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February 26, 2015

Form Social Panes and Posts in Dynamics CRM: Part 3

To wrap up our discussion on activity feed posts and their functionality, I’d like to share an idea that we have used with a client which is repeatable and I think useful in all environments.

We all have a need for reminders. There are so many things that we have to accomplish on a day to day basis, that sometimes keeping track of all of those items can be difficult. To help keep track of those items, I recommend turning to tasks. Tasks are a particularly useful item within Dynamics CRM, especially when utilized with the Outlook client. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to quickly set reminder tasks for yourself without having to take the trouble of manually creating the task?

Welcome to the beautiful marriage of Tasks and Activity Feed Posts.

The idea behind this is very simple. Use hash tags within Posts to generate tasks! Here is a real world example: You are in CRM, working on an account, and remember that you need to generate an invoice for them soon, but don’t quite have the time right now. Instead of turning to OneNote to jot down a note about it, or worse an actual notepad, simply click into the activity feed pane and create a post which includes ‘#remindme’.

To accomplish this, we will once again utilize workflows:

  • Create a new ‘workflow’ process, this time for the ‘Post’ entity which fires on create
  • Have a check condition at the beginning of the workflow which will check for the hash tag we are looking for ‘#remindme’


  • If the post contains that hash tag, we will create a task record which contains the text from the original post, and assigns the task to the ‘Created by’ of the post


  • In a separate step, set the regarding as the regarding of the original post, so that the user will be linked directly back to the account (or other entity) from which the task was created.


This is a pretty piece of functionality you can provide to all users of all environments. A short little training session, or simply an email newsletter to your organization, letting them know how to use this particular piece of functionality, and tasks can be even easier to use. Your workforce becomes stronger and more efficient, and you only had to build one little workflow!

That concludes our series on Social Panes and Posts. Hope you got something useful out of it!

February 23, 2015

Form Social Panes and Posts in Dynamics CRM: Part 2

Last time we discussed how the Posts portion of the social pane is configured and the functionality behind it, specifically for out of the box (OOTB) entities. In this post, I would like to discuss how we can extend the OOTB functionality to create additional custom posts.

In this example we will discuss adding an additional post for the ‘Contact’ entity. The only original system post in regards to contacts in that when a new contact is created, a post is generated for that contact on the contact form social pane, which needless to say is pretty useless (I think I will go ahead and follow the steps in part 1 and deactivate that particular Post Config Rule).

What WOULD be a useful post in regards to contacts would be to create a post on the Account social pane each time a new contact is associated to that account. To do this, we will need to turn to workflows.


  • Create a new workflow process for the contact entity


  • Select ‘Records field change’ as the Start when:, and set the ‘Company Name’ field (parentcustomerid) as your trigger field
  • So that we won’t have any failing workflow jobs, the first step to add to the workflow logic will be a conditions check to make sure the ‘Company Name’ field contains data


  • Once the workflow ensures that there is an associated Account record for us to Post to, we will simply create a Post record, and set the regarding of the post as the Account


The above workflow method can be recreated for any action within your CRM system. While there may not be too many instances where you feel the need to extend the posts functionality for the system entities, these workflows can come in handy when wanting to create posts for custom entities.

In part 3, and sadly the final part, of this series, we will go over utilizing posts to generate tasks!

February 20, 2015

Drive Meaningful Interaction with Dynamics CRM 2015

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release that we got in late 2014 included some fantastic new tools. We've explored a few of these already on our blog and have been busily working with our existing client base to discuss what it means for them.

One item that's coming up consistently during our discussions with Professional Services Organizations (which can apply to many situations, not just ProServ) is a new option to use the new Rollup Field type to identify "meaningful" interactions with their key clients and prospects.

The core configuration work has already been detailed in a previous post, so here we can focus on what we would do differently to drive meaningful interaction.

Continue reading "Drive Meaningful Interaction with Dynamics CRM 2015" »

February 18, 2015

Form Social Panes and Posts in Dynamics CRM: Part 1

Over a three part series, I will be discussion one of the more overlooked and underappreciated features in CRM, in my humble opinion: the ‘Posts’ feature in the social pane.

One of the reasons that this feature seems to be overlooked is that people don’t completely understand how to utilize them. “Other than users manually adding a post, what is the benefit here?” seems to be a question that pops up more often than not. This is where I intend to step in with a) an overview of how they work out of the box, b) how to configure posts for custom entities, and c) a neat idea on how to further extend the tool.

So lets get started!

Continue reading "Form Social Panes and Posts in Dynamics CRM: Part 1" »

February 05, 2015

The 3 steps of CRM success

Whenever someone asks me about CRM success, I usually draw from my own bag of CRM experiences and engage in a deep conversation with that person. I like to focus the conversation on 2-3 areas that I know, if they get them right, their chances of CRM success rise significantly. Someone asked me about achieving success with CRM recently and I decided to share it with you here.

CRM applications have been around for more than two decades with plenty of well documented success stories and, equally, many stories of CRM failure. Gartner and other analysts often float 50% or more when discussing the rate of CRM failures. Which begs the question, what does someone need to do to assure CRM success? What should you expect from implementing a CRM application? What should you be watching for and how should you approach it? There are many roads to CRM success, I am presenting one of them here in 3 easy steps. I hope you like it.

Continue reading "The 3 steps of CRM success" »

February 03, 2015

Importing Users into Dynamics CRM 2013 / Dynamics CRM 2015

There are multiple ways to create new Users in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013/ Dynamics CRM 2015.   Details on the various ways are can be found over at TechNet –> Manage users.  Besides the standard methods, you can Import users into the CRM using the Import Tool (you gotta’ love the flexibility of Dynamics CRM).

Key facts about Importing users via the Import Tool

  1. For CRM On Premises; ‘User Name’ must include the domain either in the domain\user format or user@FQDN format. 
  2. For CRM On Line; you must include an ‘Primary Email’.
  3. You must include the ‘First Name’ and the ‘Last Name’
  4. You can set the Mailbox settings even though they are not included in the default Import Template(see below) You just have to add the column(s) to the template and map the column(s) during the import.
  5. All users imported will be in Disabled in CRM.  After the import, you can Bulk Enable users, by selecting multiple users and clicking the ‘Enable’ button.
  6. You can’t set the Business Unit during the import, all users will be assigned to the root business unit.  After the import, you can Bulk Change the Business Unit on users by selecting the users and clicking on ‘Change Business Unit’.
  7. All users imported will be assigned a default security role of ‘Salesperson’. If you have deleted the ‘Salesperson’ security role the import will fail.  You can re-create this security role by exporting it from another CRM organization. 

Continue reading "Importing Users into Dynamics CRM 2013 / Dynamics CRM 2015" »

January 26, 2015

Last Activity Date in Dynamics CRM 2015

Seven years ago, I wrote one of my first CRM related blog posts "Capturing Last Activity Date in CRM 4.0." The post was about using workflows to update the last activity date on a customer account or contact record. Why would you want to capture the last activity date? Because you want to ensure that your customers are being regularly touched by a communication with your company, and there is now way to build a view that says “get me all customers that have not had an activity in the past 90 days.” Having a field that shows the date of the last activity allows me to say “get me all customers where the last activity date is older than x months or does not contain data” to get the customers who have not been touched recently.

I was never really crazy about the solution. Having workflows run for every activity created is a lot of overhead, especially in activity heavy deployments. It was just the only real out of the box way to do it.

Until 2015.

Revisiting this post, here is how I would do this today with CRM 2015.

1. Create a new field on the account entity. Call it “Last Phone Call.” Select “Date and Time” for Data Type, and “Rollup” for Field type.


Continue reading "Last Activity Date in Dynamics CRM 2015" »

January 23, 2015

Complex Goal Calculations Using Dynamics CRM 2015 Calculated Fields

We have talked about goals many times on the Hitachi Solutions CRM Blog, because we think they are a great feature.

In the standard goal scenario, you have a Target, an Actual value, and an In Progress value. Target is your goal, Actual is the amount completed, and In Progress is the value of outstanding records that may close and become part of the Actual.

The Percentage Achieved field calculates progress toward your goal by dividing Actual by Target.

But lets say that rather that tracking Actual and In Progress, you wanted to track two different metrics, and compare the combined total to the Target to get a combined percentage to goal?


Continue reading "Complex Goal Calculations Using Dynamics CRM 2015 Calculated Fields" »

January 19, 2015

Using Cortana with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Phones

Here’s a short video I recently put together showing how you can use Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 with CRM for Phones. Sumo San Optional.

January 16, 2015

Using Goals As Rollup Tables in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

A long time ago I wrote an SSRS report for a client using CRM 4.0.  The report was great, and did everything it needed to do for the business.  The problem was that it was used by the business a lot and it was not fast.   The main reason the report was not fast was because it was doing its calculations on the fly every time it was run, and doing these calculations on large numbers of records across Filtered Views.  Were we still in 4.0 I would have solved this problem with the replacement of ad hoc calculations with SQL rollup tables or even setting up report subscriptions or snapshots.  However, CRM 4.0 is, dare I say it, old school at this point and the customer converted to CRM 2013. This allowed us to consider a new option that was part of even 2011: Goals.

It's worth noting that the report in question was driven off of a custom goals entity in CRM 4.0 which housed essentially the annual target and nothing else.  The report calculated what the achievement was along a variety of different times (monthly for each month of the goal year, quarterly for each quarter of the year, the year itself, and then compared each of these across the previous year for the same).  In short it was quite complicated.   

A rollup table would serve two purposes: it would both speed up and simplify the SQL behind the report.  This would require setting up an integration using SSIS or SCRIBE. Not the worst thing to have happen, as these are certainly viable options.  However, what if the business wanted to change the criteria for these rollup tables?  That would require a development effort.  And what if someone wanted to see the criteria for making these rollup tables?  That too would require a developer to at least validate the documentation of the criteria.  What if there was a way to avoid setting up an integration, allow for both flexibility and visibility, and of course solve the problem that a rollup table is designed to solve? The answer is the Dynamics CRM Goals module. 


Continue reading "Using Goals As Rollup Tables in Microsoft Dynamics CRM" »

January 14, 2015

Field Changes and Failing Goal Rollup Jobs

If you ever come across a situation where you see goals are not rolling up when they should be, go to Settings –> System Jobs and look for something like this:


The error message included with this is actually quite helpful, and directly relevant to the discussion at hand.


In this case one of the fields referenced in a Rollup Query was removed.  Now if one ever tried to delete a field that was part of a system view or a form, Dynamics CRM would alert the user that this could not be done.  Rollup Queries though are not part of a configuration: they are technically just like any other record.  The Query part of a Rollup Query is a lot like a personal Advanced Find view in a sense. 

There are two lessons learned here.  First, it’s not a bad idea for System Administrators to peruse the System Jobs for failures on a daily basis.  Second, when deleting a field its wise to keep Rollup Queries in mind.  A simple thing to do is to export all Rollup Queries to Excel (make sure to include the Condition Criteria column), and then do a Find in Excel with the name of the field you are about to delete.  That way you will know which ones you need to update.

January 12, 2015

Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I discussed the prep work associated with importing Rollup Queries.  In Part 2 I’m going to show you how to use Microsoft Excel, along with some other tools, to put together the actual import file. For those other tools, you should download two things first: Notepad++ (http://notepad-plus-plus.org) and the XrmToolBox (www.codeplex.com).  The former is a must have, and the latter is only a must have if you are not adept at FetchXML.  But if you are working with Dynamic CRM there are quite a bit of tools in there.

Overall what we need to do is Excel-ify the FetchXML and indirectly make that FetchXML dynamic.  We need to update the FetchXML to a point where Excel can use it in a formula.     This will be done through the use of the CONCATENATE function. But how do we take this:


And change it to this, so Excel can make sense of it?:


Continue reading "Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 2" »

January 09, 2015

Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 1

Are you using Goals and find yourself facing the prospect of having to enter in a slew of Rollup Queries? Do you wish you just import them but you don’t have the luxury or time to use ETL tools such as SCRIBE or SSIS? Have no idea what those two things are?  You came to the right blog, because we’ll be stepping through exactly this process.  I did this once a while ago, completely forgot about some of the details, and had to re-learn this once I needed to do it again quite recently.  And in re-learning I hit a couple of snags and found there was little out there in the cyber-universe aside from some poor soul asking the unanswered question about how to do exactly this.  Note that this blog does assume that you have a working knowledge of goals and their component parts, and will not discuss goal basics.

Before we begin though, let’s discuss when you would want to do this. The common denominator is that this flag won’t do the trick:


Continue reading "Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 1" »

January 07, 2015

Using the Microsoft CRM Developer Toolkit to Deploy Custom Plugin Assemblies


I love using the Developer Toolkit in Visual Studio to build and deploy plugins.  The out of the box experience will create a plugin and a plugin framework for you and let you you build and deploy right from Visual Studio.  If you already have a plugin assembly that wasn’t created from the the toolkit or if you have your own plugin framework they you’ll need to follow these steps to be able to deploy custom plugins from Visual Studio.

Step 1

Start with the solution that has your plugin project. 


Continue reading "Using the Microsoft CRM Developer Toolkit to Deploy Custom Plugin Assemblies" »

January 05, 2015

Custom Multi-Entity Searching

Search IconA customer of ours has invested a significant amount of money and time into a portal built on top of CRM 2011.  A Custom UI was created that displayed the data most used by their employees in a way that has really increased adoption primarily because it is customized to exactly how they do business.  As the process of creating this UI evolved, it became more and more apparent that we needed a mechanism that allowed multiple entities to be searched from a single place.  While CRM 2015 offers the Multi Entity Searching functionality, no such wizardry exists for prior versions of CRM (an upgrade is not in this client’s immediate plans). Even the Multi Entity Search would present limitations that would have to be overcome in order to work as desired.

The method chosen to create this functionality needed to use existing software and hardware and provide the ability to both define the entities and attributes to be searched but also execute fast enough to keep the UI from lagging.

Continue reading "Custom Multi-Entity Searching" »

January 02, 2015

Using SSRS as an option for interactive dashboards

Not long ago, I was asked to help a customer come up with a concise dashboard to be used by their business development group.  They sent over a PDF of what they liked and it was a set of six gauge indicators with a number of links to various reports that they wanted to have that would give them insight into how business was developing (imagine that).

PdfMy first thought was that though the CRM dash-boarding capability is fairly robust right out of the box, there was no way to create these gauges that they wanted. I was limited to graphs and tables. I thought about other technologies that were displayable in an iFrame and realized that all of their dash-boarding needs could be fulfilled, including the interactivity between the UI and CRM using a custom SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) report.

SSRS comes with a myriad of different gauges and other display that are highly configurable and could display the information just as the customer requested and could also contain links to drilldown into CRM records and display CRM lists. 

Another realization came when I looked at the reports the customer wanted to display from the links on the right of their mock-up. I found that most of them amounted to custom views into the data that could be created in CRM and linked to the report (See the information here  to understand how Microsoft has made this fairly painless). This meant that the cost of implementing the solution decreased considerably (fewer custom reports) and the displayed data could easily be changed by simply updating the view in CRM without having to engage a report developer.

FinalWhat we ultimately created was a dashboard with the pertinent information displayed in a format that was to the customers liking and we were able to keep all of the benefits of a “native” dashboard.  The gauges showed real-time information while the links opened views into the specific list of records desired or opened custom reports where additional information was required. 

This solution also adds the benefit of being able to display data that does not exist in CRM though that was not needed at this time.  The drawback to this approach, though not a problem for this client, is the inability to view the report on mobile devices.

Microsoft has done an outstanding job of including the building blocks for extensive dashboards right into the product as well as interoperability with other technologies that can extend the abilities to whatever result is desired.


December 23, 2014

12th Day of CRMas: Santa Uses Social Insights to Catch a Naughty Elf

It's the final entry in our 12 Days of CRMas series celebrating our favorite things from Microsoft CRM 2015. Today, we'll look at what's new in CRM and Social Listening.

First, just to level set, Microsoft Social Listening is a standalone tool that helps organizations monitor social conversations, analyze sentiment data and deliver social customer care. Now, with the latest integration and licensing model, most users of Microsoft CRM 2015 can have a seamless and informed social management experience. Previously, integration was only available to Microsoft CRM Online. Now it is available for CRM 2015 On-Premises organizations.

Continue reading "12th Day of CRMas: Santa Uses Social Insights to Catch a Naughty Elf" »

December 22, 2014

11th Day of CRMas: Business Rules for Stocking Stuffers!

Well we are closing in on our last day of CRMas and we are almost done handing out the presents but not before we introduce a few little extras to stuff your stockings with!

Now I wrote a blog about Business Rules last Christmas for the 10th Day of CRMas found here http://blog.customereffective.com/blog/2013/12/crm-2013-business-rules-is-boss.html and I am equally delighted to be able to introduce the new and improved Business Rules as a little something extra from the MSFT product team elves.

imageSo what have they been up to in the Northwest Pole of Seattle? Well as we all know Business Rules were introduced in CRM 2013 to allow Microsoft Dynamics CRM administrators the ability to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM without having to write complex code. Business rules provide a simple interface add client side scripting for common business needs that can be applied to Main and Quick Create forms, or to an entity. Now it’s important to note here that originally this new feature was for client side scripting and couldn’t be applied when an SDK call was made. In other words in order for Business Rules to evaluate logic and take action when a record was being created or updated you had to do a little bit more work involving plugins. Additionally, Business Rules could only evaluate whether all conditions in a rule were true and then take action. So in order to really have rich logic, you had to create multiple business rules with single if statements to be evaluated.

Continue reading "11th Day of CRMas: Business Rules for Stocking Stuffers!" »

December 19, 2014

10th Day of CRMas: Using Calculated Fields to Help Determine Total Cost to Santa (TCS)

Santa-claus-moneyWelcome to Day 10 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we have been exploring the best and brightest of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at Calculated Fields.

Yesterday, we helped Santa get a quick view of Tiny Tim's naughty/nice ratio with the use of Rollup fields. Today, we'll use the new Calculated Field feature to help Santa establish a dollar estimate for Tiny Tim's toy allocation.


Buddy the Elf is responsible for benchmarking the amount of gifts to make for each kid. From the previous lab, we established that a record is kept for each child for Naughty Things and Nice Things. Buddy has determined that Nice Things will result in a $10 credit and Naughty Things will be debited based on severity of Naughty-ness. The scale he established was 'Not so bad'=-$3 and 'Just awful'=-$10. When he is finished, he'll have a good idea about how much Elfen Magic to apply to each kid. We will be calculating in USD since 'Elfen Magic' is not a recognized currency in Microsoft Dynamics 2015.

Continue reading "10th Day of CRMas: Using Calculated Fields to Help Determine Total Cost to Santa (TCS)" »

December 18, 2014

9th Day of CRMas: Rollups Help Santa with Naughty/Nice Conundrum

Welcome to Day 9 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we have been exploring the best and brightest of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at rollup fields.

In previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, rollups were possible, but required development and utilized jscript, plug-ins, business rules and workflows. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, rollup and calculated fields are included out of the box and can be utilized by business users. They are executed server-side and updated synchronously, so you will see the updates immediately when you save the record.

In this example, we'll use rollup fields to help out Santa with Naughty/Nice rollups and calculations

Rollup Fields

Continue reading "9th Day of CRMas: Rollups Help Santa with Naughty/Nice Conundrum " »

December 17, 2014

8th Day of CRMas: Business Process Flows: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

8th Day of CRMas: Business Process Flows: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

Well well well, the CRM product team has really outdone themselves this time. As if Business Process Flows weren’t cool enough! BPF’s are an excellent way for users to provide guided visualization of processes that match their internal business processes to make CRM more real and meaningful in their organization. We love leveraging them for sales cycles, case management, and many other aspects of our customers’ business where a process has been established and CRM can reflect it. We have written several blogs on how to use this excellent feature in CRM to enhance user experience and add value and user adoption to your implementation.


Continue reading "8th Day of CRMas: Business Process Flows: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!" »

December 16, 2014

7th Day of CRMas: Stop Sync Grinch

Outlook sync is great. It allow us to keep our calendars and contacts in Outlook (or other exchange clients if you use Server Sync) in sync, so that when an update is made in Outlook, the CRM contact or activity is up to date. it’s a beautiful thing. I can track a contact, somebody else can update her phone number in Dynamics CRM, and suddenly I have the new phone number on my smartphone. We’re all in harmony.

Continue reading "7th Day of CRMas: Stop Sync Grinch" »

December 15, 2014

6th Day of CRMas: Mobile Presents


Getting a shiny new device under the tree? Good news! There are some great new mobile features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 that you will be able to use on that new tablet or phone.

1. Disconnected record creation

When disconnected from the internet, the user can click the new record (+) button from the dashboard to create a new draft record.


Continue reading "6th Day of CRMas: Mobile Presents" »

December 12, 2014

5th Day of CRMas: Searching for the Perfect Thing!

Welcome to Day 5 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at the expanded search capabilities offered.

The searching and filtering capabilities inside of Dynamics CRM are key foundations to so much of what we see inside of CRM. Unfortunately, getting to the right place to initiate that search often sits several clicks away…until now! A flexible Search box and Advanced Find are now front-and-center from any record, list, or dashboard in CRM. Not only that, but we also get additional capability to filter through records in new ways.

Global Search

Global search is now prominently displayed in the CRM navigation bar. Entering any search term (even with wildcards) will direct you to a search results page that shows the search term along with the matching records from any matching fields.

Continue reading "5th Day of CRMas: Searching for the Perfect Thing!" »

December 11, 2014

4th Day of CRMas: Have A Holly Jolly Hierarchy!

Yes you read that right! It’s finally here! One of my absolute favorite new features is finally here, and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning! HIERARCHY VISUALIZATIONS!


Microsoft's CRM Product team has really been listening this year and it looks like CRM users ended up on the nice list! The latest and greatest release of CRM 2015 is chock full of new enhancements across the board from the marketing module, customer service, mobile, and sales. There are some great enhancements that are truly user focused additions that we are just tickled pink about and hierarchies is no exceptions to this rule. So without further ado, let’s jump right into the features!

The new hierarchy visualization allows the user to graphically visualize the hierarchical relationships of specific records in their CRM system. In the Example below, you can see the parent company account record of Contoso, and as you move down the tree, you see the relationships each of those additional account records have to the other accounts in the same family. The records are represented by tiles and their relationships are mapped out between them. The left hand navigation includes an outline version of the tile visualization for easy navigation to a different layer in the group.

Continue reading "4th Day of CRMas: Have A Holly Jolly Hierarchy!" »

December 10, 2014

3rd Day of CRMas: Help me Dynamics CRM, You’re My Only Hope

Welcome to Day 3 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at the new custom help capabilities.

A high level of flexibility is a powerful thing. In your CRM system it means you can leverage both existing functinality with a few tweaks, all the way to custom functionality that supports your organizational needs. However, with great power comes greater responsibility.

All of this flexibility means, unfortunately, when users click the help button, the out-of-the-box help can fall a little out of touch.

Continue reading "3rd Day of CRMas: Help me Dynamics CRM, You’re My Only Hope" »

December 09, 2014

2nd Day of CRMas: Hierarchical Security

Welcome to Day 2 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features.  Today we'll take a look at the hierarchial security.

You use Dynamics CRM, and you are a sales manager. You want access to all accounts to which your sales team has access. Simple requirement, but in reality fairly complex to deliver. Security roles couldn’t get you there. Sure, you could just give the sales manager Business Unit or organization level permission level, but that would give access to everything in the business unit or organization, which will be more than just your sales team.

Team ownership would not meet this requirement, as you need to have individual sales owners.

Continue reading "2nd Day of CRMas: Hierarchical Security" »

December 08, 2014

1st Day of CRMas: A Personal Side to Power BI

Welcome to Day 1 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at the new capabilities of Power BI in Dashboards.

Power BI integration and Power View visualizations are a powerful way to analyze and display CRM 2013 data. Now with CRM 2015 can now be embedded not only in a System Dashboard, but also in a Personal Dashboard. While a seemingly small change, this is yet another change that puts powerful tools in the hands of users.

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/14112600/cf0b913b-af9a-4e1a-bbd6-9fd07c39e11b.pngTo set this up, CRM Administrators will first need to enable the feature in the CRM Organization:

  • From the Settings->Document Management area, create or edit a SharePoint Site record
  • Set Allow Embedding of Power BI Reports to Yes
  • Repeat this process for any SharePoint Sites that will hold Power BI elements

This wasn't possible before because of security measures meant to protect users. The growing popularity of the Power BI functionality has prompted Microsoft to add a specifically supported exception for PowerBI.

Continue reading "1st Day of CRMas: A Personal Side to Power BI" »

December 05, 2014

Using Voice Input with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2015

I didn’t know that CRM was voice enabled? How to I turn on voice data capture for CRM? The inherent issue with these questions is that we are wondering what CRM has to do with voice recognition. The reality is that you can access CRM from your phone or tablet and those devices are voice enabled. Speech Recognition is included with Windows 8, so voice input is possible from your laptop.

With CRM 2013, most users are entering data using the Web Client or the CRM Client for Outlook. Hence, they are adding data from their PC. However, CRM 2013 (and later versions of CRM 2011) expands the offerings to access CRM from a phone or tablet. The addition of cross browser support opens up just about any device (but there are unsupported combinations of browsers and OS’s so don’t quote me on this). If that device allows you to enter data using voice, you can enter data into Microsoft CRM using voice.

Continue reading "Using Voice Input with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2015" »

December 03, 2014

Dynamics CRM 2015: Upgrade Options

Dynamics CRM 2015 is a major CRM upgrade for CRM On Premises. In the past with upgrades like CRM 4->CRM 2011 and CRM 2011->CRM 2013, it was always a best practice to set up new servers and import upgrade your CRM environment to the new version. This was because there were major changes in system requirements and user experience between major versions.

Continue reading "Dynamics CRM 2015: Upgrade Options" »

December 01, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2015 Released and Available for Download

Microsoft has released CRM 2015 as a Thanksgiving present to all of us.  I guess they knew we would have a few days off and could spend it looking at the new version of CRM.  Don’t miss the Hitachi Solutions CRM 2015 Release Webinar presented by one of our CRM MVP’s.  Use this link to sign up!


Below is a short list of “What’s new in CRM 2015” along with two links to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Center page with full details.  The first link is to the 2015 release preview guide.  The second is to the “What’ New” page.  Don’t overlook the “Updating from an earlier version” tab to see what is changing if you are an existing customer.

  • Cortana support to speak CRM commands on Windows 8.1 phones
  • Microsoft “"Social Listening” for on-premises systems
  • Hierarchical charts to more easily see an overview of an account
  • Expanded capabilities when building Business processes
  • “Quick find” enhancements
  • Additional information available to synchronize between CRM and Outlook
  • Customizable Help



A trial is a great place to start to check out the new offerings of CRM 2015.  Use the following link to sign up for a trial today.


You can download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2015 files here:


If you want to get started with your own CRM 2015 online environment, use the link that follows and click on “Buy” on the page.


You will need to enter some information to define the organization you are creating but then you should be all set.