CRM Online Spring 2015 – OneNote Integration

Posted by on April 15, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft recently announced the CRM Online Spring Release ‘15 and subsequently lifted the NDA around the release and therefore it’s time to start posting about all the great new features coming!

This post will cover the new OneNote Integration feature that Microsoft is rolling out.

How it Works

Now with the new release, there will be a new OneNote tab that’s part of the activity Social Pane (posts / activities / notes / OneNote).  This functionality isn’t limited to only the web, but is also available on the Phone and Tablet clients as well.

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A few key features and benefits of the OneNote integrate with CRM are:

  • You can take photos, record voice, manage to-dos, preserve HTML & hyperlinks, use handwriting, have tables, embedded Excel docs, etc.
  • Uses the native CRM Security Model for access
  • Allows version history
  • When performing a search, it actually searches the content of the note, and not just the title like traditional notes
  • Stores notes in SharePoint not in CRM Database
  • Each record in CRM has a dedicated notebook in SharePoint
  • SharePoint Notebook name = CRM Record name
  • Each notebook can have multiple sections with multiple pages
  • All users share the same notebook
  • Web Client: opens OneNote Online in a separate tab
  • Tablet Client in Windows: opens OneNote app in the side-by-side experience with CRM
  • Phone Client: opens OneNote App
  • Notebook can be auto created when OneNote tab clicked (in the Web Client only)
  • Navigate to OneNote to add new notes

Best Practices

There are some best practices that you should be aware of if you’re interested in using the OneNote integration with CRM.

  • Pin notes on your device.
  • Use side-by-side experience for windows
  • Take notes quickly using Quick Notes and move to page later
  • Close notebook when not using it to save OneNote performance and search results

Setup and Requirements

The OneNote integration currently is only available for CRM Online.  Also, you must have the SharePoint integration enabled as the OneNote notebooks are stored in SharePoint.

You need to enable the SharePoint integration (Document Management) for the specific entities that you’re interested in storing OneNote documents for.  Once you enable this on the entity definition, you then have to go into the OneNote Integration settings area, and enable OneNote for those entities.  The list of entities that appear in the OneNote Integration settings are those entities which have SharePoint enabled.

Note that the OneNote integration can also be enabled from the entity itself once Document Management is enabled.  So you can go to a global area to see all the entities where OneNote is enabled, or you can do it from a single specific entity.

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CRM Online Spring 2015 – Office Groups Integration

Posted by on April 8, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft recently announced the CRM Online Spring Release ‘15 and subsequently lifted the NDA around the release and therefore it’s time to start posting about all the great new features coming!

This post will cover the new Office Groups Integration feature that Microsoft is rolling out.

Office Groups

First off let’s discuss what Office Groups are.   Office Groups are a new space to collaborate with a group of O365 users.  These don’t have to be CRM Users, but instead just users of O365.

With Office Groups, you easily indicate what content from different Office products should be shared with other O365 users.  This can be content from Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive. 

To be more specific, the following content can be shared from these Office products:

  • Outlook:
    • Calendar (Outlook Appointments)
    • Conversations (Outlook Emails)
  • OneNote:  Notebooks
  • OneDrive:  Documents

CRM Integration

Now that we know the basics of what Office Groups are, how does it integrate with Dynamics CRM? 

For each CRM record identified to have an Office Group created, an Office Group will be created behind the scenes for that record.  The CRM Record Name will become the Office Group Name.

Then, on the CRM record form itself, there will be a tab “Items Shared with Group”

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This tab will allow you to collaborate with non-CRM users who are O365 users.  On this tab you’ll be able to:

  • See across the various office products (Outlook, OneNote, etc.) items shared to the specific office group
  • See Yammer like conversations for emails
  • For Opps Only, adding people to the Sales Team will automatically add the person to the O365 group

Setup

Currently this is a solution that’s available on the O365 Admin portal. In order to take advantage of this functionality, you’ll need to download and import this solution to your CRM organization.

Once the solution is imported, it’s as simple as typing in the entity name that you want to enable Office Groups for, and then also indicate if you want an Office Group automatically created for new records that are created of that entity type.

A new Security Role is provided in the solution that you’ll have to assign out to your users to take part in this new functionality.  This role provides access to create/view the Office Group entities that are provided in the solution.

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Currently this functionality is only available on CRM Online and Office Online.  I can see down the road this being applied to CRM On Prem, and Office On Prem so that users could have a hybrid of CRM and Office solutions and still take advantage of this functionality.

Also, the functionality of Office Group emails on the record form are very similar to Yammer.  There may be an opportunity here for the Yammer and Office Group teams to talk and consolidate products.

Finally, the functionality to have people automatically added to the O365 group from the Opportunity Sales Team, would be beneficial to have extended to other entities and not just Opportunities

So when would you use this new Office Group functionality?  When you need widespread collaboration for people that are internal that don’t have access to CRM with those that do have access to CRM

CRM Online Spring Release ‘15 - Theming

Posted by on April 6, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Theming is a brand new feature coming in the Spring Release ‘15 which has been requested by many organizations for many years now. Themes can be created to change the colors of certain UI elements as well as add a logo to the navigation bar. Multiple themes can be created which is managed through a view in Settings –> Customizations as shown below.

theme grid

When opening a theme record, you will see a variety of options for UI elements as well as the navigation logo and colors. The logo is a Lookup to a web resource image and can have a custom tooltip for when a user hovers over the logo.

Theme form

Below is a custom theme in action with a custom Excel logo. As you can see the navigation bar, grid row selection and even the Command Bar buttons can all be customized.

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Here is what a record form can look like with a custom theme. Header fields and Business Process Flow links can be customized as well.

Process Flow theme

Themes can be built brand new or there is an ability to clone an existing theme and make changes. They can also be previewed before publishing to all users. Unfortunately themes are not solution aware at this time but can be exported and imported into a new environment using native record export / import.

Besides branding your CRM system, theming can also come in handy when trying to distinguish your many different environments from DEV to QA to PROD by creating unique themes for each environment.

Happy Theming!

CRM Online Spring 2015 – USD and Parature KM

Posted by on April 3, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (3)

Microsoft recently announced the CRM Online Spring Release ‘15 and subsequently lifted the NDA around the release and therefore it’s time to start posting about all the great new features coming!

This post will cover the changes coming to Unified Service Desk around Parature Knowledge Management.

USD and Parature KM

First off are the changes that are coming to USD regarding Parature Knowledge Management. 

Users can now perform actions / automations around the Knowledge Base such as Copy Link, Send Email, Link/Unlink KB Article, Browse web pages, etc. within USD sessions.

Also, the KB Search Panel is now independent, and not tied to an entity form.  Previously you could only perform a KB search when on a specific record / form.  The KB Search Panel can be displayed in different layouts / areas of USD (right panel, pop out, etc.).  This provides a much richer experience with multiple applications and session management for the USD Agents.

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USD Technical Updates

There were also a bunch of technical updates applied to USD and what actions/controls are available for use. 

  • A new type of Hosted Control was added for the KM integration (KM Control)
    • Inbuilt Actions:  Search, SetArticleContext, Associate, Disassociate, SetSearchProps
    • Associated Events:  ResultOpen, SelectionChange, SearchComplete
  • Navigate() action now supports Post-Method for Web applications
  • New Actions:
    • SetVisualProperty (automate visual properties such as height, width, color, and background)
    • CopytoClipboard (allow copy/append text data to the system clipboard)
  • New Panel RightPopUpPanel gives an option to display article previews

USD and Parature KM Setup and Install

To install and setup the new functionality for USD and Parature KM, the Package Deployer can be used to deploy all the components needed for the core User Interface Integration (UII) and USD solutions along with sample data to CRM.

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Then when in CRM, navigate to Settings –> Service Management –> Setup Knowledge Base Management to setup the record types you want KB management on.  You can also configure your Parature connection details from this location as well.

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Finally, you need to configure your Parature KM Hosted Control and you should be set to go!

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CRM Online Spring Release ‘15 – Navigation Enhancements

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

Microsoft recently announced the CRM Online Spring Release ‘15 and subsequently lifted the NDA around the release so we can now blog about all the great new features coming!

This post will cover the feature we’re most excited for in the Spring Release – Navigation enhancements.

New Navigation Bar Shelf

One of the biggest complaints about CRM 2013 / 2015 is that the main navigation was much worse than its predecessors.  Users weren’t able to see many entries at once which required them to scroll horizontally for a long time to find the area of the site map they’re trying to navigate to.  While this was a pain for all users, it was even more painful for those users who had hundreds of sitemap entries, and trust us, we have customers who fall in that camp.  Countless partners and customers started creating their own custom solutions to be able to see more entries at once.

If you’re familiar with the navigation in Dynamics Marketing then you will recognize the new navigation bar that is coming with the Spring Release ‘15. We’re very excited for the new navigation bar as it now provides the ability to see a lot more sub areas on a single screen instead of having to scroll for days if your organization has a lot of entities. Now when you hover over a main tile like Sales, a new shelf will drop down to display a lot more sub sections and links as shown below.

Navigation

MRU

Microsoft is once again listening to the community and adding back features that were in past CRM’s but removed from 2013 (similar to Advanced Find in the global navigation bar). Now Microsoft is adding back the MRU (most recently used) functionality.  An MRU icon was added to the navigation bar to the left of the Quick Create icon that will show you a list of your most recent views and recent records as shown below.

MRU

Pinning

Once inside the MRU pane, you can hover over a recent record and click the pin icon to pin that record to the top of the list so it is always visible and easily accessible.

pinning

Quick Create

The Quick Create pane was also updated to be a consistent look and feel. It now has the same pane as the new navigation and lists the entities in a vertical manner to be able to show more entities on a single screen without having to scroll horizontally.

quick create

Form Navigation

A new icon was added to the right of the record name which displays a list of tabs on the form. Clicking a tab name will navigate directly to that tab on the form. This makes it easier to navigate taller forms.  It’s also a great way to quickly navigate back to a tab of the main form if you’re currently viewing a related Associated Grid of the main record.  Previously in 2013 and 2015, once you navigate to a related Associated Grid, you’d have to go back to the top tab of the form, then scroll down to the tab you’re interested in.

form navigation

As stated earlier, we are super excited for these enhancements as they have been highly requested for awhile! The one downside is you can only get your hands on it this Spring if you are on CRM Online.  On-premise customers will unfortunately have to wait a bit longer until Fall 2015.

Form Record Navigation in CRM 2015

Posted by on March 24, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

If you’re like us at Sonoma Partners, and have upgraded to CRM 2015 already, you’re also getting used to the different UI of 2013/2015 compared to 2011.

I may be one of the odd ones where I enjoyed 2011 opening each link in a separate tab (I changed my IE settings to open in a tab, versus a new window).  This way I could multi-task and have many different tabs for different records that I was working with.

However, in order to get this functionality with CRM 2013/2015, I now resort to right clicking in a list/grid, and selecting “Open in a New Window” and now I’m back to the navigation that I’m used to.

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However, doing this comes with a price of losing some other functionality.  Another great CRM feature is the previous/next navigation arrows on a record form to navigate quickly between records from the view you came from.

However, if you right click and open your new record in a separate window/tab as I did above, these arrows don’t appear.  If you navigate the way 2015 was built (double clicking a row and having it open in the current window/tab), then these arrows appear.

Just something to be aware of as you choose your own adventure for how to navigate around CRM 2015.

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CRM 2015 – Custom Help Content

Posted by on February 13, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

With CRM 2015 Microsoft added the ability to customize help content on a global level as well as an entity level.  Your content will then be surfaced by clicking the question mark icon at the top right of CRM. 

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Depending on what entity grid or form you are on, CRM will either take you to the custom help URL specified for that specific entity or if a URL isn’t specified then it will take you to the custom help URL specified at a global level with context information passed in as a parameter.  If a custom help URL isn’t specified at an entity or global level then it will display the native CRM Customer Center.

To setup custom help at a global level:

  • Go to the System Settings in CRM (Settings –> System Settings)
  • On the General tab, scroll down towards the bottom to find “Set custom Help URL”

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  • Set “Use custom Help for customizable entities” to Yes
  • You can now specify a URL in the “Global custom Help URL” field
    • This URL can also be a relative path to a custom web resource, for example: /WebResources/new_/help/content/global.htm
  • Set “Append parameters to URL” to yes if you would like the following context information to be appended to your custom URL
    • User Language Code: userlcid
    • Entity Name: entity
    • Entry Point: hierarchy chart or form
    • Form id: formid

To setup custom help at an entity level:

  • Navigate to the entity information in the solution
  • Check the “Use custom Help” box

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  • You can now specify a URL in the “Help URL” field
    • This URL can also be a relative path similar to the global custom help, for example: /WebResources/new_/help/content/account.htm
  • Publish Customizations

Customer Success: For Jones Lang LaSalle, Success Can Be Found in the Cloud

Posted by on February 3, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

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Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is a financial and professional services firm that specializes in commercial real estate services and investment management. With an impressive workforce of 52,700 employees spread across 200 corporate offices worldwide, JLL turned to CRM to improve visibility into the core business of real estate availability. But with their original out of the box solution, sales reps found CRM to be cumbersome and difficult to navigate. Information about real estate availability wasn’t always accurate within CRM and too much information on each screen was a point of confusion for end users. What they needed? A customized global deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

“If we are going to remain a thought leader in commercial real estate, it’s crucial that we not only have the right data analytics tools, but also have systems that are agile and flexible.”
- Greg Adams, Managing Director of Information Technology for JLL

Today, JLL uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint and Office 365 to get the job done. But for JLL to grow, they needed agility and flexibility - two things the cloud could give them.

The following is an excerpt from the full customer story published by Microsoft:

JLL used Microsoft Dynamics CRM on premise for several years, but is working now to add 3,500 Microsoft Dynamics CRM online seats to their current 2,000, allowing their offices in Asia, EMEA, Australia, the US, and beyond to have access to the same data analytics tools and more seamlessly integrate across continents. They envision their Microsoft Dynamics CRM system as a hub of information for their properties, accounts, and services so their people not only have the right information, anywhere, on any device, but also can be more proactive in their discussions with customers. The company is also planning to move its full Microsoft stack to the cloud, and is considering adding Microsoft Social Listening.

“With a company our size, you have to have customizations around business processes – both for individual offices and across the entire company.” Adams says. “As we look to the future, if it can’t operate in the cloud, we will probably look elsewhere.”

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CRM 2015 – Scripting Options for Business Process Flows

Posted by on January 27, 2015 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Since the release of business process flows in CRM 2013, we’ve been clamoring for more extensibility from a scripting standpoint.  With the release of CRM 2015 Microsoft has added several new methods to the javascript API that allow developers to greatly extend the out-of-the-box business process flows capability.

The following is a list of the new API methods from this MSDN article.  We are particularly most excited about the ability to dynamically hide/show the business process flow control.

Change the process when there are more than one process available for the entity.
Use Xrm.Page.data.process.getEnabledProcesses to retrieve information about enabled processes that the user can choose for the entity. Then use Xrm.Page.data.process.setActiveProcess to make one of the enabled processes the active one.

Move to the next stage when all required steps are completed to make it the current active stage.
Use Xrm.Page.data.process.moveNext.

Move to the previous stage and make it the current active stage.
Use Xrm.Page.data.process.movePrevious.

Select a stage to view the status of the steps in the stage.
Use Xrm.Page.data.process.getActivePath to retrieve information about the stages that have been completed, the current active stage, and valid stages available from the current active stage. Examine the steps included in that stage and compare the corresponding form attribute values to determine whether they are completed.

Complete a step
Steps are completed when the corresponding data in the form is entered. You can determine the attribute using the step getAttribute method. This will return the logical name of the attribute. Then use Xrm.Page.getAttribute to retrieve attribute from the Xrm.Page.data.entity.attributes collection and then use the attribute setValue method to set the value.

Detect whether a step is required
Use the step isRequired method to determine if a step is required by the business process flow.

Expand or collapse the business process flow control
Use Xrm.Page.ui.process.setDisplayState.

Hide the process control
Use Xrm.Page.ui.process.setVisible, you can control whether to display the business process flow control.

Skip to a valid completed stage.
Use Xrm.Page.data.process.setActiveStage to set one of the valid completed stages for the current entity.

Query the process definition including stages not currently visible
Use Xrm.Page.data.process.getActiveProcess to query the definition of the business process flow, including stages that might not be visible because of branching logic in the process.

Events for business process flows
You can interact any event provided by the form with business process flows, but two new events allow you to execute code based on events just for the business process flow control. You can execute code when the active stage of a business process flow changes (OnStageChange event) or when a stage is selected (OnStageSelected event).

The SDK team also provided a couple great samples for the new scripting methods.  Check out this sample on how to retrieve information about the enabled processes for an entity and this sample on retrieving information about the stages and steps in the active business process flow path.

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 (2)

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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