As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB 210), I’m creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB 210 exam. This time I will cover the concepts around sales charts.

You will see that sales charts are mentioned in the skills measured statement within the section headed “create and configure sales visulizations”;

I have written about sales charts in previous posts for other variations of this exam, including MB2-717. In this post I will focus on the new Unified Interface which has a slightly different look and feel to charts.

From a sales point of view, charts are essential to help us monitor sales performance. They can be displayed on forms, views and dashboards within Dynamics 365. Therefore, when taking the MB 210 exam, you will need to understand charts and dashboards, I will cover dashboards in a future post.

There are two types of charts. Personal and system.

Personal charts

  • Can be created by any user. (With correct security privileges.)
  • Are initially only visible to the user who created them.
  • Personal charts can be shared with other users or teams.
  • Can be included in personal dashboards. (not system dashboards.)

Tip:
Until recently we could not create personal charts within the new Unified Interface. But the April release (now in preview) does provide this capability. (As of Feb 2019!)

System charts

  • Visible to all users.
  • Out of the box Dynamics 365 contains several examples of system charts.
  • Developers, with customizer or systems administrator roles, can create new system charts.
  • Can be included in solutions.
  • Can be included in personal and system dashboards.

Below you can see that the ability to maintain user charts is controlled by a security role setting. It is therefore possible to enable (and disable) the creation of charts for specific users. It maybe (for example) that you want your sales manager to be able to create charts but field sales people or tele sales agents may only be allowed to consume charts. (And not create new ones.)

Charts

Multiple chart types exist in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, via the chart designer interface users can create the following types of chart;

  • Column – Shows data in vertical columns.
  • Bar – Shows data in horizontal columns.
  • Area – used to show cumulative totals over time.
  • Line – Shows individual points on the chart joined by a line, useful when looking for trends over time.
  • Pie – shows data as slices of a pie. Useful for show numerical proportions of data. (Such as % sales by sales territory)
  • Funnel – Shows values as progressively decreasing proportions amounting to 100 percent in total. (Often used to represent a sales pipeline.)
  • Tag – useful allow filtering of grouped data.
  • Doughnut – ideal for show the split of data.

Charts maybe shown on dashboards and forms. You can also use the “Show Chart” button whilst working with views.

You can then select which chart to view, expand the chart pane and access other options. (Such as the ability to create new charts.)

Tip:
If you are using the Unified Interface and don’t see the same options as me that probably means you haven’t enabled the April 2019 release preview! (As of Feb 2019, soon this functionality will become the default!)

The chart below shows a typical example of a sales pipeline shown in a funnel chart. The sales funnel will be an important chart type when considering sales business scenarios!


Tip: As shown below you can click on segment of a chart, that you have the ability to further filter on any field. Clicking the blue arrow will drill into the chart can represent the data in any one of the five chart types available in the filter. (Bar, Column, Funnel, Line, Pie, doughnut and tag.)

It is also possible to export the XML of the chart, edit it and re-import. You could edit the XML to control parameters such as chart types, colour, labels, drawing style etc etc.

Note: The customization of charts using XML is “probably” beyond the scope of the MB 210 exam. But knowing they can be exported, changed and then re-imported as either a personal chart or a system chart maybe important.

Charts can be single series or multi-series. A multi-series chart can represent data using two chart types, one laid over the other. For example, a column and line in a single chart. Below you can see a sample chart showing a sum of estimated revenue with a line showing the average revenue. This is not possible on some chart types such as funnel and pie!

Another variation of a multi-series chart is a stacked chart, these apply to column and bar charts. Stacked charts are useful when comparing data. Charts can be shown as standard stacked charts or 100% stacked charts. The difference being that the stacked chart shows the actual values whilst the 100% stacked chart represents the data in terms of a proportion.

When plotting charts, it is possible to limit the data returned using options to show top “n” or bottom “n” rows. For example, the chart below shows my top 5 opportunities by estimated revenue.

Personal charts are created in the chart designer. You can access the chart designer using either the edit option (on an existing chart) or by using the New option to create a new chart from scratch.

You cannot edit a system chart. But you could use the “save as” option to create a copy. That copy can then be amended as a personal chart.

Options within the chart designer allow us to select the chart type, limit the rows included, stack the chart, add a series etc. As part of your revision I strongly suggest you experiment with the chart designer to gain a full understanding of how to cerate various chart types.

Once the personal chart is saved we can use the “…” menu to edit the chart, share it with other users / teams or assign it to be owned by another user. It is also here that we can import and export charts.

The share option can be used to share personal charts with user or teams. It is also possible to govern the access level each person is given. You could opt to only allow them to read the chart. Or you can add in write, delete, assign and share privileges as required. Keep in mind that when you share a chart only the chart is shared not the underlying data. Meaning the security model is preserved.

Later you may add charts to dashboards and share out those dashboards. It is important to also be aware that the chart would need to be shared separately. Sharing the dashboard does not automatically share the charts and views on the dashboard.


Data Aggregation

Charts are a useful tool to aggregate / group data. Giving the capability to show an average, count, max, min or sum of a value.

When producing a chart containing a date field we can group the data by day, week, month, quarter, year, fiscal period and fiscal year.


Tip: As charts are graphical your best way to learn about their capabilities is with some hands-on experience.

If you are only familiar with charts within the classic web interface I would suggest you experiment in the newer Unified Client. As the main functionality is the same but you will find some minor differences that are worth learning about! For example we now have the ability to create tag and doughnut charts as personal charts. (shown below.)

I hope this post has given a feel for the concepts connected with charts that you’ll need to understand for the MB 210 certification.