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Microsoft Power Apps for Nonprofits and the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator

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Managing Grants through Microsoft Power Apps Portals

Microsoft has overhauled the portal capabilities of the Dynamics Portal product which was formerly available as an add-on component for Dynamics 365 apps such Sales and Customer Service,  now making these capabilities available as Power Apps portal .  Power Apps portals allows you to build websites with static pages and content as well as, more importantly, forms and views to display data from the Common Data Service. InfoStrat's Grants Manager Plus uses Power Apps portal capabilities to enable grant applicants, grant reviewers, vendors and the public to interact with grant data.  Because Power Apps portal is a website, users do not have to learn a new user interface, and you have control over the look of the site such as branding consistent with the graphic standards used by your organization.  Here are some of the portal pages typically used for grant portals: Authentication . Login and related functions such as forgot password or change password.  These are provided out of the b

Microsoft Power Apps and Power Platform: Build Apps without Limits

 Microsoft is not only a leader in packaged software products for business productivity, operating systems and accounting, but also in providing the development platforms for creating custom solutions.   The Microsoft Power Platform is a family of products that are seeing rapid growth.  The Power Platform includes Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual agents.  It features capabilities for non-coders to create solutions as well as support for developers.  Many organizations, especially small business and non-profits, do not have developers on staff yet they need to automate their processes to respond to rapidly changing requirements.   Last month, the Power Platform was prominently featured at the virtual Microsoft Ignite 2020 conference.  Microsoft announced Power Automate Desktop , a desktop-based robotic process automation (RPA) authoring solution for coders and non-coders to automate processes across desktop and web applications using a visual workflow editor:  The

Constant Change: The Hidden Cost of Cloud Computing

The benefits of cloud computing are widely known, and most organizations have moved or are planning to move from their on premises data centers to cloud facilities hosted by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google or other providers.  One of the cloud computing benefits is that the cloud provider is responsible for continuously improving the environment that hosts, and that these updates and fixes do not usually require work by the customer.  There is a downside to this benefit, however, especially as you move from cloud infrastructure to cloud solutions. The downside is that you must deal with the consequences of constant change and innovation. Organizations have always had to handle upgrades of hardware and software, but when the computing was inside their data center they had full control of the timing of changes.  They could more quickly with inexpensive changes and patches, and choose their timing for major changes.   Today the cloud providers largely choose the timing to introduce

Azure Stream Analytics for Real-Time Fraud Detection

 The following is a guest blog post by Dmitri Riz from the InfoStrat Tech Blog .  Microsoft Azure Logic Apps is a service that allows you to design and build scalable solutions for app integration, data integration, system integration, enterprise application integration (EAI), and business-to-business (B2B) communication, whether in the cloud, on premises, or both. One of the features I wanted to explore in more detail is the support for real-time fraud detection for transactions originating from Dynamics 365 or, speaking more broadly, the ability to detect and flag irregularities in incoming data streams in real time. The tool to support this is Azure Stream Analytics. It is a fully managed, real-time analytics service designed to help you analyze and process fast moving streams of data that can be used to get insights, build reports or trigger alerts and actions. Set up an Azure Event Hub receiving real-time Dynamics 365 transaction data and a Stream Analytics job scanning this Event

Solicitations for Cloud Computing Need to Reflect Cloud Reality

  For several years the information technology industry has been migrating from traditional on premises deployment of software in the data center to cloud computing hosted by industry leaders such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.  Solicitations for new software often fail to reflect the reality of cloud computing. Here are some of the ways that solicitations (also called tenders and requests for proposals) miss the mark: Asking for hardware requirements.   Cloud solutions do not require server hardware, but often the solicitation includes hardware questions and specifications.  Unrealistic availability goals . Availability of servers is usually stated in terms of the percentage of uptime. Some solicitations call for 99.999% uptime.  This amounts to a bit over 5 minutes downtime in a year.  The total availability of a system is calculated as the product of all the availability service level agreements (SLAs) of its constituent elements.  AWS and Microsoft offer different SLAs

Personalize Your Sales Process with CRM

Sales force automation is one of the most popular apps of customer relationship management (CRM).  Whether you choose Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, or another CRM product, sales is likely near the top of your priorities. What makes a sales organization successful, however, varies significantly from one company to another based on the targeted sales segments and the position of the company within its industry.  Companies that sell direct to consumers online may receive a large number of leads through search ads or email marketing campaigns, and deals may be closed without labor-extensive interactions such as phone calls or meetings which may be appropriate for large-ticket items such as finding commercial real estate or purchasing expensive information technology solutions.   Large companies with dominant positions in their industry may take a different sales approach than startups trying to break into a new market.  The differences in sales processes mean that optimizing your CRM