Category Archives: Microsoft Dynamics CRM

How to Create Custom Test Execution Reports in Excel from Team Foundation Server – Part 1

Team Foundation Server (TFS) is a Microsoft product which provides source code management, project management, reporting, release management and testing. TFS has a lot of inbuilt reporting and dashboard services available. By connecting TFS to Microsoft Excel, we can use different functionalities of Excel to extend reporting capabilities and be more flexible with creating test execution reports. It is also excellent for users that are more comfortable and familiar with Excel.

The first step to this is setting up queries in TFS. Queries are the basic building blocks for managing work items. For testers generating custom test execution reports, we would be more concerned with TFS Bugs. Queries allow us to filter work items in TFS to be transported to Excel for data sorting, visualization, etc. It is also easier to update queries when work items also change. For example, a bug changes its state depending on the test lifecycle. This could mean that the bug gets removed from an Active Bugs query and gets added to a Closed Bugs query. Queries can simply be refreshed in TFS, which gets updated dynamically in our Excel spreadsheet when clicking the Refresh button under the TEAM tab.

How a user would log and label bugs (using TFS field Title) and group these bugs (using TFS fields e.g. Tag, State, Severity, Assigned To) would determine how bugs are sorted into different queries configured by the user. In this example below, I’ve grouped all my Active Bugs in TFS via the State.

image thumb 4 How to Create Custom Test Execution Reports in Excel from Team Foundation Server   Part 1

The bugs that are logged for this subcomponent in a TFS Team Project must obviously contain these filter criteria to appear under the query. This is entirely up to how the user would set up the query. Below is an example on how I labelled the bug in TFS such that it meets the conditions of the example query. This is done by including a Tag called ‘CRM’ and prefixing the Work Item Title with ‘[Magnetism Sub Group]’.

image thumb 6 How to Create Custom Test Execution Reports in Excel from Team Foundation Server   Part 1

You can be creative in what Work Item fields you are using to differentiate different queries. This added flexibility in TFS allows the user to further modularise different queries. Once I run the example query, this work item gets brought under the query results.

image thumb 7 How to Create Custom Test Execution Reports in Excel from Team Foundation Server   Part 1

Once we can effectively separate and group each different bug accordingly in TFS, we need to establish a connection between the source TFS to the destination Excel spreadsheet. The TEAM tab in Excel allows us to connect TFS with Excel such that we can create a custom report in Excel.  This automatically shows up when Team Explorer or Visual Studio is installed. If it does not show up, the TEAM tab needs to be enabled using the following steps:

  1. Go to File > Options to open Excel Options.
  2. Navigate to the Customize Ribbon.
  3. Click the TEAM checkbox. Click OK.

Once the TEAM tab is enabled in Excel, we can connect to a Team Project such that we can transport work item lists into Excel. Excel gives an option of creating two types of work item lists: query or input flat lists.

image thumb 8 How to Create Custom Test Execution Reports in Excel from Team Foundation Server   Part 1

Using our earlier example query “Active Bugs – Magnetism Sub Group Changes – CRM” and its work item components, it gets transmitted to Excel once we choose the query list. This is shown below. Note that the Refresh button highlighted gets activated once we have connected through our query list and loaded our work components.

image thumb 10 How to Create Custom Test Execution Reports in Excel from Team Foundation Server   Part 1

All done! Part 2 of this blog will cover how we can use Excel to pull in our data from TFS such that we can construct our test execution report and data visualisations.

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

How to Change Icons of Custom Entities in Dynamics 365

Once you’ve created your custom entities in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you’ll probably want to give them custom icons to make them more easily recognisable, and to give the entities a more finished feel.

Thankfully, this is very easy to do in Microsoft Dynamics 365. Simply acquire the image that you want to use as the icon for the entity, then create two copies of the icon, of sizes:

  • 32 x 32 px
  • 16 x 16 px

The reason for this is that Microsoft Dynamics 365 uses the two differently sized icons in different places. For example, the 32 x 32 px image is used in the site map, while the 16 x 16 px image is used in lookup fields.

In order to use an image as an icon, the image must first be uploaded as a web resource formatted as a .png, .gif, or .jpg. The image also must be smaller than 10 kB.

When you’ve uploaded your desired image, navigate to you custom entity in the solution explorer in Dynamics 365, and select the update icons button at the top of the window. This will open a wizard which will allow you to select your image.

image thumb How to Change Icons of Custom Entities in Dynamics 365

Some Considerations

When selecting an image, you may want to consider using a vector image, as these scale very nicely, and remain sharp no matter the resolution. Also, in interests of keeping things consistent, consider either styling the icons to remain consistent with the out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 icons (white on a transparent background, material design), or making all of the icons for your custom entities consistent in some way.

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

Environment Permission Error on Dynamics 365 Plug-in Execution

Recently I bumped into the below error while executing a custom plug-in in Microsoft Dynamics 365. This plug-in was using a NetworkCredential class to authenticate a SOAP request.

image thumb Environment Permission Error on Dynamics 365 Plug in Execution

On scrutinizing the problem, it was realized that the error was thrown due to the plug-in being registered in the Sandbox environment of Dynamics 365. When registering the same plug-in outside the Sandbox environment, the error was prevailed.

So, if you happen to register the plug-in in the Sandbox instance, you wouldn’t be able to access IP addresses, registry, file system, system event logs and certain network protocols. However, Azure Cloud Services can be accessed by these Sandbox plug-ins.

The thing to be jotted down here is that the Sandbox instances exist for the security reasons. Microsoft Dynamics 365 online supports only sandboxed plugins and thus, be mindful of this restriction when developing systems or migrating CRM to online.

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365

In Microsoft Dynamics 365 when a stage changes in a Business Process, you may want to run a workflow to automate the fetching of information, an invoicing process, or any other number of things. This is incredibly easy to do with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

In the new business process flow designer, simply select Add > Add Workflow, then select the stage within which you want to run the workflow.

image thumb How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365

image thumb 1 How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365This will add the workflow item to the stage, from which you are able to select the trigger that you would like the workflow to run on (Stage Entry or Exit), and then also the workflow itself that you want to run. Note that there is a caveat for the workflow selected, that it must be an active, on demand workflow for the same entity as the selected stage. The selected workflow will now run on the selected trigger.

image thumb 2 How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365

In Microsoft Dynamics 365 when a stage changes in a Business Process, you may want to run a workflow to automate the fetching of information, an invoicing process, or any other number of things. This is incredibly easy to do with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

In the new business process flow designer, simply select Add > Add Workflow, then select the stage within which you want to run the workflow.

image thumb How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365

image thumb 1 How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365This will add the workflow item to the stage, from which you are able to select the trigger that you would like the workflow to run on (Stage Entry or Exit), and then also the workflow itself that you want to run. Note that there is a caveat for the workflow selected, that it must be an active, on demand workflow for the same entity as the selected stage. The selected workflow will now run on the selected trigger.

image thumb 2 How to Run Workflow on Business Process Flow Stage Change in Dynamics 365

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

Managing a Successful Upgrade

neeeeeeeeddddddd 300x225 Managing a Successful Upgrade

Completing a Dynamics 365 upgrade can be a daunting task for an organization, especially if it is the first time. As the Project Manager (PM) overseeing an upgrade, it is important to understand potential unease with the process and be diligent with preparation and communication.

091817 2027 ManagingaSu1 Managing a Successful Upgrade

The topics outlined below are basic considerations for a PM who is working to guide an organization through a successful upgrade.

Resources
An important part of any project is ensuring that the appropriate resources are assigned. This is especially true with Dynamics 365 upgrades. Upgrading Dynamics 365 to a new version requires a resource with a technical background, including in-depth knowledge of Dynamics 365 and working knowledge of back-end systems. This person would work closely with the client (if applicable) and the PM to keep the project work moving forward. As PM, you should be aware of the basic skill set required for upgrade work and advocate for assignment of a resource with the appropriate skills.

If you are acting as PM in a consulting role for a client, you will also want to work with the client to ensure they have resources with appropriate technical knowledge assigned and available to assist as-needed with the project work.

Requirements
Dynamics 365 upgrades require access to specific systems. Work cannot be completed until the technical resource has been provided the necessary access (with appropriate security assigned). These requirements should be outlined in advance of the project work starting. Additionally, if you are acting as PM in a consulting role for a client, you should provide these requirements in advance of the first project call. On the project call, these requirements should be discussed in detail. This will allow the project team the opportunity to address questions regarding the requirements as well as necessary next steps that need to be taken to secure the required access.

Communication
Acting as the liaison for the Dynamics 365 upgrade work is the most important responsibility of the PM. This is true regardless of whether you are acting as PM within your organization or if you are acting as PM in a consulting role for a client. Start communication early. Supply the requirements to key project stakeholders and resources as soon as the project team is confirmed. Ensure that the entire project team is on the initial call regarding the Dynamics 365 upgrade and be sure to provide an agenda in advance so each team member can prepare. Send frequent written communication. Be sure to send a follow-up after every call to outline key decision points and next steps. Send and receive updates regarding the status of the upgrade work. Ongoing communication will help ensure all resources are aligned and assist with guiding the project work forward.

Timeline
Prepare a timeline that outlines the key deliverables and who is assigned. Technical resources are valuable and are often in high-demand. Due to this, it is important that each resource is aware of what is expected of them – work to be completed, when it can start, and when it must be complete. This will allow resources to allocate time to implement the work assigned to them, which will assist with keeping to the overall project timeline.

Testing
An upgrade will alter various aspects of the existing functionality in Dynamics 365. Due to this, it is absolutely imperative that end-user testing is completed. This topic should be discussed early in the project and incorporated into the timeline. Testing should be thorough and be completed by various business users.

Best of luck preparing for and guiding your upcoming Dynamics 365 upgrade. PM’s rule!

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

091817 2027 ManagingaSu2 Managing a Successful Upgrade

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

5 User Adoption Tips with CRM

CRM Blog 5 User Adoption Tips with CRM

Plenty of organizations roll out new technology only to find that they are struggling with end user adoption. Here are 5 tips to help achieve high end user adoption with Dynamics 365 or any CRM system, in no particular order.

5 User Adoption Tips for CRM

1. Offer ongoing training and support materials in a variety of formats. As you likely already know, people learn differently. Some people (like me) learn best when actually doing something. Others learn well by writing, and others by seeing. Strive to cater to all types when training, especially when rolling out new technology. Plus, it helps to break up the training by doing different things. Movement in a training is good too; it helps break up longer in-person training sessions.

Here are some things I’ve done to offer ongoing training & a variety of support materials:

  • Reference Manuals: separate for users & managers
  • Webinar training
  • Job aid / quick reference guide
  • Lunch & Learn: one topic, 15-30 mins
  • Short video clips on intranet with single topics
  • Live in-person training & demos
  • Blogs
  • One-on-one / small group screen share sessions

2. Always have a leave behind. No matter what training I do, I always have a leave behind. Sometimes it’s a simple how-to, other times it is a complete user reference.

3. Involve users during the business requirements stage. It is extremely important to customize for your end users. If they aren’t using it, management can’t get reports out of it! Customize for your end users while meeting business requirements from management.

4. Keep your system simple. Nobody wants to fill out 25 required fields. Streamline your business processes, have a minimum number of required fields and keep your forms clean (you can leverage out of box permission levels for this).

5. Identify CRM Ambassadors and empower them to help you!

Have you identified other ways to increase end user adoption with CRM? What has worked for your organization?

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing and Unified Communication Systems.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

How to Automatically Send a Webform Submission to a Nurture Campaign

Featured Imagessadfaefae 300x225 How to Automatically Send a Webform Submission to a Nurture Campaign

Do you want to know how to begin nurturing leads as soon as they submit a webform? PowerWebForm and PowerNurture can help!

First, import both PowerWebForm and PowerNurture using the PowerPack Import Guide and register for your 30-day trial.

Then, create your PowerWebForm and your PowerNurture Campaign. Be sure to set up your PowerWebForm so that upon submission, PowerWebForm creates a lead record with an easily identifiable Lead Source such as “PowerWebForm Submission”

Next go to Settings >> Processes

091917 2001 HowtoAutoma1 How to Automatically Send a Webform Submission to a Nurture Campaign

Click, New Process.

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Create a New Workflow on the Lead Entity to be run across the organization when the record is created.

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Start with a Check Condition that states If Lead Source Equals [PowerWebForm Submission], then create a record and select nurture automation. The nurture automation will send the lead to the PowerNurture Campaign automatically every time a lead is created with the designated lead source. Be sure to select the correct PowerNurture Campaign and the correct step – a helpful tip is when you are creating your nurture campaign use descriptive titles such as “Welcome Email” so you can tell which step to send a brand-new lead to.

091917 2001 HowtoAutoma4 How to Automatically Send a Webform Submission to a Nurture Campaign

Finally, don’t forget to activate your workflow.

And that’s it! You’ve successfully linked your PowerWebForm to your PowerNurture Campaign.

Keep in mind that if you want to get the most out of PowerNurture, you’ll want to check out all our PowerPacks and implement the ones that suit your organization’s needs.

Happy PowerNurturing and Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

How to Trigger Plugins on Custom Messages using Actions in Dynamics 365

When modifying a Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, you may require functionality that is portable and can be triggered in multiple circumstances. For example, running a rollup field calculation job, which is able to be done from SDK messages, but otherwise cannot be triggered manually out-of-the-box. In this instance, you may require a plugin or a custom workflow activity that calls the SDK message and runs the job. However, if you want to be able to run this from multiple places, a plugin may be more appropriate.

How does this work?

Custom actions were added in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, and provide a fantastic point against which to register plugins. Once actions have been created, it is possible to register a plugin against their schema name, which acts like a custom SDK message that is fired whenever the action is called.
Custom actions can provide the target for a plugin as well as pass values to plugins. This is done by setting input parameters for the custom action and then accessing these using from the plugin execution context.

To register a Plugin against a Custom Action:

  1. Navigate to your Solution > Processes > New
  2. Enter a Process name and select Action as the Category. For the Entity, select the entity for which you want to fire the Plugin. Note that the Process name that you enter will be what you use to refer to the action later when you register the plugin, so pick a name that will make it easy to identify.
    image thumb How to Trigger Plugins on Custom Messages using Actions in Dynamics 365 
  3. Click OK, add any additional steps and functionality you want to the action, then add any input parameters that you need for either your internal steps or for your plugin.
  4. Create your plugin.
  5. Register your plugin using the plugin registration tool bundled with the SDK.
  6. Right click on your plugin in the tool, and select ‘Register New Step’.
  7. In the Message field, select the custom action you previously created.
  8. Finish registering step as normal.
  9. Add action to wherever you want the plugin to run.

image thumb 1 How to Trigger Plugins on Custom Messages using Actions in Dynamics 365

Why is this useful?

Custom actions allow for a useful target for plugins to fire in multiple circumstances. For example, while a workflow activity could perform the same functionality, a custom workflow activity can only be called from a workflow or a process, while a custom action can be called from JavaScript and is generally more flexible, as the action itself can be edited and have functionality added inside CRM.

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog

How to Create Business Rules in Dynamics 365


In Microsoft Dynamics 365 the creation process when creating a business rule is significantly different, in a good way! The business rules still use programming logic in a more visual and simplistic manner. Business rules are more than just business logic, they are extremely useful, and can be used to lock fields, hide fields and display errors on fields. I will walk through how to create a business rule to ensure that the end date for an event is after the start date, and to display an error message next to the field if it is not.

Creating the business rule

  1. Open a solution containing your entity, or customize the default solution.
  2. Navigate to the entity that the business rule will be placed on.
  3. Then find ‘Business Rules’ beneath the entity.
  4. Click new.

Initially there’ll be a condition with no rules applied to it. I then created two rules to be used with an ‘and’ conjunction (Rule Logic) which means they both must be true for an action to occur.

image thumb How to Create Business Rules in Dynamics 365
 
Above you can see that the finish date must be less than (before) the start date and that the finish date must contain data. The finish date must contain data so that the error isn’t displayed when no data has been entered in the field. In the red box, there’s a nice view which displays the logic once it has been implemented.
 
Next, there’s an action that occurs when both conditions have been satisfied. In this case an error message is displayed that is shown in the below image. An action can be added to a condition by dragging the action from components to the right of the condition. Adding an action below the condition makes the action an ‘else’ action.

image thumb 1 How to Create Business Rules in Dynamics 365

This shows the simplicity when creating business rules in Dynamics 365, it is easy to pick up, edit and implement.

Highlighting over the red X shows the error message.
  image thumb 2 How to Create Business Rules in Dynamics 365

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Magnetism Solutions Dynamics CRM Blog