How to: Setting up Unified Service Desk

Posted by on July 8, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (2)

Earlier this year, we posted an overview of Unified Service Desk based on a Convergence session.  Now that the Spring ‘14 update has been released, get can get our hands on USD ourselves.

Note: This walkthrough is only meant for a development environment and should not be used for production.

First, head here to download the USD package.  This contains a CRM2013-USD-PackageDeployer.exe and a UnifiedServiceDesk.msi.  Run the msi which will install the actual USD desktop client onto your machine. 

Next step is to run the CRM2013-USD-PackageDeployer.exe which will extract files to a specified folder.  Navigate to the extracted folder and it should contain a PackageDeployer.exe.  This is the new Package Deployer tool that we blogged about last week but it will already contain packages specific to USD.  This tool will deploy solutions and import data to your organization so it is highly recommended to be done in a development environment.         

Run the PackageDeployer.exe and you’ll come to a login screen.  Enter credentials for the organization that you would like to install USD to and click Login. 


Next you will get a list of package options to use.  Select the package you would like to use and click next.


Clicking Next will move onto the next page that displays a detailed description of the package you are about to import into your organization.


Click Next to verify the organization you are installing to and then Next again and the tool will validate the solutions and import files that it is about to install.


Clicking Next again will start the import process and display a report of the status.  If there are any errors, you can click the link at the bottom left to view the log file.


Clicking Next will display the completion page.  Then click finish and you’re done with the installation process!


Now you can open the Unified Service Desk client that you installed in the first step.  A login screen very similar to the Package Deployer tool will display.  Enter your credentials to the organization that you installed USD to.



Now you can play around with USD in your organization and get a feel for what is possible.  If you are interested in extending USD, head to MSDN where there is a great set of walkthroughs on adding custom modules, layouts, iframes, etc.

Dupe Detection on Create/Update Returned to Dynamics CRM 2013…with a bug

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (1)

One of the biggest features removed when Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 was released was Duplicate Detection firing on creates/updates.  While duplicate detection remained via scheduling system jobs, the popular feature of seeing the pop-up appear on creates/updates was removed.

Needless to say the CRM community was in uproar, prompting some users and partners to create their own solutions to backfill the gap that was left by removing this 2011 feature such as this utility by Jason Lattimer.

With the Spring 2014 release that’s started to trickle out to CRM Online orgs, Microsoft has taken this community feedback and put duplicate detection on creates/updates back in.


However, be aware that while Microsoft has pleased many by making this functionality available once again, they didn’t quite get it right.  If you disable duplicate detection rules from running on creates/updates within the settings, the rules still fire and your users will still see the dialog when they create or update records that match a duplicate detection rule.


The only way to disable duplicate detection from firing on creates / updates is to uncheck the “Enable duplicate detection” checkbox which in turn disables it across the board (on data imports, from MS Outlook, and via scheduled system jobs).  Even if you uncheck “Enable duplicate detection” and recheck it (while leaving the creates/updates unchecked), after republishing your rules, the dialog will still fire on create and update. 

Note:  If you uncheck “Enable duplicate detection” and recheck it, you’ll have to republish your rules as disabling it system wide unpublishes all rules.

Hopefully Microsoft will release a patch soon for this slight oversight so that users can take full advantage of the duplicate detection feature as they did pre-CRM 2013.

CRM 2011 UR17 has been Released!

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft just released UR17 for CRM 2011 and it comes packed with 60+ bug fixes.  The big news is that with UR17, Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 is now supported in CRM 2011!

The following are some key bug fixes that stuck out for me:

  • After Update Rollup 12 or greater is applied to the Outlook client, the startup time for Outlook.exe can be significantly impacted if the configured organization contains many customizations
  • Recurring Series Expansion job does not complete if Recurring Appointment owner is a team.
  • N:N relationship records are not replicated offline
  • Cannot change owner on create of Appointment after Update Rollup 16
  • When you have an HTML web resource on a form, the web resource is removed when clicking the backspace button in Internet Explorer

And for devs, there was a fix to the OrganizationServiceContext as well

  • SDK OrganizationServiceContext fails to update a related record while in a create transaction.

Head to the following link for the full list of bug fixes -

And here for the actual download -

As always, the best practice is to backup your organization and be sure to install the UR in a development environment first to test all of your current functionality and make sure there are not any issues with it before installing to production.

CRM 2013 - Phone Call fields won’t default from Sub-Grid

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (2)

We recently ran into the following issue with native defaulting of fields on the New Phone Call form from an Activities sub-grid in CRM 2013. The functionality exists in CRM 2011 and exists in CRM 2013 if you create a New Phone Call from a related Activities grid.

For example, you can go to a Contact record and view the related Activities through the Associated Grid as shown below.


Then if you click to add a new Phone Call, a new Phone Call record displays with the Call To and the Phone Number field automatically populated.


This is a great time saver and allows you to quickly create a Phone Call record. The issue is if you use a sub-grid for Activities (rather than needing to navigate to the related grid) then the Call To and Phone Number won’t auto-populate as it does from the related grid or how CRM 2011 used to default it.

For example, I have an Activities sub-grid on my Contact form which allows me to easily create a new Phone Call directly from the sub-grid.


This pops open a new Phone Call record but without Call To and Phone Number populated.


Microsoft was made aware and a Connect item has been created here. Any upvotes will help bring this functionality sooner rather than later!

Dynamics CRM - Managing Appointment Status Reasons

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (1)

If you have ever tried adding, updating or deleting Status Reasons on the Appointment entity for any non-Open values, you’ll know that the Status selector is disabled as shown below.  This prevents Admins from being able to easily modify Status Reasons for Completed, Canceled and Scheduled states. 


Fortunately we can still insert, update or delete Status Reasons using the API.  To insert a new Status Reason value there is a special API method that is different from inserting a regular Option Set value.

Below is an example of using the InsertStatusValueRequest which allows you to specify which StateCode the new value will be associated to.  In this sample we are creating a new value, “My Canceled Value”, for the “Canceled” StateCode.

var insertStatusValueRequest =
        new InsertStatusValueRequest
            AttributeLogicalName = "statuscode",
            EntityLogicalName = Appointment.EntityLogicalName,
            Label = new Label("My Canceled Value", 1033),
            StateCode = 2 // Canceled


To update the newly added Status Reason value, there isn’t a specific request for Status Reasons but we can use the same request for regular Option Sets.

var updateOptionValueRequest =
        new UpdateOptionValueRequest
            AttributeLogicalName = "statuscode",
            EntityLogicalName = Appointment.EntityLogicalName,
            Value = 100000000,
            Label = new Label("Updated Option 1", 1033)


Same goes for deleting a Status Reason value.  We can use the same request for regular Option Sets as well.

var deleteOptionValueRequest = 
        new DeleteOptionValueRequest {
            AttributeLogicalName = "statuscode",
            EntityLogicalName = Appointment.EntityLogicalName,
            Value = 100000000



Hopefully in the future Microsoft will enable the Status selector as there doesn’t seem to be an apparent reason for it to be disabled.  This will allow non-developer Admins to be able to easily manage Appointment Status Reasons without using code.

Simple Dynamics CRM Lookup using Kendo UI

Posted by on April 28, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (6)

Using third party libraries is a great way to speed up development and save some money by not having to reinvent the wheel. If you are a developer and haven’t checked out Telerik’s suite of controls, I definitely recommend it. They have a great set of javascript widgets and frameworks called Kendo UI which works very well with Dynamics CRM.  In this post I will show how easy it is to make your own custom CRM Lookup in just a few lines of code thanks to Telerik’s AutoComplete control.

First, we need the Kendo libraries. If you haven’t purchased the Kendo controls, you can download them for a trial here.  Then you can add the references to the header of your html page. This example will also require jQuery so be sure to include it as well.

    <link href="kendo.common.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <link href="kendo.default.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <script src="jquery.js"></script>
    <script src="kendo.web.min.js"></script>

Next, add a simple input tag to the page and give it an ID. This will become the Lookup control.

    <input id="accounts" />

Then add some script as well to execute a function on document ready. To keep it simple, this example uses an inline script tag.

    $(document).ready(function () {

Now, inside the ‘ready’ callback, we can setup the Kendo AutoComplete control. First define the Schema Name of the entity you want the Lookup to point to and then define the Schema Name of the attribute that you would like to display in the Lookup dropdown.

var entityName = "Account";
var primaryAttribute = "Name";


Now you can create the Kendo AutoComplete control using the ID of the input element you added in the second step. The Kendo data source supports OData so we can easily set it up to hook up to CRM’s OData endpoint. Since OData is case sensitive, make sure your entityName and primaryAttribute are set correctly.

                dataSource: {
                    type: "odata",
                    serverFiltering: true,
                    transport: {
                        read: {
                            url: window.parent.Xrm.Page.context.getClientUrl() + 
                                 "/XRMServices/2011/OrganizationData.svc/" + entityName + "Set",
                            dataType: "json"
                dataTextField: primaryAttribute,
                animation: {
                    open: {
                        duration: 0
                    close: {
                        duration: 0

If you attempt to test your page now with just the code so far, you will notice that it won’t quite work just yet.  Kendo by default will try to use some OData parameters that the CRM OData endpoint doesn’t support. Therefore we have to setup a parameterMap function on the transport object so we can remove some of the unsupported filters.

Below is the updated transport object with the new parameterMap function. This function will set ignoreCase to false on any filters passed in.  If ignoreCase is set to true then Kendo will use the ‘tolower’ OData filter which CRM doesn’t support.  Kendo will also use the unsupported $inlinecount and $format filters as well so we need to remove them from the list.

transport: {
    read: {
        url: window.parent.Xrm.Page.context.getClientUrl() + "/XRMServices/2011/OrganizationData.svc/" + entityName + "Set",
        dataType: "json"
    parameterMap: function (options, operation) {
        if (options.filter && options.filter.filters) {
            for (var i = 0; i < options.filter.filters.length; i++) {
                // CRM odata doesn't support 'tolower'
                options.filter.filters[i].ignoreCase = false;                       

        // CRM odata doesn't support $inlinecount or $format
        var paramMap =;
        delete paramMap.$inlinecount;
        delete paramMap.$format;

        return paramMap;

Now your page is ready to go and you can upload all the necessary files (kendo.common.min.css, kendo.default.min.css, jquery.js, kendo.web.min.js and your html page) to a CRM solution. Then embed your html web resource to a form and you should see a text box like so:


As you start typing into the box, it will make a CRM OData call filtering by the characters you typed. By default, each character pressed will hit the OData endpoint but you can set ‘minLength’ on the AutoComplete control to limit the number of characters required before a search is performed. All the matches found will be displayed in a nice dropdown shown below.


There you have it, a simple custom Lookup control for CRM! A couple things that could be done to expand this control even more, would be to add custom styling to make it look more like the Lookup control in CRM as well as the ability to filter the records even more, by active records for example.

For the full source code, check out the code sample on MSDN here.

Dynamics CRM Plugins in F#

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (0)

Today’s guest blogger is John Trujillo, a Developer at Sonoma Partners.

Every so often I promise myself I will spend more time learning the F# programming language. For one reason or another, I rarely do. Yet, whenever I think back to my favorite college programming courses, the courses in non-imperative languages (like Scheme or ML) always come to mind. So it should only make sense for me to learn F#, especially since it is fully supported in .NET. I recently decided to make good on my promise, this time attempting to apply what I have learned to a Microsoft Dynamics CRM plugin.

Even if you don’t know much about F# but are familiar with .NET and Dynamics CRM development, none of the following code snippets will be a complete mystery. However, you may want to spend some time getting to know the language. I won’t go into great detail regarding syntax. Thus far I have found it to be a fun language to code in, and I recommend you take a look for yourself. The F# community is very active and helpful. In my case I followed the “Why use F#?” series at F# for Fun and Profit, but you should also visit The F# Software Foundation. There is a huge selection of books available for purchase. Compilers are freely available on all major OSes. You can code on the browser at Try F#. Likewise, if you are reading this post, you may already be developing for CRM in Visual Studio, and so F# projects are already available to you. Visual Studio also provides a REPL interactive window to try out snippets as you develop your project. You can also create F# programs in LINQPad.

On to the business of creating a plugin. There are only a handful of steps to get started. The biggest hurdle for me was getting my project set up to play nicely with CRM and the Registration Tool, which I will point out shortly.

  • Add a new F# Library Project. This type of project is available in Visual Studio out of the box.clip_image002
  • Grab the latest Dynamics CRM 2013 SDK core assemblies from NuGet.
  • Delete the default .fs and .fsx files in the project and add a new F# file for your plugin. In my example, I named it AutoNamePlugin.fs. Here is what the initial plugin code looks like, which is the minimum necessary to validate registration and execution:
// AutoNamePlugin.fs
namespace Sandbox2013.Crm.Plugins.Functional

open Microsoft.Xrm.Sdk

type AutoNamePlugin(configuration) =
    interface IPlugin with
        member this.Execute serviceProvider = 
            raise (new InvalidPluginExecutionException("F# plugin registered"))
  • Build the project, register the assembly, and add your plugin steps as you normally would in C#. This was the trickiest part to set up correctly. I ran into a few roadblocks preventing me from registering and testing the plugin. You will likely encounter the same issues, so here are my solutions:
    • Sign the assembly. The project properties UI doesn’t have a Signing tab, so you will have to create a key pair file manually.
      • Enter in the command prompt:

c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.1A\bin\NETFX 4.5.1 Tools\sn.exe -k <KeyName>.snk

      • Add the .snk to the project post-build event. (I copied a post-build script from a C# plugin project and just updated file/dll names appropriately.)
    • Don’t define the plugin type inside of a module. It’s not shown in the snippet above, but I originally defined the plugin (type AutoNamePlugin) within a module. The Plugin Registration tool would not register it, even though I could see and select it in the tree view in the Update Assembly dialog. I was able to add the assembly after I pulled it out of the module. Namespaces are fine.


    • Add FSharp.Core.dll to the merged assembly. Once my assembly was successfully updated and my first Opportunity create step added, I tried to get my exception to fire when I saved a new Opportunity. However, the popup error was “Unexpected Error” and not the business logic error message I set up in the plugin. When I removed the exception, the error still occurred. I jumped onto the CRM server to look at the event logs. It turns out I needed to merge in the Fsharp.Core assembly as well. Add that as part of the post-build event script, which will resolve the error.
  • Once you have verified that your plugin is correctly set up, replace the exception with your own logic.



And there you have it, now you can enjoy creating plugins in a functional language!

For the curious, I uploaded my first full plugin implementation, which you can get here.

CRM 2011 UR12+ and CRM 2013 Fetch Aggregate Bug

Posted by on March 26, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (0)

Recently we were upgrading the look and feel of some custom CRM 2011 web resources to match the styles in CRM 2013 and my colleague found an interesting Fetch XML aggregate bug.  A simple fetch aggregate query, like below, will work just fine in CRM 2011 UR11 and below.  When you run the same query in CRM 2011 UR12+ or CRM 2013, you will get “An unexpected error occurred.”. 

<fetch mapping="logical" aggregate="true" version="1.0">
        <entity name="account">
                <attribute groupby="true" alias="accountid" name="accountid” />
                <attribute name="name" aggregate="countcolumn" alias="accountCount" />

After some troubleshooting, my colleague determined that the accountid attribute was the culprit.  He changed the alias to something other than ‘accountid’, like below, and it ran successfully.

<fetch mapping="logical" aggregate="true" version="1.0">
        <entity name="account">
                <attribute groupby="true" alias="accountKey" name="accountid” />
                <attribute name="name" aggregate="countcolumn" alias="accountCount" />

We logged this bug with Microsoft which will hopefully be resolved in the next UR as it unexpectedly breaks previously supported code.

Convergence 2014 Recap – Part 1

Posted by on March 10, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Convergence,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (0)

The Convergence 2014 Keynote last week kicked off with the Dynamics Roadmap for this year.  There are two big updates set for Dynamics CRM, one being a Spring Update that should be right around the corner and then an Autumn Update later this year.  Wayne Morris, CVP of Microsoft, talked about the previous announcements of Marketing, Custom Service, and Social Listening functionality as well as a new addition for the Spring Update called the Unified Service Desk.  The Unified Service Desk is a desktop application meant for call center users to help with case management which is shown in more detail below.


Kirill Tatarinov later came out and discussed several key points on how Microsoft Dynamics can deliver amazing experiences with the help of the recent acquisitions such as MarketingPilot, NetBreeze, and Parature. 


Market Smarter

Wayne Morris came back out to demo the new Microsoft Dynamics Marketing functionality that will be coming this Spring and how it helps him market smarter. 

The landing page below shows a nice quick view into your marketing budget and how the budget is being utilized.


Similar to CRM 2013, there is a card-based navigation at the top but clicking a card will expand to show child navigation links within that area.  This is very slick and we’re hoping that Microsoft will bring this same navigation into CRM 2013 as currently it is very hard to navigate if you have a lot of entities.

Within Dynamics Marketing, marketers can manage their assets & media which acts as a specialized SharePoint for marketers.  This includes file upload, approvals, and version control.


Next Wayne shows a campaign workflow where you can easily drag and drop campaign activities to execute.


He then adds a new Social Media Messages campaign activity that will send Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn messages at scheduled times.


Users can then view the performance of the campaigns using several different charts and filters (e.g., by campaign and by channel).  Kirill mentions that the graphs are built using Excel Web Apps.


This all looks very slick and will definitely empower marketers.  Currently these are separate applications but there is a connector that integrates data between Dynamics Marketing and CRM (e.g., Leads, Contacts, Campaigns).  The question remains how much will this integration be expanded in the future versus kept in separate applications.


Sell Effectively


Kirill brought out Judson Althoff, President of Microsoft North America, to show how he uses Microsoft products to sell effectively.  He pulls up his custom built dashboard that uses Live Tiles to pull in sales data real-time from Microsoft Dynamics.  The dashboard is pulling in information from 20 different systems.


Pipeline chart pulling in data from CRM 2013:


Using Windows 8.1 to easily share the Pipeline data and attach it to an email:


Drilling into a record from the Windows 8.1 app automatically snaps in CRM 2013:


Judson shows the app being ran from his Windows Phone as well:


This was a good segment that shows the competitive advantage that Microsoft has over competitors by being able to utilize a suite of Microsoft products to empower your users.  Unfortunately the app seems to be completely custom built by Microsoft for their business but it does a good job of showing what is possible.  If you are interested in a custom app for your business, take a Mobility Test Drive with us where we will have our UX Architect do a field ride along with one of your users and come back with some high and low fidelity mockups as well as a working prototype.


Care Everywhere


Kirill discussed the importance of customer care and the ability for customers to self-serve.  Microsoft fulfills this requirement with the functionality that the newly acquired Parature brings to the table.  Fred Studer, GM of Microsoft Product Marketing, comes to the stage to show off a Parature portal example of uses Parature to categorize their information and provide the ability to search across that content.  Using Parature, is able to keep their branding while Parature widgets run in the background.


Users are able to interact with the site and perform a search to find blogs or KB articles:


Fred then shows how Konami uses Parature to pull the knowledge base information into Facebook so that customers can search within Facebook for similar issues to their problem.  Parature is currently running on 6 of the top 10 Facebook apps.


Fred then becomes a call service rep and shows off the new Unified Service Desk and how it can pull in Call Scripts and multiple CRM 2013 tabs into one screen.


Fred then receives a phone call which automatically pulls up the customer’s record within the Unified Service Desk. 


Using the customer’s CRM record, Fred can then view the location of the customer in order to help solve the case.


Fred uses the call script to easily open up a New Case form within CRM and creates a case for his customer


The Unified Service Desk looks to be pretty slick and could definitely help customer service reps provide a better customer experience.  We hope the telephony integration comes out of the box and would love to see the Unified Service Desk be fully customizable as we know each agent is unique in how they work.


Operate Dynamically


Kirill then brings out a Sonoma Partners customer, New Belgium Brewing Company, onto the stage to show how they use Microsoft Dynamics to help with their operations.  Travis Mirrison (IT Director) and Kaitlyn Peot (Sales Support Swashbuckler) talk about how they use technology to enable their sales team to have real time insight and communications with their “Mothership” (home office) back in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

New Belgium then shows off the Rangerland app (built by Sonoma Partners!) and how their sales team can use it to make sure their beer is being sold appropriately.  With a few simple touches, their sales team can easily flag any issues with their product while they are onsite at a seller.





Overall the keynote felt very organized and had a great response from the audience.  Microsoft was able to fill in more details on how the recent acquisitions will help move Dynamics forward and fill in some gaps that were previously missing.  Microsoft also makes a strong play with their variety of products such as Office and Windows 8.1 and how they can integrate to provide a full blown experience for users.  We are looking forward to getting our hands on the Spring Update as it seems to be pretty promising!

CRM DevTools 1.1 is now available!

Posted by on February 25, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (0)

I am excited to announce a new release of Dynamics CRM DevTools!  This release provides many additions and enhancements to an already featured packed extension.  Head here for the latest version and see below for a detailed list of updates.



  • The form tab will now automatically hide when CRM DevTools is opened from a non-record form page in CRM
  • Copy Record URL provides the ability to copy the real URL of the current record which is often disguised in CRM 2013 due to the single page framework
  • Form Type was updated to display the name of the form type as well as the integer value
  • “Is Dirty” was replaced with Dirty Fields which will display a comma delimited list of dirty fields



  • User Roles was added to display a comma delimited list of roles for the current user



  • Current User will display the name of the current user and the ability to navigate to the record
  • Open Record was added to provide the ability to navigate to a selected entity with the provided record Id
  • Find Type Code was added to display the type code for a provided entity name
  • Find Attribute was updated to use a picklist of available attributes rather than a text box



  • Fetch XML input now provides highlighting, auto-completion of nodes and intellisense



  • The Plugins tab is brand new and displays all registered plugin assemblies and their details (entity, filtering attributes, and stage)
  • Displays number of successes, crashes, and failures for any sandbox plugin (sandbox only)

DB & Server


  • The DB & Server tab is brand new and displays information about the Config and MSCRM databases as well as the CRM Server (if user access allows)

  • Config and MSCRM Database info
    • Data Source
    • Initial Catalog
    • Timeout
    • Integrated Security
  • Server info
    • OS Version
    • .Net Framework
    • Name
    • CRM File Path

Contact Us for a Quote, or Personalized Demonstrationof or Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Your Business.

Contact Us