Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Integrating MDR education and school data with your Salesforce.com deployment

Sonoma Partners works with multiple customers in the education industry, and they frequently ask us about integrating MDR's school data with their CRM system. If you're not familiar with MDR, they provide the most comprehensive set of data about schools and school administrators throughout the United States. Most folks consider MDR data as the "gold standard" in the education industry. If your business works with schools, that means you have a fixed universe of customers to sell to. Consequently, having clean and accurate data about schools and their contacts becomes hyper-critical!

To help make sure that our education customers have clean school data in their CRM system, Sonoma Partners developed a process to update CRM with the latest and greatest MDR education industry data on a regular basis. The MDR data updates include detailed information about both schools (accounts in CRM lingo) and administrators (contacts). Some of the data points provided by MDR include:

School / Account Sample Data Points (this is not the full list, there are over 300+ MDR account fields and 85+ contact fields)

  • MDR District Enrollment
  • MDR District Classification
  • MDR District Grade Span
  • MDR District PC Computers
  • MDR DMA Code
  • MDR School Improvement
  • MDR School Type
  • MDR Technology Sophistication Index
  • MDR Student Enrollment
  • MDR Student to Computer Ratio
  • MDR Number of Classrooms
  • MDR Number of Schools
  • MDR Open Date
  • MDR Total Budget
  • MDR Total Number of Students
  • MDR Total Software Budget
  • MDR Total Technology Budget

Administrator / Contact Sample Data Points (this is not the full list, there are ~25 MDR contact fields)

  • MDR Status
  • MDR Title
  • MDR Last Name
  • MDR First Name
  • MDR Middle
  • MDR Name
  • MDR Preferred Title
  • MDR Gender
  • MDR Last Update Date
  • MDR Job 1
  • MDR Job 2
  • MDR Computer User
  • MDR Advanced Placement
  • MDR Years at School
  • MDR Years of Teaching Experience
  • MDR Highest Degree Level
  • MDR Email Address

 After integrating the MDR data with Salesforce.com, the end users can view and access the data through the user interface and it will appear like the following:

MDR-1

MDR publishes refreshed and new data several times per year. Our integration updates all of the Account and Contact MDR data fields with each MDR refresh.  We recognized that our customers will be updating their Account and Contact data directly in Salesforce as well, and they may have more accurate information earlier than what MDR collects.  Therefore, we set up an exception process so if a user directly updated any of the MDR data fields, the integration will not update a manually modified data field with the MDR refresh for at least 6 months. Please keep in mind that we setup this exception process on a field-by-field basis.  For example, if a user updated the Phone number last month, but all of the other fields have not been updated in over 6 months, when the MDR refresh is run, all of the Account fields listed will be updated except for the Phone, which will not be overridden by the MDR integration.

We also recognized that you might NEVER want some fields overriden by the latest MDR data refresh (for example the email, Billing Address or Shipping Address).  To accommodate these scenarios we created a “Never Update from MDR” checkbox directly below each of these three data fields.  If you do not want your information overwritten, users can check this checkbox for the appropriate field.

MDR-2

MDR-3

Lastly (and maybe most importantly), MDR provides hierarchy data about how the schools rollup to districts, sub-districts, etc. This hierarchy data allows companies to perform rollup calculations of they well they perform within districts at an aggregate level. Consequently, companies could answer questions like "What's our total sales pipeline in District XYZ? How much of product X did we sell to sub-district ABC in the last 12 months?" This screenshot shows how we modeled the school hierarchy within Salesforce.com.

MDR-Rollup

The MDR data integration with CRM provides our education industry customers with several benefits, including:

  • Accurate, cleansed account and contact data
  • Access to full universe of education customers based on standardized industry database
  • A repeatable data load process
  • Reduced need for manual record maintenance
  • Better information to make informed sales and marketing decisions

And yes, if you're curious, Sonoma Partners could help Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers setup a similar integration with MDR data!

Please contact us if you're interested in learning more about our experience integrating MDR data into your CRM system.

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Salesforce

Dynamics 365 – Updates to Business Rules and Actions

Continuing with our posts regarding the recent release of Dynamics 365, next up are the changes Microsoft has added to Business Rules  Workflow Actions.  Additionally, head over to the CRM Roadmap site, or the CRM What’s New site to see more of the features that have recently gone live. 

Business Rules

Like Business Process Flows, Business Rule were introduced in CRM 2013, and have received some updates in the Dynamics 365 release.  First and foremost is the fact that Business Rules will utilize the new Visual Process Designer that was introduced with Dynamics 365.

For each component, as you’re building out the rule and adding in additional conditions and actions, you’ll see a text definition representation of your logic.  As your Business Rule is being built out, you can see the logic grow over time.

Also added with Dynamics 365, is a new “Show Recommendation” Action.  With this action, an icon will be added next to a field that will provide some information and show a message that the user can take action upon.  During definition of the Show Recommendation action, you provide the message to display along with the action that will occur if the user clicks on “Accept” on the recommendation. 

For example, if you have an Opportunity where the customer indicated the purchase timeframe is immediate, and their budget amount is > $50,000, then you may want to recommend having the salesperson update the Rating to Hot.

See below for how the Business Rules look in the new Visual Process Designer with the Recommendation action, and the text based representation of the rules.

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When on an Opportunity that meets the criteria of the Business Rule conditions, the recommendation will be displayed and if the user clicks on Apply, then the Action defined in the Show Recommendation component will be executed.  In this case, we are setting Rating to Hot.

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Additional Actions

Microsoft also added some new out of the box Actions that can be used in Processes (Workflows, Dialogs, and Actions). 

  • Add (Case) to Queue
  • Add user to Record Team
  • Apply Routing Rule (to Case)
  • Calculate Actual Value (of Opportunity)
  • Close Opportunity
  • Get Quote Products from Opportunity
  • Get Sales Order Products from Opportunity
  • Lock Invoice Pricing
  • Lock Sales Order Pricing
  • Qualify Lead
  • Remove User from Record Team
  • Resolve Incident
  • Resolve Quote
  • Revise Quote
  • Unlock Invoice Pricing
  • Unlock Sales Order Pricing

The following two Workflow Actions were existed before the release of Dynamics 365:

  • Set Process
  • Set Word Template

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While Microsoft hasn’t included workflows in the new Visual Process Designer (yet), these new actions will go a long way to allowing business analysts to extend the system without code.  The stage is also set for Microsoft to extend the functionality of the Visual Process Designer in an upcoming release to include the ability to more visually create and edit workflows.

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Dynamics 365 – Updates to Business Process Flows

Continuing with our posts regarding the recent release of Dynamics 365, next up are the changes Microsoft has added to Business Process Flows.  Additionally, head over to the CRM Roadmap site, or the CRM What’s New site to see more of the features that have recently gone live. 

Business Process Flows

Business Process Flows were first introduced to Dynamics CRM back in the CRM 2013 release, and enhanced in 2015 and 2016.  Continuing the trend, there have been enhancements in the Dynamics 365 release.

Security Updates

First off, one major change is that for every Business Process flow you have, you’ll see these show up in native Security Roles in a Business Process Flow tab.  From this tab you’re able to provide Create/Read/Write/Delete/Append/Append To permissions to your BPF.    This is because going forward, every business process you create and activate becomes a table in the database just like any other entity. Every instance of that process (applied to a record) is a row in the table.

For example, you may want certain users to only see the Lead to Opportunity Sales Process, but other users you want to be able to not only see the process, but also move between stages of the process (Write permissions).  You’ll need to provide Append permissions if you want a user to be able switch processes and Append the process to the record they’re on.   The security on the BPF tab does not drive the ability to update the fields in the stage – that’s driven through normal field level security and security role permissions that have existed pre-Dynamics 365.

Note:  Your process will not show up in this tab until you Activate the process.  If you Deactivate it after updating security roles, the process will remain in the available in this tab so you will NOT need to go back and update your security roles again.  It’ll only be removed from the security role tab once you delete the process.

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Additional Status Reasons

Business Process Flows that are active on record can now be abandoned.  This can be done via the Process dropdown, and business processes can be queried using Advanced Find (an entity will appear for each BPF you have) with status reasons of Active, Finished, and Aborted. Users can also mark a process as Finished if it’s in the last stage of the process.  Abandoned processes change the process color to gray while Finished processes remain green.  You can reactivate Abandoned and Finished processes.

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Your abandoned processes will still be viewable via the Switch Process dialog, if you click on the Archived Processes link. You can then select the abandoned/archived process to view it.

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Concurrent Processes

With Dynamics 365, you’re no longer confined to having a single Business Process flow active at a time for a record.  You can now have concurrent processes that run in parallel without conflict.  Different users or departments may be working multiple processes on the same record at the same time, and the state of the process is maintained. 

When you switch a process, you’ll be able to see what date/time each process  was started on for the record you’re on.

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          Workflows

          Business Process flows now include additional actions that can be taken versus simply updating fields (steps) within as stage.  Stages can now execute workflows with a trigger of Stage Entry, or Stage Exit (you may want some workflows to send notifications when users enter a stage, and others to send notifications upon users existing a stage).

          Here’s a screenshot of the workflow component on the new Visual Process Designer (described in more detail here).  Note that for the workflow to show up to be selected in your Business Process, it has to be set to run On Demand, has to be the same entity as the Business Process stage, and has to be activated.

          A great use case of using workflow is to have it at the completion of a Business Process (therefore Stage Exit of the final stage), that will then use the Perform Action workflow step, to Set Process.  You can then automatically kick off the next Business Process as the current Business Process ends.  For example you can have the completion of a specific Business Process on an Opportunity kick off a workflow that creates a Case, and activates a Business Process on that newly created Case.

          image_thumb18

          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

          Dynamics 365 – Visual Process Designer

          Continuing with our posts regarding the recent release of Dynamics 365, next up is discussing the new Visual Process Designer.  Additionally, head over to the CRM Roadmap site, or the CRM What’s New site to see more of the features that have recently gone live. 

          Visual Process Designer

          With Dynamics 365 for Sales, a new drag and drop WYSIWYG designer has been created for creation and management of business process flows, task flows, and business rules.  When you open up the process, you’ll see a designer such as the following.  As you start adding in your stages and steps, you’ll be able to set the properties for the different pieces along the way for the component you select in the visual designer.

          image

          In the designer, there’s a toolbar at the top that gives you the ability to take the following actions:

          • Add
          • Cut
          • Copy
          • Paste
          • Delete
          • Snapshot – This will create a picture of the rule that you can send over via email for a review process
          • Connector

          In the bottom left corner you’ll see a collapsible mini map that will allow you to quickly navigate around the designer for those large business processes, task flows and business rules.

          At the top of the designer you’ll notice a Validate button.  You can click on this button to have any errors in the process flow, task flow, or business rule clearly displayed.  It’ll highlight the component and property of the component that has the error allowing you to quickly resolve any issues.  One interesting note about validation in the designer is that when you click it, it’s always on.  So if you fix the error you’ll see the error change to “Validation successful” immediately.  You can toggle validation off if you don’t want to see that message every time you add a new component.

          image

          As I was using the designer, one thing I noticed was that if I made changes in the designer, I had to get used to clicking the Apply button in the bottom right corner of each component versus clicking the Save button at the top of the process.  If you don’t click Apply first, your changes to that component will not be saved and you could get validation errors or unexpected results in your process.  Therefore my recommendation would be to get used to always clicking Apply even if you aren’t sure if you updated a component.

          Pre-Dynamics 365 processes are able to use the new designer and the new features introduced in Dynamics 365.  In other words, this functionality is backwards compatible.

          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

          Microsoft Flow, PowerApps, Common Data Model, as they relate to Dynamics CRM

          Today's blog post was written by Brendan Landers, VP of Consulting at Sonoma Partners.

          Microsoft has released a number of new tools recently that are very interesting but have left a number of us asking, “What does that mean for CRM?" While I’d imagine a more official roadmap will be forthcoming, we wanted to convey our thoughts on these tools and how they may impact your CRM program or project.

          These tools are all part of the Office 365 suite and were recently made available prior to the launch of Dynamics 365.

          Landers 1

          Let’s start with Microsoft Flow. Microsoft Flow is a SaaS offering for automating workflows across applications that business users rely on. It has some similar functionality to the Dynamics CRM workflow module, but it allows you to reach across to and from other applications. So, for example, perhaps we want to create a record in a SharePoint list when a CRM record is created. In the past, that would require either a third party tool configured by a technical resource or custom development. With Flow, it’s point and click. 

          Next we will touch on Microsoft PowerApps. PowerApps is a service that allows individuals to build simple custom applications without writing code. These Apps can be published instantly and be used on the web or from a mobile device. While Dynamics CRM has a robust custom mobile solution, PowerApps can be used for use case specific apps. My colleague, Jim Steger, recently published a post on this topic which can be found here. Also, a fun side note, we use PowerApps to manage our internal blog schedule.

          Finally, let’s cover Microsoft’s Common Data Model (CDM). CDM is an Azure-based business application data model and storage mechanism available through PowerApps. CDM comes pre-provisioned with a large set of standard entities used in business applications. Users can use the standard entities but also extend the data model with custom entities, once again without writing code. The idea is allowing non-developers the ability to create a data model to support their needs. The goal of the CDM is to have a single data model that can source data from multiple systems, relate the data, and allow users to view a picture across many applications. The use cases from CRM are endless, but here are a couple examples of use cases we feel are interesting:

          • Customer X has multiple CRM systems but wants a single view of Pipeline across the organization. The customer could use Microsoft Flow to push records from all CRM systems (SFDC and Microsoft) into the CDM and leverage Power BI to report directly from the CDM.
          • Customer Y has a requirement that the Global Sales Lead receive an SMS when an opportunity is created above $1MM. To accomplish this, create a Microsoft Flow that listens to CRM opportunities and, if they meet the criteria, pushes an SMS to the Global Sales Lead via Twilio.

          All of this said, these products are all very new and therefore we’d recommend you temper your expectations accordingly. That said, the release cadence is aggressive (similar to Power BI) and as such, we think you should definitely keep your eye on these applications.

          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM

          Fiddler is Your Data Migration Companion

          Today's blog post was written by Keith Mescha, Principal Architect at Sonoma Partners.

          Here at Sonoma, we are a big fan of KingswaySoft’s tools for data migration to Dynamics 365 and Salesforce. We use SQL Server Data Tools and SSIS all the time for data migrations and integrations to CRM for our clients. The tool set they provide is an add-on that allows us to quickly read and write data from the cloud. In one recent migration project, we ran into an odd issue that took a bit to figure out. Here's what happened...

          Within the KingswaySoft CRM Online adapter, there is built-in functionality to do lookups for related fields based on text provided. This will allow you to provide the text value, and it will retrieve the GUID for you to populate in the target entity. In this case we were using this functionality for loading Opportunity Products and using text lookup for the Unit of Measure attribute. This attribute is required on this entity, but we are not really using Units of Measure so we just needed to retrieve the default ‘Primary Unit’ GUID.

          Destination Editor

          So we wired this all up and started to push our data however nothing was happing. The process just appeared to hang, and we did not see any data show in CRM. No obvious errors were being returned by the KingswaySoft CRM adapter to tell us anything was wrong like we typically see. We started looking at plugins and workflows on the target org. We played around with various batch sizes, but still nothing was happening.

          After some head scratching we decided to fire up Fiddler to see what we could find in the messages being sent between our process and CRM Online. We quickly noticed that we were getting 500 errors for every call to CRM. In digging into the messages, we were getting an error that ‘UoM entity does not contain attribute with Name = ‘statecode.’ This didn’t make any sense at first, but then we remembered there is an option in the Text Lookup function to Exclude Inactive and realized very quickly this must be our issue. So we unchecked this box, and our process started working and records migrated into CRM.

          Error Code

          This seems like a defect in the product, and we will report a bug to KingswaySoft but figured if anyone else ran into similar issues this might be of some assistance.

          The key takeaway here is that for data migrations with CRM Online, Fiddler is your friend for pulling the curtain back to see what’s really going on with some of the calls that the data migration tool set might be gobbling up and not exposing. Oh and don’t check this box if using Text Lookup on the UOM entity as there is not a statuscode field on that entity in CRM apparently.

          Text Lookup Editor

          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM

          Extending the Dynamics 365 Editable Grid

          Recently we blogged about the functionality of the new editable grid in the Dynamics 365 release.  One thing we pointed out in the post is that the editable grid doesn’t respect read-only fields on the form.  For example, if I have the Email field on the Contact form set to read-only and I use an editable grid for a Contact view that contains the Email field, it will allow the Email field to be editable.

          One way to make the field read-only in the editable grid as well, is to write custom JavaScript.  In order to do so, we need to utilize the OnRecordSelect event of the editable grid.  First, create a JavaScript web resource with a function called onrowselect.  For the scenario of disabling the Email field on the Contacts sub-grid, the code will look like this:

          function onrowselect(executionContext){
              var entityObject = executionContext.getFormContext().data.entity;
              entityObject.attributes.forEach(function (attribute, i) {
                  if (attribute.getName() == "emailaddress1") {
                      var emailControl = attribute.controls.get(0);
                      emailControl.setDisabled(true);
                      break;
                  }
              }); 
          }

          The code uses the execution context to get a reference to the entity and then loops through each attribute to find the email attribute and then disables the control.

          Now that we have the JavaScript web resource with the necessary function, we need to hook the function up to the editable grid.  Navigate to the form customizations where the editable grid is located.  Open the properties for the grid and there will be a new tab labeled “Events”.  Select “Events” and in the “Event” dropdown, choose “OnRecordSelect”.  Add your new JavaScript web resource and set the Function to “onrowselect” and be sure to check the option to pass in the execution context.

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          Click OK, save the form and publish customizations.  Now, navigate to your editable grid and when you select a row to edit it, the Email field should be disabled.

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          This is quick and easy to implement but the caveat here is that you need to apply this JavaScript to every editable grid for the desired entity, if it has a field that should be read-only.

          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Microsoft Dynamics CRM

          Dynamics 365 Editable Grids

          As with any release, the recent release of Dynamics 365 has introduced a bunch of new features.  Head over to the CRM Roadmap site, or the CRM What’s New site to see first hand the features that have recently gone live.  In this blog we’ll talk about one of those new features we’re really excited to see get added to the project:  Editable Grids.

          Editable Grids

          One of the most sought after features since I’ve been working on Dynamics CRM is editable grids.  The mantra of Dynamics CRM for the past 15 years has been read only lists/views, and a single record form to modify the data.  In most of our implementations, we’re asked to create an editable grid to allow users to more quickly modify data.  We even took our client specific editable grid solution, made it generic, and provided a free version of it for Dynamics CRM 2011/2013/2015/2016 for the community to download from our tools site.

          However, Microsoft has released the ability to turn any grid in Dynamics CRM into an editable grid with their latest release of Dynamics 365 for Sales.  Upon this announcement, I believe I heard all of the developers at Sonoma Partners let out a loud cheer as working with editable grids is a pretty challenging task.

          Note that this new editable grids functionality is available for sub grids (that appear on forms) as well as home grids (the grid that shows when you select an entity from the Site Map, or when you expand a sub grid on a form to be full sized).  And as you can see below, editable grids are supported on the web, phone and tablet clients.

          What’s supported on the editable grids?  Is everything you’re used to with a read only grid and record form supported?  The quick answer is that yes, everything you can do with a read only grid you can do with an editable grid (plus more):

          • In line editing
          • Sorting
          • Grouping (see below)
          • Filtering
          • Pagination
          • Calculated and Rollup Fields
          • Run time resize/move columns (see below)
          • Auto Save / Manual Save (see below)
          • Toggle between read only and editable grid (see below)
          • Filtered lookups
          • Chart panel interaction
          • Command bar interaction
          • Business Rules (e.g., show error messages, set field value, set business required, set default value, lock or unlock)
          • JavaScript

          Enabling Editable Grids – Home Grid

          To enable the editable grid for a home grid, first go to customizations for the entity at Settings –> Customizations –> Customize the System –> Entities, and then click on the Controls tab for an entity you want to configure.  In my example below, I’m working on the Account entity.

          image

          By default, the Web/Phone/Tablet will all be using the legacy read only grid.  However if you click on the Add Control link, you can select the Editable Grid control in the dialog that pops up, and click on Add.

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          You’ll then have the option to enable the editable grid for the Web, Phone, and/or Tablet experiences by selecting the appropriate radio buttons.  For now, we’ll just enable it for the Web.

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          Enabling Editable Grids – Sub Grid

          For a Sub Grid, navigate to the form that the sub grid is on and find the sub grid you want to make editable.  Select the sub grid on the form, and click on the Change Properties button in the ribbon.  In the dialog that appears, select the controls tab, and click on the Add Control link.  As with the main grid, you can add the Editable Grid control, and then configure in the sub grid properties dialog which form factor the editable grid applies to (web, phone, and/or tablet).  We’ll choose just Web once again for the Contact sub grid on the Account form.

          image

          Configuring the Editable Grid

          Whether you enabled a Main Grid or Sub Grid to use the Editable Grid control, the configuration is the same.  Once you add the Editable Grid control, you’ll see an Events tab appear.  This allows you to configure JavaScript code that will trigger on certain events that occur in the grid.

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          This is very similar to the Form Properties dialog where form JavaScript libraries are configured at the form level.  The events currently exposed by the API for editable grid JavaScript libraries are:

          • OnChange (when a particular field is changed)
          • OnRecordSelect (when the user selects a record)
          • OnSave (when a record is saved)

          In addition to adding JavaScript to your editable grid, when you have the Editable Grid row selected in the Controls tab, you’ll see some configurable options at the bottom of the dialog.

          image

          The Add Lookup link allows you to configure how a lookup will work in the grid.  You don’t have to add a configuration option for a lookup.  However, with this option, this allows you to configure filtered lookups for a specific view, just like you’re able to do on the form.  Therefore if you have filtered lookups on the form, it’s strongly recommend you configure your lookups on the editable grids via the Add Lookup link.

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          The Nested Grid View and Nested Grid Parent ID are used to display a grid within a grid.  Note that this functionality is only available on and Tablet.  Clicking on the pencil icon next to these settings will allow you to select the entity to be shown in the nested grid, along with the parent lookup field on which the related records should be fetched.

          The Group by Column setting allows users to select the Group By option on the top of the grid when actually working within an editable grid.  Group By is different than sorting on a column in that it will put records into an expandable control based on the field that you have grouped by.  Only the fields in the current view will be options in the Group By dropdown.  Groups can be expanded or collapsed.

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          Using the Editable Grid

          After you have your grid configured, your users can simply click into a field to be able to edit the value in the field without opening the record form.  You can also quickly change fields via the keyboard (tab) or mouse.

          To save the updates you made to the record, you can simply click off to another record, or click on the Save icon in the top right corner of the grid.

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          Users can also change the grid between the new editable version shown above, and the classic read only version via the Show As button in the toolbar.

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          Also note that the columns in the grid can be reordered per user per view.  The column order, group by setting and sort order is persisted throughout the application until the user clears their browser cache.

          Considerations

          With the new editable grid functionality, there are a handful of tips and considerations to think about as you’re configuring your CRM deployment.

          • The Editable Grid doesn’t respect read-only fields on the form since that isn’t a legitimate way to control security.  To prevent users from editing these fields, you’ll need to either add field level security to the field, not put that field in the view, or write JavaScript (this will be covered in a future developer related blog post).
          • The Editable Grid version of a sub grid takes up more space than the read only grid (especially if you enable the Group By feature).  Allow for a larger sub grid to make sure your users see the same amount of data they used to.
          • Enabling editable grids on a home grid is a global setting meaning that wherever you see that entities home grid it’ll show as an editable grid (e.g., tiles clicked from anywhere on the Site Map, sub grids that are expanded to the full grid).
          • Enabling editing on a sub grid is a per sub grid basis meaning that every sub grid on every form and dashboard must have their editable setting enabled individually.  You could have the situation where the sub grid doesn’t have the editable grid enabled, but the home grid for that sub grid does have the editable grid enabled.  In this scenario, if the user clicks to expand the sub grid to the full grid, they’ll go from a read only grid to an editable grid.
          • Some fields are not editable in the editable grid:
            • Fields from related entities
            • StateCode
            • Customer fields (e.g., on an Opportunity or Case)
            • Composite fields
            • Party List fields (e.g., the To field on an Email)
            • Field Level Secure fields (if your field security profile prevents you from editing the field)
          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

          Metablast Updates

          With the changes in Dynamics 365 and the introduction of AppSource as a way to showcase apps, it was time for Metablast to make a few changes. We are happy to announce that we have launched a Managed Solution version of Metablast, now available in the AppSource and download from our website for On-Premise Microsoft Dynamics CRM users! 

          The Managed Solution version of Metablast supports Dynamics CRM 2016 and up, so if you are on a previous version of CRM the previous version of Metablast will work for you. All the features of our prior versions detailed in prior posts are included, with the addition of two new output columns:

          • Global Option Set – Displays Yes or No for Option Set fields to show the field is a global option set reference (Yes) or a local option set (No)
          • Formula – Displays Yes or No based on whether or not the field is a formula field (editor’s note: an update will be posted soon, at the original time of posting the output is the XML formula itself and not a Yes or No)

          Once the solution has been added to your org, you can open the solution and view available entities in the configuration page. The left list contains available entities not yet selected for the export, and the right list contains entities you have previously selected.

          Metablast 1

          Typing in the search box filters the list of entities to make finding and making selections easier. Note that the check mark in the list denotes whether or not an entity is custom versus native.

          Metablast 2

          Selecting each entity will add it to the export list. The Add All link will add all unselected entities to the export list. Removing entities from the export list can be accomplished by clicking the red X or the Remove All link to do so en masse.

          Metablast 3

          Once your list is complete, you can click the Export button and download the same CSV format as your prior Metablasts.

          Metablast 4

          We hope you find the same great uses out of this tool with an easier way to access the schema information right from your organization!

          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM

          Migrating Data from a MySQL Database

          Today's blog post was written by Rob Jasinski, Principal Developer at Sonoma Partners.

          Recently, we had a need to migrate data for a customer to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but the data was located in a MySQL database. We have many tools, applications, and interfaces that rely on the source data being Microsoft SQL Server, so ideally we like to convert the data from a different database platform to SQL Server whenever possible. Since MySQL is open-source and considered the second most popular used RDBMS (according to Wikipedia), we use this platform more than others.

          To convert a MySQL database, you’ll need to first have MySQL installed which can be downloaded from here. Then, you’ll need to install the SQL Server Migration Assistant tool. I won’t go through step-by-step on how to use this tool as there is a good blog here to get started. Instead I will go through some of obstacles I had and how I resolved them.

          Restoring a Backup of the Database to Your MySQL Database

          When I loaded the SSMA tool, I had issues connecting to the MySQL database. I finally had to completely uninstall the MySQL ODBC driver and re-install it to finally get a connection to work. For the SQL Server connection, SQL Server agent needed to be running so it was started. Next, check the target schema. I’m not quite sure how this is defaulted, but it was pointing to the wrong SQL database. I didn’t notice this at first and had to change it manually.

          Before the data can be migrated, it must synchronized so the tables are created on the destination. The “How To” blog states it’s under Tools, but I didn’t see it there. I finally found it in the SQL Server metadata browser window, if I right-clicked the destination database, synchronize was an option.

          Finally, when I tried to migrate the data, the process would start then the application (SSMA) would just suddenly close after about a minute or two. I retried several times even after a server restart and the same issue continued. After some research I found a message post to try and set the affinity of the application (SSMS) to just one CPU. After I tried that, it worked. All the data from MySQL was migrated to the SQL Server database.

          Once we had the data migrated to SQL Server, we were able to use our common data scrubbing tools to clean and migrate the data into CRM.

          Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM