The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community has an incredible history of leveraging the Dynamics xRM platform to meet some really tough business challenges. If you work with a proven Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner or with Microsoft Consulting Services (the MCS CRM Team), they bring to the table their own incredible library of experiences, but also their own depth and reach of resources and tools.
Knowledge in "CRM" is critical.
There are also great open source resources such as CODEPLEX where partners and clients can download and take ownership of kick starters and CODEPLEX is not Dynamics specific so you can tap into the entire Microsoft stack.
AND CODEPLEX is really just a small taste of the greater community resources. Take for instance following a few Dynamics CRM Specific blogs such as some of the ones listed on this blog. You start and the list just grows and grows and grows. The number of shared resources, code snippets, tools, configuration best practices and more is so unlimited. OK, so you are now tapped into the blogs ...
Within Microsoft Dynamics CRM each entity has a set of system views. These system views can be configured or added to and as such are a powerful feature within the system. You can even create new views.
So what exactly is a view?
If you are familiar with a spreadsheet, you know that you have rows and columns of data and each piece of data sits in its own little cell. A view in Dynamics CRM is just like a spreadsheet. It has rows and columns of data. Additionally any given view in the system also let's you "click" and export to Excel.
Other powerful features of views include the ability to add columns of data from not just the entity where the view is defined, but from every entity that is related to the entity where the view is defined.
You can also sort views of data by clicking on the header of a column and secondarily sort by shift clicking on the next column.
People using Dynamics CRM can also use "Advanced Find" to create their own personal views of data. So if your IT Department is a bit buried under a long to-do list, you don't have to wait. You can create your own personal views AND you can even share these views with your peers or manager.
OK, so you really don't want to give up Excel and all the pivoting and graphics that you can do with it. Guess what, you don't have too! Views feed Excel and all the powerful data manipulation techniques that Excel offers. Check Out PowerView, PowerBI and PowerPivot, if you love Excel, you will go over the top with these Excel add-ins. CRM + Microsoft Excel "Better Together"
Views have another role within the world of Dynamics CRM. They feed charts, so setup your favorite view and then use the CRM Chart feature to chart the data from that view. These charts can be added to Dashboards for instant, dynamic, graphical love!
When you purchase Microsoft Dynamics CRM a number of entities come with the system (if you need a refresher in entities, see previous post). You can create hundreds more, but here are some of the building block Entites.
Think first about a table within a database and then add more. A entity in CRM is one focal point of data including a set of fields, a set of views, a set of forms, a set of relationships and more.
An entity includes an unlimited number of system views that display the data in a spreadsheet like format. Views can also include related data.
An entity includes an unlimited number of data entry forms, although many rollouts have one form per entity. A form is a set of fields laid out in a manner that allows easy data entry. Forms can be tied to security roles.
An entity includes relationships to other entities. For instance you have an Account entity that has a relationship to a contact entity and this relationship is one account to many contacts. You can also have different types of relationships including One to Many, Many to One, and Many to Many.
An entity includes Charts. A chart is a graphical representation of the data that is contained in the entity and it's related entities. Charts can also be filtered and displayed based on the views.
An entity includes system messages that can be configured.
An entity can be named or renamed to represent the specific needs of a business. Take for instance Account, the Account entity can be renamed to be Company, Corporation, Building, Farm, Sign, Hospital, Department, Office and more.
New entities can be created to meet the demands of many different types of businesses and data tracking.