Dynamics CRM Online User interface for IPAD released

So the wait is over and you can now access Dynamics CRM 2011 online on an iPad in a supported manner, but wait their is a caveat! You have to have accepted the Polaris updates as the iPad expereince only supports the new look and feel of the Updated Polaris forms. What does this mean?

Well you have to have accepted the product update via the new administration screen and updated the new forms for Polaris with your set of fields and have deployed the new form to a set of users either by default or by defined security roles. The caveat is that the new Updated forms have a few limitations which if managed are probably ok for an on the road iPad experience, summarised below:

  1. No javascript on any event
  2. No ribbon extensions
  3. Can display web resources
  4. Certain form areas are locked i.e. social pane, contacts and bing maps
  5. Navigation area read  only

So what does the new iPad experience look like and what can I do with it:

Ipad UI 1

Ipad UI 2

So what you need to know specifically about this user interface is:

  • As it is based on Polaris it is designed to load quicker, notice no ribbons
  • The main home page displays the workplace only with the option to switch to Mobile Express to access more record types
  • I can work with Dashboards but not create dashboards
  • It only supports the new UI for displaying record, classic form is not supported. If you have disabled the new UI (i.e. through security role), then the Mobile Express form is displayed instead.
  • If you select any lookup that is not to the Account, Contact, lead or Opportunity then Mobile Express is displayed
  • Works on latest version of Safari
  • No offline capability you need a network access

In summary, a great advancement for mobililty access and supports the mobile sales team with access to core user friendly CRM data.

 

Great post on how you can change your CRM online instance URL!

Stephanus' Blog

This was not possible before the recent Polaris release, but now you can change the instance name of your CRM Online environment!

The trick is to know where to look.

View original post 174 more words

How do I clean up my Outlook contact list and ensure the right contacts are tracked into CRM?

Recently I was presented with a request that went along the lines of:

“I am using CRM via the browser but I want to start using the Outlook client as I believe not all of my outlook contacts are in CRM, what is the best way to get my outlook contacts synced into CRM?”

Now this may sound simple, just install the outlook add in, sync and then track the required contacts into CRM, but if you do this you could end up with a bunch of duplicate contacts in Outlook, your phone and then Outlook owning the contact records that you track into CRM, which is a big issue as I explain below.

  • When Outlook owns a contact via tracking it directly into CRM, it means that your outlook filters are dismissed for this contact. But what does this mean? Well its quite a major.
  • Imagine the scenario, the contact you tracked is reassigned to another person, in normal circumstances this might mean you no longer see this contact record, but because you tracked it, the contact remains tracked in Outlook.
  • Then say you decide to untrack this contact or delete the contact in your outlook, because you do not deal with that contact anymore, but then 6 months down the line the contact is reassigned back to you, the contact will not be synced to your outlook via the outlook filters as your actions in Outlook has overridden that of the filters as you told CRM you never want to see this contact in Outlook, by untracking it!

So basically if you track in Outlook you will overide the outlook CRM filters for this contact going forward and if you untrack the contact you will never be able to re sync this contact to the contact in CRM without first creating a duplicate contact in CRM merging them and syncing them back.

So what is best practice you ask?

Quite simple let CRM control what contacts based on your outlook filters should be synced to your Outlook and never track a contact via the track in crm buttons in Outlook! This way you will always see the right contacts from CRM and never get into a mess, where some are syncing and others are not. Now that statement may be contrary to what your CRM partner has told you but believe me it is the best approach.

From a training perspective, it simple means that when I am in Outlook and I want to create a contact that ultimately belongs in CRM, I should create it in CRM via the Outlook interface interacting with CRM, and then let the sync process bring the details back down to my Outlook and phone.

So now back to my problem statement, I have an employee who wants to get in sync there Outlook contacts and their CRM contacts by installing the CRM add in for Outlook.

Things to consider:

  • Phone contacts and are they syncing to Outlook
  • Other tools that may be syncing to Outlook
  • Personal vs business contacts

So maybe now you can see my dilemma this is not a simple process! So I have listed the steps below to what I believe makes the process as seamless as possible and ensures minimal duplicates of contacts across Outlook, phone and CRM.

  1. In outlook move all the contacts that you want in CRM to a new Contact folder called Business Contacts.
  2. Export that folder to an excel worksheet (file open, Import, export to file, choose excel, select new contact folder, export)
  3. Open the worksheet and remove all the additional Outlook columns to just leave the ones required to be imported or the ones that have content in
  4. Save the file as a csv file
  5. Import into crm with duplication detection on, mapping the columns to the appropriate contact columns via the Ribbon Import button
  6. Check the status of the import and hopefully minimal duplicates created, depending on your de-dupe rules
  7. Tidy up duplicates by merging in CRM
  8. Delete the contacts folder that contains the business contacts that you have just imported into CRM in Outlook (you have a backup in the csv file) to delete the contacts on your phone, as otherwise your phone may sync back duplicate contact records back into outlook
  9. Check phone has removed the contacts
  10. If phone has not manually delete contacts on the phone and sync
  11. Install Dynamics CRM Outlook add on
  12. Sync down owned contacts based on your outlook filters
  13. Phone and Outlook now have one list of contacts, with business contacts from Outllook and CRM synced appropriately to your devices

Now if ownership of records change the contacts will be removed from your outlook (if your outlook rules are based on ownership) and if you regain ownership of the record the contact will be re-synced back to your outlook.

Hopefully this will simplify your CRM rollup and on-going maintenance of users.

Limitations of the new Updated Forms (process flow) – Top 10!

So Polaris is live, and the new process forms now known technically as the updated forms look good, but what are the limitations of their use, what does this mean for my CRM instance? I have listed below some of the limitations of these forms so that you are all aware on when to use and when not to use!

  1. Only one Updated form can exist for any of the COLAC entities (Contact, Opportunity, Lead, Account and Case entities), multiple forms still exist for the Classic forms [Steven Foster Update] You can create multiple forms in the new mode, and visibility of these can be controlled by security roles, but only one form can be the default and there is no easy way to switch between the different updated form types other than switching to classic, changing to the different form and then closing the record and re-opening the record.
  2. No Javascript event handlers on On load, On change or On save, if included the form will return to Classic
  3. Only Web Resources can be added to the forms, which can interact with the fields on the form but they load asynchronously  which means there will be a delay
  4. Left hand navigation – you can view related records but cannot add new ones, so if you want to create an opportunity against an account then you will need to either add the opportunity as a sub grid or switch to classic forms
  5. You can only add Phone calls and tasks to the record, so as above if you want to create an appointment then you will need to add a subgrid or switch to classic
  6. The command bar cannot be changed in anyway, unlike the ribbon
  7. If you switch to Classic forms then these will become the default, and to enable the Updated form you will first need to open the record again and switch the form to the updated form, close and then reopen
  8. Cannot change the bing maps integration if you wanted to show a different address or different address fields
  9. Only one process form can exist for Opportunity, Case and Lead, so if you have different sales processes then you will either need to simplify to one or switch to classic
  10. You cannot change any of the locked components, which is a shame as the Case presents some core fields from the Account or Contact associated to the Case, but you can not change this if for example you wanted to add the Customer Pin to the form for validation purposes

The list could go on but that is a good start, so before you use the new forms, think about the impact! To turn off the new Updated Forms see my blog post https://nakedcrm.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/how-do-i-enable-for-some-users-by-default-the-classic-ui-forms-rather-than-the-new-process-ui-forms/

Updated office 365 Dynamics CRM Experience

With the latest rollup applied to Dynamics CRM Online, a whole of new capability has been added to the office 365 management of CRM instances. These improvements are some of the highlights of the Update Rollup 12 release for Online customers. Here is a list of some of those improvements and what they mean to you:

  • Multiple Instances under one Office 365 account – Buy one CRM licence access multiple instances, controled by group security (previously you would of had to have multiple Office 365 accounts), now you can have UAT and Prod in one instance with one username and password.
  • Single sign on across multiple instances – One user can log into multiple instances with the same username and password.
  • Share storage – You can now share the storage across the multiple instances i.e. majority goes to Prod, a little goes to UAT and DEV, any purchased storage can be shared as well
  • Group Security – Easy control of who can access which instance of CRM

So lots of new features and this is coupled with the potential power of Office 365 enabling online exhange, SharePoint and team collaboration.

Update Rollup 12 FAQ and Known Issues

The Microsoft CRM Support team has posted a blog article with some FAQs and known issues for the December 2012 Service Update and Update Rollup 12 (UR12). Its a great resource and I would recommend you review it before going live with this update.

https://community.dynamics.com/product/crm/crmtechnical/b/dynamicscrmsupportblog/archive/2013/01/28/december-2012-update-has-been-released.aspx

Simple way to copy workflows

So you have a complex workflow that you want to copy and re-purpose for another decision point. Now you do not want to re create it, but just copy it. Its easy do not panic, follow these simple steps.

1. Change the workflow temporarily to a process template, save and close
2. Now create a new workflow and select start from a template
3. Select your template
4. Tweak and change it
5. Activate it
6. Now open up the original workflow and change back to a process and activate it

You have now copied a workflow to create a new one. Simple.