In this post I want to cover learning more about three areas for the MVP Challenge. Which are accessibility, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.
By the end of this post, you will know what the MVP Challenge is and what I did to complete it.
Along the way you will find out various things. Like why accessibility is important and just how much Dynamics 365 has to offer.
Plus, I reveal which video features a DeLorean and how come new LinkedIn contacts are able to email your work account without you giving them your work email address.
The MVP challenge
Just so that everybody is aware, during May Microsoft MVPs were issued a global cloud skills challenge. Otherwise known as the MVP Challenge. We were challenged to complete at least one of three separate challenges that had been created by Microsoft.
I decided to complete the Dynamics 365/Power Platform Challenge. As part of the Dynamics 365/Power Platform Challenge I had to complete forty modules in Microsoft Learn relating to accessibility, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. Covering a wide range of topics relating to each one.
It took me a fair few hours to complete all forty modules.
I decided to go about learning more about these three areas for the MVP Challenge because I’m interested in the Power Platform. In addition, I wanted to learn more about Dynamics 365 so that I could confidently talk about it in conversations.
Coming from a data background some of this was definitely an eye opener. Plus, it’s given me a lot to think about. For instance, in this blog post I am going to add links in a different style. I’d love to hear feedback about adding links this way from those who read my posts often.
To give a more complete overview of what I have learned I have split it up into three sections to represent the three main topics covered. Due to the length of this post, I have created some links below so that you can go straight to a certain area.
Accessibility area for the MVP Challenge
I highly recommend going through the modules about accessibility to anybody who works in technology. Because they make you think about how you do things on a daily basis. Plus, it shows how you can be more inclusive of people with all abilities.
For instance, how you behave towards colleagues in the workplace and making your documents easier to read for more people. We should all strive to be more inclusive in the things we do.
With this in mind, I created a custom collection in Microsoft Learn called Accessibility topics. Because I know my friend Gethyn Ellis has an interest in this area, I have nominated him to view these topics.
Accessibility is a topic that’s very close to me and I know it’s a topic that’s close to heart for other members of the Microsoft community as well. It affected me at a young age because I grew up with childhood friends whose parents have speech and hearing disabilities.
In addition, if you’ve ever watched any of the sessions I have performed remotely you will notice that I have deliberately set my fonts to be higher than usual in applications. I do this wherever possible to make the viewing experience better for the audience.
It also highlights the fact that there is a large demand for translate applications. Including the translation feature in Microsoft Teams which I use often myself.
I can honestly say going through the accessibility modules has given me ideas on how to improve the accessibility experience for others. Like I said earlier in this post, I am trying a new way of adding links in this post.
In addition, from now on I am going to make an effort to check that the below background that I use for Microsoft Teams is not too distracting for anybody. Because I am now more aware of the effects that certain Teams backgrounds can have on others.
Doing these modules gave me further insight into the accessibility features useful as well. For example, the colour filters feature which very useful for people with colour blindness. Plus, if you are presenting material, I recommend using Focus assist as well.
DeLorean in accessibility video
I have to admit the use of the DeLorean in the introduction video right at the start put a smile on my face. Especially when I realized the full name of the character Martha. It is definitely a video worth watching.
Because it gets the message across in a really good way.
Going through the accessible content section reminded me of my earlier posts, where I deliberately used a larger font size to make reading easier. For example, in a previous post I did about SQL Server 2019 licensing.
However, this also cause a few potential viewing issues for others, plus I didn’t want to come across as shouting in posts. So, I went back to the default font size.
Please feel free to give me feedback about this, as I am now considering going back to a larger font size.
Dynamics 365 area for the MVP Challenge
Going through the Dynamics 365 content was definitely an eye-opener for me. Because it showed me just how much the various Dynamics 365 applications had to offer for businesses.
You can see the modules I covered for this in a custom Microsoft Learn collection I have created called Understand Dynamics 365. Out of the three areas I did for the MVP Challenge, this one had the most modules.
If you do go through these modules, be prepared to go through some click-through demos. I found them very useful to help me visualize things.
In addition, it included well instructed hands-on labs. However, I have provided feedback that I think that they should be more consistent in format across the modules. Because some stay in your current browser winder and others pop out into new windows.
Dynamics 365 thoughts
Going through these modules made me realize how some companies are working better. For example, whilst going through the Dynamics Customer Service components I could visualize how support desk agents I call might be using it.
In addition, the Dynamics Omnichannel for Customer Service offering reminds me of a conversation I had with somebody a while back. Because they informed me that they were dealing with multiple customers at once using chat on their screen.
It was interesting to see how Dynamics 365 manages data. It was easy to visualize how data was used because it uses terms like dimensions. Just like in Business Intelligence. I was surprised to see a Gantt chart amongst the features as well.
Plus, if you are looking to do the Power Platform Fundamentals certification it might be a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of Dynamics 365. You can see that for yourself why in the skills outline for the Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals exam.
Dynamics 365 use of the word resource
I know recently there’s been a bit of a debate about using the term resource instead of people. However, whilst going through the Dynamics 365 content I can see one reason why the term resource is used instead of person.
Because in Dynamics 365 a resource can refer to either a person, piece of equipment or facility in some applications. Seeing the term crew being did make me think of using it for some new team names as well.
Dynamics 365 Field services
Whilst learning about Field Services I could visualize how some of the companies I’ve dealt with in the past could be using it to organize work for field agents.
In addition, going through the Schedule qualified resources unit highlights the fact that more places are requesting that certified people do certain pieces of work. Which is another good reason to study and get certified.
Dynamics 365 Customer journey
Going through the Dynamics 365 marketing and sales modules helped me understand the actions of third-party vendors better. It’s a very interesting insight into how some companies are doing their customer journeys.
For example, the simple customer journey example shown in the Prepare customer journeys unit explains why I get contacted by vendors sometimes.
Dynamics 365 Finance
In reality, if you are looking to upgrade your ERP system Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be a good option. Especially if you are looking to upgrade to a cloud-based solution. In fact, Microsoft Learn has a unit all about this called Review Dynamics 365 use cases.
I covered integration with other Microsoft applications in the Get introduced to the finance and operations apps module. It was interesting to see in this module that you could use both SQL Server Reporting Services and Power BI with Dynamics 365.
I will admit, learning about Dynamics 365 finance was interesting. It made me think about how it can be an alternative for other financial systems.
Mystery solved thanks to Dynamics 365 sales
In addition, I finally know one possible answer for a mystery to do with LinkedIn contacts.
Have you ever had somebody add you as a contact on LinkedIn, and then shortly afterwards they have emailed your work account even though it is not on your LinkedIn profile?
If so, I highly recommend going through the Explore LinkedIn Sales Navigator unit. It’s a very interesting insight into how they might be able to achieve this. In fact, if you watch the video about it you will notice that a very well known person from Microsoft called Satya is used as an example.
Power Platform area for the MVP Challenge
I was excited to go through the Power Platform modules. Especially since I am looking into Power BI a lot more at the moment.
To share what I took out of these I created a custom collection in Microsoft Learn called Absorb Power Platform.
I will start this section by covering Power BI first. Since that is the most popular Power Platform product this area covers. With this in mind, if you looking for a good introduction to Power BI can go through the two modules about it in this collection.
In addition, for those of you who want to find out more about Power BI I have created a custom collection called Absorb Power BI.
Whilst completing this collection I got to find out more about Microsoft Dataverse. Plus, I also discovered how they implemented Power Apps at Heathrow Airport.
I really enjoyed learning more about Power Automate.
Watching the Power Automate mobile app example that shows how to send a reminder to yourself in 10 minutes got me thinking various things. I’m sure some people would like to use this to get their phone to go off to make sure their conversations do not last long.
In addition, the Power Automate example relating to Tweet approvals in the Build an approval request unit seemed familiar. I’m sure I have seen a few demos that do a similar thing in the past. It’s still good to see how you can set this up yourself though.
I found the How to build a basic chatbot module very interesting as well. In reality, I have been dealing with something relating to chatbot technologies recently. So, for me this was a very interesting insight.
Final words about learning more about three areas for the MVP Challenge
I hope my post about learning more about these three areas for the MVP Challenge inspires some of you. It was my first time I have a done a challenge like this since becoming an MVP last year and I really enjoyed it. Sometimes it is good to challenge yourself.
I do recommend going through these learning materials. Especially the accessibility modules because I believe they apply to all of us one way or another.
Of course, if you have any comments or queries about this post feel free to reach out to me.