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How to create a dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Navigating business life can be overwhelming, and, let’s face it, a bit disorganized sometimes. From the goals to the means to get there, there’s a lot to keep track of and never enough hours in the day. Business is a bit like flying with a team of 50 people that rely on your ability to prevent crashes, forecast bad weather, and coolly handle turbulence in order to get to the destination.

This is probably why pilots always have dashboards in the cockpit to give them the right information at a reasonable distance so they can act quickly in any situation. Like a pilot, you are cruising along your business plan and the reality of the market. But don’t you want life to be easier? In order to consistently make the right decision with your enterprise, you need the right info at hand. Pilots have dashboards. Why don’t you have a dashboard, too?

 Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers you that possibility. More than just an out of the box dashboard, it’s possible to create one specifically tailored to your needs. However, you should know that creating a dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is not just about the setup. It has a lot to do with the strategy behind it. You need to think about that.

The one problem with creating a dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics 365

The biggest problem with a dashboard isn’t that they aren’t useful. It’s because they are static and complex in nature. They tend not to get used for one reason: we create dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics 365 with the best intention, but we build them around a specific goal instead of just an overview of all data within one screen. Shall we fix that?

How to Prepare a Good Dashboard Strategy for Microsoft Dynamics 365

First of all, before even thinking of creating a dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics 365, you need a strategy. Your dashboard will be filled with charts that illustrate specific numbers according to timeframes that you set up and display KPIs that you want to track. It’s not complicated, but you should definitely think ahead. You would never run a marathon or fly across the ocean without a plan and an idea in mind. So, what are the goals you want to achieve with your Microsoft Dynamics 365? What data do you use most?

Step 1: Define your goals

Whether it’s in sales or marketing, everybody needs a dashboard to give them information and help them track their objectives or support their decisions. You can find basic dashboards, but you might want to think about creating dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for:

  1. Marketing Contact
  2. Marketing Qualified Lead
  3. Sales Qualified Lead
  4. Sales Opportunities
  5. New Customers
  6. Cross-sell/Up-sell Opportunities

Either in sales or marketing, everyone needs dashboard to track their objectives and make the right decisions for the next strategy. Plus, you might want to keep an eye on sales numbers if you are in marketing to be sure you’re making the most of all your campaign efforts.

For example, if you want to make sure that your campaign is a success and your leads are well managed, even though it’s not your role, you could track lead management. That way, you would be able to see that your campaign has brought high quality lead, but it might not have been the right time from your sales team. You might see that the response time was slow and that you could, in the future, time your campaigns with your sales team to ensure a better conversion opportunity.

You can even track your sales representatives progression and help support your team by identifying missing opportunities. That’s how useful well-planned dashboards can be. So, define your goals, but don’t forget to think about what will be useful to you and your team.

Step 2: Set the KPI you need to track your goals

Obviously, when we talk about goals, we also talk about metrics. That’s what dashboards will provide you: data produced by metrics. Those numbers are a product of the Key Performance Indicator and you should choose them wisely if you want to make the right decision.

For example, if your marketing team wants to ensure that their leads are taken care of or their campaigns work, they may want to consider tracking new leads per campaign or campaign source.

Step 3: Determine the timeframe you want to track

Obviously, your dashboards will present data according to a specific increment of time that you predetermine, such as per month, per day, or per hour. You should also think about putting all your charts on your dashboards with the same timeframe so you get coherent data.

How to Create and Configure the Dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Once you have made all your decisions and have a great strategy in mind, it’s time to put it all together in an actual dashboard that will be functional and useful.

To do this, you’ll need to follow a couple of steps. Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple. Just remember to leave a bit of room for adjustments. Sometimes it happens that you completely modify how your dashboard looks or the charts once you start working with it daily. You’ll see. With experience, your ideal dashboards will take form. Don’t be afraid to update it as you find flaws so your dashboard can evolve with you, otherwise you risk outgrowing it and never using it.

Create a New Dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics 365

First of all, you’ll need to go to the Dashboard section of Dynamics 365 and click New.

Creating a new dashboard

 1.     Choose a layout

Then, you’ll be asked to choose from different layouts. It’s the way your dashboard will visually display your charts, graphics, and numbers. Pick the one you think will best suit your needs. At this step, it’s a good idea to give a descriptive name to your dashboard, so you can find it easily.

2.     Create a view

After that, you can create a view to manage the data that you want to display in your dashboard. They’ll be used when creating or setting up charts.

The views are actually very important since they help you create filters to specify the data that you want to see: whether it’s dates, fields that you want to track or any advanced filters.

Keep in mind that it’s possible to create multiple views for the same data if you want to track many time spans like Monthly Sales VS Yearly Sales.

To do this, you’ll need to select New System View and in the View Properties, you’ll need to give a Name and (not essential, but useful) Description. After that, you can choose and configure columns, edit the filter criteria and even configure sorting. When you’re done, Select Save and Close. Don’t forget to press Publish All Customizations.

3.     Choose system charts or create your own in Dynamics 365

The difference between the System Charts and the Personal Charts is that the former are charts provided by Microsoft Dynamics 365. They’re out of the box versions. While the latter are created by you according to your specific needs and strategy.

How to do it?

If you want to customize a system chart or create a new one in your dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you’ll need to go into the Settings bar, click on Customization, then Customize the System. In the Entities drop down menu, you’ll find Charts. On the interface, find the charts you want to personalize or create a new one. At that point, you can pretty much change everything you want to see differently from the view to the specific fields you want to appear on your charts.

If you want to customize your personal chart, just open a view and click on the charts panel on the far right. Choose the chart you want to modify and then click on Edit Chart button. Modify all the properties you want and that’s it!

Simple, right? There’s no way you miss out on customized charts and dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics 365 with a clear guide like this. And remember, to power your business with the best information, get Power BI. As a free, self-service business intelligence cloud service, Power BI gives you access to much more data and potential for your dashboards. It will also provide you with tools to aggregate, analyze, visualize, and even share data. Frankly, your dashboards won’t be complete without it.

For a more details on how to create a dashboard here’s a video demo that Gestisoft created for your personal knowledge.

And if creating a dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics 365 seems like a big task for you or your team, don’t let it stop you from having the best tools and data at your disposal to make the decisions that’ll lead you wherever you dream of going. We are here to help you get the results you want from Dynamics 365.

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