Friday, 30 December 2011

How to Enable WCF Tracing for CRM 2011 Outlook Client

With CRM 4.0 I would use Fiddler to capture traffic to/from the client and server to see exactly what was happening. CRM 2011 Outlook client performance issues are not easy to tackle with Fiddler as The CRM 2011 Outlook client now uses WCF to request data from the CRM server. If you ever view the WCF traffic in fiddler or Netmon you will notice the request/response data is no longer in a readable format. In order to get details of the request/response you will need to use WCF tracing on the client machine. Below are the steps to enable and view the WCF tracing.

1. Create a folder directly on the c: drive called “log”. The name and location doesn’t matter as long as it matches the path provided in the config file.

2. Navigate to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Dynamics CRM\Client\” and open the “client{guid}.config” file in a text editor such as notepad.

3. Insert the following block of XML in the section of the CONFIG file. This XML will specify the WCF trace levels, trace name and location.

4. Save and close the CONFIG file.

5. Launch Outlook and you will see a trace file called CRMTrace.svclog will be created in the log folder you had created in step 1. All WCF traffic to the server will be logged while the client is running.

Viewing the WCF Traces

Once you have collected the trace it can be viewed using the SvcTraceViewer.exe utility which is only available in the .Net SDK. The SDK is an ISO file and can be downloaded at the following location.

The SDK contains a lot of stuff, but if you just want the viewer you can select “Developer Tools \ .NET Development Tools” during the setup. The SvcTraceViewer.exe utility will then be located at C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.1\Bin

The SvcTraceViewer.exe can be found at the following location.

Download SVCTraceViewer.exe

1. Launch the SvcTraceViewer.exe utility and choose file – Open. Select the trace file and choose Open.

2. Once the trace is opened you can click on the Message tab and choose specific messages to see the details. The details can be viewed in a formatted view or raw XML. In the following screenshots you will notice the WhoAmI request/Response, each showing up as a separate message.



Each request/response message pair will have a urn:UID that identifies them. This guid can be found in fiddler or netmon since it shows up as plain text in the WCF header. You can then match up the fiddler/netmon data to that in the WCF trace by searching on this guid as shown below. The combination of Fiddler and WCF tracing is very helpful with performance work. Using Fiddler you can identify large/long running requests and then use WCF tracing to get details of what the request is doing.



For more information about tracing and using the tool you can refer to the following MSDN article.

XCEL Technologies Ltd, Microsoft Partner

CRM Online Document Management with SharePoint Online (365)

Configuration steps for CRM Online organizations with SharePoint Online for document management purposes. The following steps should walk you through this process:
  1. Create a CRM Online organization. If you need to create a 30 day trial organization, click here.
  2. If you haven’t already, set up an Office 365 organization. You’ll want to verify that you can reach the SharePoint site (ex. To sign up for a free 30 day Office 365 trial,click here.
  3. Download and extract the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
  4. Add the crmlistcomponet.wsp file to your SharePoint Online site:
    1. Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
    2. Under Galleries, click Solutions.
    3. On the Solutions tab, in the New group, click Upload Solution.
    4. Click Browse, locate the crmlistcomponent.wsp file, and then click OK.
    5. On the Solutions tab, in the Commands group, click Activate.
  5. Add the SharePoint URL to the Document Management Settings area in your Microsoft CRM Online organization:
    1. Settings – Document Management Settings
    2. Select the entities you want to enable document management on
    3. Specify the SharePoint Online URL
    4. Select Next
    5. Select whichever option you’d like for the “Select folder structure” page. If you want to keep things basic where you have the following format, Contacts – [Contact Name] – [Documents], you’ll want to leave this section blank.
    6. Continue to select Next

At this point, you should be ready to add document storage locations to your enabled entities. You’ll need to open a document management enabled record (ex. Contact) and select the Documents are on the left-hand pane. If things are working correctly, you’ll be presented with a message that says the following “A folder will be created in the location: [SharePoint site] Click OK to continue.”

CRM 2011 Technical Documentation URLs to reference

Below are the important CRM 2011 technical documentation urls to reference:

TitlesDate Published

Optimizing and Maintaining Client Performance for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and CRM Online

12/20/2011 (Refreshed)
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Software Development Kit (SDK)12/2/2011 (Updated Quarterly)
Using EFS and BitLocker to Protect Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data on Client Computers11/2/2011

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Implementation Guide

11/2/2011 (Updated Quarterly)
Deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and CRM Online Solutions from Development through Test and Production Environments10/25/2011
Optimizing and Maintaining the Performance of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server Infrastructure10/21/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Performance and Scalability with Intel10/4/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Outlook Quick Start Guide9/29/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Quick Start Guide for Business Users9/29/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online: Security Features9/22/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Outlook Installing Guide for use with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online8/18/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 User's Guide8/12/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Performance Counters8/11/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administrator's Guide8/11/2011

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Configuring Claims-based Authentication

8/1/2011 (Updated)
System Center Monitoring Pack for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 20117/12/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Office Outlook Compatibility with Citrix XenApp 67/5/2011
How to configure the Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online E-mail Router in different deployment scenarios5/2/2011
Microsoft CRM Online Data Migration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 on-premises4/29/2011
Deployment and Operational Guidance for Hosting Microsoft Dynamics CRM 20114/5/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Entity Relationship Diagrams3/24/2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for E-mail Router Installing Guide for use with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online12/9/2010
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 ISV White Paper11/4/2010

Friday, 12 August 2011

Microsoft Dynamics CRM-Top Sites and Downloads

Top Sites and Downloads

Whether you’re interested in an online or on-premises solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has you covered. Check out these resources to help you create the perfect experience for your business.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM website is the place to go for information on all things CRM. You’ll find everything from an introduction to CRM and its value to your business to white papers, product specifications, customer testimonials, links to CRM communities, and much more.

Resource Center ~ The Resource Center is a one-stop shop, designed to help you get started, maximize your efficiency, and build your business. Using a community-centered approach, the Resource Center brings some of the best community ideas via blogs and forums right to your desktop.

Community Home Page ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community site is the place to go for information about all things CRM. You’ll find links to blogs and articles, forums, newsgroups, MVPs, and much more.

Team Blog ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog is the place to go to connect with the CRM team. You’ll find postings on customization, development, and implementation. This is one of the fastest ways to get to know the CRM team.

Forums ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Forums are your question and answer resource. You’ll find answers to some of your most pressing questions and a team of crack experts ready to help.

MVPs ~ The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) site recognizes exceptional technical community leaders from around the world. Here you can find experts who love to talk about all aspects of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

XCEL Technologies Ltd - Leading CRM Solution Providers

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Working From Home: How Advancing Technology Can Change the Workplace

Times are changing. Fast. The ‘typical’ job has traditionally consisted of a nine to five workday at a single corporate office where all employees commute to five days a week. Maybe there are small deviations from the rule where an employee can choose to come in at 8am and leave at 4pm. Perhaps a full hour is permitted for lunch, or perhaps it isn’t. Regardless of the details, the orthodox work schedule has had very little margin for freedom—until now.

The New World of Work Location Freedom
With the exception of traveling sales and business people, the concept of remote employees is a relatively new one. Thanks to technological leaps and bounds, the business world is quickly becoming highly mobile and versatile, and with these advancements come both technical and social considerations.

There are many different ways in which you can achieve remote access computing from a technical standpoint. However, it is essential that you carefully evaluate your specific environment to determine which mode best suits your business’ needs. Securing sensitive data from hackers may be your top priority, or perhaps fast and easy communication with your remote employee is your main concern. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have thought everything through. It’s advisable to have an IT professional help you establish which method of remote connection is most appropriate for your enterprise.

The other determining factors you will want to consider is how the change will affect your business on a social level, how work will be conducted by your remote employee, and how you as a boss are supposed to evaluate their work. Because it’s true, one can’t just walk across the office or plan an impromptu meeting to get an update on a worker’s progress.

There are aspects of employee management that would need to be reexamined and inevitably reshaped. How are employers supposed to evolve with the times? How can an employer keep tabs on a worker that isn’t there? How will it alter the camaraderie of your team? The conventional techniques an employer uses to assess an employee would have to be modified.

Trusting, Planning, Goal Setting

There is a big question that may be looming when considering remote location employment. How can I know my employee isn’t taking advantage of this untethered freedom?

Before any changes begin, a certain level of trust and respect must be shared between employer and employee. Without it, the initial plunge is unlikely to take place. If that fundamental combination has been established, ease the stress of transitioning from in house to remote employment by forming a steady and clear line of communication. Whether it is via conference calls, daily emails, or a shared calendar, a vehicle to maintain employer-employee interaction must be put in place in order to keep both parties feeling secure.

As more time passes, you will be better able to assess your worker’s level of production if you have established a well-defined set of goals that you both agree on. Understanding what projects need to be accomplished and the timeframe in which they must to be completed will make keeping track of your remote worker a far easier and less stressful task. If your employee repeatedly fails to finish the allotted tasks within the pre-determined period of time, then it may be an indication that working from home may not be the best option for that particular staff member.

Get Creative: Find a Happy Middle Ground

You’re the boss, so you don’t have to compromise, right? Well perhaps, but consider this: by understanding your employee’s situation and working to find a middle ground that suits both your needs, you may very well end up with a more productive employee that creates better quality work.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and be flexible as these characteristics just might be the ticket to a more successful business. Being open to your options may make all the difference for you, your employees, and the organization as a whole. For instance, if the commute of one employee is having a detrimental affect on his work, offer to let him work from home a few days a week. This way you can still have the face-to-face time while allowing him to breathe easier at the gas pump. Both of you walk away feeling satisfied: your employee’s production rate increases because he is happy and respects you, while you may have just saved yourself from losing a great worker. Your efforts will have a positive effect on the organization’s sense of community and bottom line.

Feeling the Fruits of Your Effort and Compromise

Having remote employees may end up being an experiment. See how it goes with a small number of employees, even one, and proceed from there. Make a concise list of expectations for each individual you plan on letting work remotely and be open to dialogue about the subject.

In the end you might find it works well for your organization, or it may not. Either way, you tested new ways to improve your business.

XCEL Technologies Ltd- Leading CRM Solutions Providers.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Getting Started with the LightSwitch Starter Kits

Visual Studio LightSwitch Starter Kits are project templates that help get you started building specific LightSwitch applications. You can download them right from the within Visual Studio LightSwitch and once installed they show up in your “New Project” dialog. Using the Starter Kits can help you learn about LightSwitch as well as get you started off right with a basic data model, queries and screens that you can customize further. Currently there are Starter Kits for:

  • Customer Service
  • Expense Tracking
  • Issue Tracking
  • Job Candidate Tracking
  • Performance Review
  • Status Reports
  • Time Tracking

It’s really easy to get started using them. There’s a few ways you can install the Starter Kits. The easiest way is directly through Visual Studio LightSwitch. You can find the Starter Kit templates when you create a LightSwitch project from the “File –> New Project” dialog. Select the “Online Templates” node on the left and you will see the Starter Kits listed. Each Starter Kit comes in both Visual Basic (VB) and C# (CS) versions.


Select the Starter Kit you want, name the project, and click OK. This will download and install the Starter Kit. You can also install the Starter Kits through the Extension Manager. Here you will also find LightSwitch third-party extensions that have been placed on the Visual Studio Gallery. Open up the Extension Manager from the Tools menu.


Then click the “Online Gallery” node on the left side and expand the Templates node and you will see the Starter Kits there. Click the download button to install the one you want.


Once you install the Starter Kits they will be listed in your New Project dialog along with the blank solutions you get out of the box.


You can also obtain the Starter Kits as well as other extensions directly from the Visual Studio Gallery.

Once you create a new project based on the Starter Kit, you are presented with a documentation window that explains how to use the Starter Kit and how the application works. You can then choose to customize the application further for your needs.


That’s it! For more information on building business applications with Visual Studio LightSwitch including articles, videos, and more, see:


XCEL Technologies Ltd. - Leading CRM Solutions Providers

CRM 2011: Installing Update Rollups silently

Many of my customers like to install CRM Outlook client update rollups silently in order to limit end-user interruption. It is possible to silently install Update Rollups. I've listed the necessary steps below:

  • Download the CRM update rollup that you'd like to apply from the Microsoft Download Center (ex. CRM2011-Client-KB2547347-ENU-i386.exe)
  • Extract the update rollup package (CRM2011-Client-KB2547347-ENU-i386.exe /extract)
  • After extracting the package, you'll see a file named CrmUpdateWrapper.exe
  • To silently install the update rollup via a command prompt, launch the CrmUpdateWrapper (ex. crmupdatewrapper.exe /q /log "C:\log\log.txt")
    • The above syntax silently installs the update rollup and creates a log file in the specified folder. Additional parameters that can be used are:
      • /? = available parameter options
      • /q = silent install
      • /passive = installer/uninstall runs in passive mode
      • /norestart = even if required, does not restart the computer after installation is completed
      • /forcerestart = even if it is not required, restarts the computer after installation is completed
      • /promptrestart = prompts the user to restart the computer after the installation is completed when a restart is required
      • /uninstall = update is uninstalled
      • /log = user can define the log file local path name

While it is definitely possible to run the above silent install from a command prompt, most customers will choose to use these parameters when pushing out update rollups through deployment software (ex. System Center Configuration Manager).

XCEL Technologies Ltd- Leading CRM Solutions Providers

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

MS Dynamics CRM 2011 Interview Questions

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Interview Questions:

Following are the some of the questions which are asked most frequently in the Microsoft CRM interviews. Generally the during the recruitment of MS CRM Functional consultant, Technical Consultant or Test Consultant the answer to this questions are expected.I will add few more questions in this post.

Typical Questions :

1. What are near features of new crm version (CRM 2011)?.
2. How many implementations you have done ?
3. Whats your experience with development ?
4. Have you done SRS reports development ?
5. Any integration experience ?
6. Whats your role in CRM ?
etc etc

Some technical Questions :
1. What is a Plug-in?
2. What is a Workflow?
3. What are the differences between Plug-in and a Workflow?
4. What are the differences between Asynchronous Plug-in and a Workflow?
5. When will you use a workflow and when will you use a Plug-in? Give some Real-life scenario.
6. What is an Email-Router?
7. What are the steps to configure an Email router?
8. How the Plug-in and Workflow will behave in case of Off-line client?
9. What is Metadata?
10. What is CRM Discovery Service?
11. What is Sales and Marketing life cycle in MSCRM?
12. What is Queue entity in MSCRM?
13. What is 1:1, 1:N and N:N relationship in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
14. How a Plug-in is different from a Call-out?
15. What is 'Append' and 'Append To' privilege in MSCRM? Give one example of it?
Ans: 'Append' and 'Append To' priviledges works together. 'Append To' priviledge will allow other entities to get attached with the entity. 'Append' priviledge will allow the entity to attach the records to the entity with 'Append To' privildege.

Let us understand this with simple example:
Let us say that you want to attach a note to a case then note entity should have 'Append' access right and case entity should have 'Append To' access right.

Let us take one more example to understand this. Suppose you have two custom entities called 'TestCustomEntity1' and 'TestCustomEntity2'. You want to attach the 'TestCustomeEntity2' records to 'TestCustomEntity1'records. For this you need to have 'Append' access right on 'TestCustomEntity1' entity and 'Append To' access right on 'TestCustomEntity2'.
Now guess will I be able to attach the records? Answer is "NO" because we need to create a 1:N relationship between 'TestCustomEntity1' and 'TestCustomEntity2'.
Now the user who has above mentioned access right in his security role will only be able to add 'TestCustomEntity2' records to 'TestCustomEntity1'.
16. How to create a Custom Entity record using SDK?
Ans: Using Dynamic Entity.
17. How to join two table using Query Expression?
Ans: Using Linked entity. You should always try to minimize the number of SWS calls that we make in the database. Often during code review it is explored that the number of Microsoft CRM web-service could have been reduced by making use of the Linked-entity concept. So we should always look for the opportunity to minimize the effort.
18. Can we modify the name of Root Business Unit?
Ans: No; We will have to re-install MSCRM.
19. Suppose if I have 20 user license and I have created 20users. What will happen if I create 21st User?
Ans: The 21st User will get created in MSCRM but that user will be in disabled state.
20. What are the maximum number of tabs allowed on a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 form?
Ans: 8
21. How to enable/disable the form assistant? How to make sure the form assitant is expanded/cllapsed on a form?
Ans: Navigate to Customization >> Open the Entity >> Open Forms and Views >> Open Form >> Select Form Properties >> Open Display Tab >> Check/Uncheck the "Enable the Form Assistant" and "Expanded by Default".

The interviewer will always try to figure-out whether one is comfortable with the basic concepts of Microsoft CRM (MS CRM) or not and after that; questions will be asked from your previous experience (if you have any experience in CRM). Those questions will be something like this:
1. What was you role in the MSCRM implementation project that you have worked on?
You should be honest while giving answer to this question and should give a brief overview of the project and your role. This is very important question because the answer of this question will tigger so many questions. You should highlight the key skills you have; this way you will divert the attention of the interviewer to your key skills and try not to expose the area in which you are less confident.
2. What was the most challenging task you have faced till now?
Here you should give answer that exihibit your positive attiude . e.g. for a techincal consultant it may be something like ... "I was new to the suppport and during this experience i faced challenging issue related to plug-in that impoved my debugging skills. Email-to-case plug-in was really diffcult as we had to take care of so many conditions. I have learnt one thing during my previos assignment and that is 'Never give-up'".
3. What was the size of the implementation? (i.e. the number of user-licenses)

Q: What is CRM Service of MSCRM?
Ans: CRM Service is the main web service and it exposes Six methods such that you can write your code against CRM entities. To perform operation other than the six operations (six methods provided by mscrm) we will have to use the Execute method.
Q: What is Metadata service of MSCRM.
Ans: Dictionary meaning of the word METADATA is data about data and similarly the metadata holds the information about MSCRM means the information about the entity and attribute e.g. Display name, platform name, size of the attribute, datatype of attribute etc. If we want to access any information about any entity (Dynamic or system) we will have to make use of the Metadata service. In the database we can find the metadata table and name of these table begins with keyword Metadata.
Q: What is discovery Service?
Ans: The Discovery service is a global service that helps the caller to detemine the correct organization and URL. Microsoft CRM server may include several servers. Each server might be dedicated to multiple organization. Each of these servers will have dedicated web-service URL for faster operations. Internally the Microsoft CRM server allocation may change so the discovery service directs the request to its corresponding web-server for further processing.
In short the Discovery service responsibility is to find the 'CRM Service' and 'Metadata Service' urls.

The discovery service returns the list of organization URLs that the current-requester (current user) belongs to. During the Outlook client configuration discovery service shows he list of organization the current-user belongs to.

This web-service is used to create authentication ticket in case of Windows live authentication.

Q. Suppose I want to migrate an Microsoft CRM implementation from one environment to other environment. Let us assume that there a published workflow for account entity. Now in normal usage there will be few accounts-records for which the workflow will be waiting/Waiting for Resource/Failed/Succeded state. So what should be our strategy for the migration. What will happen to the records which are in waiting state and what will happen to the records which are in-progress?
Q. Suppose there is a plug-in registered for account entity. When a user submits a request (e.g. account creation etc.) to the web-server then what will happen in the server?
Ans - The plug-in will get loaded into the memory and will perform the operation it is needed to do.
Q. Now what will happen if 100 users will submit the request to the web-server? The plug-in code will get loaded into the memory for 100 times?
Ans - Answer is NO. Noticable point over here is that the Microsoft CRM is a mananged application and runs under .Net framework. So whenever the first request arrives at the web-server the plug-in code is loaded into the memory and will perform its operation and susequently the same plug-in code will serve the process for other user as well. So this way it saves the amount of time required to load the plug-in into the memory. If the plug-in code is not being used for long then the Garbage collector will identify it and will sweep the plug-in out from the memory.
Q. How to add/remove columns in an entity lookup window.
Ans - Go to Settings >> Customization >> Select the entity >> Click 'Forms and Views in the Left Nav Pane" >> Double click the 'Entity Lookup View' >> Dialog box appears that contains the Add/Remove and Sorting options for a lookup view.
Q. How to Debug the java script that we write for some validation on entity pages.
Ans - Following are the steps that are needed to be followed:
1. Enable the Debugging in the Internet Explorer - Goto Tools >> Internet Options (wizard will appear >> Click the 'Advanced Tab' >> Under Browsing Section uncheck the 'Disable script debutting' checkbox >> Click OK.
2. Edit the java script code of the Entity Page that you want to debug.
3. Put the statement 'debugger;' above the line where you want do the debugging. e.g. suppose my java-script show 'Hello World' message and i want to debug this then following is the way I am going to add script:
alert('Hello World')
4. Save and Publish corresponding customization.
5. Perform the operation that would trigger the java script written by you
6. Debugger dialog box will appear and select appropriate debugger (Visual Studio new or existing instance)
And you may start debugging from the 'Debugger' statement of your javasript.
More to Come...

I hope this post will help you to crack technical interviews on MSCRM. All the best for your interview...


Xcel Technologies Ltd- Leading CRM Customized Solutions Providers.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Enhanced Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011Here’s a list of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 features that you’ll want to be aware of when you’re considering upgrading from prior versions or when doing a new install. These features should have a positive impact on users, administrators, developers, and your business.

1. Dashboards

We’re happy to say that dashboards have been included into CRM 2011. These dashboards will allow your group to construct multiple sets of charts and grids that make the most sense for your business–several dashboards are shipped out of the box.

2. Charts

You’ll find the ability to view charts all through the application. These charts can be created and customized with the appropriate security roles.

3. SharePoint Integration (Document Management)

  • Ability to easily configure CRM to allow for SharePoint document management within CRM forms.
  • SharePoint 2007 and 2010 are supported. Microsoft SharePoint 2007 versions will be shown in Microsoft Dynamics CRM inside an iFrame, while Microsoft SharePoint 2010 can be shown with rich integration features if the Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component is installed.
  • The two major advantages of using SharePoint 2010 are:
    1. The List Component enables you to achieve the appearance and behavior of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM view while using SharePoint functionality.
    2. You must have folders created in Microsoft SharePoint to store the documents for your Microsoft Dynamics CRM records. You can either create the folders manually or you can let Microsoft Dynamics CRM automatically create folders in the context of Microsoft Dynamics CRM records on Microsoft SharePoint. To let Microsoft Dynamics CRM automatically create folders and deliver the documents stored on SharePoint with the same appearance and behavior as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM lists, you can install Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component on a site collection on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

4. Auditing

Organizations need to track changes made to records for many purposes; these include maintaining security, examining the history of a particular record, documenting modifications for future analysis, and record keeping necessary for regulation compliance. Auditing allows customers to effectively track creates, deletes, and updates.

5. Field Level Security

Allows administrators to set permissions on each field to allow a user to Update, Create and/or Read that specific field. (limited to custom attributes in CRM 2011)

6. Multiple Forms

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 introduces the capability to define more than one main form for each entity: use multiple forms to create forms that are customized to specific roles or tasks in the organization; use security roles to control which groups will be able to use the forms you create.

7. Team Ownership

Teams in CRM 2011 can own records. It’s also possible to assign security roles to teams which will allow customers to manage overall security at a team level, rather than a user level.

8. FetchXML Reports

In CRM 2011, it is possible to create both FetchXML reports and standard SQL RS reports. Fetch-based reports use the Microsoft Dynamics CRM proprietary FetchXML queries to retrieve data for reports. Because these reports use FetchXML queries instead of SQL queries, they do not need to use the filtered views in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SQL database to retrieve data for reports. Since FetchXML reports no longer have to use filtered views in order to honor CRM security, the time that it takes to execute these FetchXML queries should decrease quite a bit.

9. Data Import Wizard (and reimport)

The Import Wizard facilitates a smooth data import process by providing an easy way to migrate your legacy data into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM System. Several new features in CRM 2011 are:

  • Support for CSV, TXT, XML, or ZIP file types
  • Support for Option Value Mapping (aka picklists)
  • Support for Lookup Mapping
  • Support for a single source file with multiple entities (Account & Contacts)
  • Support for Bulk Update of records via Import Wizard

10. Application Related

  • It’s best that CRM users be given some training before using the application. The system does have a great Help feature that will answer many of your CRM questions. New in CRM 2011 is the “Get started pane”. The pane provides your users with relevant information for the grids they are viewing.
  • In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 you can create and view the relationship between two records by using Connections. You can also connect a lead to the account that referred it to you, connect one contact to another to show employer and employee statuses, or connect a record to yourself and identify each as a colleague, friend, employee, or other relationship. The Connections feature is available for most CRM entities.
  • It’s now possible to include attachments when sending bulk email. Only one actual attachment will be stored in the database when sending out multiple bulk emails with an attachment.
  • The Negative Pricing feature allows for negative quantities, amounts, and negative prices.
  • Decimal precision can now be set based off of the Pricing Decimal Precision (System Settings), Currency Precision (set at the currency level), or Field Precision (set at the field level).
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 allows you to create Write-In Products on the Opportunity and also to create a Quote, Order, or Invoice directly from the opportunity.
  • Sales Goal Management is for users and managers who need to manage and monitor their achievements. They need to monitor things like how many units were sold and how much revenue was earned. The monitoring periods can be annually, semiannually, quarterly, monthly, or every four week period.
  • The recurring appointment type is available in CRM 2011 as a new activity type.
  • In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, you can specify a query in the Marketing list. Depending on the list type, those Leads, Accounts, or Contacts that fulfill the criteria are automatically added as the members of the list, whenever the list is used. This is a change from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 where users can have only a static list of members.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 brings many enhancements to queues. These enhancements include:
      • Queues are securable through role privileges.
      • Default queue added to Users and Teams.
      • All entity types can be enabled for queues.
      • The Queue entity can be customized.
      • Queue and Queue Item are supported in Processes “Workflows”.
      • Separation of Queue Item assignment “Working On” and record ownership.

11. Solutions (Managed & Unmanaged)

Solutions are the new functionality in CRM 2011 that will allow you to move your customizations in and out of your CRM organizations. Solutions are used to author, package, and maintain a single unit of software that extends Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. You can distribute your customization work as Solutions so that organizations may use Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to install and uninstall the business functionality as defined by the Solution. Solutions can be unmanaged (you can add, remove, update, test, and export or import any of the components of the Solution), or managed (cannot be modified or exported once it is imported and deleting a managed solution will uninstall all of the solution components….including any data that has been entered in the system from entities created by that solution). Using managed solutions is a great way to control the customizations that will move between your environments.

Once plug-ins are brought into an organization through the plug-in registration tool, they can be added to a solution. After that, the plug-in will be contained within the solution. Therefore, it will not be necessary to bring the plug-in over to the new organization in a separate manner.

12. Bulk Record Deletion

Allows users that hold the correct security role to bulk remove data from the CRM system via an advanced find-type tool.

13. Processes

You’ll notice that we now have Processes in CRM 2011. Processes are either workflows, or dialogs. For the most part, workflows have the similar look and feel to CRM 4.0. A dialog, when presented to an end-user can be a conversation and a guide, which helps achieve a set of tasks in a standardized and repeatable fashion. Dialogs enable any user (sales, marketing, support) to interact with the customer in a standardized manner using a script as a guide to enable an effective customer engagement. Since work typically involves complex interconnected tasks, a script detailing the tasks will be used as a guide to complete the tasks.

14. IFD/Claims Authentication

Since the release of CRM 4.0, a number of developments have happened in the Industry around standards based Authentication. A number of Authentic protocols have matured since CRM 4.0, WS-Trust , WS-Federation, and SAML 2.0(protocol) . Microsoft Windows Server released Claims based access platform where it added support for these protocols. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 discontinues the 4.0 IFD design and snaps into the new Claims based options. After Claims is properly enabled in your environment, it will still be necessary to go through the CRM IFD setup steps to make your CRM application accessible outside of your network.

15. Administration & Customization

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 now enables the use of Option Sets (previously picklists) on multiple entities, called Global Option Sets. Global Option Sets are sets of values that are available to be re-used.
  • Now possible to drag and drop customizations easily on the form.
  • Access to customize forms from the ribbon
  • Easily customize the form elements (ex. navigation area)
  • Web Resources are “virtual files” that are created within the context of a Solution stored in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM database, and can be retrieved using a unique URL address. They represent files that might normally be placed on a web server to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Using Web Resources, you can store and use common types of web content that will enable you to create rich client-side extensions such as HTML pages, JScript libraries, and Silverlight applications.
  • In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, lookup dialogs did not have any filtering capabilities. For example, a lookup dialog for an Account record would display all Account records in the system to which the user has access. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 enhances lookup dialogs and offers several methods to filter lookup values. It is possible to easily do this through the UI in the customizations section. It is also possible to enable filtered lookups at runtime by programmatically filtering lookups using APIs included in the SDK.
  • Provides the ability to add new activity types to your CRM system. The Activity Party fields are automatically available to the custom activity when this option is selected.

17. Specify Server Roles via Wizard During Setup

Specify Server Roles (via setup wizard). It’s now possible to specify specific server roles for CRM server install when using the install wizard.

18. CRM Update Rollups & Windows Update

CRM 2011 will make Update Rollups available through Windows Update. If using Windows Update or WSUS to push out updates, this functionality will be very beneficial.

19. Dynamics Marketplace

The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace will help customers discover applications and professional services that extend the value of Microsoft Dynamics. The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace will be accessible directly from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, making it even easier to find solutions.

20. SDK Enhancements

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online support the execution of plug-ins in an isolated environment. Plug-ins can be registered to this isolated environment, also known as a sandbox, and make use of the full power of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK to access the Web services. Access to the file system, registry, system event log, network, and more, is prevented in the sandbox. However, sandbox plug-ins have access to external endpoints like the Windows Azure platform.
  • The sandbox is the recommended execution environment for plug-ins as it is more secure, supports run-time monitoring and statistics reporting, and is supported on all Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployments.
  • JScript libraries refer to JScript Web Resources that contain functions you can use to: 1) handle form and field events, 2) perform actions for controls configured in the Ribbon, and 3) support other functions.
  • JScript libraries allow developers to consume JScript libraries in multiple places such as forms and ribbon. With JScript libraries, you can more efficiently manage code used in Web Page (HTML) Web resources or Ribbon Commands by linking them to a shared library of JScript functions.
  • All form elements in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 support the ability to be shown and hidden using the supported JScript method setVisible().
  • When a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 organization that contains JScript code is upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, the existing code is automatically upgraded and should still continue to function.
      • Note: There is no guarantee that ALL Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 client-side code will upgrade correctly (especially in the case of unsupported code). However, every attempt has been made in order to ensure most Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 code will upgrade correctly.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 includes support for executing plug-ins developed for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. A limitation of using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 plug-ins is that they are not able to take advantage of any new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 capabilities such as executing in the sandbox (isolation mode), which includes running on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online using tracing to help in debugging, and more.
  • You can edit scripts through the Web Resource form or from the Events tab where you configure form libraries and event handlers. The ability to make changes this way facilitates small, easy changes as needed.