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Unlock hidden insights in your Finance and Operations data with data lake integration

You chose Dynamics 365 for your enterprise to improve visibility and to transform your business with insights. Is it a challenge to provide timely insights? Does it take too much effort to build and maintain complex data pipelines? If your solution includes using a data lake, you can now simplify data pipelines to unlock the insights hidden…

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You chose Dynamics 365 for your enterprise to improve visibility and to transform your business with insights. Is it a challenge to provide timely insights? Does it take too much effort to build and maintain complex data pipelines?

If your solution includes using a data lake, you can now simplify data pipelines to unlock the insights hidden in that data by connecting your Finance and Operations apps environment with a data lake. With general availability of the Export to Data Lake feature in Finance and Operations apps, data from your Dynamics 365 environment is readily available in Azure Data Lake.

Data lakes are optimized for big data analytics. With a replica of your Dynamics 365 data in the data lake, you can use Microsoft Power BI to create rich operational reports and analytics. Your data engineers can use Spark and other big data technologies to reshape data or to apply machine learning models. Or you can work with a data lake the same way that you work with data in a SQL database. Serverless SQL pool endpoints in Azure Synapse Analytics conveniently lets you query big data in the lake with Transact-SQL (T-SQL).

Why limit yourself to business data? You can ingest legacy data from previous systems as well as data from machines and sensors at a fraction of the cost incurred when storing data in a SQL data warehouse. You can easily mash-up business data with signals from sensors and machines using Azure Synapse Analytics. You can merge signals from the factory floor with production schedules, or you can merge web logs from e-commerce sites with invoices and inventory movement.

Can’t wait to try this feature? Here are the steps you need to follow.

Install the Export to Data Lake feature

The Export to Data Lake feature is an optional add-in included with your subscription to Dynamics 365. This feature is generally available in certain Azure regions: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, South East Asia, East Asia, Australia, India, and Japan. If your Finance and Operations apps environment is in any of those regions, you can enable this feature in your environment. If your environment isn’t in one of the listed regions, complete the survey and let us know. We will make this feature available in more regions in the future.

To begin to use this feature, your system administrator must first connect your Finance and Operations apps environment with an Azure Data Lake and provide consent to export and use the data.

To install the Export to Data Lake feature, first launch the Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services portal and select the specific environment where you want to enable this feature. When you choose the Export to Data Lake add-in, you also need to provide the location of your data lake. If you have not created a data lake, you can create one in your Azure subscription by following the steps in Install Export to Azure Data Lake add-in.

Choose data to export to a data lake

After the add-in installation is complete, you and your power users can launch the environment for a Finance and Operations app and choose data to be exported to a data lake. You can choose from standard or customized tables and entities. When you choose an entity, the system chooses all the underlying tables that make up the entity, so there is no need to choose tables one by one.

Once you choose data, the system makes an initial copy of the data in the lake. If you chose a large table, the initial copy might take a few minutes. You can see the progress on screen. After the initial full copy is done, the system shows that the table is in a running state. At this point, all the changes occurring in the Finance and Operations apps are updated in the lake.

That’s all there is to it. The system keeps the data fresh, and your users can consume data in the data lake. You can see the status of the exports, including the last refreshed time on the screen.

Work with data in the lake

You’ll find that the data is organized into a rich folder structure within the data lake. Data is sorted by the application area, and then by module. There’s a further breakdown by table type. This rich folder structure makes it easy to organize and secure your data in the lake.

Within each data folder are CSV files that contain the data. The files are updated in place as finance and operations data is modified. In addition, the folders contain metadata that is structured based on the Common Data Model metadata system. This makes it easy for the data to be consumed by Azure Synapse, Power BI, and third-party tools.

If you would like to use T-SQL to work with data in Azure Data Lake, as if you are reading data from a SQL database, you might want to use the CDMUtil tool, available from GitHub. This tool can create an Azure Synapse database. You can query the Synapse database using T-SQL, Spark, or Synapse pipelines as if you are reading from a SQL database.

You can make the data lake into your big data warehouse by bringing data from many different sources. You can use SQL or Spark to combine the data. You can also create pipelines with complex transforms. And then, you can create Power BI reports right within Azure Synapse. Simply choose the database and create a Power BI dataset in one step. Your users can open this dataset in Power BI and create rich reports.

Next steps

Read an Export to Azure Data Lake overview to learn more about the Export to Data Lake feature.

For step-by-step instructions on how to install the Export to Data Lake add-in, see Install Export to Data Lake add-in.

We are excited to release this feature to general availability. You can also join the preview Yammer group to stay in touch with the product team as we continue to improve this feature.

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Facebook: Recognizing Global Accessibility Awareness Day

As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page…

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As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page to spread awareness and share local recreational opportunities for people with physical disabilities.

In addition to providing community to people with disabilities, we’re also working to make the digital world more accessible. 

We will demonstrate our latest accessibility features today at our annual Accessibility Summit. Join us at 10:00AM PT for this livestream on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page. In addition to product demos and updates, we will host an interview with Molly Burke, a digital creator and blind advocate.

Through a video series on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page, we’re highlighting how people with disabilities connect and build communities through our technologies, much like Carly. We’ve created both the captioned and audio described versions of these stories.

Today, we’re recapping advances we’ve made over the past year to make our technologies more inclusive. 

Meta Quest

  • Audio Accessibility
    • Audio balance: This option enables you to adjust the balance of the left and right audio channels for comfort, and to better match your ability to hear in each ear. 
    • Mono Audio enables you to hear the same audio from both the left and right speakers on your headset. 
    • You’ll find both features under the Accessibility tab in your headset’s Settings menu.

Product mock of audio accessibility on Meta Quest

  • Adjust Height  
    • This feature allows you to experience VR from a “standing” vantage point even while reclining or seated. This can improve the VR experience for people who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility or are unable to use the Quest headset while standing. 
    • We first introduced this as an experimental feature (called Raise View) last June and have now made it permanent after receiving positive feedback from the disability community. 
    • You can find this feature in the Accessibility tab in Quest’s Settings menu.

Portal

  • Video relay service (VRS)
    • In December, we began supporting video relay service (VRS) applications on Portal  for people who use American Sign Language (ASL), through a collaboration with ZP Better Together.
    • Through the ZP apps on Portal and human interpreters, people who use American Sign Language can now easily communicate in both English and Spanish. 
    • Portal’s unique AI-powered camera always keeps you in frame and in focus, even when you’re moving, so your face and hands can always be seen.
  • Captions
    • We’ve also added customizable closed captions for streamed content on TV and Touch, as well as added support for live captions into integrated work productivity apps Zoom and Workplace Live.

Instagram

  • Auto-generated captions for Feed videos
    • In March, we introduced auto-generated captions for Feed videos on iOS and Android in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Tagalog, Urdu, Malay, Hindi and Japanese to start. 
    • More importantly, captions are automatically turned on by default when a creator uploads a video to their Feed. Over 140 million videos were created with auto-generated captions in the last 30 days.
    • Creators retain the ability to turn captions off when they choose and viewers can turn captions on or off using on-screen controls.

Product mock of Instagram auto-generated captions

Stickers on Facebook and Messenger

  • We added alt text descriptions to the more than 10,000 stickers available on Facebook and Messenger, making it possible for people who are blind and visually impaired to understand and use them. 

Avatars

  • Earlier this year, we introduced the ability to have your same avatar across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Quest. 
  • There are also new avatar options, including over-the-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants in addition to more face shapes, skin tones, expressions, and stickers. 
  • Wheelchairs are now available as stickers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger so your avatar can better represent who you are or who you want to be.

Product mock of accessibility features of Avatars

Open Source

  • Lexical is a JavaScript framework built to improve text editing on Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Workplace, with accessibility as a priority. 
  • In April, Lexical was released into open source to allow the rest of the world to benefit from these improvements. 
  • With this new framework, people can express their ideas in text via dictation, and readers can experience character-by-character navigation — a feature previously unavailable in similar editors.

Reality Labs Research

  • We’re exploring how improvements in audio quality can enable more realistic presence and perceptual superpowers in augmented and virtual reality— technological advancements that can also help us hear better in noisy environments. 
  • Our team of hearing scientists is also exploring how to reencode sound and present it through closed captioning.
  • While this is still early research, we are excited to learn more about how emerging audio technologies can improve the lives of people with hearing loss. 

Image showing audio research

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Facebook: Announcing New Products to Make Business Messaging Easier

The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural…

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The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural business messaging event, we discussed how messaging is transforming interactions between people and businesses, and announced new products to make conversations easier.

Introducing Cloud-based API on the WhatsApp Business Platform

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced we’re opening up the new, cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business Platform, hosted by Meta, to any business across the world. With this new API, we’re offering free, secure cloud hosting services so businesses and developers can easily access our service within minutes, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and increase their response time for their customers. So now, whether a business wants to work with one of our 100+ partners or access our service directly, it will be much faster to get up and running on WhatsApp.

When growing a business, you need smart, robust and easy-to-use conversation tools. For smaller businesses using the WhatsApp Business app, we’re building tools so it’s easier to handle an influx of chats as they grow their customer base. 

Launching Recurring Notifications on Messenger

Today we’re announcing a new way for businesses to keep the conversation going with Recurring Notifications. As businesses acquire new customers and begin to scale operations, there’s incredible opportunity to build loyalty and trust — and we believe this is where the value of messaging really shines. This new capability makes it easy to re-engage people right in the messaging thread and deliver tailored messaging at the best time for customers, whether to hear about special promotions, new product drops or tips and tricks.

You can choose the topics you’d like to let people opt-in to, how often customers can hear from you and shape your content, so your messages are always on-brand and relevant. Recurring notifications will also be available for businesses on Instagram this fall.

We also highlighted our click-to-message ads to help customers immediately start conversations with businesses, our CRM platform Kustomer and Meta Business Suite for higher volumes of messages across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Read more about our product investments in business messaging on our Meta for Developers blog.

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Facebook: Introducing New Members of the Oversight Board

Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin. Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to…

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Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin.

Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to support and work with the board to select additional members. The new members reflect a wide range of views and experiences, and will bring a variety of perspectives to the board’s existing expertise.

The Oversight Board represents a unique model for social media governance. From its inception, we knew its impact would come not just from its decisions on individual cases, but also from broader recommendations on how we can improve our policies and processes. In the time since they began hearing cases and issuing decisions and recommendations, they’ve been playing a bigger role in setting precedent and direction for our content policies and how we enforce them.  We look forward to welcoming the new board members into this process.

We will update this Newsroom Post as additional members are appointed. We are grateful to all board members for lending their expertise to our content moderation efforts.

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