Category Archives: CRM
As we resume our Dynamics 365 Deep Dive journey, we focus on Insights. The motto in real estate is “location, location, location.” Let’s see how Microsoft, one of the leaders in applying artificial and machine learning intelligence to their Sales, Marketing, and Service applications, makes a case for “Insights, Insights, Insights” being their new catchphrase.
I commend Microsoft for spurring on the competition by applying very useful technology to customer-facing applications; that being said, the word Insights is a little overdone here. In this blog, we will discuss each of these and its benefits so as to provide you with a more thorough understanding of what it all means.
Let’s see how intuitive Insights can be!
Insights – Powered by InsideView
Insights, formerly known as Customer Insights – Powered by InsideView, provides the Dynamics 365 user with comprehensive company and contact data, timely news and social feeds, along with a substantial network of professional connections that can be used to your strategic advantage during the marketing and selling process to be stay connected, sell smarter, and thrive.
Insights has been on the market for a few years and continues to see improvements. In the most recent version, the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) see significant updates. Here is the improved “card” view:
The expanded Insights view:
Social Insights merges Microsoft Social Engagement with Dynamics 365. Social Insights from Social Engagement gives you the ability to analyze social media data to identify emerging trends, be they positive, negative, or neutral, in people’s comments. You have the option of drilling down into data so you can see what people have said, and immediately act on it:
The ability to combine data from a variety of sources and generate knowledge and insight are key functions of Customer Insights, a cloud-based SaaS service. What this does is allow you to build a holistic 360° customer view. Customer Insights provides the option to connect to transactional data sources along with customers’ model profiles and interactions. This function enables organizations the ability to create insights through KPIs about their business. In its current version, Customer Insights involves substantial setup and does require an Azure subscription. While this one is still in its early stages, it will be very significant:
The ideal end-goal is to develop personalized, productive relationships with both your customers and your prospects. To achieve this goal, the most recent version of Dynamics 365 constantly analyzes a vast collection of stored customer-interactions in your Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Exchange systems. This allows you to gain a better understanding of your business relationships, enables you to evaluate your activities in relation to prior successes, giving you the ability to choose that next best action:
Relationship Insights includes four components:
- Relationship Analytics – natural language processing in visual mode that evaluates the sentiment of email and various communications sent by your customers and prospects. Predictive intelligence scrutinizes signals such as prospect email responses and amount of lead interactions, comparing them to patterns gathered from previous successful sales.
- Relationship Assistant – actionable cards tailor-made for each user’s specific role. Your sales team, for example, might only see items like scheduled calls, travel itineraries, and due dates for proposals. Whereas, your customer support people would see support tickets, germane emails, and outage notices, with all information prioritized for action determined by relationship health.
- Auto Capture – automatically track your emails, tasks, and activities while integrating with Microsoft Exchange. With Auto Capture, users can channel external data into Dynamics 365, automatically creating and updating custom records. No code writing necessary. Routine activities like emails and social actions are generated based on rules users specify for their contacts and communications. Custom activities can be created as well.
- Email Engagement – allows you to track what occurs with your emails once they are sent. It provides these three capabilities:
- Compose and Send: Send and track opens and clicks of recipients. This feature lets users schedule email sends when business intelligence data shows the period a prospect is most likely to open their email. The feature will instantly set reminders to follow up on unopened messages at the appropriate time.
- Tracking and Analytics: Get information on how, when, and where recipients engage with your emails. Whether your recipient is reading your messages on the go from their mobile device or bright and early at their desk, you’ll know.
- Mobile Email Application: Track attachments, view email statistics, and monitor the timeline of your activity all on your smartphone or tablet:
Organization Insights (for Dynamics 365 online only) liberates organizations, allowing them to drive end-user adoption, troubleshoot with ease, all while ensuring better performance within their Dynamics 365 instance.
So, what’s the motto? Insights, Insights, Insights for Dynamics 365!
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Business Process Flows have been around for a while in Dynamics CRM (now Dynamics 365 of course), since 2013 in fact. They are very useful in helping organisations model their processes in CRM and help guide users through stages of the process.
However, there are some limitations which are important to understand before embarking on configuring any BPFs. I’ll cover one of them here, namely moving between entities.
Many business processes need to cover more than one entity (i.e. record type) in CRM. The process may start with an account and then move to a case, or start with a contact and move to an opportunity etc.
There are some out of the box BPFs which cross over from one entity to another, e.g. the ‘Lead to Opportunity Sales Process’, shown below:
The first stage of this process, the ‘Qualify’ stage, is on the lead, but the later stages are on the opportunity. You can’t access the later stages until you define which opportunity you are using, hence the locks on those stages.
When you create a custom BPF, you can join any 2 entities, as long as both are enabled for BPFs. When you do, you can define the relationship that the BPF has to use for that entity join. So, for example I could have a BPF which started on a Case record and then moved to an Opportunity record. The screenshot below shows the BPF configuration screen, with Stage 2 selected:
The ‘Relationship’ field, which is defining the relationship the Opportunity in this stage has with the Case in Stage 1, shows ‘None’ and if you select the dropdown, no other option is available. This is because there is no relationship between Cases and Opportunities. There are none out of the box and I haven’t created any custom one. (By the way, the same limitation exists on the old BPF designer).
For BPFs, what this means is that when I move from the Case to the Opportunity, I wouldn’t be able to move the process to an existing Opportunity.
As you can see here, when I select the ‘Next Stage’ (Stage 1 is on the Case, and Stage 2 is on the Opportunity), it tells me that no Opportunity records exist, but does give me the chance to create one.
So, in what situations can you go from one entity to an existing record on another entity using a BPF? To do that a 1-to-many relationship has to exist, i.e. the entity in the stage before the entity change has to be the parent entity and the entity in the stage after the entity change has to be the child entity. So, if you have created a BPF which goes from, say, Account to Contact, when you are designing this BPF in CRM, you get the chance to select the existing 1-to-many relationship called ‘Company Name’ which exists out of the box:
Now, when I go into an account, and move it to the contact stage of the BPF, CRM asks me which existing contact I want to use, and shows me the contact s related to that account through the Company Name relationship.
I can still create a new contact if I want to, and move the BPF on to that new contact.
So, in summary, in order to go from one record to another existing record in a BPF, you can only go through a 1-to-many relationship. You can’t go through a many-to-many and you can’t go through a many-to-1.
There is one exception to this. When you start in one entity and go to a child entity in a subsequent stage and then back to the primary entity in a later stage, you can go back to the record from the first stage, but only that record, e.g. Stage 1 is for Account, Stage 2 is for Contact, using the Company Name relationship, and Stage 3 is for Account again. When you set up the BPF, on Stage 3, if you select Account, you can’t select any relationship. When you use the BPF, if you started at ABC Ltd in Stage 1 then went to Joe Bloggs who works for ABC Ltd in Stage 2, when you click on Next Stage from Stage 2, you are taken straight to ABC Ltd.
This is both good and bad. Good that you can go from child to parent in later stages, but bad that you can only go to the record from the earlier stage. So, in the example, if you wanted to go to an account which is different than the Account in the earlier stage, you wouldn’t be able to do it.
A further limitation worth mentioning is that you can’t go from parent to child on a self-referential relationship, e.g. you can’t go from a parent account to a child account in a BPF.
There are other limitations on BPFs, which I hope to blog on in future. BPF’s are still a great CRM feature though and can really help your users, so don’t be shy in giving them a try!
Happy CRMing everyone!
Value-added resellers deliver computing equipment, software and services that help organizations improve efficiency and visibility across their operations. VARs need those same capabilities themselves to thrive in a fast-paced and fiercely competitive industry that puts a premium on customer service.
GHA Technologies knows that first-hand. From its founding as a one-person shop in 1990, GHA has grown into a $ 141 million business reselling millions of products from 2,500 technology vendors such as Dell, HP, IBM, Cisco and Apple. Listed on the 2016 Inc. 5000 of America’s fastest-growing private companies, GHA has distinguished itself with a long history of superior customer service.
GHA Technologies is also distinguished by its early embrace of cloud ERP. In 2003, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based GHA was among the pioneering companies to abandon on-premise software and servers in favor of NetSuite’s cloud offering to run back-office operations.
George Hertzberg, GHA Technologies founder and president, credits the move to NetSuite as a key enabler of the 175-person company’s phenomenal success. GHA has increased revenue five-fold over its 13 years on NetSuite while expanding the customer base to more than 30,000.
“There’s no way we could have grown as much as we have without NetSuite,” said Hertzberg, who is featured in the NetSuite customer video below. “NetSuite’s scalability to handle growth, its speed and stability and on-demand reporting have been very valuable in enabling us to manage and grow the business.”
Before NetSuite, GHA struggled with a Sage Peachtree system that crashed frequently because of file size limitations. Required daily backups were time-consuming and unproductive, and reporting was slow and painful. GHA made the leap to the NetSuite cloud after examining on-premise Sage MAS 90 and Microsoft Dynamics GP applications.
GHA found in NetSuite an agile, unified platform that improved business performance across the board, from sales and order management to post-fulfillment support. Robust analytics, real-time data access and automated workflows that GHA enjoys with NetSuite are key ingredients in seamless customer-centric processes that drive repeat business and profitability.
“It’s all about exceptional service,” Hertzberg said. “That’s where NetSuite comes in for us. Everything has to flow as smooth as silk and NetSuite is at the core of that.”
Flexibility in the SuiteCloud development platform is another value-add for GHA Technologies. Using the NetSuite open API, NetSuite solution provider partner Explore Consulting was able to easily build a direct API connection with CNET ChannelOnline, a supplier network that provides GHA with access to accurate pricing and product data for its largest distributors.
Through that automation, GHA has shortened its sales cycles and saves as much as two hours per transaction per sales representative on the 1,500 transactions that GHA reps process monthly. With the time-savings gained through automation, reps can focus on more value-added tasks that deepen customer relationships.
With NetSuite, Hertzberg is confident that GHA has a flexible, future-proof platform ideally suited to support continued rapid growth and innovation.
“Technology professionals tell us, ‘You don’t know how many times you’ve saved us,’” Hertzberg said. “We’ve become a behind-the-scenes type of partner for them. That’s very similar to our relationship with NetSuite — they’re a behind-the-scenes partner for GHA Technologies.”
by NetSuite filed under
Ask open-ended questions to foster feedback
No matter which tactic you take, you need to invest time in your questions. Write quality, open questions that will elicit meaty responses and uncover what your customers think. Open-ended questions are those that go beyond a yes/no answer – and instead encourage and enable the participant to tell all. Yes, it will take more time to go through the responses – but what they tell you may be well worth it.
What to do with the findings
Once you’ve conducted your research, it’s time to evaluate it.
First and foremost, read it. Really read it. Read between the lines, too. There may be one note buried somewhere in a customer poll that is extremely helpful to you. There may also be things you can immediately disregard. A tactic I recommend is to see what comments keep coming up. Look for the things that customers are telling you over and over. What is rising to the top. Also, be sure to have an open mind when you read.
Once you read and discern, prepare for action. Make a short list of three or four key things you can do, change, or create to help address your customer’s feedback. Prioritize that list and work it in to your project calendar. Then get to work!
Don’t forget to loop back to customers to let them know you’ve heard their feedback, too. For example, issue a press release when you make a change. Write a blog and say “thanks to recent customer feedback, we’ve done X.” Let them know you are listening. A great example of this is My Starbucks Idea. It’s a website that lets the coffee chain’s customers make suggestions. Starbucks also takes the time to tell customers which ideas they’ve greenlit. As a customer, this makes me feel like there is a venue for my feedback. I feel heard. Not to mention exhilarated if my idea makes it through.
These final few points tie into customer lifetime value. By giving customers a venue – by truly hearing their feedback and engaging with them – you help establish a personal connection and potentially long-term relationship with your customers. And that’s the ultimate payoff: You make a lifelong fan.
Microsoft Project Service Automation for Dynamics 365 is a module that allows you to manage a project implementation end to end, from resourcing to task management, all the way to invoicing and everything in between. In today’s episode of The CRM Minute, hear from Dan, a Project Service raving fan, on all the reasons you should be using Project Service automation.
Thanks for watching, The CRM Minute!
Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit's channel program continues leadership attracting new partners seeking to drive growth with cloud ERP
WithumSmith+Brown, Kranz & Associates, AdaptaLogix and Phoenix Systems Group Join NetSuite Solution Provider Program
SAN MATEO, Calif.—March 20, 2017—Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit (GBU), the industry’s leading provider of cloud financials / ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oracle, today announced the addition of new partners to the NetSuite Solution Provider Program. WithumSmith+Brown, Kranz & Associates, AdaptaLogix and Phoenix Systems Group have joined the NetSuite Solution Provider Program to capitalize on the fast-growing demand for cloud ERP software. The industry leading partner program enables each solution provider to build a high margin, recurring revenue-based cloud practice and helps them provide clients with the superior business visibility, efficiency, scalability and agility possible with NetSuite. The flexibility of NetSuite’s platform allows partners to uniquely build intellectual property that differentiates their offerings to better meet the needs of its clients.
Launched in 2002, the NetSuite Solution Provider Program is the industry’s leading cloud channel partner program. Since its inception, NetSuite has been a leader in partner success, breaking new ground in building and executing on the leading model to make the channel successful with NetSuite. A top choice for partners who are building new cloud ERP practices or for those expanding their existing practice to meet the demand for cloud ERP, NetSuite has enabled partners to transform their business model to fully capitalize on the revenue growth opportunity of the cloud. The NetSuite Solution Provider Program delivers unprecedented benefits that include highly attractive margins and range from business planning, sales, marketing and professional services enablement, to training and education. For more information about the NetSuite Solution Provider Program, please visit www.netsuite.com/portal/partners/solution-program.shtml.
Joining the NetSuite Solution Provider Program gives each organization an advantage in serving clients who want to eliminate the inflexibility, on-going maintenance and high costs of in-house on-premise systems by turning to the cloud.
All of the new partners are building cloud ERP practices with NetSuite on the basis of strong client demand for unified, flexible cloud ERP solutions.
WithumSmith+Brown Expands Management Consulting Practice with #1 Cloud ERP
WithumSmith+Brown, PC (www.withum.com), founded in 1974, ranks in the top 30 largest public accounting and consulting firms in the country, with 14 offices and more than 800 employees. To meet the changing business needs of its customers, Withum recently expanded its management consulting practice and selected NetSuite as the ideal technology partner to serve businesses in a variety of industries including wholesale/distribution, manufacturing, nonprofit, financial services, and professional services. Withum serves clients from startup to large organizations, and NetSuite’s rapid deployment and scalability make it an obvious fit. Withum’s clients have long asked about cloud ERP solutions and NetSuite in particular, so the transition is an easy one. As trusted technology advisors, Withum will offer a broad-spectrum of cloud technology consulting and services, from readiness auditing to NetSuite implementation and optimization. Withum will also leverage NetSuite’s flexible and agile SuiteCloud platform to provide customers with industry-specific customizations and software integrations.
“At Withum, we believe our clients need more than the traditional tax and accounting services offered by most firms today,” said Jim Bourke, Partner Technology Practice Leader at Withum. “As trusted advisors to our clients, our NetSuite cloud ERP practice is a critical piece of our services offering.”
Kranz & Associates Powers Tomorrow’s Startup Successes with NetSuite
Kranz & Associates (www.kranzassoc.com) specializes in providing financial and administrative consulting services to early-stage venture-backed companies. As the firm’s clients grow and mature, they routinely run up against the limitations of early-stage accounting systems. Moving to NetSuite is the next logical step. Kranz often serves as an accountant, accounting manager, or CFO for growth-mode companies, so the conversations about transitioning to NetSuite are born of mutual interest.
“Startup founders love having access to data on a mobile-friendly, cloud-based platform,” said Bud Austin, President of Kranz & Associates. “NetSuite gives them the ability to manage expenses, revenue, and processes much better than a small business system would.”
Kranz experienced quick success with NetSuite, with several clients having already transitioned to NetSuite. By working closely with joint clients at every stage of growth, Kranz and the flexibility afforded by NetSuite are combining to make it easier for venture-backed firms to successfully drive growth. “We are in tune with the needs and responsibilities of our clients, and the natural way to grow with them was through this partnership with NetSuite,” Austin said.
AdaptaLogix Prescribes NetSuite ERP to High-Growth Pharma Companies
AdaptaLogix (www.adaptalogix.com) is an ERP consulting company with a very specific focus–small biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Small, growth-stage biotech and pharma companies have very particular requirements unique to the industry. They are not yet generating revenue, yet add staff and complexity over time. They must be prepared for extremely rapid expansion if a new drug or treatment clears clinical trials and reaches the market. And they often have financial reporting and regulatory requirements in multiple nations, because of the international nature of the industry. After evaluating other cloud ERP providers, AdaptaLogix selected to partner with NetSuite to develop and implement solutions for these specialty firms with tremendous upside.
“NetSuite gives our clients sophisticated financial infrastructure at an affordable price and on a quick timeline, without having to add more staff to manage software,” said James Neal, AdaptaLogix Partner.
A growth-oriented pharmaceutical company with a new drug in trials can grow from just 30 employees to 500 in just a two or three year span, with a fully global sales and marketing organization and intricate relationships with contract manufacturers and distributors. Public offerings often follow not far behind.
“There are a lot of very specific needs in the pharma world, and NetSuite is very well suited to be tailored to that industry,” Neal said. “NetSuite makes it possible for us to deliver a faster implementation and better solution with less risk and reduced costs.”
Phoenix Systems Group Revitalizes Ecommerce Solutions with NetSuite
Phoenix Systems Group (PSG) (www.phoenixsystemsgroup.com), which has developed ERP systems for catalog and ecommerce merchants for 22 years, joined the NetSuite Solution Provider Program to transition its legacy code base and existing customers to the NetSuite cloud. After considering several ERP solutions as a new platform, PSG quickly recognized that NetSuite offers the right combination of technology, capabilities, and flexibility for modern ecommerce operations. PSG’s custom capabilities, which optimize package dimensions and shipping rates, will be adapted to the SuiteCloud platform, ensuring that clients continue to receive all the benefits of the previous solution while enjoying the enhancements of a fully modern ERP solution.
“We live in a unified commerce world today, and NetSuite’s comprehensive solution greatly reduces complexity for ecommerce vendors,” said Jeff White, PSG president and CEO. “Because NetSuite is already a single unified system, it eliminates most of the cost and complexity associated with ecommerce, while still giving us tremendous opportunities to customize and configure for every client.”
Learn about NetSuite’s customer and partner success at SuiteWorld17. SuiteWorld17 is the industry’s leading Cloud ERP conference, being held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. on April 24-27. For more information and to register, please visit www.netsuitesuiteworld.com.
About Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit
Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oracle, pioneered the Cloud Computing revolution in 1998, establishing the world’s first company dedicated to delivering business applications over the Internet. Today, Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit provides a suite of cloud-based financials / Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and omnichannel commerce software that runs the business of companies in more than 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.netsuite.com.
Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications and platform services. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
ProsperWorks, which provides CRM for Google’s G Suite business tools, last week announced the addition of in-app cloud communications functionality.
The new features are available through a custom integration with
RingCentral, which provides enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions.
The integration lets users make, receive and log calls without leaving the CRM solution. It provides them with information such as callers’ contact details, past interactions and deal status, and it eliminates the need to take manual notes.
Users also get activity and goal reports.
“The analytics a company can glean from call activity can be indicative of deal closure probability, customer interest, service issues and other factors,” noted Cindy Zhou, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.
“The challenge with CRM has been a lack of data entered,” she told CRM Buyer.
Users with active RingCentral Office accounts can log calls and corresponding notes in ProsperWorks through voicemail.
“These new functionalities were an incredibly important focus to implement,” said ProsperWorks CEO Jon Lee.
“At the end of the day, we have a simple mission, which is to help businesses sell more efficiently,” he told CRM Buyer. “The ability to make and receive calls and log notes from directly within our CRM delivers immediate value to the user in terms of productivity and efficiency.”
The integration “is a logical next step to provide greater customer value and increase usage of ProsperWorks’ CRM solution,” observed Constellation’s Zhou.
Other cloud-based communications providers already have or are developing, call activity integration into CRM, including 8×8’s Virtual Office for Salesforce, she noted.
Who Gets to Play
The integration is available to users who have a premium or enterprise RingCentral office account or are on the ProsperWorks business plan.
It doesn’t need any other software installation. It runs within ProsperWorks and integrates seamlessly with a RingCentral desk phone or desktop app.
“VoIP and mail integration are two key areas that help sales automation players drive increased sales productivity — more time selling — while increasing the fidelity and detail of information captured in CRM systems,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.
“We find sales people that spend more than 8 percent of their time entering data in CRM are not optimizing their time for actually selling,” she told CRM Buyer. “This integration will help bring them to optimal.”
Major CRM solution providers like Salesforce offer VoIP integrations through third-party plugins and marketplaces, ProsperWorks’ Lee said, but “these options are simply bolted on, poorly designed, and require installation and setup.”
This is also true for other CRM solutions that have tried to integrate with Google’s G Suite, he said, noting that ProsperWorks’ integrations “are truly native in that they were built from the ground up to integrate with G Suite — and now RingCentral.”
The Opportunity for ProsperWorks
Salesforce, Microsoft and Oracle dominate the more-than-US$ 20 billion CRM market, but “the modern workforce is changing,” Lee remarked, and “these giants are slow to adapt.”
ProsperWorks therefore sees “a tremendous opportunity to capture a significant market share over the next few years, especially with small to mid-market businesses,” he said.
These companies “just don’t have the time, resources or budget to implement and maintain larger, more complex CRM systems, and they’re already making the switch to collaborative productivity software like G Suite,” Lee noted.
Insightly, Solve, Zoho, Agile and Salesflare are some of the other companies offering CRM solutions for G Suite.
“A number of emerging CRM players have taken advantage of the economies of cloud to deliver cost-effective CRM solutions for sales, marketing and service,” Nucleus’ Wettemann observed.
It’s possible that other players will jump on the G Suite bandwagon, as the apps’ popularity with businesses has increased, but “we’ve already got a major head start in regards to our experience and our close working relationship with Google,” said Lee. “In fact, we’re officially recommended and used by Google.”
Goals. We all have them. Whether officially defined or not, there is something we are striving to achieve. The problem is that we often just don’t have time to spend on the activities that can lead us to achieve those goals. In my decade of working with tribal governments and tribal enterprises, I hear story after story where great goals (goals like improved tribal member service delivery, better operational and financial insight, etc.) have been on the table for years without much progress being made. The reasons are always the same: we get caught in the whirlwind of everyday tasks and there just there isn’t enough time or budget. Ask anyone why their business goals were not achieved and you can pretty much guarantee that time and budget, or the lack there of, will be one the main reasons. This is especially true in the world of technology and the goals we have around automation and process improvements.
Evaluating the cost (both time and money) of any technology project will always be important, but what is often forgotten is evaluating the cost of doing nothing. How long can you afford to continuing making decisions on month old financial data rather than real-time and forecasted financials? How much staff and space costs will you continue to waste storing and sifting through decades of paper records? How will you ever be able to spend focused time addressing key tribal member concerns when you spend two hours a day manually approving paper purchase requests, budget amendments, and employee time cards?
Cloud based technologies like Office 365, Intacct, and Dynamics 365 are making huge strides in reducing the time and cost for technology implementations. By eliminating the need for capital outlays of server hardware, traditional software licensing, increased staffing, and all the time required to set that up, cloud based technologies become operational subscriptions that can be implemented in much less time. This allows you to get more done with those time and budget constraints that we can never escape.
Too often the time and budget we don’t have to spend on technology goals can only be freed up by putting in the technology we don’t think we can afford. The question becomes, can you continue to afford to do nothing?
By Matt Borkowski, Arctic IT Tribal Platforms Manager, [email protected]
One of the many new features of the most recent Dynamics 365 release is Editable Grids. In today’s blog, we’ll review the details of this cool new feature. First, we’ll define what Editable Grids are. Second, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions for enabling Editable Grids, giving you the flexibility to add this new feature to any entity within the system. Third, we’ll show you exactly how to use Editable Grids, including an overview of key features. Note that while there are many advanced features and capabilities with Editable Grids, today’s blog focuses on an introductory overview of the configuration and functionality. Ready? Let’s go…
Part I: Defining Editable Grid
This new feature allows for much greater flexibility around making in-line updates to records without the need to directly open a record. Editable grids are configured using the custom controls functionality introduced in Dynamics CRM 2016. Once added to an entity, editable grids initially seem just like the standard views of the past, but there’s an important difference: it is possible to make updates to records directly from the grid!
This new feature allows enhanced efficiency when navigating CRM: the ability to modify information for a record without needing to jump directly into that record can dramatically reduce the time it takes to make large numbers of updates.
Part II: Enabling Editable Grids
Once you’ve determined you want to try this cool new feature, you’ll need to enable editable grids in your environment at an entity level. Here’s how:
Start the process by navigating to your Solution from Settings, add the required Entity, and jump to the “Controls” tab:
On the “Controls” tab, click Add Control…:
In the “Add Controls” window, select “Editable Grid” and click Add:
You’re now back on the “Controls” tab, where you can continue to configure the display settings and properties of the newly-added Editable Grid:
Choose to display the Editable Grid on Web, Phone, and/or Tablet platforms.
Configure the properties of your Editable Grid.
By default, the Editable Grid will display the columns and information defined in the view currently being used. But you can change that! Here, you can configure how the grid will handle lookups (using “Add Lookup,” as shown in Step 6), define a “Nested grid view,” and determine whether to enable grouping (using “Group by Column,” as shown in Step 8):
Note that “Nested grid view” only applies to the Phone platform – because of this limitation, it is not covered in this blog.
When you click on Add Lookup, you can configure the lookups to show only related records or records specific to the Add Lookup properties:
Begin by selecting the view on which you want to configure lookups from the “Available Views” field.
After selecting a view, choose the lookup from the “Available Columns” field. In the example above, Primary Contact will be configured in My Active Accounts.
Once the initial properties are determined, you can further define the types of records that will display when searching through the lookup on the grid:
The “Default View” you select is the initial filter that determines which records will display when using the lookup.
If you check the “Only show records where:” box, you can further define the types of relationships that the lookup will filter. Additionally, you can give users the flexibility to turn the filter off by checking the “Users can turn off filter” box.
Another great new feature with the Editable Grids is the ability to further group the records in the grid. You can enable or disable this feature by changing the “Group by Column” setting:
Once all of the settings are configured for your new Editable Grid, save your solution and publish the customizations:
Note that while the Editable Grid is now configured, it will not go into effect until you completely log out and log back into the environment or refresh your browser
Part III: Using Editable Grids
At first glance, your newly-enabled Editable Grid will look quite similar to the view you’re used to from previous versions. However, upon closer inspection, there are many differences, which are described below.
On the ribbon, there is now a “Show As” option that can be changed between the Editable Grid and a Read Only version:
There is a “Group By” feature that defaults to “no grouping,” though clicking on it allows users to further group the records in a manageable format:
Clicking once on any piece of information within the record will enable in-line editing, allowing users to make changes directly from the grid – without having to open the record!
Edits to lookup fields are made using the settings defined in the Editable Grid’s properties. This is a fantastic feature that has many uses.
For example, your organization can prevent users from looking up all contacts within the system, instead limiting them to only those contacts they follow.
Additionally, after a contact is selected, you can jump directly into that record by clicking the blue arrow:
Note that after making a change, you must click the “Save” icon, on the grid, as changes are not automatically saved:
To summarize the new features:
Editable Grid vs. Read Only Grid
And that, friends, is pretty much everything you need to know about the basics of Editable Grids. Happy CRM’ing!