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.
Keeping up with the incredible Microsoft Dynamics CRM versions in the old days was hard enough, but now the team is updating and releasing at an even faster pace.
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Competition: There information is probably outdated, ask multiple sources. Also make sure you include an experienced servcies provider in your conversations. The Field Service teams at Microsoft and at Partners configure and extend past most all objections.
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.
Something amazing happens when you move to the Cloud. Updates Happen and for the millions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online users updates have been happening. Have you looked at some of the more recent released features such as Microsoft Social Listening.
This year I have counted at least four if not eight major feature enhancements to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the wonderful is not slowing down.
Lex Thomas welcomes Jackie Nichols and Chris Gideon to the show as they discuss how businesses can unleash the power of “working like a network” through internal social media tools that can help organizations better communicate and collaborate with each other to drive better business results which impact customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
I just reset my Globe so as the days of 2014 accumulate, and people continue to read this blog the touch pinpoints will grow again.
To date I have had ~237,000 visitors and it is a thrill to know that I can keep helping the world to master Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The release of v2013 KEEPS the great and adds more! A framework, a product, a solution set and a platform for integrating to so many other solutions. Make 2014 the year you eliminate all those random Access Databases, and reduce all those way too sophisticated and often redundant Excel Spreadsheets.
A big welcome to 2014. In my world there are two key phrases that are bubbling up as big picture goals this year.
1) Building and Leveraging Bridges
2) Cross Product Technical Solutions
Bridges of connection have long been a wonderful resource. I find that listening to needs and then connecting two people who can click two needs into some awesome solution(s) has been a whole lot of fun and I don't plan to stop leveraging that awesomeness now that I work within the world of Microsoft.
Cross Product Technical Solutions have also always been my focus, but unlike the days when Small Business Server combined products to meet all the needs of small businesses, we now have combined products to meet complex needs within Enterprise. Take for instance the current version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013. It is not just CRM or xRM, now it also has Social Insights, Yammer, SharePoint and soon to come Social Listening and Dynamic Marketing. Sprinkle in some ISV love and you get Portals, Community, Complex Ordering, Graphical Analytics, Integration bridges and so much more!
It really is a world of frameworks, integration, social and the new features of v2013 process and automated business rules and the toolsets just keep expanding.
So reach out and put on that learning hat, open your mind for some right shift perspective changing and dive in. Oh and don't forget to park egos, negative attitude, doubt and frustration from change at the door. They will just get in your way as you learn to surf on the changing waters of this new world.
I have recently changed my daily process to include Yammer and the value add has been significant. Take for instance the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Rollup 1, Yammer post with link and discussions letting me know it was available.
If your company currently has YAMMER and you are not using it, you might want to reconsider. Timing is everything when it comes to accepting new and sometimes you just need to re-evaluate on an ongoing basis.
Thinking on CRM : The last time you purchased a TV, did you purchase it because of the new features? The better picture quality, the smaller form factor, perhaps even a new connection or cutting edge bling?
OK so that is how you buy a new TV, but this mindset does not work as well for the purchase of a new CRM System. A CRM System is not the solution to your business process problems, it is the empowerment of your decided upon business process. Perhaps even new business processes. It is a new road with growth possibilities and potenial. It is a new culture.
You might be limited today by technology, but the technology that you buy for tomorrow should not limit you and your business processes.
Needless to say why I am a big fan of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is as much a development framework (xRM) as it is a product. Those who are masters understand not only the features they get out of the box, but also the strengths, weaknesses and when to use which feature. They also understand the age and maturity of each feature. Knowing if the feature can easily be used outside it's designed purpose or if it needs to stay in it's comfort zone. They understand when to configure, when to customize and when to extend using standard Microsoft Development methodologies.
As a business owner stepping into the world of implementing and incorporating technologies into the heart beat of your company you need to think flexibility. Change is constant, but the change of technology is so fast that you need a product and a partner that offers you choice. Constant choice. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a long history (10 years and counting) of not only offering you choice , but of also staying current with the latest technologies and not removing all that has been an incredbly solid framework since 2003.
Choose carefully your product
Choose carefully your partner
and you will have an engine behind your business processes that helps keep you consistent, organized, empowered and current.
Take a huge amount of depth and years of development (Dynamics CRM v2011) and add onto it a whole new way of working. Shake out a few of the old features, park a couple of items for just a bit and add some much very cool new. Now mix well, test and release.
Oh and hold onto your hat, because although change is constant it always has an impact.