Dynamics CRM 2015 – Advanced Find Returns

Posted by on January 21, 2015 in   |  CRM Upgrade,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015  |  commentsComments (1)

Like most users of Dynamics CRM 2013, it’s taking me awhile to get used to the new navigation.  However, with any software deployment, it takes users time to get used to the new functionality and especially the new look and feel. 

It’s hard to remember when CRM 2011 came out (way back almost 4 years ago now) and the introduction of the ribbon.  What a crazy concept the ribbon was and how would we ever get used to it?  However, after using 2011 over time (and honestly any Microsoft product), the ribbon became second nature.  When Microsoft removed the ribbon in 2013, everyone complained it was missing.  How would we now get used to not having a ribbon?  I believe that over time Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2015 will fall into the same camp as 2011 where users will become comfortable using the new navigation and will have forgotten the ribbon ever existed.

We recently just upgraded our internal CRM deployment to 2015 and I’m forced to get used to the navigation even quicker than originally anticipated.  Of course with every new release there are those learning curves and the questions you ask “why did they do it this way?” but the good news is that with Microsoft, they’re listening.

One of the biggest complaints of 2013 is the fact that the Advanced Find was buried and not readily available on the global tool bar like it was in 2011.  In some areas of the application you couldn’t even initiate Advanced Find.  And those areas where you could, you had to click on the ellipsis to bring down additional contextual menu items to find Advanced Find.

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However, the good news is in 2015, Microsoft has listened to initial feedback from users of 2013, and have added the Advanced Find menu back in the global tool bar so that you can always initiate Advanced Find no matter where you are in the application. Enjoy!

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Data De-Duplication through Fuzzy Matching

Posted by on January 16, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013  |  commentsComments (0)

Today's guest blogger is Chris LaBadie, a Senior Database Developer at Sonoma Partners

Whenever we work on a data project for a customer the subject of cleaning their client data is always a discussion point.  The project could involve a migration from one CRM platform to another, integrating an ERP system into CRM, or even cleaning their data “in place”- but the message is usually the same, “we know we have duplicates in our data, help us clean it up!”

Anybody that has ever tried to track people or companies knows that it can be a huge challenge to avoid duplicate data.  When you have multiple users maintaining data, it is very common to introduce duplicate data no matter the de-duplication safeguards your system uses. 

Working with people-
•    Names can be difficult to track (misspellings, maiden names, nicknames, etc).
•    People move/change contact information.
•    Even unique fields like address or email address can be shared amongst more than one person. 

Working with companies-
•    Abbreviations or acronyms in names can present a challenge.
•    Companies can have multiple locations.
•    Often use different addresses to track billing, shipping, etc.

In our experience, there isn’t a magic bullet to eliminate de-duplication.  The best solution is usually a layered approach- use form validation to ensure quality data entry, intelligent system design to store records in an organized manner, and system de-duplication rules to search out potential duplicate data and present to a user records that might match the information they are attempting to enter. 

However, a common project for Sonoma Partners is moving a client to a new CRM platform and an important part of migrating data to the new platform is to identify potential duplicate data before it ever reaches the new system.  While this may sound like a large effort, it is actually pretty easy thanks to the Fuzzy Grouping functionality built into SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). 

Fuzzy Grouping allows SSIS to inspect a set of data and compare one or more fields in the dataset.  Rather than comparing the field data, Fuzzy Grouping will match strings based on their sounds- giving more accurate results based on how a person would hear the string while overcoming misspellings, typos, abbreviations, nicknames, etc.  Note, you will need SQL Server Enterprise or SQL Server Developer edition to use Fuzzy Grouping.  This example is developed using the Business Intelligence Design Studio (BIDS) in SQL Server 2012.

In this demonstration we will process an Excel file of contacts.  This file can be generated from any other system and used in a process like this to identify potential duplicate data before that data is migrated to CRM.  The end result of this process is to produce a file containing potential duplicates so they can be reviewed and cleaned up in the source system before data migration.

Fuzzy Grouping evaluates the file of Contacts and compares them based on selected fields.  Potentially duplicate records are grouped together and assigned a group number.

After Fuzzy Grouping, the process splits so it can sort the results based on their Fuzzy Grouping group number and count the number of records per group. 

Finally, a step to check the group count determines which records are potential dupes- a group count of 1 means the record is unique, anything more than 1 means that group contains 1 or more records that should be reviewed.  The potential duplicates are then exported to an Excel file for review. 

dedupe-new-process 

Configuring Fuzzy Grouping is a pretty straight-forward process, just select the fields you want to compare and set the minimum amount of similarity (roughly a percentage of matching).  This process can involve a little bit of trial and error while you fine-tune the Fuzzy Grouping to identify the records that are potential duplicates without letting through any false positives. 

Typically we will start with lower minimums and go up until we are seeing the desired results.

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When you run the process, you can see how many records it processes and how many records SSIS ultimately decided to export to Excel for review.

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When the process is complete, you can view the results in your Excel file. Here you can see the unique record number assigned to the record (KeyIn), group number (KeyOut), overall score (percentage of match to the potential duplicate record), similarities for First Name/Last Name/City (percentage of match for each column), and the Group Count (number of potential duplicates per record group).  The highlighted values in the screenshot show some of the values that were compared and demonstrate how Fuzzy Grouping can identify potential duplicates despite common misspellings, nicknames, and partial matches. 

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In conclusion, Fuzzy Grouping is an easy to use and powerful tool to assist in any data cleanup effort.  It is simple to setup, and quickly evaluates large amounts of data.  SSIS can provide you with all of the tools to make informed decisions regarding your customer data, your most valuable asset.

Dynamics CRM 2015 Outlook and Sync Enhancements

Posted by on January 5, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft recently announced new features that have come out with their next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (previously code named Vega).  Check out the Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide to see what features came with 2015. 

Next up for our review are the enhancements being made to Outlook and the Sync Process.  One thing to note is that all the enhancements outlined in this blog apply to both the legacy Outlook Sync and new Server Side Sync process introduced with CRM 2013. 

Below are the enhancements that are included with CRM 2015.  We’ll go into a few of these enhancements in more detail later in this blog.

  • Contact Phone Number and Address Sync Improvements
  • Sync Outlook Assigned Task (Outlook task assigned to another user that is also in CRM).  This is not enabled out of the box and a System Setting needs to be enabled to turn this on
  • Sync Appointment Attachments.  This is also controlled via a System Setting.
  • Configurable Field Level Sync
  • Outlook Client

System Settings

Navigating to Settings –> Administration –> System Settings –> Synchronization will display the dialog of all the organization level settings regarding the Outlook sync process.  See below.

In this dialog you have a mix of legacy pre-2015 settings, and a handful of new 2015 settings.  The new configuration settings you have at your disposal are:

  • Synchronized Fields:  This is where an admin can modify what direction fields are synced.  This is explained more below.
  • Synchronize Appointment Attachments:  With 2015, you can enable attachments on appointments to synchronize between Outlook and Dynamics CRM.
  • Address Sync:  This is explained more in the section below.
  • Synchronize Assigned Tasks:  An admin can enable if Outlook Tasks that are assigned to another user are tracked in CRM or not.

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Contact Phone Number and Address Sync

With CRM 2015, Microsoft has changed the sync process for Contacts.  4 more phone numbers were added to the sync process for a total of 11:

  • Assistant’s Phone
  • Business Fax
  • Business Phone
  • Business Phone 2
  • Callback Number
  • Company Phone
  • Home Phone
  • Home Phone 2
  • Mobile Phone
  • Telephone 3
  • Pager

There’s also an organization level System Setting that allows you to indicate if you want to sync either A) just the Outlook Mailing Address, or B) all 3 Outlook Addresses (Business, Home, Other).  This setting is available by going to Settings –> Administration –> System Settings (shown above).

Configurable Field Level Sync

One of the biggest questions we’re asked over and over with our clients is what fields are synchronized between Outlook and Dynamics CRM.  There are a few sites out there that go into detail on what fields are synchronized, but nothing within the application provided by Microsoft.  They also don’t easily indicate which Outlook fields synchronize to which CRM fields, the direction of the sync, and the ability to turn off that sync (in other words, all fields synchronized all the time).

Now with Dynamics CRM 2015, you can navigate to Settings –> Administration –> System Settings –> Synchronization –> Synchronized Fields.  From this location, you can see the mapping between Outlook fields and CRM fields and the direction that the sync is currently configured for. 

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For each field you can modify the sync direction so that it syncs both ways, sync one way, or don’t sync at all.  This is currently an Organization level setting that’s setup in the Settings area of CRM and one improvement that I can see here is making this a user setting so that each user can have individual unique sync experiences if for some reason they don’t want to share information about Contacts that are in their Outlook and also tracked within CRM. However, for the current release of 2015, individual users can at least view the sync directions that their administrator setup by navigating to their Personal Options –> Synchronization –> Synchronized Fields

There are a couple quick use cases that come to mind that I know most customers would be ecstatic to get their hands on:

  • Private Notes:  Turn off the sync process on the Outlook Notes field.  Therefore users can add Notes within Outlook and they won’t flow to CRM for everyone to see.  They can keep their own personal notes locally in Outlook.
  • Read Only CRM Data:  Set the sync direction on the desired read only fields to go from CRM to Outlook only, meaning updates in Outlook will not update CRM, and CRM will overwrite Outlook changes.

Another resource on this subject is an article that Microsoft recently published.  While having this in the application is useful, this link also provides more details for administrators.

Outlook Client Enhancements

There have been changes to the Outlook Client itself in addition to the sync changes. 

First off Microsoft has now added OAuth support to the Outlook Client.  This enables multi-factor authorization to the Outlook client and brings consistency across CRM clients (web and Outlook). 

Microsoft has also cut the clutter out of configuring the Outlook client.  Users simply need to provide the Organization URL to get up and running as fast as possible.  See below for what the configuration process looks in Dynamics 2013, and how much easier it is in 2015.

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Also, in order to help troubleshooting issues between Client and Server, Dynamics CRM 2015 now automatically detects compatibility issues between the Client and Server.  A notification is sent to the user if a compatibility issue is detected.

Finally, another troubleshooting addition made by Microsoft is when errors are detected, a “Resolve This Issue” dynamic help link will appear.  This link will be dynamic and will search a server side database of articles that will route customers to the right resolution for their issue.

Upgrade Experience and Supportability

This topic isn’t really an enhancement, but goes into details on moving to the Dynamics CRM 2015 Outlook client, and what versions are supported.

In order to upgrade to the 2015 Outlook client, you must be on Outlook 2010 or higher (support for Office 2007 is being dropped).  Microsoft is also dropping support for:

  • IE 8, IE 9
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server 2008 Remote Desktop Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services

The Outlook Client must be in “Online Mode” for the upgrade to succeed, and Microsoft is allowing all 2013 Outlook Client versions to upgrade to the 2015 Outlook Client.  Also, users will be able to continue to use the 2013 Outlook Client if they deploy the 2015 server.  However, they’ll only be able to use it in “Online Mode” (i.e., no offline capabilities will be supported).

The recommended process for upgrading your Outlook Client is the following.  This process will ensure users are able to continue to use their Outlook Clients during your server upgrade to Dynamics 2015.

  • Upgrade all Outlook Clients to 2013
  • Upgrade your server to 2015
  • Upgrade all Outlook Clients to 2015

We hope you’ll find that these improvements will add more configurability and robust functionality to the Outlook Client.  I can see some future improvements Microsoft may want to add in with the sync process (allowing administrators to add/remove/edit what Outlook fields sync to what CRM fields including the ability to sync to custom fields), but it’s good to see Microsoft is continuing to go down the path of putting more configurability options in the hands of administrators, and removing any hard coded logic.

Good luck with your 2015 upgrade, and with all upgrades, plan…test…plan…and test some more!!

Unsupported Customizations in CRM 2015

Posted by on December 19, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (1)

Microsoft has been rolling out CRM 2015 for Online organizations (On-prem download can be found here) but before you perform the update you will want to review the new list of unsupported customizations in 2015 to see if you are currently using any of them.

Earlier in the year, in the 2013 SDK, Microsoft provided a list of things that will be changing in the next release which can also be found here in the MSDN.  Only 3 functions are being removed, getServerUrl (use getClientUrl), isOutlookClient (use client.getClient) and isOutlookClientOnline (use client.getClientState).  The Xrm.Page.ui.getFormType call will no longer return 5 for Quick Create and 11 for Read Optimized as those types of forms were removed/deprecated in earlier releases.  Also be sure that your customizations are no longer using the old 2007 endpoint as it is removed in CRM 2015.  To help detect if you are using the 2007 endpoint, you can run the Legacy Feature Check tool against your organizations.

Lastly, there have been some changes to the web application requirements for CRM 2015.  Support for IE8 and IE9 has been removed with the new version.  See below for a list of all the supported browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest publicly released version) running on Windows 8.1 or Windows 8, or Windows 7
  • Google Chrome (latest publicly released version) running on Windows 8.1 or Windows 8, or Windows 7, or Google Nexus 10 tablet
  • Apple Safari (latest publicly released version) running on Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), or Apple iPad

And the supported versions of Microsoft Office:

  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2013

As always be sure to perform the upgrade first in a development or sandbox org to verify that your customizations are still functioning post-upgrade before upgrading your production environment.

Poodle and your CRM

Posted by on December 2, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online,   |  Salesforce.com  |  commentsComments (0)

Today I am co-blogging with Blake Scarlavai, Development Principal and Microsoft Dynamics blogger at Sonoma Partners.

Nathen:

Recently a vulnerability in SSL 3.0 known as “Poodle” gained some significant attention, with many companies responding in various ways to ensure their customers’ data is protected. It can be confusing to keep track of what companies are doing what, and what is expected of you as a customer to ensure you are not vulnerable. Below are the summaries of the responses that Salesforce and Microsoft have taken.

Salesforce’s Response

Salesforce is in the process of disabling SSL 3.0 on their platform. By the end of December, you will no longer be able to use SSL 3.0 visit Salesforce’s platform. For the most part, we don’t expect this to affect our clients as the browsers which needed SSL 3.0 still enabled (IE 6 mainly) are already not supported by Salesforce. You can get the full list of the disable schedule and more information about the changes on Salesforce’s help page.

Blake:

Microsoft’s Response

Microsoft is in the process of remediating their online services for the SSL 3.0 vulnerability.  Below is a time table for each of the CRM services:

Service

SSL v3.0 Mitigation Status

Microsoft Dynamics  CRM Online

7-Dec

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

7-Dec

Microsoft Social Listening

Completed

Parature for Microsoft Dynamics

Completed

Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services

7-Dec

Online Services for Microsoft Dynamics

7-Dec

 

Microsoft also recommends disabling SSL 3.0 in your browser.  The following resources can be used for your respective browser:

For more information on Microsoft’s response, click here.

Dynamics CRM 2015 is Released!

Posted by on December 1, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

The much anticipated release of Dynamics CRM 2015 is here!  CRM 2015 is now available for download for on-premise.  CRM Online trials are going live with CRM 2015 as well, so head here to signup.

Curious to find out what is new in CRM 2015?  Head here to the Customer Center to see a list of new features in 2015.  In preparation for the release, we have also been covering the new features in detail:

Hit us up in the comments and let us know what you think of CRM 2015 as well as any topic you would like covered further!

Dynamics CRM 2015 Sales Module Enhancements

Posted by on December 1, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (1)

Microsoft recently announced new features coming out with their next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (previously code named Vega).  Check out the Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide to see what features are coming with 2015. 

Next up for our review are the changes being made to the Sales Module.  The following list of enhancements are being made with CRM 2015 and we’ll dive into a few of them a little bit deeper:

  • Product Bundles
  • Cross Sell / Up Sell (via relationships between products)
  • Product Families
  • Territory Specific Default Price List
  • Import/Export Settings via the Configuration Migration Tool provided with Leo
  • Families/Products/Bundles all show up in one grid
  • Clone Families/Products/Bundles (field values and all current product property values – including overridden values).
  • Product Form Preview (displays the product properties so you can preview how it’d look when selling the products)
  • New System Settings Configuration Options
  • Override default pricing engine via code/SDK

Now lets dive a bit deeper into some of these features.

Bundles

If you’ve used Product Kits in the past, you’ll be familiar with Product Bundles.  Bundles are an enhanced version of Product Kits (e.g., you cannot view Kit Items when selling a Kit, but you can with a Bundle – see the Opportunity screenshot below).  Product Kits will not be going away with CRM 2015, but instead Bundles will be an additional option users can use along with Kits.

Within a Bundle you can specify what Products are mandatory or not when selling the Bundle.  They can also be tied to Product Families (more information below) but are not required to be.  Finally, Products within Bundles have Properties that can be edited (e.g., what is the default value, is the property editable when being sold, etc.).

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When adding the Bundle to an Opportunity, Quote, or Order, you’ll see the Bundle with the individual Products indented underneath.  You‘ll also have the availability to edit the properties of the Products in that bundle for the specific Opportunity, Quote, or Order you’re working with.

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Cross Sell and Up Sell

As stated above, using a relationship between Products, you can define Cross Sell and Up Sell products.  This Product Relationships area is a sub-grid directly on the Product form.

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When on an Opportunity, Quote or Order selling products, there will be a Suggestions Link that when clicked, will show the Cross Sell and Up Sell products that an administrator has defined for your organization.  The user can click on Pick and then Add to List to add the suggested product to their opportunity immediately.

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Product Families

Product Families are another way to group products and create product hierarchies.  The Child Products in a Product Family inherit the properties of the Product Family when they’re added to the Product Family, but can be overridden.  Then, when adding the Product to an Opportunity, some of these properties can be modified by the Sales Person, while others may not be (defined in the Settings of the Product Family setup).  The properties can be Read Only, Required, or Hidden.

Product Families are similar to Bundles, but the user cannot add a Product Family to an Opportunity, Quote, or Order like they can with Bundles.  Instead, Product Families are used for administration of Products themselves.

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New System Settings Configuration Options:

There are a handful of new System Setting Configuration Options coming with CRM 2015 that should be called out separately.  The following settings can be configured per CRM organization:

  • Indicate if the Default Price List is set via an inbuilt rule.  If this is set to yes, then the default price list will be selected for an opportunity based on the default price lists defined for territories.
  • Max # of Products in a Bundle
  • Use system pricing calculation (override default pricing) – customers can use the SDK to have a custom pricing engine built in
  • Discount calculation method:  Per Unit (new option) or Line Item (previous option)
  • Max # of Properties for a Product/Bundle

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Some great new additions are being added to 2015 as you can see from above.  However, with these new enhancements, there are still a few limitations you should be aware of:

  • You cannot have bundles of bundles (only products are allowed to be added to bundles)
  • Only active / retired products can be imported/exported via the configuration migration tool

Dynamics CRM 2015 SLA Enhancements

Posted by on November 3, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (1)

Microsoft recently announced new features coming out with their next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (previously code named Vega).  Check out the Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide to see what features are coming with 2015. 

Next up for our review are the SLA enhancements being made. Pre-CRM 2015, users could take actions if First Response By and Case Resolved By aren’t met.  CRM could also be setup to send warnings if First Response By and Case Resolved By are approaching.

With 2015, a few new enhancements have been made to make the SLA experience a bit more rich.

Automatically Pause/Resume the SLA time Calculation:

Now with CRM 2015, administrators can setup specific Active Case Status values that will automatically pause the SLA timer if the Case is moved into one of the statuses selected.  When the Case is moved out of that status, the timer will resume and continue.  This is configured from Settings –> Service Management –> Service Configuration Settings.

In the example below, if a Case is moved into On Hold or Waiting for Details, the SLA timer will pause (and this will reflect on the Case form).  When the Case is moved back to In Progress or Researching, the SLA timer will continue where it left off.  This functionality is only available with Enhanced SLAs (described in more detail in the next section).

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The On Hold time is tracked per Case record so you can get a glimpse of how long a case has been on hold to follow up and provide better service to your customers.

There may be scenarios where you don’t want your KPIs to be paused, and this can be turned off at the SLA level.  Therefore even though the Case moves to one of the statuses to pause the timer, cases using those SLAs will continue to count down and will not be paused.

Success Actions:

Success actions are new with 2015 and are only available for Enhanced SLAs (described below).  The Success Action can be defined by an administrator, and indicates a set of actions that will be executed whenever the success criteria of a Service KPI is met before the failure time.

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Enhanced versus Standard SLA:

In Spring 2014, the SLA functionality that was delivered with Leo was Standard SLA functionality.  Now with 2015, you have the ability to define an SLA as Enhanced.

With the Standard SLAs delivered with Leo, you cannot use the new pause/resume functionality of the timer, and you cannot define Success Actions.  Standard SLAs cannot be converted to Enhanced SLAs.

Also, with Standard SLAs, all data is tracked on the individual case record (First Response By, Resolve By, etc.).  With Enhanced SLAs, this information is all tracked on a related SLA KPI Instance records, and quick view forms are used to show specific information directly on the case (e.g., the First Response In and Resolve In timer controls below).

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If you wanted to create additional KPIs that your business tracks in addition to First Response By and Resolve By, you can do this by creating new SLA KPI relationships to the Case.  Doing so will automatically allow you to create SLA Items against your SLA, and define the Warning / Failure / Success criteria and actions for the new KPI.

With the new SLA KPI Instance records, you can create charts and dashboards to be able to quickly get counts of cases based on the KPI Status, and have a better understanding of how your service department is performing at a high level.

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Dynamics CRM 2015: Tablet Client (MoCA) Enhancements

Posted by on October 22, 2014 in   |  Enterprise Mobility,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft recently announced new features coming out with their next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (previously code named Vega).  Check out the Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide to see what features are coming with 2015.

Next up for our review is reviewing the changes being made to the Mobile Client Application (MoCA).  The first version of MoCA filled a much needed gap to have a native tablet application, but with the improvements below, it’s clear Microsoft see’s mobile as the direction they want to continue to head as they make investments in improving the product.

The following improvements were made with CRM 2015:

Offline Drafts:

  • Users will now have the ability to create and update records while offline.
  • The create/edit mobile experience will use the Quick Create Form defined for the entity
  • A Draft button will appear in the sitemap while offline, taking the user to the Draft Page (+ icon that appears on lists will do the same)
  • The Draft Page will display a count of draft records on the Site Map
  • Users can discard or update drafts while offline
  • Drafts are deleted when the user signs out of MoCA for security reasons (warning displayed first)
  • No lookups / party list support while offline:  However, there’s a workaround to populate lookups while offline by starting at the parent entity and creating a child record from the parent (e.g., creating an Opportunity from a Contact defaults the Contact lookup for the new Opportunity)

You can see from the screenshots below that I have the ability to create records offline (in this instance a Lead), and see a count of how many draft records (creates/updates) that have yet to be uploaded to the CRM server.

If I click on the Draft Records link from the Site Map, I’ll see a list of all the records that have changes that have yet to be uploaded and if I wanted to, I can make further changes to them from this list.

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It’s important to note that with the Offline Drafts, users can only modify records that they created offline.  Users will still be unable to go to a record that they had previously viewed while online, and modify that record while offline.

Also, when the user goes online, they will have to save the Draft records manually (they’ll no longer appear on the draft page).  This isn’t an automatic action that’s taken when a user reconnects online

Mobile Analytics:

Microsoft now allows you to have any and as many dashboards on your tablet (system or personal).  Previously you were able to just have the one “Sales Dashboard” on the Tablet Client, but now Microsoft allows administrators to configure multiple. 

A new “Enable For Tablets” checkbox has been added to dashboards to allow it to show up in MoCA (this field is solution aware and can be toggled via the SDK).

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There’s a new “Dashboards” Site Map entry that you’ll notice when clicking around the Tablet Client.  Also, the default dashboard users see when initially logging onto the tablet client (prior to personalizing their experience) is defined and configurable by the Site Map XML.

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When on a Dashboard, users can:

  • Set as Home:  when users click the Home icon, this dashboard will show
  • Pin to Win 8 Start
  • Pin to Home:  you can pin Dashboards to your Home Dashboard similar to how you pin records – this means you could have a Home Dashboard be one dashboard, and have other dashboards pinned on it for easy access.
  • Select Dashboard to select a different Dashboard

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With all these changes, there are few other notes that users should be aware of regarding the Tablet Client:

  • There are no storage limitations (the same limitations will apply to MoCA that apply to the device)
  • All improvements in 2015 / Vega will work on Win 8, Android, and iPad devices (except the “Pin to Start” will be Win 8 devices only)
  • Plugins are still not supported on the device, but when data hits the server they’ll run (no offline plugins)

Dynamics CRM 2015 Hierarchical Security

Posted by on October 1, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft recently announced new features coming out with their next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (previously code named Vega).  Check out the Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide to see what features are coming with 2015. 

Next up for our review are the changes being made to the security model.  Note that the functionality below are simply additions to the security model.  The previous security of business units, access teams, ownership teams, security roles, etc. will remain in place.

Field Level Security Improvements:

First off we’ll briefly discuss some changes being made for Field Level Security (FLS).  FLS will now be available to work off of System Fields.  Previously this only was available for Custom Fields

FLS also has extended for additional attribute types such as address fields (out of the box only) and email address fields (custom or out of the box fields).

Now lets review the the new major change to security that’s coming in CRM 2015, the Hierarchical Security Modeling.

Hierarchical Security Modeling

With CRM 2015, Microsoft introduces a new version of security they label Hierarchical Security Modeling.  With this security modeling, granular record level access can be granted for an organization without having to create and manage business units.

With the introduction of hierarchical security modeling, Microsoft has moved the Security functionality to its own area of CRM.  You can now get to everything security related by going to Settings –> Security (previously this was in the Administration section).

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You’ll notice a new Hierarchy Security link on this page as well as a Positions link.  If you click on it you’ll notice the following options:

  • Enable Hierarchy Modeling:  Let’s you turn this on or off globally in your organization
  • Select Hierarchy Modeling:  You can set this to either Manager or Position (more on these options below)
  • Hierarchy Depth:  This indicates how many levels up the hierarchy chain does the read permissions get granted to.  More on this below especially regarding performance.
  • Selected Entities:  This is where you’d select entities that you want the to EXCLUDE in the hierarchy security model.

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Manager Hierarchy uses the existing Manager field on the System User record.  However, with this hierarchical model, you’re required to be in the same Business Unit hierarchy for it to apply successfully.  This is why the Position Hierarchy Model was built which we’ll describe below.  A good Use Case for the manager model is if a manager needs to take actions upon records their reports have access (for example the report goes on vacation)

Position Hierarchy on the other hand allows you to go across business units.  CRM Administrators can and add users to any given position to be included in that position.  A good Use Case for the position model is organizations that have a “Sales Team” and “Sales Management” team that span across business units yet these positions should have access to subordinate records.

As stated earlier, Position Hierarchy can be configured where an Administrator can define Positions, define the Parent Positions, and also add users to Positions so that the Position Hierarchy security method is executed to your specific business needs.

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It is strongly recommended that Hierarchical Security be used with the other security tools (e.g., security roles, teams, business units, etc.).  The Hierarchical Security model does grant additional permissions based on users, managers, and positions:

  • Read Access:  Propagates up the chain to a specific configurable level (as shown above in the Settings screenshot
  • Write, Update, Append, Append To: This is granted just to the direct parent of the user/positions

There are also some performance considerations to keep in mind when enabling hierarchy security:

  • Use with other security methods (e.g., security roles, business units, teams, etc.) for more complex scenarios
  • Target 4 levels of hierarchy (1 manager with 3 reports, and 100-200 potential users underneath)
  • Performance is tied to the # of users (not the depth) in the parent’s chain:
    • 1 manager with 4 reports and 1 level in the chain, is the same as
    • 1 manager with 1 report and 5 levels in the chain

With all the security methods provided out of the box by Dynamics CRM now with 2015, I can see some organizations with very complex security requirements being easily achievable using native security methods.


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