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With Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1, a new feature that was added is the use of Alternate Keys. This is a feature aimed mainly at processes around integration and synchronization of data across various systems. How many times we have tried to map data between two or more systems, and we’ve ended up creating a mapping table in the ETL process to handle this? Now, thanks to this new feature, we can do that kind of mapping directly in Dynamics CRM.

Behind the scenes, the Alternate Keys is the ability to add a new attribute to a CRM entity that corresponds to a unique identifier or a composite key used by an external system that integrates with ours.

This can be achieved either through the user interface (configuration) or in custom code. This article HERE defines how to add alternate keys using the UI. On the other hand, this article HERE shows us how to do this programmatically.

NOTE: Up to 5 (five) different alternate keys can be defined for an entity.

On creation of a new Alternate Key, only the following record types can be used: String, Integer and/or Decimal.

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With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, there’s been a long love/hate story with regards to email integration. We’ve had CRM for Outlook, the Email Router, and since CRM 2013 Server-Side Synchronization. Each works, each has it’s own issue, and depending on the specific business case, one might make more sense over the others.

Slowly, the Email Router will get phased out, and replaced with Server-Side Synchronization. The Email Router, while functional and great for it’s time, had certain things going against it. It’s a separate component that needs to be deployed separately, can fail separately, and requires additional administration effort.

The better solution, especially now with Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1, is the enhanced Server-Side Synchronization. It is baked in, part of the default Dynamics CRM Administration. It does not require a separate installed component. From and administration stand point, that’s a relief. Also, this integration works at the server level, making it better performing than using CRM for Outlook.

But the icing on the cake is the tracked Exchange folders. This allows users of the system to configure specific tracked folders, and synchronize them directly with Dynamics CRM. This was the missing part from the previous version of Server-Side Synchronization, and now it all makes sense.

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With the release of Dynamics CRM 2015, we now have a new feature called Hierarchical Security. We’re going to look at how we can configure it and take advantage of it. This feature helps us with giving permissions to managers to see their reporting resources records as needed.

First off, we get to the configuration area by navigating to Settings > Security.

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As we have seen in this previous article HERE, Rollup Fields are a new addition to Dynamics CRM 2015. The example provided in that article is the basic “Hello World!” of Rollup Fields. But as usual, let’s see when we hit the brick wall.

First of all, one issue we already flagged is that the calculation refreshes hourly. Further more, the initial refresh takes even longer than that. So, we’re left with manual refresh, right? Try explaining that to the user! Good Luck!

Luckily, Codeplex to the rescue! There is a project called “Dynamics CRM 2015 Calculated Rollup Field (Workflow Activity)” HERE which, according to the documentation, will allow you to force a rollup field to recalculate when running a custom workflow that includes this activity. Ok, one problem sort of solved, if your company policy allows you to install foreign solutions. The source is available also :) Thanks to the author.

This makes me think further. I have a good scenario where I think this could help. One of my clients tracks event registrations. It’s all routed through CSRs (I know, a portal would help). I have as part of the event definition the venue details, including the maximum capacity. Clink, this is it. I can roll-up the total number of registered users, now in real time, and when the event is full, disable the registration of new users. This way I could retire a plugin, and simplify the logic.

You would think! But not that fast.

Turns out that the rollup field update event can not trigger another process. It’s only available to be queried. Bummer!

So, just a FYI then, rollup fields are a nice and easy way to show information to users, but don’t plan to use them to trigger business processes. Maybe in a future version/update.

Enjoy!

With Dynamics CRM 2015, one of the new features added is a new field type called Calculated Fields. We can see an evolution pattern here. First, we started with JScript, taking us up to CRM 2011. Later, in CRM 2013 we’ve got Business Rules to help. Now Calculated Fields is providing more specialized functionality, and enhanced features. But let’s look at the details.

I’ve created for this example two Decimal Number fields named very creatively Field Value 1 and Field Value 2, and added them to the form of a new entity. You can do this on any existing entity also.

Next I’m adding a third field of type Decimal Number. Let’s name it in the same creative fashion to Calculated Field.

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Running a quick search on Microsoft Download Center presents the following available downloads for Dynamics CRM 2015:

image

This includes the download for Dynamics CRM 2015 Server for On-Premise, and the 90 days trial keys are made available also.

Find it all HERE.

Enjoy!

Calculated Fields are another of the new features added with Dynamics CRM 2015.

They are build based on entity fields and related entities through a N:1 relationship. We can use the basic math operators and string functions in defining the formula. For complex rules we can also use AND and OR.

Let’s look at a simple example of calculating a Lead Score.

We’ll start by customizing the Lead form. Add a new field named Lead Score. Set it a Whole Number, with a type of Calculated Field.

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With Dynamics CRM 2015 now we have the ability to define Rollup Fields. This is a no-code approach to aggregating data across 1:N relationships.

The functionality is similar to what you would do in Excel. You can take advantage of SUM, MAX, MIN and COUNT.

Let’s look at a very simple example of calculating all open Cases on an Account.

On the Account configuration, add a new field called Total Open Cases. Define it as Whole Number, and of type Rollup. Click on the Edit button.

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Shortly after posting my short list of CRM 2015 content HERE the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team has released a more comprehensive collection of materials available to the community. Here is the article:

CRM 2015 prerelease content is here!

Enjoy!

So, now with the upcoming Dynamics CRM 2015 we have some enhancements coming to Quick Create. The beauty is that now we can create related records through Quick Create only.

How it works

Let’s look at the Dynamics CRM 2013 Quick Create Contact form:

image

Once we fill the required fields, and we get to the Company name field, in Dynamics CRM 2013 we only have the option to select an existing Account. Up to now we had to go and create an Account first, and then be able to come back to the Contact record and update the reference.

With Dynamics CRM 2015 now we get an option to Quick Create an Account from the Quick Create Contact form. That will just overlap the existing Quick Create Contact form with the Quick Create Account form. Once the Account is created, we are returned to the Quick Create Contact form, and the Company Name is populated with the Account we just created.

What it doesn’t do

One thing to be aware of is, if taking this approach, while the Account is populated on the Contact, on the Account form the Contact is not added to the Primary Contact on the Account.

Enjoy!

These are links to some of the information available as of now regarding Dynamics CRM 2015:

Get ready for the next release

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/get-ready-for-the-next-release.aspx

CRM Admin best bets

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/crm-admin-best-bets.aspx

What’s new

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/what-s-new.aspx

Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 to 2015 Autumn ‘14

https://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/crmvideos/archive/2014/09/30/upgrading-from-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2013-to-2015-autumn-39-14.aspx

Other Microsoft Dynamics CRM Videos

https://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/crmvideos/default.aspx

Enjoy!

Since this is not popping-up in search results as easy as I would like it to, here’s the link to it.

Dynamics CRM 2015 SDK

Enjoy!

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