Mobile Express gets a face lift on CRM2013

So I have provisioned myself my first CRM2013 online APAC org as a trial and I have to say it is running very nicely! Connected the mobile Win 8 App and all works, but I thought what about Mobile express?

Well you would be pleased to know it has had a facelift not a redesign of any of the configuration side, but it just looks nice!

Here are some images:

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CRM 2013 – Synchronous workflows – Real time workflows

Great new feature of CRM 2013 is the ability to trigger a workflow synchronously, meaning I update a field, it triggers a workflow, that updates a field on the form in real time with no refreshing? Say goodbye to some plugins!

To make a workflow real time, click the actions menu and select real time option:

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Once you have enabled this then you have a few more settings to work with to define how the workflow is triggered.

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So depending on how the workflow is triggered will determine whether you can start the workflow process before the record has been created or after if trigger on create, otherwise if trigger any on change then again before or after and likewise on delete.

Another important point is how you execute the workflow. You now have the option to execute as the owner of the workflow thus the owner may have greater security permissions or run as the owner of the record that may have limited rights. Things to think about when designing workflows.

To note:

Like any workflow consider the impact of real time on performance and likely trigger ratio. In addition think about the impact that it may have on imports, we found real time workflows severely impacted the time to import records as real time workflows were triggered regardless of resource availability

CRM 2013 – Merging Forms and content

So I have upgraded and I want to add my additional fields to the new look and feel CRM 2013 forms, how can I do this efficiently without having to one by one drag them in to the form?

Simple use the Bring in Another Form option to append the fields from the old form on to the new form. You can then just simple drag and drop the fields on the new layout.

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CRM 2013 – Description Tool Tips

So how do I provide help for my users on what they should be filling in on a particular field?

Its easy with CRM 2013, use the description on the field. In CRM 2013 the description on a field is displayed when you hover over the field, in essence a tool tip or help option.

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Things to note:

If you are upgrading you may want to review what your descriptions include as they could be developer guides and not user friendly.

Charting on a related entity field

Problem: I want to create a chart that presents a view of my Opportunity pipeline value by the industry associated to the Account?

Solution Options:

2 options are available:

  1. Export to excel including my releated field from the account entity
  2. Utilise standard charts in CRM to create the report

I am going to focus on option 2 and how you can create a chart on the opportunity that pulls in data from a related entity being the account on the opportunity, its quite simple.

  1. Open up your opportunities
  2. Click on Advanced Find
  3. Click on Edit Columns
  4. Click on Add Column and change field list to Account and select the Industry field
  5. Position the field in the view and save
  6. Save the new view as a new view “Opportunity Industry View”
  7. Close Advanced find
  8. Refresh your Opportunity view and select the new personal view created in step 6
  9. Open the Chart panel and select new
  10. You will now be able to select the Account Industry field in the drop selection of fields for the X and Y (note the field will appear above the dotted line that shows the column names included in the view)
  11. So for my chart I set the vertical axis as Estimated Value and for the Horizontal axis I use the Account Industry field
  12. Save my chart and I am done

So basically you can chart on any related field if you add it to your view you base your chart off. Once you have done that and created the chart the chart will work on any of your views regardless if the related field exists on the view or not.

Happy Charting!

 

How can I import Marketing List Members into Dynamics CRM?

Problem: I utilise an external Data Warehouse to identify marketing list members for a mail out, how can I load these into CRM to utilise the campaign functionality?

Initially when posed with this question, I thought development as you can not use the standard import tool to do this, but when stood back and looked at Marketing Lists, I realised there was a simple solution. The solution hinges around the fact that Manage Members utilises advanced find to perform a search to identify members, so we just need to be able to have something to search on, without needing to update the existing record.

In fact their are 2 options, as follows:

  1. Create a new entity named “External List”
  2. Create a relationship (lookup) to Contact, Account and Lead if you are creating marketing lists for all 3 types.
  3. Create a second relationship to Marketing list entity as a n:1
  4. Save and publish
  5. Now from the external source export your list, that must contain a unique attribute for each record that matches what is stored in CRM
  6. Create a marketing list in CRM or copy the name of an existing one for which you want to import members into
  7. Add to the export you did in step 5 a new “Name” and “Marketing List Name”column
  8. In the name column enter a unique name for the external list records that the import will create. In the marketing list column enter the name of the marketing list created in step 6.
  9. Import this file into CRM into the new entity “External List”, mapping the new relationships created in step 1 and 2 to the appropriate column in the csv file. I.e. Map the unique attribute for the CRM record to the Account, Contact or Lead for which it refers to.
  10. Now open the marketing list created in step 6 and use Manage members to perform a search on all Contacts, Accounts or leads (depending on what you are referencing) where an External List record is associated to them that is related to the Marketing list you created in step 6.
  11. Add the found members to the List.
  12. You have now imported members to a marketing list, you can now always view which members were added via the external list process and which additional members were added via standard CRM processes
  13. As a time saver, save the data import as a new template for future use

The second option is similar to above but you instead of creating a new entity you use Connections and import a new connection linked to the marketing list and use this to perform an advanced find on. The only downside of this approach is that can muddy the water if you use connections for other purposes.

I hope this solves a common dilemma.

Do you know who you are using as a reference? Do you know how many times and the win rate of using that reference? If not track it in CRM

Reference customers are critical to a service provider business model, but how do you keep track of requests, usage and success of reference customers?

The answer is that it is quite easy if you keep it simple! Follow my simple steps below to keep a record of requests, usage and success.

  1. Create a new solution for your reference entity, or open up your existing solution
  2. Create a new entity “Reference” and specify type as Activity
  3. Add required fields to the new entity i.e. Account and related contact who will do the reference, type of reference Case Study, Reference, Speaker etc, Organiser as the person who has requested the reference and Owner who is the owner of the related account or contact. See screen shot below
  4. Reference Entity
  5. Once you have created the entity, update the associated Account and Contact forms to move the new reference relationship down into Sales area of the navigation.
  6. Optionally may want to create a workflow to auto update the Owner of the reference to the owner of the Contact, leaving the organiser as the person who is requesting the reference usage.
  7. You now may also want to create some charts around status and due dates or even as in the example dashboard below a chart showing references by opportunity revenue and status to see how well your references are performing
  8. Reference Dashboard
  9. Once you are happy you can publish your configurations.
  10. Once published you will need to train your CRM users to create a new reference activity when a reference required and if related to an opportunity create it from an opportunity so that the regarding in populated. You can manage the status and performance of your references using standard views, you can now view which customers are being referenced the most and finally manage who have or are proposed to provide Case Studies for you. In addition you could set the regarding against a Campaign if you are using a contact or account as a speaker or case study for an event.

Keeping track of references and usage across the business ensures happy long-term customers. I hope this has been useful.

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.

 

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.

How do I enable for some users by default the classic UI forms rather than the new Process UI forms?

I have had a number of queries around the fact that for some organisations the new process UI forms may not work for all users who require a little more functionality that what is offered or that their current implementation is highly configured, hiding and showing sections and fields based on other variables.

So my problem statement is:

How do I enable for some users by default the classic UI forms rather than the new Process UI forms?

Actually it is very easy! It comes down to form security and which security roles can access which forms. So solve the problem you will need to either restrict the new Process UI form to security roles that will access it or create a new dummy security role that you assign to users where you want them by default to have the new form loaded and do not assign this security role to users that you want to default back to the classic form.

So what is involved? I will take the approach of creating a dummy security role to enable or disable the form.

1) Create a new Security Role to be used to manage who will access the form or not, you do not have to add any permissions to this role i.e. for Account – Account Process UI Form Access
ProcessUISecurity1
2) Open up the customisations area and customise the system
3) Open up in this example the Account entity and select the Forms area (or any one of the other entities where the new process UI forms are presented)
4) Select the new process form (named for Account – Account) and choose Assign Secuirty Roles
ProcessUISecurity2
5) Select the new security role and remove all others except system administrator. This will now mean that only users that have this specific security role will be able to access the form, and all other users will revert to the classic form assigned to their security roles.
ProcessUISecurity3

6) Publish the change
7) Now assign the new security roles to the users that you want to access the New Process UI account form
8) When a user with this security role logs in and opens an account they will be presented with the New Process UI form and all other users without this role will see the historical classic form.

Problem solved.