Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

11Feb

Navigating CRM 2015

Navigating CRM 2015 is quite different for users familiar with CRM 4.0 or 2011.  Have you ever been in a CRM window and notice the browser’s back button isn’t there?

When training new users, I often hear people concerned about not seeing the back button and feeling stuck.

Missing the Back Button

The developer behind this loves “where’s waldo”

 

Luckily this is very easy to handle.  To go back, you can use a keyboard shortcut of “[alt] + [left arrow]”.  Pretty easy.

If you want to try it yourself, open a record via Advanced Find and then click a related record.  To get back to the record you first opened, you can hold [alt] and press the [left arrow] key to browse back.

Between the advanced find in the ribbon and the global search feature, users will easily be able to quickly find what they are looking for.  With this shortcut, users won’t ever feel stuck and will enjoy navigation CRM 2015.

18Jul

Sending Text Message Alerts from CRM 2013

I often find users are looking for ways to alleviate the email overload.  Sometimes important emails are missed due to a hectic day.  In some situations a remedy I like to incorporate is the ability to text message a user for events or status changes the user really cares about.  Leveraging Microsoft CRM and cell phone carriers’ email feature, we can offer users the ability to receive critical alerts via text messaging in addition to normal email.

 

Emailing a Text Message

What’s great about this is that you don’t need to install a special add-on to send text message alerts from CRM.  What you will need is the recipients cell phone number and carrier.  Each carrier has a specific text message domain, here’s a list of the most common carriers (full list here):

Carrier Domain
AT&T @txt.att.net
Sprint @messaging.sprintpcs.com
T-mobile @tmomail.net
Verizon @vtext.com

All of the carriers use the format of phone number followed by the domain.  For example to send a text message to a Verizon user, you’d email them 8645551234@vtext.com.

When you send text message alerts from CRM you’ll have the subject in parenthesis (if populated) and the body will be shown right after.  Here’s an example:

image

Read More »

22May

CRM 2013 FetchXML Improvements

With CRM 2013, Microsoft added some awesome improvements to their FetchXML.  For those unfamiliar, FetchXML provides you an easy way to query information out of CRM.  With the CRM 2013 FetchXML improvements you can perform significantly more queries than ever before.   Today I want to show you my favorite new feature which is alias filters.

CRM 2013 FetchXML Improvements – Looking at an Example

Let’s say you wanted to find the number of active accounts without contacts.  With CRM 2013, this is now possible and super simple, here’s how.

To start, let’s query for all of our accounts:

Simple enough, and in my test scenario I get 15,179 records.

To be fair though, we are only looking at active accounts, so let’s add a filter.

This returns 14,589 active records.

Adding our Linked Entity and Alias Filter

Now comes the fun part, with 2013 we can also add to our filter, columns concerning our linked entity.

This returned 839 records.  That means in my CRM environment, I have 839 accounts that do not have any contacts associated.  In my case, I want to list those accounts and find which ones need to be deactivated and/or who from sales I should contact to make sure we get the proper contact information inside CRM.

At this point, the count tells us the number of companies we need to review, but really we want tangible data.  Let’s modify this query to get something we can have someone analyze.

Here I’ve added the telephone and composite address (which pulls line 1, city, state, and zip).  I’ve also limited this to 10 records in case your environment has way more than 800.  The primarycontactid should not return, but I’ve included so you can verify.

 

Looking at our Fetch filter, you may notice a new attribute called entityname.  For some of you, this is pretty exciting and ideas are churning through your head already.  If you’re like me, you have had to perform multiple queries to accomplish similar feats.  Luckily with CRM 2013 we can get to our desired data quicker and easier then ever before.

 

What are some more scenarios?

With the new alias filter option, you can look for:

  • Leads without tasks
  • Contacts without activities
  • Strategic contacts without activities for the last 6 months
  • Contacts for top tier accounts in one city combined with contacts for top tier & important accounts in another city

The last one may seem random, but the more you explore the alias filter the more you will be glad you did.

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

25Apr

CRM 2013 – Aggregate Query Record Limit Exceeded

If you are using my CRM Data Detective or trying to perform aggregate queries against your CRM database, you may occasionally see an obscure error message.

CRM 2013 - Aggregate Query Record Limit exceeded

CRM 2013 – Aggregate Query Record Limit Exceeded

 

The specific message is:

AggregateQueryRecordLimit exceeded.  Cannot perform this operation.

 

CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 by default are limited to performing aggregate queries on less than 50,000 records.  With online, you cannot change this value; however, with on premise or partner hosted you can.  I’d recommend modifying this value to 250,000.

In my experience, CRM easily handles 250,000 records as long as you’re following the hardware specs Microsoft recommends.

Modifying the On Premise Settings

Warning!  If you are unfamiliar with making these changes, ask someone who is familiar for help.  Whenever you are making advanced setting changes, use caution.

To increase the limit, you’ll need to modify:

Database: MSCRM_CONFIG
Table: Deployment Properties
Column: AggregateQueryRecordLimit

To query the current value:

To modify:

 

Here’s an MSDN reference for using C# and/or PowerShell: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg328128.aspx

 

If you are interested in other limits CRM has, take a look at this:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/12601.crm-2011-timeouts-and-limits.aspx

 

I hope you enjoy!

30Mar

Sending Unresolved Emails

Today we’re looking at sending unresolved emails in CRM.  Have you ever wanted to email someone who is not in CRM?  Sometimes it can be frustrating to have to create a contact or lead record for a person just so you can email marketing material.  Additionally, you may want to avoid cluttering up your CRM system with a “fringe” listing of contacts.  By allowing “unresolved” email addresses to be sent, you can do just that.

In addition to configuring CRM, I’ll demonstrate how to send an email from C# (using the CRM 4.0/2011/2013 SDK).

Configuration required for sending unresolved emails in CRM

To start, let’s look at the system settings we’ll need to change.  Begin by selecting Settings > Administration > System Settings.  This will bring up a prompt, select the “Email” tab and select “Yes” for the “Allow messages with unresolved e-mail recipients to be sent” option.

To send emails to recipients not in CRM, select the "Yes" option.

To send emails to recipients not in CRM, select the “Yes” option.

 

Sending unresolved emails in CRM from C#

Here is an example using late binding:

An early bound example of sending emails, can be found here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh210217.aspx

You can also mix and match unresolved addresses or in this next example add the primary address of a specific user:

 

Hopefully these options spark some ideas or resolve a frustration you’re currently facing.

 

12Mar

CRM 2013 Gamification


CRM 2013 Gamification

Today we’re talking about CRM 2013 Gamification.  Before we start, I want you to know that I cringe at the word “gamification”.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually like, believe, and implement gamification; however, gamification has a bad connotation because of how people have hyped and improperly implemented it.  There are fantastic examples of very successful gamification, my favorite being stack overflow.  But for every good example, there are probably dozens of implementations that ended with loyalty backlash and frustrating results.  The good news, is that today I’m going to share with you the secrets of good CRM 2013 Gamification for the low, low price of…

 

An example of what not to include with Gamification in CRM 2013

Imagine staring at this all day…

Congratulations, you’re a Winner!

Sorry, the first thing to know about gamification is: avoid cheesy things!  No one wants blinking or moving graphics.  No one.  Instead of focusing on the negatives though, I want to talk about the things you need in order to get productivity gains coupled with user engagement.

Read More »

17Feb

CRM 2013 – Copying a Process

Within CRM 2013, processes are incredible.  Since they are great time savers for users, I typically get a lot of positive feedback regarding them.

One feature missing from CRM 2013 is the ability to copy an existing process; however, there is a nice work-around we’ll explore today.  If you are like me and create some fairly in-depth processes, then copying a process should hopefully save you some time.  Let’s walk through how to copy a process:

Copying a Process Step-by-Step

  • First, open the Process you want to duplicate:
    Copying a Process: Opening the Process to Duplicate

    Notice the “Activate As” field

    Read More »

11Feb

CRM 2013 – Start Users on a Dashboard vs Personal Wall

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 offers by default a “What’s New” landing page known as the Personal Wall.  The “what’s new” page is a great place to start and is part of the social add-ins Microsoft introduced with CRM 2011.

Personal Wall

Checking out the social aspects of the Personal Wall

 

Although the Personal Wall is great, I often like to start users on a custom dashboard:

Here's an example of dashboard that launches to various entities and summarizes data specific to the user.  A different approach to the Personal Wall.

Here’s an example of dashboard that launches to various entities and summarizes data specific to the user

A dashboard customized around the users day-to-day needs allows for users to quickly see and get to pertinent information.  In my case, my team mainly focuses on the companies, projects and tasks assigned to us individually.

Read More »

© Copyright 2012-2014, All Rights Reserved