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Telemetry dashboards for Dynamics 365 Business Central: Breaking into the benefits

by David Laster
Director - Software Solutions (GP/BC/PBI), GraVoc

Have you heard about or seen any of the telemetry dashboards for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central? They provide an endless source of information about the application services, the database, and user behavior that you can't get from the Business Central web user interface. 

Business Central Telemetry Power BI app screen

The usage information alone from Business Central’s telemetry is truly extraordinary, and I am on a mission to introduce as many people as possible to the benefits that this free Power BI application can provide for your Business Central environment. 

I’m excited to get the opportunity at DynamicsCon Live 2024 to help Business Central users and partners learn how telemetry could quite literally change the future of their ERPs. On Tuesday, the first day of the conference, I will host a session at 4:30pm called "Breaking into the Benefits of Telemetry for BC". I will share real-life insights, use case scenarios, and my learning journey with this toolset. We will examine how BC customers have used it for troubleshooting, user adoption, and preparing for different types of system updates. I’ll also explain how we are now able to have more meaningful, data-driven conversation amongst our functional and development teams at GraVoc, and with our BC customers. 

Some of the highlights of the session include a review of 20 elements of the dashboards I look at all the time, where they are in the Power BI application, and the meaningful information they help provide. 

We will also discuss how new telemetry insights can impact decision making and help uncover new opportunities for improving efficiency and system performance. For example, project managers can observe if users are actively engaging in the user acceptance testing (UAT) and training phases of a project by reviewing the report and page view reports. They can look for expected levels of activity and use that to figure out root causes for unexpected behavior like permissions error or the need for more training.  And for the tech-side of the spectrum, if the web client is feeling sluggish, if integrations or web service calls are taking a long time, or you want to compare PROD vs SANDBOX for a customization’s performance and impact, you can often drill down to the SQL and AL code and various call stacks going on at the time and identify methods to improve or reconstruct with a different approach.

A new view on ERP admin duties

Having been a Dynamics GP system administrator for hundreds of environments over 25 years, I know the real value of a good DBA; a reliable database administrator who monitors, researches, troubleshoots, informs, restores, advises, and generally knows what is going on with the database server at any given time.  DBAs are committed to protecting their team’s ERP system, administering security protocols judiciously and controlling every update made to the environment. 

But in the cloud-first world of Business Central we no longer have that server room with the traditional on-prem controls and capabilities. After nineteen years working with Dynamics GP, I was not quite ready to retire, so it was time for me to learn new tech.  I’m so glad I did, because I’ve found over the last six years that Microsoft’s cloud ERP platform is truly amazing to work with, despite its differences with on-prem.

A clear and improving rear view mirror

I would argue that the telemetry reporting for Business Central serves as the next best thing in many ways to the granular insights we had in an on-prem ERP environment. The latest dashboards offer a 'rear-view mirror' to all that is going on in BC.  The reports in the free Power BI App (from AppSource) are structured to aggregate and display information about Usage, Errors, Performance, and Administration inside Business Central. 

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About David Laster
  • More than 25 years of Accounting and Dynamics GP Implementation, Installation, Upgrade, Training and Support Experience
  • Familiar with each of the past 20+ releases of Dynamics GP
  • Completed well over 350+ upgrades / installations / implementations 
  • Author – Management Reporter for MS Dynamics GP (Accolade Publications)
  • Power BI Change Agent at our own company and with our customers
  • Managing GP-to-Business Central Cloud Migrations
  • Managing Bullhorn One-to-Dynamics GP and Business Central Connectors and 
  • AR/AP Automation
  • Love to dig in and add real value to end users!
More about David Laster