The Barhead Crew had 24 hours together for the Inaugural Team Offsite Event. 43 staff converged at the stunning location in Port Stephens, The Anchorage.
The team was divided into Sales and Delivery to discuss our strategies, methodologies, our progress and then made plans for the future over some refreshments in the relaxing serenity of the mariner. Team building activities and merchandise was handed to our fabulous staff which included our tag line #proudtobebarhead.
We work as a team so we can consult to our clients collectively, professionally and deliver IT solutions that help make clients’ businesses more efficient and therefore more successful.
If you use flowcharts in your organisation this is the blog post for you.
The inspiration came from reading Ryan Maclean’s blog post where he reflected on the importance of articulating a process logically through a flowchart. Ryan creates his flowchart using Microsoft Visio which is loved by many including myself. Go check it, it’s tea-riffic.
In the Microsoft Office suite there are “siblings.” Microsoft Excel was initially released in 1987 and then its adopted younger sibling came into the picture in 1992. These two siblings seem to have gotten closer over the years and have become more advanced.
Today, I’m excited to share with you the power of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Visio to create data–driven process mapping flowcharts.
Data-driven process mapping flowcharts. Yeah, exactly.
Watch my vlog and be prepared to be amazed by what you see.
Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Visio
Even though I am a Dynamics 365 consultant, I’ve always supported Microsoft products as I grew up with it in my household. My dad taught me Microsoft Excel when I was little and eventually I came across Microsoft Visio in highschool. I never thought I’d be using the two together years later.
Like Ryan, I use Microsoft Visio for what I do as a consultant. If it’s available to you, try it out.
My first encounter with the two siblings playing together nicely was back in NZ where I learnt that I can define the shape data and the data graphic to create a Microsoft Visio template file that can link data to the shapes from an Excel spreadsheet.
Back then I used to work as a Sales Administrator for the General Manager of Sales and I created a Sales “pursuit” template that allowed the salesperson to colour code the existing platforms or the targeted to-be platforms of a client. The data was entered in an Excel spreadsheet by the salesperson and all they needed to do was link it to the Microsoft Visio template file. Microsoft Visio then associated the rows to the shapes and the shape formatting kicked in automatically. The sales team then had a visualization of each client they were pursuing.
Fast forward nine years and now you can create data-drive flowcharts from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It’s truly amazing and if you’ve read the Microsoft Business Applications release notes, soon you’ll be able to create Microsoft Flows from Microsoft Visio.And yes, I am a nerd when it comes to Microsoft Visio in case you hadn’t worked that out already 😁
How can I use the export to Microsoft Visio feature from Microsoft Excel?
You need a Visio Online Plan 2 licence with an Office 365 subscription. Below is a screenshot of what the pricing looks like in Australian dollars.
Remember, to take advantage of creating Microsoft Flows from Microsoft Visio in the future you will need Visio Online Plan 2.
When you open Excel, search for “process” and there will be two templates you can choose from:
Process Map for Basic Flowchart
Process Map for Cross-Functional Flowchart
Select the template that suits you.
Once the template loads there will be tabs that are self-explanatory.
Visio data visualizer tab
This is an introduction to the template.
Understand the Process Map tab
This will outline what you need to know when entering your process into the table in the third tab.
Basically it tells you what the definitions are in the table. I’m not going to re-write the explanations here as it’s straightforward to understand in the tab.
Process Map tab
In this tab this where you enter in your process steps. By default there will always be two rows so you need to remember that when you add your steps, the first start step needs to point to the next process step id otherwise it will continue to point to the default “Stop” step.
Ready to have a part-tea in Visio?
Once all your information is entered into the Process Map tab you can now hit the magic button in the Design tab. The magic button is “Export table to Visio Diagram.”
Microsoft Visio will then load shortly followed by your flowchart based on the data entered in the Microsoft Excel source file.
You can then adjust
the positioning of any shapes that look out of line
the positioning of text
As seen in my vlog, if you insert a new shape into the flowchart in Microsoft Visio, you also have the ability to update the source Microsoft Excel file.
If you also update the source Microsoft Excel file with new process steps by adding new rows, you also have the ability to update the Microsoft Visio flowchart.
Truly amazing what the Microsoft Product Group team has created. Power of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Visio!
I had some trouble installing Microsoft Visio from Office 365 as I had a conflicting version of Office products installed.
I uninstalled through programs and features.
What to do if you can’t install after downloading from Office 365?
In my case, not all the files were uninstalled through program and features. I then had a phone call with Office 365 support to help me through it. Also, Office 365 support was awesome. The lady who helped me was great.
She pointed me to this link to run a program to take care of uninstalling all the files for you. I used “Option 2 – Completely uninstall Office 2016 with the easy fix tool.”
The next thing I was advised to do is to use the diagnostics tool to install the Office suite first, followed by Microsoft Visio. The rest is magic and it works.
If you didn’t know this existed, now you do. It helped me with my installation issues.
There also seems to be a tool available for Dynamics 365 which is interesting. I took a quick peek and looks like you can have assistance with the Dynamics 365 Outlook Client.
What if you can’t see the Export table to Visio diagram button as seen in my vlog?
You need to opt in for the monthly channel for the Office 365 suite to make use of the new features available. To do this, you can head over to this link and download the program to help you switch from Semi-Annual Channel to Monthly Channel for the Office 365 suite.
To create data driven flowcharts from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, you need Visio Online Plan 2 to be able to export to Microsoft Visio. You can have two sources of data and whether you update either source, it will always be reflected by its sibling. You may think why have both an Excel spreadsheet and a Microsoft Visio file? Why not only one? Well here’s my final thoughts
the Excel spreadsheet can be handy as it can provide the information in a tabular format
you may have users who are not familiar with creating flowcharts. They can start with entering the logic into an Excel spreadsheet and then export to Microsoft Visio for the diagram
for beginners with Microsoft Visio, it’s not a bad way to introduce them to it and understand the underlying concept of a flowchart
If you’re happy with creating only the Microsoft Visio file, then you can continue to do so. However since I’ve tried this out, I love it and I know it’s going to make my documentation easier.
To all Power App noobies (like me) who wants to have a go but do not know where to start, check out the tutorial below (first chapter, there are more). Very easy and fun way to learn using an App built on Power App itself. 🙂
As I approach 18 months of my time at Barhead I can’t help but reflect on the incredible journey it has been. I remember knocking on Ken Struthers door and asking for a role (which didn’t exist at the time but that’s another story) as I was excited with his vision for his company. I wanted to get on board and be part of the Barhead Team, to be part of the initial team that will one day soon, see Barhead becoming the number #1 Microsoft Dynamics Partner in Australia. In a short amount of time (we are talking 2yrs) the company acquired Gold Microsoft Partner status within 6mths and went on to win the ISV Partner of the Year award in 2016/2017 at the Microsoft Inspire Conference. From there we formed a Telstra Partnership to enable clients to use Telstra tech funds on projects as well as recently becoming a Microsoft P Seller.
We have continued to grow and expand our presence in Melbourne and Brisbane. Along the way, we have delivered over 25 new Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects to our clients in various industry sectors, we’ve set sail on the beautiful Pilgrim yacht watching sunsets with our partners, clients and guests and recently we were recommended on stage by our clients at the Microsoft Business Forward event in Melbourne earlier this month.
To say I’m proud to be part of this winning team is an understatement! I’ve learnt so much along the way and formed some amazing relationships with my team, Microsoft, my clients and partners in our network. I feel inspired each day to come to work and make a difference. This is why I choose to work at Barhead. I am presented with opportunities and am challenged each day (because let’s face it, projects don’t always go to plan), rather than shy away from difficult situations, it’s become my platform to continue my personal and business development growth. Life is too short to be unhappy at work, find something you enjoy doing and make each day count.
By Alexandra Tucker
April 10th, 2018
Join 59 Dynamics365’ers at “Microsoft Dynamics 365 User Group (Sydney) – April 2018 Event”
For this month’s meetup, Stephanus will walk us through Microsoft’s recruitment App, Dynamics 365 for Talent and Anshul will show us how Relationship Insights in Dynamics 365 works.
KPMG are sponsoring the drinks and food so come along, learn a few things, and have a drink and a nibble with us.
If you want to hear about all the latest Dynamics 365 changes and chat with like minded industry peers come along to the monthly free sessions in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. 2nd Tuesday every month.
“In this vlog I show you how to prevent users in seeing the Search feature of Dynamics 365. Other entities and custom entities can’t be enabled yet for Search and I often get asked by customers to hide/remove the search feature so that users don’t see it. This is achieved by updating a Site Setting record. No code is required.” by Elaiza Benitez
For more information or to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 DYN 365