AP Automation in Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain

As a solution architect, prospects and clients often ask me for ways to improve their Accounts Payable process.  They receive hundreds of invoices every month, and it can take considerable amount of time to enter all of the detail as well as attaching the invoice for reference during the approval process.  This is an area where we have often needed to bring in an ISV solution, but that could cause other issues.  Microsoft has been doing considerable work around automation for AP and they recently released a public preview of their Invoice Capture solution. I have had the opportunity to set this up in one of my test environments so I could get an idea of what they have to offer.  As we would expect, the Invoice Capture solution is built on the Power Platform.  It uses a model driven Power App along with Power Automate Flows to integrate with Dynamics 365 Finance.  However, since it is a solution, they have done much of the work for you, including creating the standard flows to load the

Smart Narratives - a quick and easy way to get your message across

 I was recently working with a client on Power BI visualizations.  We were talking about various visualization techniques as well as the options for Power BI visuals.  As I was going through the different options, I touched on Smart Narrative.  The client had never seen or tried this visualization, so if made me wonder, how many other were not aware of this visualization option and how to use it.

The Smart Narrative visualization became generally available in June, 2021.  The purpose of the Smart Narrative visualization is to help quickly summarize visuals and reports by providing relevant out-of-the-box insights that are customizable.  As the name applies, the visual adds narratives to the reports to address key takeaways and point out trends.  

Initially, I was not too excited about this visualization, because I often feel a picture is worth a thousand words, so I would rather look at the chart or visualization and draw my own takeaways and trends.  However, I have learned in working with many different report consumers, not everyone is comfortable with charts and visuals.  Some users prefer a written explanation.  

So how do you create a Smart Narrative?

There are a few ways to create the narrative.  This first way is to build the narrative against one specific visualization.  Once your visualization is complete, simply right mouse click and choose Summarize on the pop up menu.  This will create a new visual with the narrative specific to the visual.

The second approach is to build a smart narrative across all visuals on the report page.  This can be done two ways.  You can select the Smart Narrative icon from the visualization palette, or you can select Smart Narrative from the Insert ribbon.

Formatting and editing the Smart Narrative

Smart Narratives are highly customizable.  You can add your own insights, format the dynamic values and format the text.  This is done through the edit box of the smart narrative.  You can add text, change fonts and you can add new values.  The values can be added without even writing any DAX.  

Smart Narratives are truly smart

Not only are Smart Narratives created automatically, but they update based  on slicer selections or interactions by the user.  Also, Smart Narratives continue to work even if the original analytic(s) is removed from the report page.  This could be handy if you need to prepare a written report style.

Additional Information

For additional information on Smart Narratives, there is some good documentation with a couple videos available on the Microsoft Docs site

Hopefully you will find this helpful.  Give this visualization a try, your users might really like it.


Popular posts from this blog

Creating a date table with a fiscal year in your Power BI data model

Showing the last 12 months based on a date slicer

Adding a new entity to Dual-write in Dynamics 365 Finance