This entry is part of our Feature Review Series. These short, to the point blogs strive to provide a quick snapshot of information to a user looking for a quick overview of a feature, how it's managed or configured, some insight into how a business / organization would use it, and provide links to resources or tutorials for a deeper dive.


What Are Dashboards?

The concept of a "dashboard" is pretty straightforward; it's a screen or board of items you look at to get information. In Dynamics 365, dashboards are collections of views, charts, web resources, or iFrames. With recent enhancements, you can even include the D365 Assistant and Timeline panes for additional information.

The value of a dashboard is that it brings together data from various parts of the system to a single pane, allowing a user to consider various data points as part of a larger picture. Dashboards increase the visibility of key data points within the organization.

Examples: D365 provides several out-of-the-box Dashboards based on everyday organizational needs. Below is a snapshot of a standard Sales dashboard:

System vs. Personal

Users can see "System" charts and "Personal" dashboards.

  • System dashboards are those created by the system administrator and published for all users to see.
  • Personal, or "My Dashboards," are those that a user creates themselves. We'll touch on how to create your own dashboard in a minute.

Note: security can control the ability to create and/or update dashboards in some Dynamics applications. Review the D365 licensing guide for details.

Layouts

Dashboards have various layouts. When creating a new dashboard, users are prompted to select the layout of their choice. It's important to note that users can adjust the layout as they see fit once they get into creating the dashboard.

Creating a New Dashboard

To create a new Dashboard, users can navigate to the existing "Dashboards" screen and click the "+ New" icon at the top, where they select "Dynamics 365 Dashboard." This action brings up the screen shown above in the layout section.

Once a user taps "Create" in the lower right, a blank dashboard in the selected layout is loaded, as illustrated below.

The user must input a "Name" for the Dashboard. Next, they can select the icons in the dashboard tiles to choose the type of component they wish to insert. Dynamics 365 limits components to a maximum of six per page, but On-Premise systems can perform tweaks to increase this limit.

As the user inserts components, they will begin to appear. Charts will appear as they will within the dashboard, but views will show only a placeholder. The data will appear once you save and close the dashboard and view it in the dashboards area.

  • Use Web Resources to insert an image or a map, among other items within the dashboard. Perhaps, for example, the user wants the company logo to appear.
  • Use iFrames to surface websites within the dashboard. One interesting use of this that I've encountered before was an organization that scheduled resources for outdoor work. They had a weather app as a component within the dashboard to see the upcoming forecast for a specific city.
  • Move Components around (drag and drop) and adjust their size via the "Increase Width" and/or "Increase Height" options found in the command bar at the top. Remember, you must select the component you wish to change for these options to appear.

There you have it! A crash course on dashboards and some information on how to get started building out your own. Give some thought to what value a dashboard might bring to you or your users at your organization. Need help thinking it through? Contact C5 Insight today!