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 (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 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 hierarchy security modeling to apply to.

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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.

Dynamics CRM 2015 Calculated and Rollup Fields

Posted by on September 26, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (4)

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. 

Prior to Dynamics CRM 2015, in order to perform calculations / rollups, you had to write code in order to do so which meant you had to invest in a developer which isn’t always possible for our customers.  However, with Dynamics CRM 2015, Microsoft has provided the ability for power users / administrators to create and update calculated fields and rollup fields using the CRM web client and customizations area within Settings.  Below we’ll discuss both Calculated Fields and Rollup Fields in more detail, their uses, and current limitations.

When you’re defining your custom fields, at that time you can indicate if the field will be Simple (pre 2015 calculated fields that we’re all used to) Calculated (new for 2015), or Rollup (new for 2015).  Based on the Data Type of the field will determine what values you can select in the Field Type drop down.  This value can only be set upon field creation.  Once the field is created the Simple/Calculated/Rollup flag may not be updated.

Calculated Fields:

You can create a calculated field for any data type, except Multiple Line of Text, Image, or Lookup fields.  When you create the field, an “Edit” link will appear next to the Field Type.

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When you click the Edit button, you’ll be taken into the editor where you can edit your calculations.  When you’re editing the calculation, you can use any field from the current entity, or any N:1 entity in your calculation or conditions.  You can also use AND and OR in your conditions to make more complex conditions.  However there is a limitation to this functionality (see limitations section below).

The UI of the edit page is similar to the modern UI when modifying Business Rules or Business Processes.  So your admins will have a consistent look and feel amongst all of these customization tools.

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The calculation designer also supports intellisense so when you’re editing the calculation, you’ll see hints of what you can select from and what you need to enter as you type.

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These fields are stored in the database and can be used and displayed like any other physical field in views / reports / charts / forms / Field Level Security.

When modifying fields that affect the calculation, the calculated field is calculated synchronously after a Save is performed.  The the end user will get immediate feedback that data has changed after the form is refreshed.

Rollup Fields:

Rollup fields are used to perform record level aggregation from related records.  For example, if you wanted to have a field on the Account that rolled up the Estimated Revenue for all Open Opportunities related to the Account, you could easily identify at the Account level what the Total Open Revenue was and then know what Accounts you should focus most of your time and energy on.

Similar to Calculated Fields, Rollup Fields do not support all data types.  Rollup fields are only available for Whole Number, Decimal Number, Date & Time, and Currency fields.  The table below shows how you can rollup child data using the rollup fields for the different data types.

Data Type

COUNT

MAX

MIN

SUM

Whole Number

x

 

 

 

Decimal

x

x

x

x

Currency

 

x

x

x

Date & Time

 

x

x

 

Similar to Calculated Fields, when you’re creating your field, you’ll see an Edit button appear if you choose Rollup for Field Type.

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When you click on the Edit button you’ll see a similar modern UI as when you edited your Calculated Fields, Business Rules, or Business Processes.

When editing the Rollup Field, you can select to use a hierarchy or not.  If you select to use the hierarchy, then what will happen is that all related records that are related to any record in the hierarchy will be used in the rollup (you can optionally filter records in the hierarchy as well).  An example here would be if you want to find the Total Open Revenue for Opportunities that are related to any Account in a hierarchy (versus those Opportunities that are just related to the current Account).

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The calculation of a Rollup Field is different than a Calculated Field.  Whereas the Calculated Field was performed synchronously immediately after clicking Save on a record, a Rollup Field is calculated using asynchronous jobs.  This is performed automatically every hour, but if you’d like, you can kick off the calculation manually by hovering over the rollup field on your record form, and clicking the icon of the two arrows on the right of the field that states “Recalculate” when you hover over the icon.  You can also use the API to recalculate rollup fields on demand using code.

Similar to Calculated Fields, Rollup Fields are stored in the database and can be used and displayed like any other physical field in views / reports / charts / forms / Field Level Security.

You can solve some pretty complex business use cases using both Calculated Fields and Rollup Fields.  Rollup Fields can be a part of a Calculated Field, and a Calculated Field can be a part of a Rollup Field.

When modifying fields that affect the calculation, the calculated field is calculated synchronously after a Save is performed.  The the end user will get immediate feedback that data has changed after the form is refreshed.

Limitations:

Like all new features, it’s important to note the limitations and areas that hopefully Microsoft will improve upon with future releases:

  • General:
    • Workflows aren’t trigger by field updates
    • Latest values not available in plugin create/update pipeline
  • Calculated Fields:
    • Can only go 1 level up in N:1 relationships
    • Can only have all ANDs or all ORs in Conditions
    • Not available for offline
    • Have to save the record first before calculated field is updated when form refreshes
    • Only Calculated fields using all simple fields can be sorted
  • Rollup Fields
    • Only available using a single directly related 1:N entity
    • Complex calculated fields cannot be used in rollups
    • Rollup using other rollup fields is not supported

Server Side Synchronicity 2

Posted by on September 25, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Today's guest blogger is Ross Talbot, a Development Principal at Sonoma Partners

In the continuing discussion regarding Server Side Synchronization in Dynamics CRM 2013, we previously detailed some of the gotchas we had encountered with upgraded orgs and some added fixes with communication between Exchange web services and CRM. We also expanded on a few permission issues we noticed after an upgrade from CRM 2011. The focus of today’s episode revolves around an addition in CRM 2013 SP1 involving communication between CRM and Exchange.

When you set up Server Side Sync and create your Email Server Profile, you are detailing the connection between CRM and Exchange so that when CRM Emails, Appointments, Contacts, and Tasks need to be updated, each server knows where to go find the other. What happens, though, when you have an Active Directory user who is a member of more than one CRM organization? Well from the CRM side, we are identifying the Exchange server web service address in the Email Server Profile record, as shown below.

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What about the reverse direction though, from the Exchange side? When you set up the architecture for your CRM environment, do you only have just one CRM org or do you develop and test in separate organizations/servers for these environments? The Exchange mailbox identified for the user can only synchronize appointments, contacts, and tasks with one CRM organization, so how can the Exchange Server tell which CRM org is correct? It is pretty easy to see how a user can be tied to multiple CRM orgs, but it is much rarer to have multiple Exchange server environments (unless you are an IT Administrator, but the overlap in this case is pretty small). Prior to Service Pack 1, it was unclear how this worked. It was unclear which CRM org the Exchange server was synchronizing to (the first one that was configured, or the last). This makes it difficult to tell if the setting that tells Exchange to send everything to a specific org was ignored or overwritten.

In CRM 2013 SP1, a new option is available when setting up the user’s mailbox to force sync on a specific user account for a specific org and Exchange mailbox pairing. From the Email Server Profile record in CRM for the Exchange server, click the Ribbon button Test & Enable Mailboxes.

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This opens a dialog to test your configuration for email, and the key here is the checkbox to Sync items with Exchange from this CRM Organization only, even if Exchange was set to sync with a different Organization. This helps clarify the expectation of which CRM Organization is tied to the Exchange Server for records to sync and cleared up the issue we had encountered.

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Clicking What’s this? opens a detail page explaining cases where you may need to select the option. Similar options are also available on individual Mailbox records in CRM, where you can test an individual mailbox as opposed to modifying all mailboxes connected to an Email Server Profile.

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Having trouble getting server side synchronicity wrapped around your finger? Contact us before you are driven to tears…

Dynamics CRM 2015 Enhanced Business Processes

Posted by on September 24, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  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 enhancements that are being made to Business Processes (the new feature added in Dynamics CRM 2013).  This amazing feature add from 2013 is being improved to be even more amazing.  Also, all of the enhancements below will work on MoCA!

With 2015, the following enhancements have been made to close the gap on those limitations:

  • Support for multiple entity loops to return to a previous entity in the process
  • Support to add entities to your BPF that don’t have a relationship to the entity you’re coming from.  If your rule requires it, you can choose the relationship on the Stage tile using the “Select relationships” link, although this is now optional with 2015 and can be left blank.

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  • Client API Programmability
    • Access to available processes, active process, active stage, and active path
    • Move stages, change active process
    • Hook into stage selection, or changing active stage
    • Hide the Process Control completely from the form, or toggle whether or not the Process Control is expanded or collapsed on the form
  • Rule Based Branching Support (If / Else)
    • Decisions made to branch to different stages
    • Defined in a single UI for rules, stages, steps, & branches
    • Evaluated Real Time
    • Branches on a single entity, cross entity, merge branches back to the main flow
    • Branching rules must be based on steps in the stage immediately preceding it
    • Can combine multiple conditions in a rule using AND/OR

In order to use Rule Based Branching, when you’re editing your Business Process flow, you can click on the “Add Branch” from any stage to indent the flow to add your conditions and additional stages.  If you want to have an “If” “Else If” branch, then simply click “Add Branch” to the parent stage and the new stage will be added under the other stages in that branch (e.g., if creating an Opportunity for a New Customer, then we should capture information about that new customer.  Otherwise, if it’s an Existing Customer, we should select the customer from our existing Account list).  You can also have a default “Else” stage by clicking “Add Branch” and not adding any conditions to the branch.  The example below shows the configuration of an “If” “Else If” Business Process.

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Now when I’m on my Opportunity in CRM, if I indicate that Existing Customer = No, then I get the New Customer stage where I can enter some quick details about the Customer that can be used later to create an Account record (or could be coupled with Workflow to automatically create the Account and associate it to the Opportunity).

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And when I indicate that Existing Customer = Yes, I get the Existing Customer stage where I can select the account I want to associate to this Opportunity.

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With all these enhancements that were made in Dynamics CRM 2015, there are still some limitations to Business Processes that you should be aware of:

  • Processes can only span across a maximum of 5 unique entities
  • Maximum of 30 stages per process, and 30 steps per stage
  • Each branch can be no more than 5 levels deep
  • Only one active process per record
  • Can only leverage 1:N entity relationships (even though this is optional)

If you have any questions regarding any of this functionality, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.

Dynamics CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations

Posted by on September 23, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (2)

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. 

With Dynamics CRM 2015, Microsoft has added a new way to look at records, and their relationships to records of the same entity type.  This new functionality is called Hierarchy Visualizations.  In this post we’ll show you what the hierarchy visualizations look like, but first, let’s show you how to set them up.

First off, you’ll need to go to the Customizations area of CRM, and open up the entity you want to enable hierarchy visualizations for.  Note, after installing 2015, some entities are already enabled and setup for hierarchy visualizations, and you won’t be able to change the out of the box setting (accounts, positions, products, and users).  Other entities are setup to allow hierarchy visualizations but not setup by default.  This includes all custom entities.

A new “Hierarchical” field has been added to the 1:N relationship definition.  Note that setting this to “Yes” will automatically set the hierarchy flag to No for on any other relationship on this entity that was previously setup as hierarchical.  CRM 2015 only allows you to setup 1 hierarchy visualization per entity, and the Parent Entity and Related Entity have to be the same (see limitations below).

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After configuring your 1:N relationship, you need to navigate to Hierarchy Settings within the entity definition.

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Once there, you can create your new Hierarchy Setting.  The Hierarchy Setting is used to define what 1:N relationship to use, and what Quick View Form for to use for the tiles that appear in the hierarchy visualization.  You can use one of the out of the box Quick View Forms, or create a new one specifically for the hierarchy visualization. 

There are a few important notes to make about Hierarchy Settings:

  • Only the first 4 fields from the Quick View Form will currently display on the tile. 
  • You can only have have one Hierarchy Setting per entity even though the solution explorer makes it look like you can have multiple.
  • Hierarchy Settings are Solution Aware and will be exported / imported across organizations

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Once you have your relationship and your Hierarchy Setting setup correctly, when you navigate to a grid for this entity, if there is a value populated in the field for the relationship you setup for specific records, you’ll see an icon in the grid indicating that record is part of a hierarchy.

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Clicking on that icon will open up the Hierarchy Visualization for the record you selected, and show any siblings of that record, the parent of that record, and any children related to that record.

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One you have the Hierarchy Visualization open, there are a few things you’ll notice.  First off, there’s a list on the left as well as the larger tiles on the right that are showing the 3 levels of the hierarchy based on what record you selected (current layer, parent, and children)

You can also click on the check mark at the bottom right corner of the tile that will select that record so you can take actions on similarly as if you selected it in a grid (such as assign, edit, share, etc.).

Clicking on the main area of the tile (and not the check mark in the bottom right corner), or selecting a record in the list on the left, will color that tile orange and make it the focal point of the hierarchy and redraw the hierarchy tree.

Finally, on each tile (and also on the list on the left), there’s a “pop-out” icon that when clicked, will open up the form for that particular record in a separate tab/window.  If you’re on the form for a record that’s part of a hierarchy, you’ll be able to quickly display the hierarchy view by clicking an icon in the top right corner of the form.

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With these changes above, Microsoft also added a couple new operators to Advanced Find.  Note, these can only be used in Advanced Find queries (don’t show up on sub-grids of specific records)

  • Under:  Finds all records that are UNDER a specific node (e.g. all Accounts under North America)
  • Not Under:  Inverse of Under

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Also important to note is that all of the functionality discussed above will work on the Mobile Client Application (MoCA) as well.  So this powerful new feature will NOT be only available on the web client, making it even more powerful!

With Hierarchy Visualizations, there are still some limitations to be aware of:

  • Maximum of 4 fields are displayed on a tile
  • Visualization is based on a single entity (not multiple hierarchy) – A relationship between 1 entity and itself
  • At most 1 hierarchical relationship allowed for an entity
  • Only 1:N relationships can be enabled to be hierarchical

As the product matures and Hierarchy Visualizations get more real world exposure, I’m sure Microsoft will invest time into resolving the limitations above (e.g., allowing hierarchy  visualizations between different entities, displaying the visualization somewhere other than the entity form like a chart or dashboard, etc.).  However, this is a great start and something many of our customers will be excited to get their hands on.

Dynamics CRM 2015: Social Insights & On Prem

Posted by on September 22, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  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.  Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll slowly reveal this functionality one by one and show some of the key highlights of these features.

Next up for our review is reviewing the changes with Social Insights from Microsoft Social Listening.  Previously only CRM Online orgs had access to embed components of Microsoft Social Listening within Dynamics CRM, but now with Dynamics CRM 2015, CRM On Prem customs will also be able to enjoy the benefits of the social data without having to leave Dynamics CRM.

Using a simple wizard based approach, Social Insights can be added to the following:

  • System Dashboards
  • User Dashboards
  • Entity Forms

In order to have both your Dynamics CRM On Premise organization and your Social Insights environment talking to one another, you need to:

  • In CRM, navigate to Settings -> Administration -> Microsoft Social Listening Configuration
  • Copy the Domain URL
  • In Social Listening, navigate to Settings -> Allowed Domains
  • Add the Domain URL copied above to the Allowed Domains
  • Copy the Social Listening URL
  • Paste the Social Listening URL back into CRM

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As stated above, Social Insights can bee added to System or User Dashboards by selecting the Insert Social Insights components when on a dashboard section.

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When you click this icon, you’ll be presented with a 3 step wizard.  You can select the specific data you want to display from Microsoft Social Listening including what search terms you want to display, what summary information you want to display (e.g., sentiment, volume, etc.), and more.

Note:  You can have one or multiple visualizations on one of the sections of the dashboard so you can see multiple pieces of social information in each section.

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Now when you navigate to your Social Dashboard, you’ll see the social data from Microsoft Social Listening displayed to you in a summary dashboard directly from within Dynamics CRM.

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Similarly to adding Social Insights to a dashboard, you can add it to a CRM entity form.  From here you’ll be able to see the same social component information that you saw within a dashboard.

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Note:  You’ll need to have a Microsoft Social Listening account and be logged into MSL or you’ll get an error when trying to view the Social Insights within Dynamics CRM.

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A few additional pieces of information to be aware of:

  • Does not require IFD to be enabled for CRM On Prem
  • Will work with Outlook
  • Multiple CRM instances can point to the same MSL instance
  • This is not available on MoCA (as Social Insights is surfaced in CRM through an iFrame, and there is no support for iFrames in MoCA)
  • Users in CRM need a MSL license (these credentials are used to authenticate to MSL)

Server Side Synchronicity

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Today's guest blogger is Ross Talbot, a Development Principal at Sonoma Partners

If you have been following our adventures with Server Side Synchronization in Dynamics CRM 2013, we previously detailed some of the gotchas we had encountered with upgraded orgs and some added fixes with communication between Exchange web services and CRM. Recently we found another issue related to an upgraded org, this time revolving around permissions.

After we had resolved the previous issue with the web services on the servers having some issues sending data back and forth, we found that tests for the sync were working for all but 20 users when looking at the sync for Appointments and Tasks. Of course, this was now less than 10% of the users but not all so we went looking for more information. We started by checking the sync filters, trying to determine what set these 20 users apart from the others. The error we were seeing this time around was that the mailbox user doesn't have sufficient permissions on this mailbox. We checked impersonation settings, security roles, and client information to rule out differences. That is where we found the difference, and it pointed to the security roles associated to the affected users. The difference between the affected users and those that were working involved native security roles that had been assigned prior to the production environment going live during the initial user import. With no custom roles defined at that time, all users were given a native security role. Users with higher level security needs were given one of the custom roles and the native role was removed. So why were the users with more privileges having issues?

When creating custom security roles, a good habit or best practice is to make a copy of a native CRM security role and modify only the permissions you need to. That is the approach we take on Sonoma projects, to ensure you don’t have to change every single privilege as you might need to if you started from scratch. When you upgrade your CRM org, whether it is a product version update, a service pack, or a UR being applied, the native security roles are updated with security access to new entities and features. Not the custom roles though.

Here is a custom security role, highlighting a section of the Business Management tab in CRM 2011.

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Now, here is a similar look at a role in CRM 2013

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There are now a few new entries, and in fact there is a new Privacy Related Privileges section just below these privileges. With all the new features in CRM, including Server Side Sync, Mobile Client Apps (MoCA), Business Process Flows, not to mention adding more with every release, it is becoming more and more important to review the privileges in your custom security roles when testing a new release and especially the features that come with it.

For the sake of future me and all the others that need to search for the privilege names related to these new to 2013 entries shown above, they are listed below.

Mailbox privileges: prvReadMailbox, prvShareMailbox, prvAssignMailbox, prvWriteMailbox, prvDeleteMailbox, prvCreateMailbox, prvAppendToMailbox, prvAppendMailbox

Email Server Profile privileges: prvWriteEmailServerProfile, prvAppendToEmailServerProfile, prvDeleteEmailServerProfile, prvCreateEmailServerProfile, prvReadEmailServerProfile, prvShareEmailServerProfile, prvAppendEmailServerProfile, prvAssignEmailServerProfile

Got your own issue involving server side synchronicity? Don’t rely on a message in a bottle. Contact us instead.

Dynamics CRM 2015 Enhanced Business Rules

Posted by on September 18, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft has just announced a slew of new features that are 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.  Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll slowly reveal this functionality one by one and show some of the key highlights of these features.

Next up for our review is reviewing the changes and enhancements that Microsoft has made with Business Rules (new for CRM 2013).  The following high level enhancements have been made for this next major release of Dynamics CRM:

  • Business Rules can now be executed on the server (previously client side only)
    • Business Rule Scope should be set to Entity when building the rule
    • Ensures your rule will fire when no matter how records are updated and not only via the form
    • Synchronous and would be visible real time
  • Set default values on record creation (e.g., all your Leads are generated in the United States so you can default the country on the Lead record when records are created)
  • Added If.. Else If.. Else support
  • Ability to combine expressions using And/Or

Here’s an example where you can see:

  • The new option “Entity” in the top right corner for the Scope which would make this a server side business rule. 
  • An example of If/Then/Else support. 
  • How you can use “and” or “or” in conditions to make more complex conditions. 
  • The new “Set Default Value” action that’s been introduced.

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With these enhancements, there are a set of limitations that everyone should be aware of:

  • Cannot support nested if.. else
  • No grouping of expressions in a condition
  • Expressions can be combined either using And, or using Or, but not both
  • Still single entity only (no ability to reach out to related records)

We’re excited to see the continued investment to make Dynamics CRM a more configurable application putting more power in the hands of System Administrators, and decreasing the requirement to hire application developers to extend the application.

Dynamics CRM 2015 Multi Entity Search

Posted by on September 17, 2014 in   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015,   |  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online  |  commentsComments (0)

Microsoft has just announced a slew of new features that are 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.  Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll slowly reveal this functionality one by one and show some of the key highlights of these features.

First up for our review is functionality that Microsoft added to their MoCA product when it was released which is multi-entity search.  This feature has been something our customers have been requesting for some time now and to bridge the gap in the previous product, Sonoma Partners built their own Universal Search solution that we make available on our community site for both 2011 and 2013.  If you look at the Sonoma Universal Search, you’ll see some similarities to the one now available in CRM 2015.

In order to setup multi entity search, navigate to Settings –> Administration –> System Settings.  In the General tab, you’ll see the section “Set up Quick Find”.

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This section has two settings:

  • Enable Quick Find record limits:  This setting was introduced in CRM 2011 and it uses an organizational database setting to limit quick find search results to 10,000 records to improve performance.
  • Select entities for search:  If you click on the Select button, you’ll be presented the window below where you’re able to select up to 10 entities at a time to enable for multi-entity search.

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Entities that are selected here will be used in the multi-entity search results and be displayed in the order that you see them in this list. 

Users will be able to use the multi-entity search using the magnifying glass in the global navigation bar.

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Clicking on that magnifying glass will bring you to a page where you can enter any search criteria (no minimum number of characters needed meaning you can type in a single letter), and click search do see your results.

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On this search results page, one could:

  • Filter the results to a particular entity using the “Filter with:” drop down on the top right.
  • Create a new record using the + icon next to the entity name
  • Navigate to the record by clicking on the tile

A few things to note about multi-entity search:

  • Uses quick find views to determine the fields to search across
  • Can search activities and notes as well
  • First 3 fields in the Quick Find View are what are displayed in the tiles that are displayed
  • Search from anywhere in CRM using the search icon on the global navigation bar
  • The search results are displayed in the Modern UI

There are currently a few limitations of multi-entity search:

  • Doesn’t work with USD
  • Maximum of 10 entities can be configured for search
  • No hit highlighting and MRU (most recently used) suggestions
  • Only action available on each search result is the ability to open the record

Even though there are a few limitations to multi-entity search, as we expected once the MoCA app was introduced with this functionality, it’s nice to see this much requested feature make its way into the web app. As it stands currently, this is a very powerful tool and key addition to Dynamics CRM.


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