Sending PDFs for E-signatures in Dynamics CRM

Every organization has different ways of dealing with document management, and in particular how they handle signing documents. In today's digital age, where you may not even be in the same country as the person you are doing business with, e-signatures are a fast and convenient alternative to signing hard copy documents with pen.

For organizations in search of a way to integrate e-signatures in Dynamics CRM, Adobe EchoSign is a good option. It stands out because of its inexpensive entry price and some of the cool options available if you need some additional functionality.

EchoSign installs as a managed solution in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The setup and configuration is pretty straightforward. Enter your company name, the EchoSign API key, license key and a few other items and the solution is good to go! e-signatures in dynamics CRM

Once everything is configured, you can access the EchoSign solution under Workplace.

You will find a simple interface with an Overview, an Agreements area and a Dashboard.

Sending new agreements is as simple as choosing your recipients, the PDF document you would like to have signed, and a short message.

The user will receive an email from you with instructions and a hyperlink to the document.

The recipient simply clicks the provided link and signs the document. A copy of the signed document is sent to the original sender and the recipient automatically. At the same time, the agreement in CRM is updated with a PDF attached copy of the "Sent" agreement and the "Signed" agreement!

NOTE: The "Automatic Update" of the signed status is only available for CRM instances that are either online or on-premise with IFD/ADFS enabled and fully accessible from outside of your organization's network. However, if your CRM isn't accessible from outside the network, you can still click the Update button (as long as you have internet access) to manually initiate the update process.

This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding this CRM add-on, but if you are looking for an e-signature component to add to your CRM implementation, Adobe EchoSign may fit the bill.

Happy CRM'ing!

Use SharePoint Workflows to create CRM 2011 / SharePoint Sub-Folders

Today we'll describe a time-saving trick that automatically creates SharePoint sub-folders to be used in the integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

When configured to do so, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 offers an integration with SharePoint that will create a folder for each record in CRM. Once the corresponding SharePoint folder is created, you can add documents as well as create new folders. If you need the same sub-folders created for each folder, they can be automatically created, rather than having to do it manually.

This automatic creation could be performed by a SharePoint plugin, but SharePoint workflows can also accomplish this task without coding. To do this, you will need SharePoint Designer 2010, and it can be downloaded from Microsoft downloads.

1. First, create two new columns in the SharePoint Account library:

SharePoint sub-folders - Account Library

2. Next, create two workflows to perform the function of sub-folder creation. I've named them as follows:

3. Open SharePoint 2010 Designer and connect to your SharePoint site where CRM integration creates folders.

4. Select 'Workflows.' We will need to create two List Workflows for the Account library:

a. NewAccount_SetStatus

This fires upon creation and is initiated by a user in CRM when the Documents link is clicked for the first time and they accept the prompt to create a new folder.

Step 1 checks to see if the newly created item is a Folder – if not, the workflow stops:


If it is a folder, it checks to see it is one of the two folders:

If it is, it stops the workflow. (We do not want the workflow to create another set below each sub-folder.)

Lastly, the workflow sets a column status field 'SubFolders' to 'Pending':

This fires the second workflow, which reacts to Changes

b. NewAccountFolder_Created

Step 1 of this workflow checks the 'SubFolders' value.

If 'Pending' - this means the newly created folder is a CRM folder, therefore it needs to create the two sub-folders:

The two folders are created and the parent's SubFolders value is set to 'Created'. This indicates that the parent folder has had its children created and will not recreate them if the parent folder is changed:

For the Create Item, use the Folder name to dictate the path, hard-coding the '/Sales'.

Repeat with another Create for the second sub-folder: Technical.

5. Save and Publish the workflows:

Now from a CRM Account record, upon creation of the Account folder, the workflows should fire and create the sub-folders.

 

For other CRM and SharePoint articles, check these out:

Happy CRM'ing!

Bulk Creation of SharePoint Folders and Automated Integration with Dynamics CRM

There are many reasons to use SharePoint with Dynamics CRM: you can store large documents, collaborate with team members and take advantage of the Business Data Connectivity Service. Today, we'll show how you can create SharePoint folders in bulk and then link them to Dynamics CRM. This will save you a considerable amount of time that you would have otherwise spent opening up each record and creating the folders manually.

In this example, we are going to focus on accounts, but these steps can be completed for any entity in CRM.

1. Once you have your SharePoint site configured in CRM, the first step would be to create a map drive to your SharePoint site. There are many different ways to map a drive, but the easiest option is to right click on My Computer and select Map Network Drive. Select the drive letter and enter in the path to your SharePoint site. https://sharepoint.crm.sharepoint.com

2. Now we need to get our list of accounts that we want to create the folders for. Within CRM, go to the Account entity and open the advanced find function. From here you can pull up the active account view and modify the columns only to include Account name.

Bulk Creation of Sharepoint Folders in CRM

3. Run that query and export the list to Excel. Save the file to your local computer.

4. Now open Excel document we just created. We are going to add two new columns.

a. First, create a new column where all it has is a quote. Copy this to each cell.

b. Then create a the following formula:

i. =CONCATENATE(B2,A2,B2)

ii. copy the formula to each cell that has an account value in it.

5. Your end result should look like this.

6. Open Notepad and add the drive letter in which we created the map drive in step 1. Then we are going to change the directory to what entity (folder) we are going to create these folders for. Now we will copy and paste the new column that we create in Excel into notepad. Make sure to save the file with .bat extension. Your file should look similar to the one below.

7. Now run the .bat file. This may take a while depending on the number of folders you are creating.

8. Once the folders are created, the last step is to update CRM with the URL to the specific folder. To do this, we are going to create an on demand workflow.

a. Create the workflow with the following attributes:

i. on demand workflow process

ii. user owned (that way someone won't accidently run the workflow)

b. Then we will add a Create step to create the document location.

i. Select the Relative URL from the lookup

ii. Select the account name for the relative URL

iii. Select the account for the regarding field

9. Now that the workflow has been created, we need to run this for each account. I usually change my personal settings to display 250 at a time. Now select the workflow button from the ribbon and select the workflow you just created in the step above. Once the workflow has completed, you can now go to the documents section in the left navigation to see that SharePoint and CRM are now linked together.

With this simple process, we have now eliminated the daunting task of creating a SharePoint folder for each one of your existing records.

Happy CRM'ing!

Send Bundled Documents to Customers and See If They Actually Open Them

PowerShare is one of over a dozen different add-ons that PowerObjects has created to enhance the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This particular add-on allows users to create bundles of documents in CRM, send bundled documents to prospects or clients, track whether or not that person went to the document bundle, and if they opened any of the documents within the bundle.

The PowerShare add-on makes it super simple to upload documents in CRM, and build and send a document bundle, using the handy PowerShare wizard.

PowerShare is so easy to use, anyone CRM user can do it! It's as easy as:

1. Upload your documents in CRM.send bundled documents with PowerShare addon for MSCRM

2. Choose a contact or lead to send a bundle to and let the PowerShare wizard walk you through the steps. Select which documents you'd like to send, edit the main document bundle area (choose the title of the document bundle, the expiration date, edit the footer, etc.), type up your email and send.

Sit back and let the tracking begin! You can even choose to be notified via email every time there is any sort of action on your document bundle.

So next time you send a customer or a prospect any sort of document, slideshow, picture or spreadsheet, use PowerShare to make sure you know if they ever opened the document(s), and how many times.

Just like all of the other wonderful PowerPack add-ons, PowerShare is available for a free 30 day trial. Visit the PowerShare web page to download or to get more information.

Happy CRM'ing!

CRM 2011 and Sharepoint 2010: Configuration and Folder Structure

CRM 2011 and Sharepoint 2010 Overview

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM List component provides a way to obtain the document management capabilities of SharePoint in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the appearance and behavior of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This component also enables  CRM to automatically create document libraries and folders on SharePoint in the context of entities and fields. These folders are used to store documents for  CRM records on SharePoint.

System Requirements:

Supported Operating System

Other Requirements

Folder Structure:

The integration will create folders following the Account or Contact hierarchy nesting child entities and record names below:

CRM 2011 and Sharepoint 2012 Configuration

The folder-driven nature of this integration may not be optimal for all implementations, however using flat (folder-less) views and / or manual linking the user experience may be streamlined.

Benefits:

Considerations:

Configuration:

Navigate to system settings – Document Management – Document Management Settings

This will launch a wizard to select entities that will offer Document folders. This wizard may be re-run at any time to add new entities.

CRM 2011 sharepoint

Structure may be based on entity or simply a folder for every record. Additonally the heirarchy can be driven by either Accounts or Contacts:

Some organization may consider 'Contacts' the Customer so it may be appropriate to use Contact as the heirarchy:

Complete the wizard and creation details will be displayed:

Navigate to the SharePoint site and you will now see the folders for the entities:

Select an Account and click on the 'Documents' link in the left nav bar.

If this is the first time accessing the user will be notified:

The folder is now displayed in a custom CRM iFrame with SharePoint functions:

The pointer for the CRM record to SharePoint folder is a CRM record in the 'Document Locations' entity:

Each folder will have a corresponding record. These can be edited and used in workflow.

The field: 'Relative URL' contains the name of the SharePoint folder:

Back on the Account record, documents may be added using the same steps as if working directly in SharePoint:

Browse and attach

The destination folder will display the designated folder for this record

If the Document library has additional metadata the user will be prompted:

The document is now displayed:

If the library has associated templates they may be accessed from the menu as well:

Launching a new template document also prompts for metadata:

Saving the document will display the familiar save dialog:

Configuring the view to diplay the metadata (in this example a column called: Document Type) will be helpful for the user to locate documents.

The folder location may be edited from the CRM ribbon:

This displays the Document location.

Note: If manually edited the folder must exist in SharePoint.

Child records that were selected to use SharePoint such as Opportunities may also contain documents.

Open the record and navigate to Documents.

Once again a new folder will be created:

Add a document using the same steps used for the Account:

Navigate back to the Account and the Opportunity entity folder is now visible:

Navigate to SharePoint and the folder heirarchy is as displayed:

The complete list of folders can be viewed here.

It may be beneficial to create additional views without the folder structure:

Using the Group By function and the flat view option documents may be grouped by any column:

By editing the Site map these views may be delivered directly from SharePoint:

There you go. Everything you need to know about Sharepoint 2010 configuration and folder structure. If you need help with your CRM Implementation, feel free to contact our CRm Experts.

Happy CRM'ing!010

CRM Integration with SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 provides a number of reasons for upgrading/migrating from 2007.

CRM integration is simplified and enhanced.

Creating external lists can now be done using SharePoint Designer and Business Data Connectivity Service

Use a custom column in SharePoint lists that is a look-up to the CRM list.

Figure 1: Customer on SharePoint lists as lookup to CRM Accounts

This also allows workflow to utilize CRM data rather than creating a plugin for many tasks

Reporting and Business Intelligence

Using the same Business Data Connectivity configure at the server, CRM data is available for the myriad of BI tools

SQL 2008 R2 would be recommended to take advantage of tools such as:

Report Builder 3.0

User-friendly wizard to create SQL Reports

New visualizations such as sparklines, gauges, and maps (ex: Customer Location Map)

Excel Services

Publish Excel reports to SharePoint lists

Users view as web part; aggregate for dashboards

PowerPivot

Excel add-in to enhance Pivot table functionality

Use slicers to publish filters to multiple tables simultaneously


PerformancePoint Services

Create Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) for deep data analysis

Dashboard designer for rapid deployment

Cool data visualizations such as Decomp trees


Each of these tools allow for more Self-Service BI

CRM 2011 has native integration with SharePoint 2010

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component

Auto-folder creation using Account hierarchy

Tighter integration with office – particularly 2010

SharePoint Workspace 2010 – enables off-line synchronization of Documents, lists, even completes sites

Save and publish from Office 2010, manage versioning, access CRM data sources and add-ins such as PowerPivot


In-line editing is much more robust and the ribbon experience mirrors CRM 2011

Considerations:

Not all functionality is available with SharePoint Foundation 2010 (free version)

BI: PerformancePoint and Excel Services require SharePoint server

Complete list of features by edition: http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/buy/Pages/Editions-Comparison.aspx

Note: Some functionality can be enhanced from Foundation 2010 with Development (ex: Secure Store can be manually installed and configured using Windows Search Server Express)

Upgrade versus Migration

Clean installations are generally a good practice depending on the customizations

Upgrade will always work but may break some customizations

CRM Integrations and Customizations

Consider Development environment allows for testing of upgrade

CRM List web part for CRM 4.0 is not supported but in most environments will continue to work

Review list of enhancements – there are many new features that required plugins or other advanced customizations

One of my favorite features: Impersonation – perform functions that cannot be done by the calling user:


For more information on CRM and SharePoint 2010 feel free to contact us.

Happy CRM'ing and SharePoint'ing


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Sharepoint Integration

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, there are few options for SharePoint Integration in CRM. One of the simple ones is to have a static link to a particular list in SharePoint on the main CRM navigation or in an IFrame on any of the entity forms (something like a knowledge base for users). Here is the accelerator "Enterprise Search" Accelerator from codeplex. This is an example of searching CRM data from the SharePoint interface. Other complex options include writing plug-ins to create folders in SharePoint from CRM and accessing that folder in an IFrame from within a record in CRM. But what's coming for CRM 2011 Sharepoint integration?

In the beta of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, we are seeing pretty robust SharePoint integration with a couple of settings on SharePoint and CRM. Firstly, we have to install the "List Component" (available for CRM 2011 beta) on the SharePoint Server. It is a solution that can be added to the SharePoint server. It can be downloaded from Microsoft and the solution file can be added to the SharePoint and then should be activated.

CRM 2011 sharepoint integration

Afer the List Component is installed, then we have to configure CRM to point to this sharepoint server. There is a new area in CRM 2011 settings called the "Document Management".

Here we need to configure the "Document Management Settings" which will show the list of all entities in the system that can be configured for SharePoint integration. Here we define which entities will have folders created in the SharePoint Site. It lists all the entities available in the system. Here you can select all the entitled you want SharePoint folders to be created for

Custom entities can also be configured for document management as well. You can enable this setting on the entity customization screen as well

Then in the document management settings, you will enter the SharePoint URL and click Next. Here it will validate the URL and determine if this is valid sharepoint site or not and also notify if the list component is installed/activated properly or not

Click Next and it will show the status of the creation of folders on the SharePoint as success once it completed the creation. Here it will use existing folders if they have already been created

The folders will be created for the enties selected

Notice only the folders are created and the actual folders for individual records will not be automatically created. The individual record folders are created only when you open a record and click on the documents link on the left navigation. Then it will prompt the first time if you would like to create a folder or not in Sharepoint.

Then, it will create the folder in the sharepoint under the account folder when the OK button is clicked.

And all the options available in the Sharepoint will be available in CRM at that point for that folder depending on the security the logged in user has to the Sharepoint site/folders.

You will also have an "Open Sharepoint" link which will open the folder in Sharepoint website.

This is pretty much the basic things we can do with almost out-of-box CRM 2011 Sharepoint integration. There are other advanced settings like defining new locations from within CRM and also changing/defining how the folder/location names of particular records are handled etc. with a matter of some clicks.

This is also one of the most requested features of the clients in the MS CRM 4.0 version. Although it can be attained by some considerable amount of custom coding, it adds a great value to having an almost out-of-box SharePoint integration for CRM 2011.

Important Notes:

  1. All the above mentioned settings like automatic folder creation with list component and other advanced settings like defining locations are possible only with SharePoint version 2010. SharePoint 2007 is also supported in the integration but we have to manually do it in an IFrame as previously in CRM 4.0
  2. The CRM outlook client does not offer document integration with SharePoint, when the client is in offline mode

Thanks for spending a little time with PowerObjects today to learn about CRM 2011 sharepoint integration. As always we would love to work with you and take your MSCRM experience to a new level!

Happy CRM'ing

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Articles - Knowledge Base Article Enhancements

In the past we often heard this "We are using Dynamics CRM 4.0 and we would like to add attributes to the KB form, email KB articles from Outlook, audit changes made to articles and contextually store documents in SharePoint with the KB article in CRM." In the 4.0 world this was not an easy task – but now… You're in luck. Dynamics CRM 2011 was just released and these are all new enhancements with out of the box functionality. Let me walk you through CRM 2011 articles and knowledge base enhancements.

First like any other entity in the system, KB articles are now configurable through the declarative design model in 2011. Open up a KB article, click on the customize tab and then customize form. You can add fields through the field explorer and drag/drop them onto the form. This gives you the ability to track whatever attributes you want related to KB articles.

CRM 2011 Articles

Through the new rich Dynamics CRM 2011 Outlook client you are now able to send or reply to an email and embed a CRM KB Article in the Outlook email communication.

Dynamics CRM 2011 also provides pervasive business data auditing in the system. You define what entities and fields you want to audit. Once configured you can view events such as create, update, set state, approve, etc. For each event you can see the date it took place, who changed it, what changed and the old and new values. For KB articles, a customer service organization could check the audit trail of an article approval process, when, how and by whom it was revised or changed. Auditing data helps organizations quickly and effectively track changes and improve accountability within your organization.

Dynamics CRM 2011 provides the ability to use SharePoint for its great document management capabilities and then view, manage and update them contextually within CRM. And since the document management capabilities are based on SharePoint, users can take advantage of a wealth of document management capabilities including the ability to create custom content types, check-in/check-out, track changes and track versions. Therefore if I have supporting documents for a CRM KB article stored in SharePoint I can now view manage and update them right within CRM without having to log in to another application. This also allows me to collaborate on these documents with non-CRM users.

All of these Dynamics CRM 2011 articles enhancements collectively provide organizations a higher level of flexibility to utilize KB articles in their business processes. KB Articles in Dynamics CRM 2011 allow organizations to configure the article entity, email KB articles from Outlook, audit changes to articles and store supporting documents in SharePoint but access and work with them contextually through CRM.

Happy CRM'ing

PDF In Document Libraries in IFrame – Open in New Window

Many of our clients have a SharePoint document library displayed in an iframe in various entities, such as accounts, contacts, projects, etc. This works great, but often one complaint is that if a pdf file is opened, there is no way to 'go back' and user has to navigate away from the entity.

A quick solution is to set PDF to always open in a new window. This can be done by changing the settings right in PDF.

  1. Open any pdf document, and go to Edit, then Settings:
    PDF
  2. In the Internet area, uncheck the 'display pdf in browser' option.
    PDF

This change will cause all opened pdfs from links including inside SharePoint document libraries to open in a new window.

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