The year is coming to an end and it is time to write a summary of what this year has been all about. Without a doubt this year will go down the history books, even though most of us would rather want to forget about it. At the end of this year I am grateful for what I have, starting with my health, my family and friends and their health. These things that matters the most, but most years we take it for granted. I am also grateful for having a job and for being a part this Community.
The world got virtual
The year of 2020 became the year when most of the interaction were done virtually. The first t(T)eams type that I am referring to in the headline of this blog post is, obviously, Microsoft Teams.
Many of us have had the privilege to work from home every once in a while for a long time, but suddenly it became the new normal. This year we got to (virtually) meet our colleague’s pets and kids. Where I work, we have had virtual daily stand-ups with the whole company, AW’s and conferences, even Christmas challenges virtually, trying out Microsoft Teams break-out rooms and coming up with Christmas rhymes. Custom backgrounds, “together mode” and the possibility to see many colleagues at once have made it more fun and features like raise your hand and break-out rooms have been helpful during our virtual meetings.
Community is about learning together, sharing your learning journey, helping and lifting others. For a long time many people have done that by traveling around, speaking at events and meeting community colleagues at events. This year all of that stopped. However, there have been a lot of virtual activities going on.
This year Microsoft have had virtual conferences, available for FREE to all of us around the world. Microsoft Build, Microsoft Ignite, POWERful Devs, Microsoft Business Applications Summit, Microsoft Inspire to name a few. Don’t forget that a lot of content is still available on-demand.
The community has brought us many events as well. I am so proud of my friend MVP Sara Lagerquist ❤ who was the main organizer of the extraordinary event CDS Saturday. It was truly amazing seeing Microsoft’s Ryan Jones talking about CDS (Dataverse nowadays) in the closing keynote, demoing Relevance Search API and giving us some glimps for what might be available in Dataverse in the future.
The other t(Teams) type
The year of 2020 became the year when we came together. As you understand, I am not talking about that we met a lot in real life, I am talking about something else. Now it is time to talk a little bit about the other t(Teams) type. I am talking about something that we have heard a lot about this year and that is Fusion Teams – Citizen Devs and Pro Devs combining each others strengths. At Microsoft Ignite there were demos showing Citizen Devs and Pro Devs working together, e.g. a Pro Dev building a custom API, publish as Azure function, register with API Management and then export the API to Power Apps. The Citizen Dev then got a Custom Connector ready to be used in a Canvas Power App.
Something related to this is that this year also became the year of the movement #ProCodeNoCodeUnite. Earlier we talked about code vs. no-code/low-code, but not anymore! It all started at the Scottish Summit 2020 (read on – more about that fabulous event later), by MVPs Scott Durow and Sara Lagerquist.
Power Platform is a low-code application platform, we all know that it empowers Citizen Devs. This year it has been highlighted that even though Power Platform is a low-code application platform, it empowers professional developers as well. First Power Platform became a part of the developer focused conference Microsoft Build and then developers got their own (virtual) conference – POWERful Devs conference. We have also seen guides like The Developer’s 7-Step Guide to Low-Code App Development and The Creator’s Manual.
The Power Platform year
The year of 2020 became the year when the two worlds Microsoft Business Applications and Office Apps and Services got mixed together more than ever. Parts of the Power Platform became available from within Microsoft Teams. Even a smaller version of CDS (Dataverse) found its way into Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams was in the center of attention!
Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents became available from within Microsoft Teams. xRM got a smaller version and was called a lot of different names during the year. Ok, many years have past since it was called xRM, recently we know it as CDS/Common Data Service. After seeing a few different names during this year CDS was renamed to Microsoft Dataverse and the smaller version got the name Microsoft Dataverse for Teams (after it was called Project Oakdale for a while). Microsoft Dataverse for Teams enables a relational database which can be used for your apps running in Microsoft Teams, without purchasing licenses for the larger former CDS. Around the same time CDS was rebranded, there were also other terminology changes within Microsoft Dataverse.
Here follow a few more things worth to mention. Everyone moved to the Unified Interface. Responsiveness for Canvas Apps got easier to manage. Read about it here. We got a new search experience for model-driven apps. Read the GA announcement here. We got GitHub actions for Power Platform, which makes GitHub an alternative to using DevOps for managing our code and ALM processes. It is still in preview, read about it in MS Docs. We got Custom APIs in preview, read about it in MS Docs. We got environment variables and all of a sudden, an alternative to handling configurations in an own entity. A typical use case for that is parameters related to integration, e.g., when you want to connect to different URLs depending of you are in a test environment or in production. Environment Variables in MS Docs. Also read the GA announcement here and Public Preview announcement here.
Community – Learning, sharing, connecting
The year of 2020 became the year when I got to know new people while participating in a mentoring program. I am talking about the first three months of 2020, when I participated in Mark Smith’s 90 days of mentoring challenge. Mark took us through a journey which included practicing communication techniques, consultancy, technology (Microsoft Business Applications from xRM through the different CRM versions to the Power Platform), Microsoft (e.g. how Business Applications is organized, where to find information, what yearly events there are etc.), personal brand and career paths. After each session there were assignments and it included sharing with each other what we had learned.
Having worked as a consultant with Microsoft Business Applications for many years much of the included content was like common sense to me. Still important to get a reminder of certain things. Like – Don’t forget to turn on your video during online meetings. Think about the words you choose – “I’ll get back to you”, “Here are Your options”, “Let me research that and get back to you with the options” sounds much better than just “I don’t know”. This is a quote Mark brought up is that I’ll try to remember.
A good rule of thumb for any relationship is to leave three unimportant things unsaid each day.Kim Scott
That is a good quote. One reflection is that some people already talk too little and not about unimportant stuff at all. It should be the other way around for them – they should be encouraged NOT to leave out 3 important things each day.
The best parts were to see how Mark talks about all subjects with such passion and energy and also to connect with the other participants. Thanks Mark for all your efforts and for bringing together many people allowing us to connect in such an epic format. The chat window during Mark’s sessions was very much appreciated and allowed us all to interact with each other during the sessions. I have a colleague who will attend Mark Smith’s mentoring challenge next year. I am so much looking forward to following this persons learning journey during next year! ✨
Community – Learning, sharing, meeting like-minded
In February I got to meet with some of the people from Mark’s program (along with many other community friends), that was when I traveled to Scotland for the Scottish Summit. I was there for my session Deep Space in Power Platform – Exploring integration possibilities with open APIs. Of course I was there also for all the other amazing sessions!
Thinking back, it was really crazy we all got to meet like that, something that was not at all reality just a few weeks later. I can still remember the energy and that feeling in the air – the feeling of everyone’s willingness to share their knowledge. The keynote speaker was Microsoft’s Jon Levesque, which entered the room and stage wearing a kilt to the sound of LIVE bagpipes – WOW– that was something! Here is my recap of Scottish Summit 2020 (including a video with Jon Levesque entering the stage) and here is a recap of my session.
From top left to bottom right – Is there any life on Mars? Jon Levesque during keynote, wearing kilt and entering to the sound of bagpipes but to whom does that screen belong, that screen he is showing to us all? Then a picture taken by another (to me unknown – perhaps someone can enlighten me) participant, it shows me, many other participants and look – Thomas Sandsør brought his little camera! Andew Bibby on stage wearing the sparkling red jacket, the lovely sound of bagpipes in the middle and on the last picture the hosts themselves, Iain Connolly and Mark Christie welcoming us all to Scotland.
Microsoft Business Applications MVP Award
The year of 2020 became the year when I was humbled and honored. On a sunny day in April, I was out in the forest, checked my e-mail (out in the forest but on a non tech walk obviously) and got a really nice surprise – I had been nominated for the Most Valuable Professional Award, by Jonas Rapp. On the 1st of June I received a new e-mail and it said – Congratulations!
I got really nostalgic thinking about all my former colleagues and community fellows with whom I have explored technology with during the past 10 years! Then followed months of taking this in and finding out about the new possibilities to engage with Microsoft and the Community. Now, a few months later, I am still at that phase!
I am very grateful for this award and everything that comes with it, all information, new possibilities to do more different kinds of contributions and, not the least, a fellow MVP network, wonderful people who are equally interested in Microsoft technologies as myself!
The year of 2020 was the year which brought several new collaborations. Me and Office Apps & Services MVP Amanda Sterner have had chats and created articles together, the first one can be found here. Another collaboration that I am happy about is one that came together from one week to another. When the last issue of Dynamics Weekly was published, a new opportunity came up and a new collaboration say its first daylight – Power Platform Weekly. I am really looking forward to continuing that journey together with the others. Community is about sharing and uplifting others. There is so much helpful content produced each week and it feels really great to be able to highlight the content and the people behind it.
Other fun things I’ve done this year includes visiting a studio for Microsoft Teams-dagen and I’ve recorded a few Power Apps videos (in Swedish though).
Now, let’s also take a look at blog statistics! Last year I produced more blog posts with more words, but this year I have had more visitors and views.
|Words in total||35401||28695|
|Words, average |
This year I have had visitors from 137 different countries.
The year of 2020 became the year when I got the chance to work at the same company as all of the other ✨ Microsoft BizApps MVPs ✨ in Sweden (and with a bunch of other brilliant people too). It became the year when I started at a new job in the middle of a pandemic and got to know my colleagues with the help of Microsoft Teams. See – Microsoft Teams in the center of attention again! I am looking forward to 2021 and to continue my journey together with the others at the new company as well as with others in this Community. Until then – Happy New Year!