Tools and Techniques to Reduce Dynamics 365 CRM Cloud Migration Effort

Hard to Migrate Dynamics 365 CRM Cloud Migration

Over the last several years the SaaS versions of applications like Dynamics 365 have been the focus of product management departments at companies such as Microsoft.

The online versions receive the product updates faster and there is a trend for customers to migrate their workloads to the Cloud/SaaS-based versions of the application.

Migrations to the cloud need to be planned and sometimes become challenging with the following considerations: 

  • Reporting capabilities are not the same with Dynamics 365 in the cloud. When you have a SQL based on premise Dynamics install, where you can have direct access to the database, it’s easier to schedule reports and get snapshots of these reports.
  • Integration with on-premise systems needs to be re-developed. With on-premise systems that are within the same network the trust level makes it easier to integrate the data and systems. With Dynamics 365, online API’s and web services must then be developed and consumed between applications that are accessing business and data level services across different networks.
  • Finally, the size of the database itself can be a hindrance in moving to the cloud. Having a database that has been upgraded over multiple versions of CRM just tends to have a lot of data bloat. This data bloat usually is in the form of documents and attachments that are tracked in CRM through emails.

Dynamics 365 online is a highly flexible, scalable application that brings the power of integration and other services and is certainly worth all the rethinking and redesign.

Tips on Migration of Dynamics 365 CRM 

Use the Work 365 Apps Report Scheduler to get some scheduling and reporting back to your routine. Report Scheduler allows you to schedule a view in Dynamics 365. This view can include links back to your CRM records as well as group and total number fields in the scheduled email report that you receive. Also using a tool like PowerBI makes it easier to visualize and source data from multiple systems.  

Using a commercial integration service or tools like Scribe or Kingsway allows you to build data and system level APIs. These integrations can be scheduled or run real time as well as between on-premise and online systems or even just multiple online systems.  

Finally, data migration can be challenging for multiple reasons – it takes time and effort to migrate and data storage costs more in the cloud or you have to pay for exactly what you use.

Azure Storage costs for Dynamics 365 online are $5GB/month. Storage costs per GB of data have been reduced since the release of Dynamics 365, however, it’s still quota based – you purchase a certain amount of data and you are entitled to use up to that limit. Microsoft sends you warnings and notifications as you approach these thresholds.

We have recently released the Work 365 Attachment Manager application to alleviate some of these data management issues in Dynamics 365.

The Attachment Manager app moves documents and attachments from Dynamics 365 into the Azure cloud and provides a link back into those records.

Using the Attachment Manager to move the bulky space-consuming attachments prior to any cloud migration project can significantly reduce your data footprint, making it easier for you to migrate to the cloud and use less storage while saving money on storage costs overall.  

Make Your Data Work for You : The Answer to Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Data Retrieval

Why Report Scheduler Needs

A common challenge for many Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM users is the retrieval of “Reports” on a consistent and customizable basis. Not everyone who needs certain data sets has the necessary skills or knowledge to extract what they need, and even for those who are trained, manually extracting data is a drain on time and resources.

For example, let’s say that the accounting team and sales team each need their own sets of data which all exist in one general report. Accounting needs trial dates and revenue from subscriptions while the sales team needs to lead source information and referrals.

That’s where the WORK 365’s Report Scheduler App comes in. This Dynamics CRM app enables the automatic sending of data sets in customizable report formats. These reports can be sent to defined user groups on set schedules and can be accessed in an online environment (including mobile phones).

So, the sales team can get completely customized reports sent to them at the frequency they need or desire, with the appropriate information they need while the accounting team can also get their own reports customized by information and the schedule they need as well.

This allows for efficient allocation of resources while also saving time and money by allowing each department or team to receive exactly what they are looking for without having to go through multiple channels or providing extra work.

How Report Scheduler Helps

Let’s take a look at a sample scenario to see how the WORK 365’s Report Scheduler App can help Dynamics CRM users.

Sample Scenario: A Sales Manager would like to receive a report on leads at 4.00pm every day of new leads added in Dynamics 365 by his/her team.

Step 1: Create a Personal View for Leads with the filter condition “Created On”: “Today”:

Report Scheduler Example 1

Step 2: Schedule the view for email delivery using the Report Scheduler App as shown below by customizing delivery and schedule options according to who will receive the report and the frequency of delivery:

Report Scheduler 2

As shown below, Dynamics 365 CRM data has been received in email both inline as well as in an attachment, which can be opened on any device including mobile phones.

And that’s it! The report will now be delivered to the appropriately designated recipients following the schedule and frequency are chosen in the delivery option setup.

See how WORK 365’s Report Scheduler App for Dynamics 365 can make your report maintenance and data retrieval easier and more efficient by getting a FREE TRIAL TODAY!

 

Copying or Cloning a Dynamic Marketing List in Dynamics 365

Why Cloning a Marketing List Needs

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Marketers works with data constantly and need to segment this data using filters from various fields. These filters are used to build marketing lists.

Dynamics 365 uses Dynamic Marketing Lists which essentially means that members of this list itself are queried dynamically to satisfy the filter conditions. So when new contacts are created, they are automatically included in this list as long as they satisfy the filter criterion.

The issue is that sometimes these filter conditions are complex and new marketing lists need to be created from these existing ones. You just need to tweak a field or value of a field. What makes this issue challenging is the fact that Dynamics 365 does not have an out-of-the-box record copying or cloning function for these marketing lists.

Currently, if you wanted to duplicate a marketing list on Dynamics 365, you would have to manually recreate all the filters for each additional copy. Even though the change you are making to the copy is minor. Some marketing lists can get very detailed and complex. This allows a large room for error when copied manually.

Record Clone

Some 3rd Party solutions in Dynamics 365 have realized that a need to clone and copy records seems to be an ongoing need and is a time saver. In these situations, the out of the box entities does not have copy or cloning capabilities. The only real option is to manually recreate these records or use a record copy or cloning solution like Work 365’s Record Clone for Dynamics 365.

The Work 365 Record Clone add-on or plugin allows one-click duplication of parts of our entire marketing lists, or any other custom or out of the box entity. These duplicated records can then be modified or customized however you wish and saved for use.

 

 

Steps Needed to Cloning a Dynamic Marketing List in Dynamics 365 CRM:

 

Step 1: Configure the base Marketing List to Clone: This is just a one-time setup step.

Note that only dynamic marketing lists are supported and not static through the cloning function.

 

Configuring Cloning of Marketing List 

Step 2: Click the Clone button!

 

Cloning Marketing Lists

 

Here, we have a Dynamic Marketing List of all my customers for Report Scheduler App whose territory in Europe. I can easily clone this and create another marketing list for another Territory or application with just a couple of clicks.

We could repeat this very easily and create multiple lists in a matter of couple minutes. And if we had to re-create all of them because my base list had an issue that’s when I can save a lot more time.  

Work 365 Clone App can be configured for any out-of-box entity as well as Custom entities.

Downloading or Emailing Microsoft Dynamics CRM reports as PDF, word or excel document in just 1 click

One common issue with Microsoft Dynamics CRM is generating reports and extracting that data into a pdf document format. This is process is cumbersome and involves a lot of steps and clicks.

It can take about 13 clicks to export a quote to PDF from CRM report and then finally get a chance to send it or email it. This is time-consuming and frustrating for users.

So to speed up this process, we decided to automate all the steps.

First, let me provide some context: for purposes of this discussion, I’ll be referring to the Work 365 1-Cick PDF solution which is a productivity enhancement for generating pdf, word or excel documents from the report on the fly on click of a button.

There is a configuration entity where we store details like the entity, report, action (Download, Attach to email, Attach to notes), File format (PDF, Word, Excel). Now all these parameters are tied to an action ID which is linked to a button. Thus on click of a button, all the above steps run in an automated fashion.

Below screen shows the configuration entity:

configuration entity

This custom button (which is a web resource) can be placed by CRM admin anywhere on the CRM form as shown in the screenshot below:

QuoteCustomButtons1

Here three custom buttons have been added to the Quote form :

  • Download Quote – Downloads the PDF copy of quote report locally (You could configure it to get a word or excel too if needed)
  • Email Quote – Generates the pdf of quote report on the fly and creates an email activity with this report added as an attachment
  • Attach to Notes – Generates the pdf of quote report on the fly and attaches this to the notes section.

Another approach is to click the 1-Click PDF button from the ribbon of the form or grid and then select the report to run.

Below screenshot shows running the Account Overview report by clicking 1-Click PDF button from the form ribbon.

AccountFormRibbionPopup1

Below screenshot shows running the Account Overview report by clicking 1-Click PDF button from the account grid ribbon (multiple records selected):

AccountGridPopup1

Below screenshot shows running the contact profile report by clicking the custom button that has been added to Contact form:

ContactFormCustomButton2

The above 3 reports (Account Overview, Contact profile, Quote) discussed in this blog are provided as free report samples to get you started fast. The standard report templates available out-of-box in CRM are limited in terms of functionality.

If you need to make even a minor change, you need to re-design the entire report using FetchXML (if you intend to use CRM online). The report templates that we provide work seamlessly in CRM Online as well as On-Premise.

CRM Dynamics is a great platform to build CRM solutions for small business to an enterprise organization.

However, to enhance the platform, add-ons from different partners provide a great way to improve the user experience and improve productivity.

Check out our other add-ons that you can purchase from our online store:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Service Automation – Email to Case

E-Mail to Case Automation

Email to Case Automation involves converting inbound emails received at your companies support or sales mailbox directly into a support ticket or case in CRM.

Now, the first question that comes to mind is why we need to automate the conversion of email to case?

The traditional approach in CRM would be:

  • Email is received at support mailbox. The Service agent retrieves the mail and adds it to CRM either by manually creating a new case and linking it to this email or converting to a case using “Convert To” option available in Outlook.
  • Agent then searches the customer database in CRM (accounts and contacts) to see if senders email address matches with either of email fields. Please note that in total there are three email address fields in account and three in contacts. If a match is found then the new case is linked to the customer.
  • Agent then sets case origin, enters case title & description and then adds the new case to the support queue. Further a new case notification can be sent to the customer with the case id.

This would easily involve 10-15 clicks per new case that is being created. Automating this process will result in an instant ROI.

Following are some of the benefits:

  • Increased Agent productivity
  • Increase ROI by reducing number of clicks per response
  • Customers receive better service
  • Improved and consistent support process

This functionality can be built by a CRM administrator using CRM workflows.

However, there are various limitations to this out-of-the-box approach. Some of them are as below:

  • Workflows cannot directly search the customer database to find out if the email sender is actually a customer.
  • Spam and auto-response emails would result in a lot of junk cases being created in the system. Also if an auto-response has been added then there is a possibility of going into an infinite loop of case creation and email notification.
  • An email received regarding an existing case with the slightly modified subject line will result in an incorrect creation of new case. The desired functionality would have been to link this email with the existing open case.

Email to Case Automation solution not only overcomes these limitations but also takes the case creation automation to the next level.

Below is the process flow:

E2C Process Flow

Support Queue: Email to Case Automation can monitor multiple mailboxes creating tickets or cases in CRM automatically whenever emails are received.

Exclusion \ Inclusion Configurator: Unwanted case creation can be avoided by excluding emails received from a specific domain and email addresses. Further email loop protection settings will also allow the exclusion of auto-responded emails. (There is also a provision to override the exclusion criteria for certain user-scenarios)

Case Creator: Case record is created with case-fields automatically populated from email as well as fields that have been configured with default values. Some of the fields that could be auto-populated are case title, description, origin, subject, etc.

Case Linker: Case record is linked with either contacts or accounts based on the settings. If no match is found then the case could also be linked to a dummy account or dummy contact.
If the email is regarding an existing case then the search algorithm can also search for case ID in the subject line (all of this is configurable).

Auto-Response Management: Automatic email notifications (both internal and external) could be sent on case creation based on the email template selected. Further, there is an additional functionality to add direct URL for case record in CRM (this would allow CRM users to directly browse to the case record in CRM).

Features of Email to Case Automation:

  • Supports multiple queues
  • Automatic linking to Contact or Account
  • Email spam protection
  • Email loop protection
  • Email domain address exclusion
  • Supports HTML email
  • 100% Native – works from within CRM
  • Multiple Email Templates with additional functionality to add direct links to CRM record
  • Fully configurable
  • Can be extended based on individual requirements

 

CRM Dynamics is a great platform to build CRM solutions for small business to an enterprise organization.

However, to enhance the platform, add-ons from different partners provide a great way to improve the user experience and improve productivity.

Check out the various add-ons that you can purchase from our online store:

Report Scheduler for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and On-Premise

Report Scheduler add-on

WORK 365’s Dynamics 365 Report Scheduler add-on enables easy scheduling of CRM data and works for CRM Online as well as On-Premise.

Using WORK 365’s Dynamics 365 CRM Report Scheduler solution, you can automatically send reports (CRM View) via email to your colleagues, executive management and non-CRM users in a recurring weekly or monthly pattern.

Benefits of Report Scheduler 

Some user scenarios where scheduling can help in providing useful business insight and create a proactive engagement are:

  • Daily report of new leads
  • Opportunities nearing the established closed date
  • Opportunities won this week
  • Cases created or resolved this week
  • Contracts expiring next month
  • Contacts having birthday in next day / week / month

How Report Scheduler Works

report scheduler email received

 

The best part of using report scheduler is that there is no additional effort needed to create CRM SSRS reports…as report scheduler uses CRM Views which can be easily created or modified using CRM Advanced Find.

With the release of new Version 11 of report scheduler, we have also added the functionality to deliver data via attachments – CSV or TXT files which can be directly opened in Microsoft Excel.

To receive the CRM View data as CSV attachment, below 2 additional configuration settings need to be performed:

  • Check the Attachment option
  • Select Render format as CSV or TXT

 

report scheduler crm view

 

Report Scheduler already sends the CRM View data to inline in email body in the tabular format. The additional CSV attachment option allows the users to directly open data in Microsoft Excel.

Further, this can also be useful where there is a need to extract data for backup purpose (for creating snapshot) on a regular automated basis.

If you have an existing version of report scheduler already installed then refer instructions mentioned in KB article “2.18 Upgrading to a higher version” for backing up and restoring existing scheduled records.

 

 

CRM Dynamics is a great platform to build CRM solutions for small business to an enterprise organization.

To enhance the Dynamics CRM platform, add-ons from different partners provide a great way to improve the user experience and improve productivity.

Copy Records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Record Clone

Even though Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM is packed with functionalities and features, there are a few gaps, which if overcome, could increase your CRM productivity and double the fun of working with it.

One of such limitations is, repetition of work due to missing record-copying or cloning functionality!

Record Clone Add-on

record clone or record copy allows you to replicate any record (Lead, Account, Contact, Opportunity, Product, Quote, Order, and Invoice) in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

You can just select the record you want to copy and hit ‘clone’ to clone or copy such entity along with its related entities and avoid reworking on a similar Quotation (along with its product lines), Order or Invoice record.

record clone

 

How to Clone or Copy a custom record along with its related entities:

Copying of Custom Record and their related entities:

In order to copy Custom and their related entities, we need to make certain configuration settings. Let’s take an example as below:

related-entities_4

 

Here “Equipment” is the Parent entity and has an “N” number of related “Installed Accessories”. So when we copy an “Equipment” record, we would also like to clone its related “Installed Accessories”.

Navigate to: SettingsClone Related and create a new record as shown below:

active clone related config

Apart from this, we need to register the Clone plugin and also modify the XML file to show the Clone button in the ribbon. This has been explained very well in the user guide. If you need any help with deployment & configuration then our team is always there to help you!! Email us @ support@work365apps.com.

How to exclude fields that you do not want to copy:

Functionality to exclude fields that should not be cloned:

In order to exclude certain fields from cloning:

1. Navigate to Settings ➤ Clone Exclude

2. Enter the entity name and comma-separated list of field names that need to be excluded from cloning as shown below:

clonexclude_2

 

In this example, when an Accounts record is cloned, then the “account number” and “emailaddress1” fields will not be cloned.

Record Clone / Record Copy works both in on-premise and online versions.

CRM Dynamics is the great platform to build CRM solutions for small business to an enterprise organization. However, to enhance the platform, dynamics add-ons from different partners provide a great way to improve the user experience and improve productivity.