Part 3: Creating an Editable Grid in CRM 2013 Using Knockout JS

This is the third installment following Part 2, which demonstrated the editable grid from inside Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, and Part 1, which introduced the editable grid in CRM 2011. This blog introduces paging.

I will first demo what the grid looks like with paging in a CRM 2013 environment. Afterwards, I will walk through the main block of code.

I adopted the concepts from this great blog post from Ryan Vanderpol, about adding a pager to a grid.


The following screen shot demonstrates the pager inside the grid.

CRM editable grid

The above demonstrates:

  • The “Previous” and “Next” buttons allow the user the move forward and backwards one page. Currently, the “Previous” button is disabled because the first page is being displayed.
  • The numbers “1”, “2”, and “3” represent the page numbers.

Code Walkthrough

The following code represents the additional changes required to the source originally introduced in Part 2 of my blog.

I have added a new resource to the mix:

  • new_bootstrap_no_icons.css

I have made changes to the following source.

  • The below html web resource.
    *Look for code marked in green
    *Strike out code is either replaced or removed

See Code Walkthrough here

Code Comments

Snippet Comments
<tbody data-bind=”foreach: pagedList“> Loop through pageList instead of oproducts collection.
<div class=”pagination”> Represents the paging UI controls. This code uses the styles from bootstrap CSS.
self.pageSize = ko.observable(3); Establishes the number of rows to display per page.
self.pageIndex = ko.observable(0); Determines what page to start on when the form loads.
self.moveToPage(self.maxPageIndex()); This is called after a new record is inserted
if (self.pageIndex() > self.maxPageIndex())
This is called after a record is removed.

What’s next?

In future blog posts:

  • Resolving deadlocks when saving multiple records from the editable grid.
  • Sorting.
  • Do you have any suggestions on what you would like to see?

Part 2: Creating an Editable Grid in CRM 2013 Using Knockout JS

This is the second installment following Part 1, which introduced the editable grid in CRM 2011. Since then, I have upgraded the editable grid to work in CRM 2013.

In this blog, I will first demo what the grid looks like in CRM 2013. Afterwards, I will walk through the main block of code.


The following screen shots demonstrate the editable grid of opportunity products inside of the opportunity.

MPitts KnockoutJS 2 image 1

The above demonstrates:

  • Editing existing data, including lookup data
  • Adding a new record
  • Deleting an existing record
  • The introduction of the custom option set field, ‘projected schedule’ (new to this post)

MPitts KnockoutJS 2 image 2


  1. Click ‘Add Opportunity’
  2. The standard lookup appears; select a product and click ‘Add’

MPitts KnockoutJS 2 image 3

3. Choose a ‘projected schedule’

MPitts KnockoutJS 2 image 4

4. Click ‘Save’

MPitts KnockoutJS 2 image 5

5. As a proof of concept, the code takes the count of opportunity products, and updates the parent ‘estimated budget’ field.  This demonstrates updating the parent opportunity.

Code Walkthrough

The following code is reference implementation that you can adapt to your needs.

The following web resources make up this solution:

  • Jquery.js
  • Knockout.js (version 2.2)
  • SDK_REST.js
  • SDK.MetaData.js
  • The below html web resource.

Code Walk Through

Code Comments

What’s next?

In future posts:

  • Resolving the known issue with IE (yes, IE only – sigh)
    • Object Expected with JsProvider.ashx
    • How to integrate this code in CRM
    • Sorting
    • Paging through the grid

A CRM Year in Review

What a year it has been! Microsoft has been quite busy with Dynamics CRM. We have seen the emergence of Marketing Pilot, strategic partnerships with InsideView, advances in Mobile and of course, CRM 2013, just to name a few. Let’s recall each of Microsoft’s major milestones:

Polaris release: We began the year with a new UI for online CRM users which had just been introduced the prior month. This gave us our first feeling of a more intuitive, flat UI. It was a great “teaser” to what was to come later in the year. Sales and service professionals were able to work much more easily and efficiently in CRM. What a great success! The concept of the Business Process Flow was shown in the new flattened UI. Included in the release was support for using CRM on an iPad and use of CRM in web browsers Safari, Chrome and Firefox. This signified the beginning of the shift to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. Skype was introduced as an alternative to communication mediums in addition to Microsoft Lync. Lastly, Yammer was made available to integrate into the UI. While all of these updates applied only to online CRM users, the additional browsers were also supported in a companion release for on-premise through Update Rollup 12.

crm 2013 image 1Yammer: Microsoft acquired the social media company Yammer. It provides a communication medium by which employees may collaborate in a Facebook-like interface. Yammer may also be used to communicate with external audiences. All communications are held private and not available to the public internet.  The long-range implications include Yammer being used within/alongside Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, Office 365 and Skype. Already, the application can be used within Dynamics CRM.

crm 2013 image 2

Netbreeze: Microsoft acquired the company Netbreeze which provides social media monitoring. In this way, your company is provided a snapshot summary (and can drill to the underlying data) of how it is perceived across social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This data is invaluable to companies who need to actively monitor and respond to the public’s perception. Netbreeze is still a stand-alone application, but will be integrated with Dynamics CRM in the not too distant future.

Gemini release: In early second quarter, MarketingPilot was popularized. It opened up online integration to CRM, previously available only through 3rd party integration efforts. MarketPilot is a companion application which further extends CRM. It provides end-to-end marketing management capabilities beyond CRM’s marketing list and campaign management disciplines. This list of additional disciplines includes but is not limited to: strategy and planning, digital asset management, vendor management, media planning, and budget management. Also included in its capabilities are behavior tracking and landing pages which, prior to MarketingPilot’s integration, was supported only by products such as CoreMotives, ClickDimensions and Constant Contact. While MarketingPilot provides functions similar to these named applications, Microsoft has been clear that each of these and others have features that still present a compelling case to use these over or in addition to MarketingPilot.

CRM 2013 (aka Orion) major release: As we all know due to the buzz in the latter half of this year, CRM 2013 (aka Orion) was soft-released in October 2013 with the global kick-off launch in early November 2013.  The changes flat UI and business process flow adjustments from Polaris were incorporated into this new release.  It is available for both online and on premise customers.  Similar to the roll out of Polaris-like features, the Gemini hallmark MarketingPilot integration was also included in CRM 2013, but also made available to on premise users of CRM in addition to online users.  An additional major part of CRM 2013, as if the business process flow and Flat UI improvements weren’t enough, was mobile for tablets and smart phones.  There are many new features in the new release. See my prior blogs for some of those.

InsideView: Microsoft formed a strategic partnership with InsideView.  InsideView monitors publically available information sources on the internet and summarizes that information for companies and individuals. It has been available as a 3rd party add-in solution for Dynamics CRM for several years.  The data is displayed in a window inside of lead, opportunity, contact and account records. Through this partnership, Dynamics CRM Online users get to use the tool at no additional license cost and there is a discounted license cost for on premise CRM users.crm 2013 image 3

As you can see, much has happened in the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in calendar year 2013.  Microsoft plans to have approximately two major releases for online users every year.  Already, we know of a few enhancement releases coming, Leo and Vega.  We can’t wait to see what comes next.

Making CRM 2011 and IE11 work together

CRM 2011 and Internet Explorer 11 (IE11)

With Internet Explorer 11 being pushed out as part of the Windows Updates, consideration needs to be provided on the compatibility of the CRM 2011 with IE11.

When logging into CRM in IE11 using the URL:, you will be re-directed to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM ‘Mobile Express’ site. That site looks something like this:

CRM 2011 and IE11

So what are the potential workarounds to avoid this?  There are three options available:

Option 1


Option 2

  • Use the IE Developer Tools to set the browser mode to IE10.
    • Browse to your CRM UR
    • Hit F12 ke
    • Select the “Emulation” setting
    • Set the “User agent string” to “Internet Explorer 10
    • Browse back to the CRM URL

Option 3

Use Chrome or Firefox.  This options require the CRM 2011 environment be upgraded to UR12 or above. Upgrading to UR12 or above requires validating that custom functionality works correctly in Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox.

CRM 2011 TO CRM 2013 Upgrade Process

CRM 2013Software and OS Components Support Changes

What software and operating systems will Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 support?

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
  • Microsoft Outlook 2013
  • Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.2 (ships with Windows Server 2012 R2)

What software and operating systems will Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 no longer support?

  • The Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook or the web application on Windows XP
  • Microsoft Office 2003
  • E-mail router will no longer support:
    • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
    • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 WebDAV protocol for email routing and tracking (Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Web Services (EWS) will still be supported)

Preparing the CRM Organization for the Upgrade

CRM 2011 to CRM 2013 On-Premise Upgrade Preparation Tasks:

  • Determine if the current implementation of CRM 2011 is using any legacy features
  • Use the CRM 2013 Custom Code Validation Tool to examine web resources and determine where there could be potential upgrade issues.  If the custom validation tool does find any concerns, they will either be using deprecated CRM 4.0 objects and functions or an unsupported coding process.  For more information about the validation tool go to the following links:
  • Use the legacy feature check tool to detect any server extensions that use the 2007 endpoint or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 features.  For more information on legacy tool, go to the following link:
  • Determine the appropriate upgrade path
  • Take into the consideration the following when determining which upgrade path to follow:
    • Upgrading to CRM 2013 is a one way process
    • One cannot upgrade directly to CRM 2013 from CRM 4.0
    • One cannot rollback the server installation to CRM 2011 once the upgrade to CRM 2013 is complete
    • In order to upgrade to CRM 2013, the CRM 2011 Server must either be on Update Rollup 6 or Update Rollup 14 or a later rollup before an upgrade can be considered

CRM 2013 Organization DB Changes

The structure of the organization database is optimized to take advantage of the built-in capabilities of SQL Server. In order to achieve this optimization, restructuring of the CRM organization database is required.  This restructuring should be factored into the upgrade planning as it can take time to complete.  This restructuring process is known as a database or base extension “table merge”.

In Microsoft’s internal testing, after the table merge process was completed, the performance of CRM increased under a variety of workloads.  There was also a reduction in the number of SQL errors due to conflicts in accessing system data. Important aspects to note about the CRM organization database schema changes:

  • Data access through the filtered views is supported
  • Data access through direct SQL calls against the database tables is unsupported and therefore may not work after the upgrade
  • If data is inserted or updated into CRM through direct SQL against the tables, this method is unsupported and the code will need to be updated

So when should the table merge process be run?  Should it be run as part of the upgrade or after the upgrade process is completed?  The size of the CRM 2011 organization database is a determining factor on which approach to take. The following factors need to be considered with regards to the size of the CRM 2011 organization database and the table merge process:

  1. If the organization database has very large tables than one can choose to defer the restructuring of the database until after the upgrade. For example, if the organization database is 70-GB then the database table merge process could take several hours. By deferring the merge process the upgrade process could finish in approximately two hours and the system can be returned to a usable state. Potentially during nightly maintenance windows, one can merge the organization, one entity or more at a time until the all the base and extension tables are merged.
  2. During the upgrade process when a full merge is done the process will require approximately two times the size of the current database for the lifecycle of the merge. So if one chooses to do the table merge process as part of the upgrade and if the organization DB size is 20-GB, then approximately 40-GB will be needed for the upgrade.

In order to determine the right approach is, it is highly recommended to upgrade a copy of the CRM 2011 organization on a test environment prior to performing the upgrade on the production environment.  As part of the upgrade process, there is a report and information in the log for the table marge process to help make the decision.

Upgrade Paths

The following tasks pertains to both the migration and in-place upgrade methods:

  1. Verify that the CRM Server and organizations are patched up all the way to Update Rollup 14 (if part update rollup 6 already) and that all the functionality in the application is working correctly. Note: Upgrading from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013 is supported from either update rollup 6 or update rollup 14. Microsoft recommends that all deployments of CRM 2011 be upgraded to Update Rollup 14 before upgrading to CRM 2013.  The option of upgrading from Update Rollup 6  is meant to support a step-through upgrade from CRM 4.0.
  2. The CRM 2013 product key must be obtained before the upgrade process begins as the key is required to run the upgrade process.

Regardless of which upgrade part is chosen, the following are the stages of the upgrade process:

  1. Database Base and Extension Table Merge (this stage can either be run at the time of upgrade or later using a merge tool on a per entity basis).
  2. The server and organization update.
  3. Solutions update
    • Solutions will be converted to a new format
    • Solution will be upgraded to CRM 2013 forms and data engine
    • Unmanaged and managed solution will be supported
  4. The forms will be updated to the new CRM 2013 format.

Migration Method

(this is the option recommended by Microsoft):

  • Provides the ability to fallback to an existing CRM 2011 deployment as this method requires additional hardware for the CRM 2013 upgrade
  • This method allows upgrading to CRM 2013 without affecting the existing CRM 2011 deployment

Migration Method Steps:

  1. Server infrastructure for the CRM 2013 deployment needs to be setup. You can obtain further information regarding the minimum requirements of a deployment in the “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 system requirements and required technologies” section of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Implementation Guide.  This guide can be obtained from the following site:
  2. Regarding Microsoft SQL Server, ensure that the new CRM 2013 environment is at or above the version and patch level of the existing CRM 2011 SQL Server deployment. Doing this will allow for restoring a backup to the new CRM 2013 environment.
  3. Perform the CRM 2013 installation. The new CRM 2013 deployment will be setup and the base organizations will be configured.
  4. Confirm that the CRM server is working correctly with the newly created CRM 2013 organization.
  5. Open the deployment manager in the source deployment (CRM 2011 Deployment), and validate that the organizations are updated to UR14. Important: CRM 2013 will import organizations that are only on Update Rollup 6, Update Rollup 14 or an update rollup later than UR14 for CRM 2011 release. The CRM 2011 organization must be patched with a valid update rollup before doing the migration upgrade:
  6. Organizations that have Update Rollup 6 will have this version number: 05.00.9690.1992
  7. Organizations that have Update Rollup 14 will have this version number: 05.00.9690.3557
  8. Using SQL Server backup in the source CRM 2011 deployment, backup the organizations that need to be migrated to CRM 2013. Back up the organization database, which will have a name like <YOURORGNAME>_MSCRM. Ensure a full back up of the organization database is taken.
  9. Restore the backups from the CRM 2011 environment to the CRM 2013 environment (SQL Server).

Important: If the decision has been made to defer the database table merge process, registry keys need to be added to the deployment server. This must be done prior to running the upgrade process.

  1. Open the deployment manager and choose Import organization in the new environment. The import organization process will start, which will import and then upgrade the CRM 2011 organization to CRM 2013.
  2. Confirm that things are working as expected after the import is complete, by going to the organization in a web browser.

In-Place Method:

  • This method is utilized when upgrading the existing CRM server is a requirement
  • While this method provide the easiest and simplest path to upgrade. The following should be considered:
    • Falling back to CRM 2011 is not an option without reinstalling the CRM 2011 server
    • If the upgrade fails, the CRM server or organization will not be accessible until the error is cleared or the server is restored from a backup

In-Place Method Steps:

  1. First, backup the deployment database and organization databases.
  2. Determine that the environment meets the minimum requirements for CRM 2013. Review the “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 system requirements and required technologies” section of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Implementation Guide.
  3. Uninstall the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector for Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. This is necessary as the upgrade process cannot upgrade the CRM Connector for SQL Server Reporting Services.
  4. Proceed with the CRM 2013 Server setup process.
  5. If the CRM deployment has more than one organization, then use the deployment manager, to upgrade any remaining organizations. During upgrade, you can upgrade one or none of the organizations in CRM.

Don’t let a recall become a social media storm!

With food recalls increasing and averaging one a day over at the FDA website, and a steady trickle of consumer product safety recalls as well, it’s mind boggling that so many CPG companies are handling recall response so poorly.  By poorly, I mean that consumers are not getting quick resolution from official corporate channels such as the corporate website or the consumer care toll free number–but are airing their frustration on Facebook and Twitter. Within 24 hours, the frustration has gone viral and turned into a social media storm.

In many recent cases, a recall has generated so much traffic that jams the phone lines and/or crashes the brand’s website. Sometimes, the website is down, but the social media team is still directing their angry commenters to log a complaint over at the website. It is painful to watch the frustration unfold.

Then, the consumer care team stokes the fire of consumer anger by sending rebate coupons that don’t work at the supermarket

Nicole's Comment

Or don’t line up with the products that the consumers had to toss, or don’t work in the sales channel of choice or the state of residence of the consumer who receives them.

<complaint 4

It doesn’t have to be this way!

Most companies have the means of capturing the product, quantity, state of residence and retailer in their CRM systems. Whether their systems have the capacity to handle the increased load during a recall is another story.

In a food safety situation, lot or batch traceability is critical, and required by domestic and international regulations. Full traceability enables manufacturers to limit the recall to only those production lots with quality issues. The ERP system must provide full forward traceability through the distribution channels, and backward traceability into the supply chain.

Process recall readiness gaps exist in the area of documented processes, roles and responsibilities, and the pre-existence of a disaster response handling project plan/timeline.

If your business faces the threat of a product recall or another similar crisis in consumer confidence, are you really ready to handle it? Take a short self-assessment, and see how you score across the key readiness categories.

More on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 – Fall 2013

Last month, I posted about the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 coming this fall. The target release date is October 2013. In this blog, I will expand on it by sharing some more features and provide additional insights:


  • Marketing receives much needed enhancements with the integration of MarketingPilot.  With the Gemini release of CRM earlier this year, MarketingPilot became available to CRM Online customers. In CRM 2013, MarketingPilot will be available for both online and on-premise customers.
  • MarketingPilot provides additional marketing functionality not currently available in CRM, such as the ability to track non-email marketing efforts, provide lead scoring, send email blasts, and to have greater document management capabilities.
  • Although MarketingPilot is still a stand-alone application, it comes with a CRM connector allowing seamless operation between the two systems. The user interface for MarketingPilot is similar to that of CRM enabling a quick adoption. Microsoft and MarketingPilot together now can offer a full life cycle marketing solution including the abilities to plan, execute, monitor, and optimize. For more information regarding MarketingPilot, visit their website.

post 4 image 1

More on Mobile Access

  • Have you ever wanted the ability to search across records in multiple entities?  (Was Jane Doe a contact, lead, or did I include her name in a note somewhere? I can’t remember.)  You can do that in using CRM Mobil. It’ll be coming to CRM Online/on-premise soon after go-live, too.
  • Have you ever been online reviewing your accounts and lost your internet connection? CRM caches what you’ve looked at on your smartphone or tablet and allows you to keep reading it while you’re offline.
  • Use Skype to place phone calls right from your tablet or smartphone. You don’t have to write down the number and then place the call. Just press the phone number with your finger and voila!

Multiple License Options

  • Microsoft now gives you more options for licensing. You still have a full license and a license to a third party development access to CRM (to further the xRM capabilities of CRM), but now you have an in-between license. With this license, your users can read any entity and edit or create new accounts, contacts, cases, and leads, so long as their security role allows these options. This is a great way to save money on those junior roles or users who might just need to do a few things in CRM.

post 4 image 2

More Changes – The “Little Things”

  • Records now auto-save on close or every 30 seconds.  No longer do you have to wonder if you saved that record; it does it for you.
  • There is now the concept of an “access team”. It is a flexible team that can change for every record (for example, for every opportunity). This will allow you to have different users able to read and edit those records they’re allowed to without the rigidity of making them own the record.
  • Real-time workflows. Yes, you read that right. A workflow can now be set up to fire immediately without having to wait for it to happen 20 seconds or 20 minutes later. This will help enable your teams to be that much more productive.
  • Outlook now loads faster. Due to some changes in how CRM is installed with Outlook, your Outlook client will now launch much more quickly giving you’re a few less moments to get that cup of coffee, but more time get in that extra email or two.
  • Coming shortly after the launch of CRM 2013, CRM will have a third option in using email. Presently, email has to be sent from the local user’s Outlook email (meaning it has to be running) or from a separate email server (making it another thing for your network admin to maintain). Now, there will be an option to have your CRM synced with Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, Live, or email systems.  It will still let you track emails to CRM too.

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  • At times, our business processes call for some decisions to be made for us based on other factors. Pre-CRM 2013, often a skilled (and expensive) developer resource was needed to update CRM to perform to those needs. With CRM 2013, some of those behaviors can be set by a business analyst. Some of these include, setting a field’s value based on another field, hiding/showing a field, and setting a field to be required. Future upgrades will become easier using this functionality as it is potentially less code that will have to be adjusted by a developer.

post 4 image 4

As you can see, CRM 2013 just keeps getting better. Users will have more options, flexibility, and ways to be much more productive while saving money. Can’t wait to see more? Contact Edgewater Fullscope to reserve your demonstration of CRM 2013 today.

Creating an Editable Grid in CRM 2011 Using Knockout JS

Dave Berry wrote an excellent customization for CRM 4.0 which provided the ability to mass update child records, directly from the related parent’s form. Unfortunately, the CRM 2011 architecture prevents this customization from being adopted. By now, there exist quite a few commercial solutions for grid editing.

I’ve been looking for a way to build a solution instead of buy.  I came across this fantastic blog post, which suggests using knockout JS as the data-binding tool. There is a great tutorial and lots of examples to get started.

The following is an example of an implementation of an editable grid for CRM 2011. I show two examples of editing opportunity products from within the parent opportunity which are:

  • How all changes to opportunity product are saved in a single operation
  • How only one opportunity product is saved back to the server

I demonstrate the following features which allow:

  • Editing existing data, including lookup data
  • Adding a new record
  • Deleting an existing record


post 3 image 1

The first editable grid illustrated above, implements the ‘multi-save’ design. In this case, all data is editable all the time. The second editable grid demonstrates using a single-record approach to editing records.

post 3 image 2

Referring to the single-edit approach, clicking on the ‘Edit’ link enables that record for edit. In this approach, the user must click ‘Apply’ in order to successful save the data. The record remains in edit mode until the user clicks ‘Apply’ or ‘Cancel.

post 3 image 3

Click ‘Apply’ results in a pop-up confirmation of the success. Naturally, the pop-up can be removed.

post 3 image 4

In the multi-save demonstration, note that both quantities have been updated. Click ‘Save’ to send the updates back to the server.

post 3 image 5

A confirmation pop-up reports the success of both records.

post 3 image 6

Click ‘Add Opportunity Product’ to add a new record.

post 3 image 7

Adding a record requires that certain required fields, namely the product, are selected. Therefore, the standard product lookup is presented.

post 3 image 8

Upon selecting a product, and clicking ‘Ok’, the record is successfully created. Notice that quantity and UOM are defaulted.

post 3 image 9

Removing a record is accomplished by clicking ‘Delete’ link next to the record.

post 3 image 10

Notice the record has been removed.

In the next blog post, I will walk through the code and how to integrate this code in CRM.

Some features I plan on demonstrating in a future blog are:

  • Editing ‘OptionSet’ fields
  • Sorting
  • Paging through the grid

CRM 2013 Business Process Flows

With the release of the RTM version of CRM 2013 on the near horizon, there are many exciting new features to look forward to:

  • A new command bar to replace the ribbon in CRM 2011
  • A flat user interface to replace the pop-up windows in CRM 2011
  • Auto-save functionality that saves a record that the user is working on every 30 seconds
  • Quick create forms which allow a user to complete a subset of fields required to create a record

To learn more about these new features, click on the following link:

While there are many new features to be released with CRM 2013, the one in particular I would like to elaborate on in this article is called Business Process Flow.

The business processes functionality was first released in the Polaris release of CRM 2011 (December 2012 Update of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online).  However, at that time the business process functionality was limited to the lead, opportunity, and case entities. In CRM 2013, this limitation does not exist. Therefore:

  • Processes can be created for any entity
  • Processes can be created across entities including custom entities. For example, turning an opportunity into a quote, order or invoice. In addition, multiple processes can be created for the same record type and made available to users through security roles
  • Multiple processes can be created per entity and one can switch between each process in a record

So what are the basic steps to create a business process flow?

  • The first step is to enable the business process flow functionality for an entity, if it is a custom entity.  If it is an out of the box entity, the business process flow functionality will be automatically enabled:

post 2 image 1

  • When the business process flow functionality is enabled on a custom entity, the following two fields will automatically be created.  The ‘ProcessId’ signifies the ID of the process associated with a particular record whereas ‘StageId’ signifies the ID of the current stage of a particular record in the process.

post 2 image 2

  • To create a business process flow, proceed to Settings>Processes and click on ‘New’ to create a business process flow. Two new categories are available for selection in CRM 2013:post 2 image 3
  • In this case, select ‘Business Process flow’ and then select the entity, the process needs to be created for

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  • Next, add stages and steps to the process flow:

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  • Multiple stages can be added in the process flow and multiple steps can be added in each stage.  The required flag can be used to tollgate a stage to ensure that one cannot move to next stage without completing the required step.  A business process flow can include multiple entities by clicking on the Options buttonpost 2 image 6

The following are examples of out of the box business flow processes:

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Additional features of Business Process Flows

Switching: Multiple business flow processes can be created per entity and as such one can switch from one process to another in a particular record using the post 2 image 10 option available under the ellipsis in the record menu command bar. Selecting the ‘Switch Process’ option opens up a ‘Select Business Process Flow’ dialog like the example below.  Select the process you would like to switch to and the record will be refreshed with the new selected process.

post 2 image 11

Process Editing: The process that is currently selected in the record can be edited directly from the record using the post 2 image 12 option available under the ellipsis in the record menu command bar.  However, please note that in order to edit the business flow process, one must have the appropriate privileges in his/her security role(s).

Role-Based: Business Process Flows are role-based, which means different processes can be designed for different job designations. Roles can be assigned to processes through the ‘Enable Security Roles Option’:

post 2 image 13

Now that the end user can design business process flow, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will really provide a process driven user interface.

CRM Will Become Consumer Relationship Management III

cuttlefish camo

Courtesy of Kings of Camouflage

In the third installment of looking at the evolutionary path of CRM in a social media sea we will continue using an analog of the cuttlefish ( PBS NOVA show “Kings of Camouflage” ). The cuttlefish’s evolution directly links the cells which manage its camouflage on its skin to its brain and it’s eyes, unlike reptilian chameleons. This provides two distinct advantages; speed in matching the surrounding environment to hide and the ability to mesmerize its prey to eat. Both of these are critical for today’s corporations to survive as well.One of the larger issues today is the integration and coordination of social media in the larger sphere of advertising, marketing, public relations, and consumer relations. Too many corporations take a stimulus-response approach to social media; Twitter bad: reply to Twitter on Twitter, Facebook bad: Facebook on Facebook, etc. Great strategy if you are a planeria flatworm. Bad strategy if you are Pepsi taking on Mayor Bloomberg of NYC regarding fat cola drinking children. Much better to respond by taking people’s temperature with Twitter and Facebook, crafting/commissioning some puff pieces with tame media in multiple outlets, turning into commercial sound-bytes for a mass-market TV ad (in this case like Coke), and resample via Twitter and Facebook for people’s response. Rinse and repeat. This is analogous to the cuttlefish tuning its camouflage to where it is heading as it is running, using its eyes and its brain real-time.

It has been reported that Turkey’s AKP is recruiting and training 6,000 social network storm troopers to counter the opposition’s current use of the social media and get the “correct” word out on the street. Major corporations such as Samsung, apparel design houses, and auto manufacturers “sponsor” influential social media personalities (good recent article in the Wall Street Journal) to try product(s), go to events and take pictures of/with their products. All of this to get past people’s highly evolved resistance to classic media. This all needs to be tracked and coordinated in one place, one data store to rule them all CRM (My Precious). It is too easy for any initiative to go awry without command and control driven by good intelligence. There will of necessity be a large number of relationships to coordinate in a campaign structure and CRM has most of the requisite plumbing in place out of the box.

Now if we add automated software to sweep the Social/Internet space queueing: related keyword topics, natural language parsing of blogs/posts, specific individuals or media outlets, Twitter, etc., a new dimension of potential neural intelligence data will be added. Indexing this information to the social matrix in CRM will allow for its rapid intelligent assessment by people who are informed and in the best position to counter with the total collection of media assets, like a cuttlefish evading a predator or mesmerizing prey. This is why we will see CRM at the nexus of this evolution, it is the fastest way to bring all of the data and all of the people together in one place quickly, without the drag or delay of custom developed systems.