Why study D365 Fundamentals?
The Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification is perfect for anyone looking to have a really good overview of Dynamics 365 and all of the ‘first party’ Dynamics business applications. The learning path for the D365 Fundamentals exam provides a high level insight into the basic elements of Cloud Computing and AI, as well as each of the D365 applications. It also helps the learner understand how each of the applications work individually as well as how they can be used together. The skills measured by the exam are;
- Identify Microsoft platform components for Dynamics 365
- Describe artificial intelligence and mixed reality in Dynamics 365
- Describe model-driven apps
- Describe Finance and Operations apps
What to study ...
The first area of study is around understanding how Dynamics 365 works and what is included in the platform, this includes the following areas;
- The business value of the Microsoft Cloud features such as Azure, Platform as a Service (PAAS) and Life Cycle Services (LCS)
- Integration capabilities across the D365 apps and other Microsoft products as well as those from 3rd parties.
- D365 cloud security features such as; encryption, authentication, data ownership, single sign on, data loss prevention and industry standards
- Role-based security features, how to use what is available out of the box and how app role based security can be used to streamline user experience.
- Using Power Platform features such as; Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents and understanding how the Common Data Model works.
- What the Common Data Service (CDS) is and how it helps provide analytics, extensibility, interoperability and consistency.
- D365 capabilities for inbuilt, role based and extensible reporting
The next area of study is around artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed reality (MR), what they are and how they are used in D365;
- How and where AI is used in different areas within D365 for features such as; Fraud Protection and Sales, Customer and Customer Service Insights.
- How and where MR is used in D365 to provide features like; Remote Assist, Guides and Layouts
The third area focuses on the Customer Engagement (CE) model-driven business applications and goes into some of the capabilities of each;
- D365 Sales features such as; sales automation, contact and pipeline management, customer requests/follow-up, LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- D365 Marketing features such as; lead generation and qualifications, customer journey, using surveys, landing pages, segmentation, event management, marketing forms
- D365 Field Service features; Resource Scheduling Optimization (RSO), Connected Field Service, service resource scheduling, proactive customer service, Field Service Mobile
- D365 Customer Service features; account management, omni channel service, case life cycle, knowledge articles, service schedules
The last area of study was the one that as a typically CE based consultant, was most interesting and most challenging for me to learn. This is around the Finance and Operations (F&O) applications;
- While D365 Finance features includes those you’d expect, such as General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, it also extends to include others like; project accounting, budgeting, global attributes and attribute groups, end to end business processes, real time cash flow visibility
- D365 Human Resources (HR) used to be known as ‘Talent’ and but since rebranding has expanded to include; employee self-service, personnel management, benefits management, employee development
- D365 Supply Chain Management includes; cost accounting and management, procurement and sourcing, inventory and warehouse management,
product and asset management, vendor collaboration and transportation management.
- D365 Commerce is the newest offering in the F&O suite and includes features for; unified commerce, Channel Management, merchandise management, Modern Point of Sale (MPOS), analytical workspaces and customer loyalty.
- D365 Business Central is an all in one package for small to medium enterprises. It includes elements of; finance, supply chain, Purchase Cycle, project management, sales and service, budgeting. A key learning point for Business Central is knowing when to use use in instead of the other D365 products listed above.
How to study ...
There are a number of ways to study for Microsoft Certifications. Training courses are widely available from a number of training providers both in person and remotely, and there is a huge amount of material published on Dynamics 365 on the internet. I tend to learn best at my own pace and get most of my study materials from Microsoft Learn, which is a great resource and is specifically geared towards passing exams. Material is available as ‘modules’ of learning grouped together into ‘learning paths’ that correspond directly to the skills being tested in each exam.
Occasionally subjects are also covered during community events such as the 365 Saturdays and online study groups, such as those frequently run by Microsoft MVP Julian Sharp. I am a huge fan of Julians study groups, and to date have passed 5 certifications via this route, the MB-901 being one of them! I would wholeheartedly recommend keeping a look out for Julians posts and signing up if you get the chance.
However you decide to study, it is worth taking out a Trial and getting some hands on practice, particularly as the Dynamics 365 Fundamentals covers a huge breadth of material.
Taking the exam ...
Exams can normally be taken online or in person at a testing centre. I quite like taking the exam at the test centre because I can guarantee that I will have plenty of peace and quiet! I have been using the online option more recently and have not found it too troublesome, although I would definitely make sure to clear the room you are in before you start. There is no difference in the fee you will pay online or in person, at the time of writing this is £82.50 incl VAT for the MB-901.
Exam questions come in a number of formats, Microsoft give some really good information on those here. The exam itself lasts 90 minutes, and once you’ve finished, you submit your answers and you will get an immediate response advising you whether you have passed the exam. Don’t worry if you don’t pass first time, you can retake the exam as often as you like, although you will need to pay the fee each time.
With this exam I found the volume of the material quite challenging, possibly because there was so much about the F&O side of things that I had zero knowledge of before I started. I tend to prepare very thoroughly and on this occasion I’m really glad I did!