their best efforts to more impactful areas of the business.
  • Increased Capacity to Deliver More Services: When time is freed up from repetitive tasks, this labor can be shifted into more sales and marketing activities, which allows a business to grow at an increased rate for the same labor cost.

We hope this overview of Business process automation shows you some of the benefits of this approach. With technology’s rapid evolution, it can be difficult to understand exactly where to start. If you’d like to talk to a business process automation expert, please contact IOTAP today.

Implementing Agile Business Process Automation

How to use technology to quickly automate your business and save time and money

Last week, we introduced you to business process automation and discussed why BPA is worth the investment. This week, we’re going to detail the process we use when working on business process automation software (you may also know this term as business process re-engineering (BPR), or business process automation (BPA)).
But first, let’s discuss the philosophy behind our business process automation approach. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned after hundreds of successful enterprise and small business software deployments, it’s that business processes are constantly evolving. That’s why IOTAP strongly believes that an Agile development methodology is a correct approach to business process automation: it allows you to start small, build momentum with quick wins, and continue to grow your automation capabilities as your business evolves.
Below are the steps in our agile business process automation process:
  1. Identify What You’ll Automate (and Plan How You’ll Do It)
  2. Outline Opportunities to Simplify Operations
  3. Standardize Processes
  4. Implement Automation

IOTAP’s Agile Business Process Automation Approach

Business Process Automation Approach

Business Process Automation Step 1: Identity What You’ll Automate, and Plan How You’ll Do It

Identifying Which Processes You’ll Address

Efficiency can be realized across numerous areas of any business, which can be both a positive and a challenge. We recommend beginning your BPA planning process by identifying which tasks are likely candidates for automation and prioritizing them in the work plan. Ideal initial candidates for business process automation include:

  • Paperwork-heavy processes (both physical and digital)
  • Manual/ employee-dependent tasks that must be delivered with a high degree of reliability or fast speed
  • Key activities that need to be regularly tracked and reported
  • Areas where record-keeping, compliance and approval have high importance

People, Partner, and Technology

The typical business process automation project may start small, but it won’t be long until you’re starting to affect a number of different teams and departments, which has the potential to be very disruptive if not managed correctly.

That’s why it’s critical to identify the people who will be leading your BPA initiative, the partner you’ll be working with, and the technology that you’ll use before beginning any development work.

Finally, choosing the best business process automation software is no easy task. We’ll cover this topic in more depth in a later blog, but for now, know that the two most important criteria that we evaluate are a speed of implementation and tool flexibility. Think Agile!

Business Process Automation Step 2: Define Opportunities to Simplify Operations

Before development begins, your business process automation partner and project manager should work closely to vet the ideas you put together in Step 1 and identify areas where you can simplify your operations. At IOTAP, we focus on three areas:

  • Disentangling: establishing a clear process and defined authority for a particular task

o   Example Situation: A customer service department that accepts tickets via email to a common support address. Whoever receives the email first acts on the ticket, but reps generally do not have good visibility into priority or assignments, and management does not have good data on case open and closure rates.

  • ReducingRemoving manual work from employees and having software do the work

o   Example Situation: Manual sales reports aggregated from CRM, accounting, and other systems each week for distribution to and review by sales managers.

  • Parallelizingidentify areas where work can be sped up by having different processes performed in parallel.

o   Example Situation: An employee onboarding process that requires a new staff member to provide documentation for payroll, insurance and other benefits, complete training courses, and gain access to required systems, with all of these functions carried out by a different staff member at different times.

A few questions to ask during this process include:

  •  What repetitive tasks can be taken out of an employee’s hands?
  • What are the criteria for sending an alert, and who should be notified?
  • What actions should be taken based on a trigger such as an event or elapsed timeframe?
  • Where will a human need to make a decision or use judgment in the process?
  • What records and data need to be captured? Where do they need to be saved/visible, and by whom?

Business Process Automation Step 3: Standardize Processes

Once you’ve identified where you can simplify your operations, it’s time to standardize those business process automation workflows so that development can begin. At IOTAP, we use a three-step BPA standardization process:

  1. Define: At the outset, we define exactly how business processes should be completed in order to provide a blueprint for automation. During this stage, all potential system inputs, outputs, and conditions should be reviewed and discussed with stakeholders so that processes for the most common scenarios and exceptions are agreed upon.
  2. Document: Once your business processes are defined, the next step is to build a flow-chart that documents exactly how, from a technical standpoint, your business process automation will be addressed. This documentation should include both manual and system-generated activities, as well as interactions across different systems.
  3. Set Service-Level Agreement: Finally, the standards for successful business process automation must be set. If a customer requires a response to a service ticket within 2 hours, that criteria should be known so that it can be built into the system. If customer data must be stored and accessible for five years after a transaction, that requirement must be defined.

At the completion of Step 3, you’ll have the blueprint and architecture ready to develop your business process automation solution.

Business Process Automation Step 4: Implementation

Remember the Agile Development motto: start small and iterate. The requirements that you identified in Steps 2 and 3 above should be prioritized for a speed of implementation, with the goal of delivering a few key quick wins and gathering user feedback on the experience to guide further work.

These quick wins could be solutions for the most tedious chores employees are currently working on that help build stakeholder goodwill or systems that solve a frustration point for customers.

Once you’ve achieved your first BPA wins, it’s time to iterate your solution. Business Process Automation is an ever-evolving field, and your goal should be to continue to identify opportunities for improvements. These improvements could include supporting additional functions, moving to “version 2.0” of automation systems as your employees gain experience with the system, or adding capabilities to provide more self-service to customers. But your goal is to establish a mindset of continual evaluation and improvement of your business process automation.

We hope that we’ve provided you with a good overview of how to approach business process automation and re-engineering. As you can see, the possibilities in this field are virtually limitless. If you’d like to discuss how to start the process or improve your current operations through business process re-engineering, talk to IOTAP’s business process automation experts today.

SharePoint Connect Newsletter – June 2017

SharePoint Connect covers updates, tips & tricks and other relevant information for your SharePoint servicesWrite to us if you wish us to cover anything in our future publications.

Tips and Tricks:

We’d like to talk about a simple trick that can enable you to restrict users to only modify their own entries on a Discussion Board List in SharePoint for users to submit their questions/feedback. This is addressed by a feature known as “Item Level Permissions.” Here’s how you can configure it:

  • In the Discussion Board List, go to List Settings > Advanced Settings
  • Scroll down to Item Level Permissions section
  • Inside the section, you will see two categories
    • Read Access
      • Read all items – Everyone who has access to the list will be able to read any items, whether they were created by the user logged in or someone else.
      • Read items that were created by the user – Users will only get to see the entries they created.
    • Create and Edit Access
      • Create and edit all items – Everyone can create and everyone can edit each other’s entries.
      • Create items and edit items that were created by the user – Users will be able to create items, but will only be able to edit the items they created.
      • None – Users will not be able to create or edit items.
  • Choose the appropriate option from the above set

The question of the Month:

How to enable audit logs in SharePoint/Office365?

To Activate Audit Settings in SharePoint:
Go to the Central Administration homepage

  • In the Application Management section; click “manage service applications”
  • Select the “secure store service” application
  • On the ribbon, click “properties”
  • In the “enable audit” section; click to select the audit log enabled box
  • To change the number of days that entries will be purged from the audit log file, specify the number of days in the ‘Days until Purge” field – the default value is 30 days.
  • Click OK.

To Activate Audit Settings in Office 365:

  • From the admin center, select Compliance under Admin
  • In the Compliance Center, select Reports
  • Click the Office 365 audit log reports link
  • In the upper left corner of the page, click the Start recording user and admin activities link

You can view the audit log report by going to the “site actions” menu and clicking “site settings”; from there click “modify all site settings”; In the “Site Collection Administration” section, select “Audit log reports”; then select the type of report you need.

Feature Update:

Some of the key new features in the latest version of SharePoint – SharePoint 2016:

  • Speed up the Site Creation
    SharePoint 2016 has inbuilt templates that enable site collections and sites created in a few seconds which is much faster compared to its previous version.
  • Enable OneDrive Redirection
    Now, a user will be redirected to Office 365 My Site, instead of On-Premise on clicking OneDrive
  • Removed 5,000 View Threshold
    The view threshold is now increased to 30,000,000 documents in a document library
  • Increased File Size for uploads
    SharePoint 2016 does not have the previous limit of 2 GB for files.
  • Mobile Experience
    Having the ability to work with your mobile device gives you the power to collaborate 24/7, from wherever you go. The new mobile app has a modern look with a responsive design.
  • Compliance Experience
    The In-Place Policy Hold Center and the Compliance Center allow you to build your own policies and apply them to your environment. As an example, new basic policies allow you to delete data in OneDrive for Business sites after a certain amount of years for example, similarly to the retention policies.

Security and Backup:

With the recent Ransomware attacks, one can never know when their systems may be attacked, thankfully, SharePoint, both Online and On-premise versions are completely secured. In on-premises environments, the strategy to address backup and restore could involve multiple approaches and strategies:

  • If the content databases are growing too large, consider policies that sweep old, unused, or archive content out of the SharePoint content database, but retain accessibility and search-ability of that content from within SharePoint.
  • Ensure that your backup/recovery solution can use both traditional, streaming types of backups and snapshot-based backups, so you can capture quick snaps of the data periodically and then offload to backup media less frequently.

As for the security in SharePoint always use SSL certificate in your SharePoint because not only it will protect your login but also your content.

How Users Can Take Dynamics 365 On-the-Go with Mobile Devices

One of the best features of Dynamics 365 is its portability. With administrator support, users can access work from anywhere with smartphone and tablet options, making it an ideal platform for an increasingly mobile world.

The Advantages of the Dynamics 365 Mobile Platform

Today’s employees are connected, working in offices, on job sites, from home, and on the road. By implementing the Dynamics 365 mobile platform, users have the ability to do their work wherever they need to be. This is particularly important for people in the following situations:

  • Sales professionals who need the ability to create quotes or proposals during off-site client meetings
  • Remote workers who need access from their preferred devices
  • Employees who travel frequently for business and need to check in from smartphones or tablets on the road
  • Executives who need to stay connected at all times

Working with Your Administrator to Set Up Dynamics 365 for Mobile

Setting up Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets requires administrator assistance to configure the correct privileges for your account. You should work with an admin before attempting to set up your Dynamics 365 platform on mobile. Then follow the steps below:

  1. Make sure you have a supported device. You can view Microsoft’s list of supported devices here.
  2. Install the app from your preferred app store. There are options for phones and tablets on Android, Apple, and Windows devices.
  3. Once you have sufficient privileges from your administrator to access Dynamics 365, you may need to work with him or her to gain the level of security access you need for your work. Customer Data is limited based on security and entity settings.

What Administrators Need to Know About Customization Options for Mobile Dynamics 365

The ability to design once and deploy everywhere is a big advantage with Dynamics 365. Customizations to the main Dynamics 365 platform are automatically optimized and then applied to mobile apps for convenient functionality. The following are additional customizations for mobile:

  • Form customizations: Forms are already optimized for the mobile user experience, but additional customizations can be made to eliminate fields, sections, or entire tabs to allow users to focus on the most relevant data (for instance, the contact’s primary information).
  • Entity customizations: All custom entities can be enabled on Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets.
  • Visual controls customization: Users can enter data faster using visual controls in Dynamics 365 for mobile devices. Sliders, switches, star ratings, video embedding, and calendar controls are all available options that can create a sleeker experience.

Whether you’re a Dynamics 365 user or administrator, getting comfortable with Dynamics 365 mobile functionality is an important way to help your company take the next step in CRM optimization. To learn more about Dynamics 365 and implementing mobile options as part of your digital transformation, contact us today!