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April 03, 2015

One More Reason to be Part of the Microsoft Ecosystem: Dynamics CRM and OneNote

Convergence 2015 left nothing to be desired and there were plenty of dazzling things the Microsoft team had in store, and the Hitachi CRM team is extremely excited to FINALLY be able to talk about the new Spring 2015 enhancements. While there were tons of new features in core 2015 to get excited about, there is one in particular I am pumped to blog about: OneNote and CRM integration!

 

OneNote_and_CRM

 

Continue reading "One More Reason to be Part of the Microsoft Ecosystem: Dynamics CRM and OneNote" »

April 01, 2015

Plug-in Tracing Enhancements in the Spring Release of CRM 2015

Background

During a session at Convergence 2015, Matthew Barbour introduced a new enhancement to the Tracing Service in the Spring release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 that greatly enhances the value of this service to developers for logging and troubleshooting purposes. The Tracing Service was introduced in CRM 2011 and it allows developers to write log debugging messages from plug-in and custom workflow activities. The value of this feature was limited because it was written only to the Event Log of the CRM server or included in the error message displayed to end users. The former location is not accessible to CRM Online customers and although it is accessible for on-premise customers, log messages are hard to pinpoint among all the other events logged there. To address these limitations, a lot of development teams, including some I worked on, attempted to use a custom entity for logging purposes. They quickly found out that the log records they were looking for were somehow missing. This problem was due to the fact CRM plug-ins execute in transaction and the transaction is rolled back whenever an exception occurs anywhere in the event pipeline. As a result, the records written to the custom entity would also be rolled back in the exact scenario when they would have been of greatest value.

 

Continue reading "Plug-in Tracing Enhancements in the Spring Release of CRM 2015" »

March 26, 2015

CRM in Professional Services Organizations: Driving Return on Investment

Conceptually speaking, leaders in professional services organizations see the potential value of a CRM system. After all, a well-implemented and connected CRM helps drive more effective sales efforts, a higher bid-to-win ratio, and quality and consistency during pursuits.

Circulating this message, and ultimately driving excitement and user adoption, is a tougher prospect. Simply stressing the "importance of a Client Relationship Management system" only goes so far. This is especially true if folks are at or above their utilization targets (which is kind of important…). Even suggesting an hour of activity in a CRM system can be a touchy subject. I don't have time for this and I'm successful enough already without spending time in a CRM; there aren't enough hours in the day.

This is a fair point—and one that needs to be heard and addressed throughout the organization. The users of CRM, even the business development folks, are often a billable resource. Time is money. A $300/hr resource spending 1 hour per week over 50 weeks translates to $15,000 in opportunity cost. It doesn't matter if you're a 20 person specialty firm or a 5,000 person global organization: time spent interacting with a CRM (or any system for that matter) translates into real dollars.

It's easy (and common) to leave the conversation right there, dismissing CRM as a waste of time and money even if it benefits the firm. But let's step back a bit from the CRM specifically and ask a few other questions about the situation: How much time is spent…

  • …coordinating who should join internal meetings for a client pursuit?
  • …reviewing whitespace in a client account?
  • …reconciling the deal funnel across business units?
  • …determining the right action to take on a referral?
  • …figuring out who knows whom inside of a target account?
  • …building lists for event invitations, customer appreciation, and references?
  • …researching, collaborating, and revising RFP responses?

I'll pause the list there because I think you get the point. There are many areas where good time is being thrown at low-value items. Each of the questions above speak to capabilities of a well-implemented CRM. If the 1 hour a week in CRM can ease some of that pain and otherwise wasted time, the equation starts to tip in favor of CRM.

Addressing this and spreading this message inside of the firm needs to happen not only at a management level, but for anyone who is going to be expected to contribute to CRM. Identifying the benefits and levers to pull for each person is a key element to success. Technology alone does not cut it—the people and process need to be addressed as well.

At the same time, user maturity also needs to be considered. Not everyone will use the system the same way (nor should they). This can be the result of different roles within the organization or even folks just being more comfortable doing things the way they are used to. The latter can be dangerous, so care must be taken to identify these pockets of resistance and have a means of addressing them.

The process is straightforward on paper, however that's not to say it's "easy". If implemented properly, the benefit to both individuals as well as the organization as a whole are fantastic. When users can see the return on their own time investment at the user level, all of a sudden it becomes easier to collect the detail needed at the strategic decision making level.

March 24, 2015

Optional Parameters in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Fetch Report

So you’ve written a lot of SQL-based reports in your day, and you’re sitting down to write a FetchXML report for online Dynamics CRM.    You realize that you need to include an optional parameter in the dataset, but FetchXML doesn’t allow for SQL standbys for situations like this such as like COALESCE, ISNULL, or CASE WHEN.  For starters, you came to the right place because this blog will show you how to proceed.  This blog is written with the audience in mind of those who do have experience writing SQL based reports, and are venturing out into the brave new world of FetchXML reporting.

Continue reading "Optional Parameters in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Fetch Report" »

March 18, 2015

Hitachi Solutions CRM Convergence Day Three Highlights: CRM 2015 for Sports and Entertainment Announcement, Mobile Phone Update, Visual Themes

Three days of Convergence have now come to an end (well, except for tonight's OneRepublic concert) and there is lots of great stuff to highlight.

CRM 2015 for Sports and Entertainment

Hitachi Solutions announced our CRM 2015 for Sports and Entertainment packages, which focuses on ticket sales, fan services, and integration into a common ticket systems such as Ticketmaster and Tickets.com.

"For our clients, it's all about enabling them to provide a better fan experience," said Gary Peterson, executive vice president, Hitachi Solutions America. "Now with a more complete picture of who those fans are, what their past experiences are, and what they're interested in next, sports teams can upsell, service, and engage customers faster and better."

Find the full announcement at http://us.hitachi-solutions.com/hsnews/hitachi-solutions-releases-crm-2015-sports-entertainment-integration-ticketmaster/

Mobile Phone Update

We have some great updates coming for accessing Dynamics CRM via mobile phones. Earlier today Microsoft posted a video highlighting a quick overview of what's offered. A few high points for me include:

  • Leverage the existing entity forms (not a special form type)
  • Granular settings in forms to hide fields, sections, or tabs not relevant to the mobile phone experience
  • The same experience in iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone

Watch the entire video:

 

Themes!

Have you wished that you could update the color scheme in Dynamics CRM or add a logo to fit with your organization's brand identity? You won't have to wish much longer! The navigation menu color, entity button colors, link colors, and an optional custom logo are all part of this exciting update.

Dynamics CRM CustomTheme Configuration

This "Theme" information is controlled through settings, and your own custom themes can be exported, imported, and previewed before publishing. This will be great for those customers who have been asking for control over the color scheme, while also being a great way for teams to distinguish between separate environments (such as a training environment).

Even if you're not attending Convergence…

…you can still view all of the major keynotes. Microsoft will have a live stream tomorrow's closing keynote Digital detectives: Protecting data, commerce and privacy in the age of cybercrime. The session will bedelivered by David Finn, Associate General Counsel and Executive Director, Microsoft Cybercrime Center, right on the Convergence website at 9:30AM EDT.

You can also watch the rest of this weeks' keynotes in the Convergence Video Library.

Stay tuned for more updates!

March 17, 2015

Hitachi Solutions CRM Convergence Day Two Overview: Hitachi’s New Investment Bank Package, ThousandEyes Announcement, and Impressive Professional Service Success Metrics

Another great day at Microsoft Convergence 2015 and some pretty cool announcements.

Hitachi Solutions announced today the release of their new Investment Bank for CRM 2015. This update helps advisory firms effectively manage and foster relationships across corporate clients, partnerships, financial sponsors, and other institutional constituencies.

"As an organization, we strive to provide clients with turnkey industry solutions tailored to their specific industry needs." Scott Millwood, Hitachi Solutions senior vice president and global CRM leader. "Our newest release of CRM for Investment Banks and Advisory combines Hitachi Solutions' abundant experience with investment banks with the robust capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 to add value and meet the very specific business needs of investment banks and financial advisory firms."

For the full announcement, please check out http://us.hitachi-solutions.com/hsnews/hitachi-solutions-america-releases-crm-2015-investment-banks-financial-advisory/

 

Continue reading "Hitachi Solutions CRM Convergence Day Two Overview: Hitachi’s New Investment Bank Package, ThousandEyes Announcement, and Impressive Professional Service Success Metrics" »

March 16, 2015

Hitachi Solutions CRM Convergence Day One Wrap Up: Mobile CRM Success, an Updated Insurance Industry Package, Spring 2015 Upgrades and Meeting Satya

What a great way to start the week! Pandora lit up the Convergence 2015 keynote with the MSFT gang including showing off the mobile app demo we built for them while Satya and crew wowed us with the latest and greatest coming down the pipe for CRM from Microsoft. And we didn’t part ways before team Hitachi snagged a quick photo op with the Microsoft CEO. Then we rounded off the morning by announcing our CRM for Insurance IP! If you aren’t here to soak in the action live, here is the details of what you missed:

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Continue reading "Hitachi Solutions CRM Convergence Day One Wrap Up: Mobile CRM Success, an Updated Insurance Industry Package, Spring 2015 Upgrades and Meeting Satya" »

March 09, 2015

CRM Business Rules + Calculated Fields = Amazing

If you have read our blog for long, you know that we love the new calculated field feature in Dynamics CRM 2015. It’s never been easier to perform real-time calculations. But sometimes, your calculated fields (or rollup fields) may not calculate correctly—the field is blank.

This is often caused by one of the fields in the calculation not containing data. If one of the fields in the calculation has a null value, the calculation result will be null.

This can be avoided by using one of the other great new features in Dynamics CRM 2015: default values in business rules.

For example, say I have a calculation that involves a number of different number fields. I want to make sure that the fields have a default value of 0 so that my calculation can happen even if one of the fields is blank.

  • Create a business rule called “Default Values.” Set the scope to “entity.”
  • Add an action for each field that you want to default to set the default value to 0 for each field involved in the calculation. No condition is necessary.
  • Activate the rule.

Screenshot 2015-03-03 15.08.42

By setting the scope to “Entity,” the rule will fire for all records created, not just those created via the form.

March 02, 2015

Dynamics CRM Mission Advanced Find Impossible?

A scenario that seems to come up a lot is one where managers want to identify a list of records that do not have a certain related record. For example, “Give me a list of all the companies that don’t have any associated opportunities.” Seems like a fair enough request. However, there is no out-of-the-box way to accomplish this in CRM.

I recently came across a scenario where a client wanted to identify Opportunities that did not yet have a related Project. Increasingly, I am finding sales process requirements are including a step for creating a related Project or Implementation or Contract (or fill in the blank) against an existing Opportunity or Account. Managers often want to know which of their Opportunities are ready for a Project to be created, but do not have a Project created yet. The problem is there is no way to do this with Advanced Find.

Here is one way I’ve found to get around this limitation using what you learned in my previous post about FetchXML Builder (go read it).

You can begin building your Advanced Find with the appropriate criteria. Be sure to include the related criteria in your query. Simply choose the record you want to relate and enter a simple line like where Project Contains Data.

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Continue reading "Dynamics CRM Mission Advanced Find Impossible? " »

February 27, 2015

Great FetchXML Tool for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

If you’re like me, you love Advanced Find. …But you don’t love FetchXML. Sure, we’ve all seen this button at the top of our Advanced Find queries, but how many of us have used it?

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Let’s take a look at what happens when we use this button.

First, build an Advanced Find query. Something simple or complex, doesn’t matter. Click the button and you will download the .xml file. Click Open.

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This is what appears:

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Continue reading "Great FetchXML Tool for Microsoft Dynamics CRM" »

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’

Hastag_1

  • 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

Task_subject

  • 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.

task_regarding

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!

Embed PowerView into a Dynamics CRM 2015 Personal Dashboard

As we covered in December, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release gives us the capability to embed Power BI into a personal dashboard. I'd like to cover the basics of how to do this as well as a few tips and tricks.

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/15022618/f3f5049c-7f07-4440-91a7-03098349554c.png

First though, let's revisit why this matters. After all, CRM already has some great dashboard and charting tools built in that have been available since 2011 and CRM 2013 gave us Power BI in system dashboard. Absolutely—and this serves as an important foundation here, but the key is that by opening up this functionality for Personal dashboards it means that there is even less of a barrier for an average business-level user to surface up the information they're looking for without having to involve an administrator. This is the key. It doesn't always make sense to push all of the data directly into the CRM database, so now a regular user can identify (or build) a model in Excel and have it right at hand in their CRM dashboard!

Continue reading "Embed PowerView into a Dynamics CRM 2015 Personal Dashboard" »

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.

HOW TO CREATE CUSTOM POSTS VIA WORKFLOW:

  • Create a new workflow process for the contact entity

Workflow_1

  • 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

Workflow_2

  • 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

Workflow_3

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.

image 

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?

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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:

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

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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:

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

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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:

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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

Overview

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. 

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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" »

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