Get a Better Understanding of the SharePoint Online Integration with Dynamics CRM Online

When looking at your Dynamics CRM system, you may start to wonder, "Where do I store the documents I want to associate with a specific record?" Natively, CRM systems are not designed to store or manage documents. Attaching documents to your "Notes" in a specific record is traditionally how most people would save documents in Dynamics CRM, however, this takes up storage space and can add additional expenses if you ever need to upgrade. It also lacks some of the document management requirements people have and want in their organization. There are a lot of ways that SharePoint and CRM can complement each other with their features, however, the built-in integration between the two is focused on storing and managing documents in SharePoint document libraries and ultimately then surfacing these in the context of a CRM record.

Here are some of the advantages of integrating SharePoint with Dynamics CRM:

For Dynamics CRM Online and SharePoint Online users, it is recommended that you use the Server Side integration. This is a one-time process. Here are the instructions for setting up the Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM.

As you read through these instructions, you might find that you need a little more clarification on step 7 in the set up process. Let's dive deeper!

You have two folder structure options you can choose that your organization will leverage when uploading new or extracting existing documents.  The first is Account or Contact centric.  The second is entity folder structure centric.  The diagram below displays the differences. The Account and Contact centric option is for organizations that choose Accounts or Contacts to be their primary entity. The related entities would be Opportunities, Quote, Cases, etc. When a document is saved to any of the related entities, that document will map back to the primary Account or Contact record, depending on which option you choose.

For example, say David is the manager of the Inside Sales team, while Kyle is part of the Inside Sales team. Kyle has three open Opportunities he is working on closing with PowerObjects as the Account. Kyle receives a signed agreement for Opportunity #2 and saves that agreement to the Opportunity #2 documents section in Dynamics CRM, which is really saving the document in SharePoint because Dynamics CRM is just providing an interface to SharePoint. David receives an email letting him know he needs to approve the signed agreement before the Opportunity can close. David goes into the PowerObjects account in Dynamics CRM and looks at the saved documents related to PowerObjects. There he finds the signed agreement for Opportunity #2, he reviews and approves to close the Opportunity. He can do this because when enabling the Dynamics CRM integration with SharePoint, the Accounts centric folder structure was selected. As a result, Kyle was able to save a document to an Opportunity and David was able to see that document in the Account because the Opportunity #2 Kyle was an Opportunity related to the PowerObjects Account. Easy!

SharePoint Integration

Once you have your Dynamics CRM integration with SharePoint enabled, simply navigate to any record in Dynamics CRM and navigate to Documents. Once you open the documents it will prompt you to create a folder. The integration will create a new folder in SharePoint using the name of the record and adding its own GUID to display the folder name. You need to Confirm to create the folder.

SharePoint Integration

SharePoint Integration

Now that you have the integration enabled and you have created a folder in SharePoint, you can start working with documents both in Dynamics CRM and SharePoint. In the document section of Dynamics CRM, you'll see a grid presented. There are commands for Upload, Checkout, and Check-in. You can also create new document using Microsoft Office Online.

SharePoint Integration

Items you won't see in the grid are Alert Me, Version History, View Short Cut, and Download a Copy. Because you have enabled using server side sync, it doesn't have those same additional options, but you can get to all the different options by using the open SharePoint command.  Open SharePoint takes you to the SharePoint folder in the native SharePoint interface, giving you full capabilities that SharePoint offers on the individual document.

SharePoint Integration

Subfolders will not be displayed in the Dynamics CRM grid, but all of your documents will be displayed. You can still set up your folder or subfolder hierarchy in SharePoint. You can see the folder location through the Dynamics CRM grid. The folder location lets you see whether the document was saved to the record you are on, saved to a folder created in SharePoint, or saved to a related entity, like the scenario where Kyle saved a document to an Opportunity and David was able to see that document saved in the Account.

You can create views based on your folders. For example, you can have custom entities (like projects, which is a subfolder to the Account). So if your team calls all of these "project documents" and puts them in a project sub-folder, you could create a view that would filter on the location that contained the word "project" in it.

SharePoint Integration

SharePoint Integration

Here is a list of common questions we get after the SharePoint integration is enabled:

That's all for the blog today! SharePoint is just one of many integrations for Dynamics CRM. Check out our free Webinar on Demand, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Office 365: Introduction to Out-of-the-Box Integrations, to learn more!

Happy CRM'ing!

CRM Data Integration Performance Testing in Dynamics CRM

We are always looking for ways to improve our CRM integration and to keep an eye out for any possible bottle-necks that might be lurking. While we investigate, there are a few areas such as the environment, hardware, software or specific customizations that we like to focus on. To make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, we have been testing potential bottle-neck and items that might affect performance of CRM integration to ensure our customers have the best experience possible.

Bulk Operation

The use of bulk operation is probably the easiest optimization for integration. In this example we gained 2-3 times the performance just by sending the inserts in batches of 1000. We have also discovered many best practices on optimizing batch operations, but details of those will be topic of a future blog.

Environment batchsize parallel average speed
Test 1 - 2 Core Virtual

1000

1

220k
Test 1 - 2 Core Virtual

1

1

60k

Parallelism

Most SQL operations will scale nicely to multiple CPU cores. However, on CRM web service side, each CRM call is usually isolated. We explored this originally in our blog Optimizing SSIS with MSCRM 2011 and further discussed Optimizing SSIS with CRM - Balanced Data Distributor.

Note that CRM Online restricts parallel batch operations to 2 parallel batch operations. This limit cannot be increased.

Note also that SSIS restricts parallel connections to 2 by default. This means that even if you split the CRM call to multiple threads, only 2 will start and rest will wait. This limit can be increased by adding maxconnection setting in:

CRM Data Integration Performance Testing in Dynamics CRM

Environment batchsize parallel average speed
Test 1 - 2 Core

1000

1

220k
Test 1 - 2 Core

1000

2

400k
Test 1 - 2 Core

1000

3

700k
Test 1 - 2 Core

1000

4

900k
Test 1 - 2 Core

1000

5

800k
Test 1 - 2 Core

1000

10

860k
Test 2 - 8 Core

1000

4

900k
Test 2 - 8 Core

1000

8

1250k
Test 2 - 8 Core

1000

10

1200k
Test 3 – Online

1000

1

200-300k
Test 3 – Online

1000

2

400-500k

Observations:

Tools

The tools tested were:

This test was done against CRM Online test organization, creating custom entity records with batch size of 1000.

Tool batchsize parallel Records/hour
SSIS with script component

1000

1

300k
SSIS with script component

1000

2

550k
SSIS with KingsWaySoft Adapter

1000

1

300k
SSIS with KingsWaySoft Adapter

1000

2

500k
Scribe Online

1000

1

200-300k

Observations:

Since the tests were not run enough times, the error margins would be fairly high. However, keeping this in mind, the observations are:

Conclusions

Obviously the results published here have merely scratched the surface on what happens when we optimize integration packages. But it is clear that a lot of thought has to go into optimizing the environment, the design and the use of tools in order to get the fastest possible integration.

In general, there is not a huge difference on the optimal performance between the tools that are used. Mainly the difference comes from how they can be used to handle the aspects of integrations that slow it down or speed it up, such as batch sizes, parallelism, lookups, optionsets, etc.

Also, many times improvements on certain areas will not be beneficial until the actual bottleneck is solved. Very often the performance of SQL server is not an issue for integration, generally the CRM server and the limitations of the web services will bottleneck the operations enough that improvements on SQL server will have only marginal benefit. Only at the very high end, with the 8-core physical server and 8+ parallel operations we were seeing SQL server having any considerable utilization.

Whether it is our CRM bookblogs or webinars, we are always striving to bring you the best in Dynamics CRM education. Make sure to keep checking back as our materials continue to grow. And remember... Happy CRM'ing!

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

As the Spring '14 Wave continues to make 'waves', we continue our own deep-dive into the changes.  Previously, versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM online used a client-to-server strategy to authenticate and transmit data from Microsoft Dynamics CRM to SharePoint Online. Now Dynamics has introduced a new approach to CRM and SharePoint integration. The integration now happens at the server level and, administrators can enable server-based SharePoint integration.

NOTE: The SharePoint list component is now deprecated. PowerObjects recommends that you utilized server-based integration as outlined in this blog. For more information on the list component, jump to the end of the blog.

Steps to enable server-based SharePoint Integration:

1. Make sure your organization has been upgraded to Spring '14 version.
2. Navigate to Settings ->Document Management. Click Enable server-based SharePoint integration. You can also click Enable Now in the yellow alert notification as seen in the picture below.

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

 

3. When you click on Enable server-based SharePoint integration, a wizard will open where you have to enter your SharePoint Site URL and click Next.

 

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

4. The wizard will validate your SharePoint site. After validation is finished, click Next.

 

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

5. Click Finish to finish creating a server connection between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint Online. Server-based SharePoint integration is now enabled.

 

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

6. Click Document Management Settings as seen in the picture below. A wizard will pop up to configure Document Management Settings. Select entities for which you want to enable the document management and enter your SharePoint site URL and click Next.

 

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

 

7. Next step is to select a folder structure as seen in the picture below and then click Next.

 

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

 

8. Click Finish to finish configuring Document Management Settings. Now, you can start using the document management feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM by using server-based SharePoint integration as you did with the previous client side integration.

 

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

 

Key Points:

 

Spring '14 Wave Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

SharePoint List Component Deprecation

The need for managing documents into document management repository from within Dynamics CRM has always been there for organizations and it has been fulfilled normally by using the SharePoint List Component to store documents into SharePoint. The list component uses a sandbox solution of SharePoint which will be deprecated completely in the near future. The recommended solution is server-based SharePoint integration. Currently, CRM online only supports this feature but soon this will be available for on-premises version of CRM. Let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of using the list component listed below.

With server-based SharePoint integration you would not need to sign into both CRM and SharePoint. SharePoint documents will display in CRM lists and user can perform SharePoint actions from the CRM command bar. The things you will need to consider before migrating into server based integration can be found here important considerations for server-based SharePoint integrations.

Please keep your eye out on our blog for additional tips and tricks to enhance your CRM experience, as well as for education and other Microsoft Dynamics CRM updates.

Happy CRM'ing!


CRM 2013 and SharePoint Integration New Feature

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010/2013 integration remains much as it was in CRM 2011 and is designated as not being a refreshed entity. However, there is a nice improvement in the document location and folder name.

The setup is exactly the same in CRM 2013 as it was in CRM 2011, which you can reference here.

Here is a summary of the setup for a new CRM 2013 deployment:

  1. Download the CRM List Component SharePoint solution and upload the appropriate version (SharePoint 2010 or 2013) in the SharePoint solution gallery.
  2. After successfully uploading and activating the CRM list component in SharePoint, navigate to Settings > Document Management in your CRM 2013 organization.Dynamics CRM 2013 and SharePoint
  3. Follow the same steps for 2013 as completed in CRM 2011 to enable the CRM 2013-SharePoint integration. Your new valid SharePoint site should be listed under your active SharePoint sites.Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and SharePoint Integration
  4. Navigate to a CRM account record and locate Documents in the command bar. You'll be prompted that the folder will be created.


Now for the cool new part. The folder name is no longer simply the account record name—the CRM record's GUID is appended to the folder! You can see that the CRM document location record displays the folder name.

Navigate to SharePoint and see the corresponding folder.

This improvement in the CRM 2013 and SharePoint integration simplifies additional development. It should also should expedite further integration between the two applications, because now SharePoint knows the unique ID of the CRM record!

For other CRM 2013 information, see our full list of CRM 2013 events and educational offerings.

Happy CRM'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

PowerMailChimp 101: Starting the CRM 2011 and MailChimp Integration If You Already Have a Mailchimp Account

If you are already a MailChimp user and you want to use the PowerMailChimp add-on for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to send bulk emails out from within CRM, you may be wondering how you'll be managing your lists. With PowerMailChimp, a CRM 2011 and MailChimp integration, you'll use your CRM marketing lists to manage your list segments. Since you're already using MailChimp, all of your subscriber information is stored there. You'll need to export that data and import it into CRM to get started using PowerMailChimp. Once the initial import is done, you will use your CRM marketing lists to manage your subscribers going forward.

The first step in this process is to log into your MailChimp account and navigate to your list. Choose to view subscribers of that list, download that list and save it somewhere on your computer.

crm 2011 and mailchimp integration

Once you have your list downloaded, open it and delete any columns that contain information that you do not need to import into your Dynamics CRM.

The next thing you will need is a way to identify that these contacts were imported from MailChimp. We will use this information later to pull these people into a marketing list. In the example below, I've chosen to add a column called "imported on" and populated the field with a date. You could also choose to use a check box, dropdown or some other field to identify that there records have been imported from MailChimp. Once you've finished your changes, save the spreadsheet.

crm 2011 and mailchimp integration marketing lists

To ensure you're not creating duplicates in your CRM when importing this list, you'll want to double-check your duplicate detection settings and rules to make sure they're set up the way you want them. To do this, log into CRM and navigate to Settings > Data Management, then choose Duplicate Detections Settings.

Make sure the checkbox that says "Detect duplicates during data import" is checked. Then click ok.

Next, slide over to duplicate detections rules in the same screen as duplicate detections settings, and double check that duplicates are being detected the way you'd like them to be. These duplicate detections rules will be used during our data import, so it's important to make sure that they are sufficient.

After your list looks organized and your duplicate detection rules have been set, the next step is to import your MailChimp subscribers into CRM. To do this, navigate to Workplace > Imports and choose "import data."

crm 2011 and mailchimp integration - import data

You will now be walked through an Import Wizard that will assist you in importing your data. First, browse to the spreadsheet containing your MailChimp subscribers. Click Next.

Make sure that the file you've chosen to import is indeed the correct file. Click Next.

Choose your data mapping preference. For simplicity's sake, we've chosen to let CRM do the default mapping. Click Next.

Next, choose what entity you would like to import your subscribers as. In order to pull your MailChimp subscribers into a marketing list, you will need to import them as contacts, leads or accounts.

Next, CRM will ask you to map the data in the spreadsheet to a CRM field so that it knows where to put the data once it's imported. For the column in our spreadsheet that we're using to identify that these are imported subscribers (in our case "Imported on"), we will need to either create a field (if we don't already have a field in CRM to map this to), or map it to a pre-existing CRM field. Once you're finished mapping these fields, click Next.

You will see a screen stating that the data has been successfully mapped, or receive an error notification. Once your data has been successfully mapped, click Next.

You can then decide if you'd like to allow duplicates (our suggestion would be not to allow duplicates), and who the owner of the records is going to be once they're imported. Click Submit. Your import will now be submitted for processing.

You can keep track of your import in the Imports area of CRM. You can review the successes, errors, and partial failures of the import on this screen. Once the import has completed, the status will be updated to "Completed".

Once you have finished importing your list, it's time to create your marketing list. Navigate to CRM > Marketing > Marketing List and choose New.

Give the marketing list a name, choose the type of record you would like to include (contact, lead or account), choose type: static, and Save.

Next, choose marketing list members in the left navigation. Click manage members, and choose to add members using an advanced find.

Set up your query to pull in all of the subscribers that you just imported from MailChimp. You will use the field that they all have in common to pull them into this list. Click Find, and make sure you have the number of marketing list members that you expect to have.

If you are satisfied with the result, choose Add all members returned by the search to the marketing list and click Add to Marketing List.

The final step in this process is to sync this marketing list with your MailChimp account. To do this go to the general area of the marketing list and click "Select MailChimp List".

Now you can use this marketing list, along with other CRM marketing lists, to send bulk emails from your Microsoft Dynamics CRM. If you'd like to give PowerMailChimp a try, there is a free 30 day trial available on the PowerMailChimp web page.

Happy CRM'ing!

Spring ‘14 Update: Server-Based SharePoint Integration in Dynamics CRM

As the Spring '14 Wave continues to make 'waves' , we continue our own deep-dive into the changes.  Previously, versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM online used a client-to-server strategy to authenticate and transmit data from Microsoft Dynamics CRM to SharePoint Online. Now Dynamics  has introduced a new approach to CRM and SharePoint integration. The integration now happens at the server level and, administrators can enable server-based SharePoint integration.

Steps to enable server-based SharePoint Integration:

  1. Make sure your organization has been upgraded to Spring '14 version.
  2. Navigate to Settings ->Document Management and click Enable server-based SharePoint integration. You can also click Enable Now in the yellow alert notification as seen in the picture below.

 

3. When you click on Enable server-based SharePoint integration, a wizard will open where you have to enter your SharePoint Site URL and click Next.

4. The wizard will validate your SharePoint site. After validation is finished, click Next.

5 .Click Finish to finish creating a server connection between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint Online.


Server-based SharePoint integration is now enabled. Now, you can start using the document management feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM by using server-based SharePoint integration as you did with the previous client side integration.

 

Key Points:

  1. The server-based authentication does not require you to install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM list component in the sandbox environment for Microsoft SharePoint Online.
  2. You can enable server-based SharePoint integration for Microsoft Dynamics CRM online only by using the web or Outlook client.
  3. After you enable server-based SharePoint integration, you can't revert to the previous client-based authentication method.
  4. With server-based SharePoint integration enabled, you can now perform SharePoint actions in the CRM command bar. And, you can now view SharePoint documents in Microsoft Dynamics CRM lists, no more iFrames.

 

Note: Users don't need to log into SharePoint before viewing documents in CRM.

Please keep your eye on our blog for additional tips and tricks to enhance your CRM experience, as well as for education and other Microsoft Dynamics CRM updates.

Happy CRM'ing!


Seamless OneNote Integration with Dynamics CRM 2015 Spring Wave Update 1

For those of you who are already OneNote aficionados, you will be stoked to know that the 2015 SP1 Spring Release incorporates seamless OneNote integration.  And for those of you who haven’t discovered the productivity and collaborative power OneNote puts at your fingertips… be prepared to be blown away. OneNote allows users to quickly add and organize notes, pictures, drawings and voice notes.  Now think of that power integrated right into CRM!  Sweet!

So, where will the CRM notes be stored?

Notebooks are created using SharePoint Integration, so that means that the entities must be enabled for both document management and OneNote. By default these entities include: Account, Article, Lead, Opportunity, Product, Quote, and Sales Literature. But you can add others, too!

Each enabled record will have its own notebook where all users can share and collaborate on the web, on their tablets and on their phones. Think about the ability to quickly capture, organize and store notes and images on the device of your choosing AND link them right to CRM - this is productivity and collaboration at its best!

Let's take a look at this integration from the browser perspective. You'll see OneNote has been enabled for the Account. Once enabled, OneNote is easily accessible on the Activity Wall. It's simple to setup pages to capture and store key account planning and management information such as sales proposal, meeting and customer information.

 

Here's the same view, just looking at it from OneNote in CRM:

Here's the same view, just looking at it from OneNote:

 

What's the difference between CRM Notes and OneNote Integration?

This integration doesn't replace the current Notes feature, but gives users another way to access notes stored in OneNote. Let's take a look at the differences between using out-of-the-box Notes in CRM vs. using OneNote. The chart below provides a great overview. You'll see a mention of Office Lens. You definitely have to check out this new document scanner and whiteboard image enhancement App available for Windows, iOS and Android devices.

So think about it…how many times do you get back from an event or trade show with a bunch of business cards need to deal with? With Office Lens you can take a picture of those cards, quickly export them to OneNote and, using OneNote's "Copy Text from Picture" functionality, quickly convert the information into text to use to create contacts.

What are the integration requirements?

Are you ready to get connected? Let's look at what it takes to get up and running with OneNote and CRM:

Requirements:

Additionally, On-premise SharePoint supports OneNote integration. This requires Server Side Integration. Additional requirements include:

 

We are excited about this new functionality. Make sure to stop by our main blog page for even more Dynamics CRM 2015 fun!

Happy CRM’ing!

 

Understanding the CRM to Outlook Integration

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row el_class="webinar-desc" css=".vc_custom_1479756979665{padding-top: 30px !important;}"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][ultimate_heading main_heading="Webinar Details" heading_tag="h4" main_heading_color="#000000" sub_heading_color="#ffffff" alignment="left" spacer="line_only" spacer_position="bottom" line_height="5" line_color="#f68a1e" main_heading_style="font-weight:300;" main_heading_margin="margin-top:0px;margin-bottom:0px;" sub_heading_margin="margin-bottom:0px;" el_class="case-study-page-heading" main_heading_font_family="font_family:|font_call:" sub_heading_font_family="font_family:|font_call:" sub_heading_font_size="desktop:36px;" line_width="100" spacer_margin="margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:20px;"][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text el_class="webinar-details"]The power of the Outlook Integration with Dynamics 365 is a driving factor in many organization’s decision to choose Microsoft. In this webinar, we’ll walk through the functionality in detail so that you can understand what the end-user experience is and the best practices for taking advantage of its powerful features.

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The Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Yammer Integration

It was announced at YamJam'12 and made clear in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Statement of Direction that CRM will have a much deeper integration with Yammer. This is really exciting news on many fronts. But it's most important to realize that most organizations will likely replace the current Activity Feeds capability with the expanding Yammer integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

At PowerObjects, we've been using Yammer since 2011. Let us tell you a few reasons why we're so thrilled about the changes to come.

  1. Yammer attaches Microsoft Dynamics CRM supported processes to business conversations.

    At Yam Jam '12, Yammer announced the new Pages capability, which will allow for a Page to be created on any topic in Yammer (currently pages can be created only within Groups). Therefore the integration between Yammer and Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be able to create a page in Yammer when a record is created in CRM—whether it's an Opportunity, a Case, a Project, or something that is unique to your organization, you will be able to discuss it in Yammer. Conversations about that topic then have the possibility of occurring with people from all parts of the organization.

    Featured below is a screenshot from this great video on how all your business apps will work together for one social experience showing a customer service case created in another system and shown in the Yammer feed.
    CRM and yammer: activity feeds

  2. Yammer brings business conversations into Microsoft Dynamics CRM supported processes.

    Sending information from Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Yammer isn't just about notification—like, "there is a new opportunity". It's about an invitation to connect—do you know about this opportunity, case, event, or project? Do you have something to contribute to it? Do you have questions on it? Are there issues with it to discussion? You're invited to comment. Many organizations are finding this streamlines so many processes by allowing others to engage in unstructured conversation.

    And this gathered information then becomes a part of the structured and defined process when it is viewed in CRM within the CRM record. Even non-CRM users may comment on conversations Yammer, and that information will be viewable on the related CRM record.

    Featured below is a screenshot from the Statement of Direction showing the new process driven UI and how the Yammer conversation is embedded into the user experience.

    CRM and Yammer

  3. Yammer brings the focus back to people and teamwork.
    The common denominator of all this connecting, sharing, and collaborating is people. People help customers, people have valuable organizational information, and people share that information internally and externally. So posts to Yammer don't just say "a Case was opened". It says who opened the case--connecting the business process to the team member who is conducting it.

    The screenshots below also from the Statement of Direction feature the difference between a standard automated feed about and a people-focused feed.

    CRM and YammerCRM and Yammer

Yammer is a business application focused on the connecting and collaborating across teams and layers of an organization. Case study after case study shows how Yammer improves productivity and promotes company growth, saving time to resolve customer issues and bringing key people together to make decisions more quickly. By using Yammer integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, organizations are bringing the power of structured processes into the power teamwork and collaboration.

Stay tuned in to the PowerObjects blog to gain more insights into the integration with Microsoft CRM and Yammer.

Happy CRM'ing!

Avaya Phone Integration: Dynamics CRM 2011 and Avaya one-X Agent

PowerObjects built a simple, cost-effective integration between Dynamics CRM 2011 and an Avaya phone system, utilizing the built-in screen pop feature within the Avaya one-X Agent, a middle-tier "listener" application, and Dynamics CRM Web Services.

The Avaya one-X client is able to "pop" the listener application by using its built-in screen pop setting, passing in parameters like the caller's phone number and name.

Dynamics CRM 2011 and Avaya

Avaya's one-X system settings page

The one-X client calls the listener application, which then does the heavy lifting, querying CRM for contact records that match the name and/or phone number passed to it.

  1. If the CRM query doesn't find any Contact records, the web application creates and pops open a Phone Call Activity record, populating the phone number only.
  2. If the CRM query finds a single matching Contact, it creates and pops open a Phone Call Activity record, populating both the caller and phone number.
  3. If the CRM query finds more than one matching Contact, it will display a list of contacts and prompt the user to choose the correct record. When chosen, it creates and pops open a Phone Call Activity record, populating both the caller and phone number with the chosen contact data.

Here's the data flow:

Dynamics CRM 2011 and Avaya integration dataflow

The only time the listener application displays a user interface is in scenario #3 above. With this design, there is no need to utilize the one-X API or more extensive programmability within the Avaya environment or within another client "listener" application.

The Dynamics CRM web services and xRM application framework allows the flexibility and scalability to extend the integration logic further to match your business need. For example, other form fields or subgrids can be populated to show other related data related to the caller, giving the call center agent some context around the caller even before their conversation begins. A flexible and affordable solution!

Happy CRM'ing!

Dynamics CRM / XRM Integration with GIS and PowerMap

Over the last several years, a new dimension has been added to reporting in Dynamics CRM: visualization. PowerObjects has taken visualization a step further by introducing maps into XRM solutions. It's a little thing we call PowerMap—another inexpensive and great add-on by PowerObjects that installs in a few clicks and does magic when it comes to data visualization.

PowerMap & XRM Integration with GIS

PowerMap takes addresses from your CRM and plots them on a map in the form of pins. With it, you can look at all your leads, accounts and contacts on a map. You can use PowerMap to create business plans based on lead/account/contact locations, for reporting (just click on a pin to get more details), to see what clients are located nearby when you travel for a conference, to make your CRM look cool…the opportunities are endless. And because we are constantly improving our products, future versions of PowerMap will have even more functionality, such as different colored pins for different types of customers, heat maps, routing, and directions.

As an example of how PowerMap can be used, let's take a look at a recent project where PowerObjects helped a county in rural Minnesota integrate their GIS (Geographic Information System) with Dynamics CRM 2011. (We even got a nice little write-up about the project in MS Dynamics World.)

The permits in this customer's CRM system require a geographic location, and entering that geographic location information in the form plots a dot on a map. This data is sent to their GIS system in nightly batches. Essentially, they use CRM to update information in two systems: CRM and GIS. One of the many uses of this information is to determine which addresses are in a floodplain, shore land, a bluff, and so on. They also use this new system to track photos and associate them with a geographic location. This information is available in both GIS and CRM.

Before the integration with mapping visualization, our clients did a lot of research to implement an off-the-shelf product that would integrate both the systems. They found out that most of the generic products available out there are first of all, fairly expensive, and second of all, have many functionalities that they did not require. That's when PowerObjects came into the picture and built a custom solution that only had the functionalities that they required—no more, no less.

PowerObjects is not new to XRM integration with GIS systems/mapping components. However, many businesses have keen interest in visualizing vital data. Where are  leads/contacts/accounts located? You want to see the distribution of your leads based on their ranking/score--where are the hot/warm/cold leads? Which region of the country brings you the most revenue? How do you identify your "VIP" accounts in the country so you could send them an invite to the annual fundraiser?

These are some of the questions that can be answered by PowerMap.

If you're interested in PowerMap's capabilities, or integrating mapping visualizations with your CRM/XRM, we'd be happy to discuss with you your requirements and implement a robust integration. Meanwhile, give PowerMap a shot. You can download and try it free for 30 days, like all of our add-ons.

Happy CRM'ing!

Dear Joe CRM: Can I use the AssureSign integration with Dynamics 365 anywhere in the world?

Dear Joe CRM, I've been hearing a lot about the integration between Dynamics 365 and AssureSign. I love the concept of digital signatures on documents that can easily be stored in our CRM. Here's the catch. Our company does business world-wide. Will AssureSign work, and be legally binding, in multiple countries?

Sincerely,
Still Signing in Singapore

Dear Still Signing,

Great question! Here at PowerObjects we use AssureSign for all our e-signing needs. We use it for everything from sending change requests internally to sending service agreements to our customers. Since we are a little bit obsessed with CRM, we really love its integration with Dynamics 365, because it allows us to grab data from CRM and pop it right into AssureSign documents. Kind of like a magic genie for CRM! Then on the flip side, signers are able to enter information directly onto the form that can be pushed back into CRM. Pretty slick feature, huh?

But I digress, the AssureSign solution does work in every country, which is great news! All it takes is a little work on the back end. AssureSign's support team will enable the ability to modify legal terms to match that country's e-signature regulation policy. While the awesome support staff at AssureSign is awesome at helping you get everything ready to rock, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few guidelines for your region. Here are a few quick hits:

AssureSign signed documents are acceptable as valid signatures under these referenced rules and for the document types not explicitly unsupported per these rules. It probably goes without saying, but it's a good idea to make sure your documents receive a full legal review to make sure they are binding. Joe CRM is all about security!

To learn more about the international capabilities of AssureSign and Dynamics 365, join us for a webinar on February 22 to see how PowerObjects enabled their sales team to spend less time sending, and more time selling by implementing AssureSign's Electronic Signature Software. In this webinar you'll learn how PowerObjects uses AssureSign within Dynamics 365 to improve the customer experience to sign any document, from anywhere, and on any device. Get a little preview of the webinar by checking out this video here and remember to register today!

Happy CRM'ing!

Generating Maps for Dynamic CRM Instance Adapter Integration

Generating a Map

After configuring the CRM Instance Adapter and an integration has been created, you can now generate Maps to define the transfer of data in the integration. Begin by selecting the integration you wish to add a map to by selecting it in the Connector and click the New Map button. A new dialog will appear that allows you to select an entity from both the source and destination organizations. After selecting the entities, click Create:

Before the newly created Map will work, we must configure how we want to map the entity’s fields.  To edit a field mapping, click on the edit icon next to the field.   There are three options to choose from:

There is one more option that makes it easy to use for bulk migration of the data. Instead of mapping individual fields, users can map all fields by using a back slash in the top level field.  Doing so will then map all the fields from the source fields.  This can also be accomplished by clicking the Edit button, selecting “Map to a source field” and then choosing the root element of the source field as well.

Once the fields are mapped, the Map Run Schedule must be set before activating.  Select the map that you just created under the Maps root element in your integration. The page you’re presented with on the right side of the Connector screen should look like the following:

Modify the “Check for Changes” Edit hyperlink.  Select the start time, and how often you want the adapter to check for changes.  The recurrence patterns include options for “Once”, “Recurring”, “Weekly” and “Continuously”.  Note that all integrations will make re-attempts at any failed entities.

After setting the “Check for Changes” value, we may also need to set what modified date the Adapter should check for.  Clicking the second Edit link will allow you to pull records that have been modified since the date chosen.  In most cases, the default value for this setting is several hundred years in the past.

Now that the scheduling of the map has been configured and the mapping rules have been put in place, we must click Activate button in order for it to be enable to run.  We must then click the Save button to save all the changes made to the mapping.  The next time the Connector starts, this mapping will be active and start pushing records across to the destination Dynamics CRM.  Repeat this process for each entity you want to integrate.  Before starting the Connector, make sure to check out our blog about Initial Integrations which contains useful information about both the order in which you integrate entities and also some special entities you’ll need to handle.

Thank You - Understanding the CRM to Outlook Integration

[vc_row full_height="yes" bg_type="image" parallax_style="vcpb-default" bg_image_new="id^75066|url^https://powerobjects.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/randyipad_dblue.jpg|caption^null|alt^null|title^randyipad_dblue|description^null" bg_override="ex-full" parallax_content="off" fadeout_row="off" enable_overlay="enable_overlay_value" overlay_color="rgba(0,0,0,0.68)" overlay_pattern="02.png" overlay_pattern_opacity="30" overlay_pattern_attachment="fixed" seperator_enable="off" css=".vc_custom_1479315409168{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 35px !important;padding-bottom: 35px !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3" css=".vc_custom_1475171181163{background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}"][ultimate_heading main_heading="Webinars on Demand" heading_tag="h6" main_heading_color="#f68a1e" sub_heading_color="#ffffff" alignment="left" main_heading_style="font-weight:300;" main_heading_margin="margin-top:0px;margin-bottom:0px;" sub_heading_margin="margin-top:0px;margin-bottom:0px;" el_class="case-study-page-heading" main_heading_font_family="font_family:Open Sans|font_call:Open+Sans|variant:300" sub_heading_font_family="font_family:Montserrat|font_call:Montserrat|variant:700" sub_heading_font_size="desktop:50px;" sub_heading_style="font-weight:700;" margin_design_tab_text=""]Understanding the CRM to Outlook Integration[/ultimate_heading][vc_raw_html css=".vc_custom_1525693045683{padding-top: 30px !important;}"]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row el_class="webinar-desc" css=".vc_custom_1479329034554{padding-top: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}"][vc_column width="1/6"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][ultimate_heading main_heading="About the Webinar" heading_tag="h4" main_heading_color="#000000" sub_heading_color="#ffffff" alignment="left" spacer="line_only" spacer_position="bottom" line_height="5" line_color="#f68a1e" main_heading_style="font-weight:300;" main_heading_margin="margin-top:0px;margin-bottom:0px;" sub_heading_margin="margin-bottom:0px;" el_class="case-study-page-heading" main_heading_font_family="font_family:|font_call:" sub_heading_font_family="font_family:|font_call:" sub_heading_font_size="desktop:36px;" line_width="100" spacer_margin="margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:20px;"][/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text el_class="webinar-details"]The power of the Outlook Integration with Dynamics CRM is a driving factor in many organization’s decision to choose Microsoft. In this webinar, we’ll walk through the functionality in detail so that you can understand what the end-user experience is and the best practices for taking advantage of its powerful features.

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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