Let’s face it, switching users from using their Excel sheets or Access databases toward using one monolithic Dynamics 365 application can be a hard change management process if you have so many users to convince. Sometimes,even the upper management can’t force that change depending on what type of organization it is.
With the new Power platform capabilities , the change management seems to be getting easier and easier because now we have options that we didn’t have before (or we did have but the are currently improved). Once the organization decides that this is the platform to go with, then here are some options that will make it easier to convince the user base to switch.
The simple approach that can be used right away is using the model-driven apps capability of dividing your applications into verticals. If you have one huge application with so many entities, then create multiple apps that are used by different business units or group of users. Each business unit or group should only see what they need to see and in this way, the probability users getting lost in the application is reduced and the amount of training needed for the users is reduced. This also means that error rate will be reduced as well because their options are more limited to what they need only.
With Model-driven apps, and in addition to limiting what entities a user can see, you can also limit what forms, views, charts, dashboards and business process flows. So when you have an entity (like the Case) that is used by multiple groups then each group can see their own forms and views and charts without being overwhelmed with everything else. I won’t call this a security layer but a way of organizing components.
If model-driven apps are not enough, then the Canvas Apps are to the rescue. Canvas Apps are new and their concept is new. Unlike model-driven app that seem intuitive to someone who knows the previous versions of Dynamics, Canvas App require a shift in the design mentality. Now we are not talking about a single application that can do many things, but about an application and many other little helper separate applications around it that all feed the same data layer (Common Data Model). So when you create data using a Canvas App, it is possible to view it from Dynamics and vice versa.
The introduction of Canvas Apps adds a new question during to the design process: “Should we implement this module in Dynamics or using a Canvas App?“. This question is becoming an important one because it doesn’t only affect the application architecture but also the user on-boarding experience, training time, error rate and user confidence.
Canvas apps are great when there is a user or group of users who do a limited set of functionalities that can be separated away. Take an example of a service call center agent who just answers the calls, log a ticket and try to solve it or escalate it. You don’t need to train this agent on the whole almighty Dynamics for customer service but only on a screen or two of the Canvas App that she and her team has access to. Keep in mind that Canvas Apps can have more complicated use cases.
So to make the change management process easier, you don’t need to take the users away from their Excel sheet into an application that is a 100 times the size of their Excel sheet but to an application that is almost the same size as their Excel sheet. Success is almost guaranteed in this case.