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13 Mar 2020 Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 includes preconfigured entities, fields, forms, views, security models, reports, and workflows that help businesses manage their sales, marketing, and customer service needs. These out-of-the-box features are designed to provide functionality that is common to most sales, marketing, and service processes.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 also includes many out-of-the-box tools to extend custom business logic into Dynamics 365, including the ability to build custom entities, fields, forms, views, security models, and workflow to inject specific business needs into Dynamics 365. For example, an insurance company might build a custom entity to store and manage their specific policy types for their customers, build rules into their security model, or build workflows to send reminders when a policy is about to expire or to adjust rates based on the status of the customer. All of this is possible using out-of-the-box tools provided within Microsoft Dynamics 365.
The true power within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform is its ability to grow and change to work the way your business works. The examples are endless. However, sometimes more complex business needs require extending the system customizations beyond what is possible using the out-of-the-box tools. When this is the case, businesses can rely on CRM as a development platform. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is built on what is commonly referred to as the “Microsoft Stack”, utilizing .Net, SQL Server, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), and Windows Workflow Foundation.
As another example, a business could leverage the full functionality of Microsoft Dynamics 365. Now that Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables Operations, formerly Microsoft Dynamics AX, users do not have to perform double-entry of data because this integration connects data between systems using custom code built within, say, a SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) package or a custom application that sends and receives data through the CRM web service endpoints.
With all these options in hand, there are few business software solutions that cannot be met using Dynamics 365. And, with much of the functional foundation provided out-of-the-box (OOB, the “plumbing”), building highly customized business solutions on CRM is also an extremely cost-effective approach to solving a wide variety of business problems.
If a business requirement would require you to customize the system instead of using standard features, then we would highly recommend that you revisit the requirement and reason with the business or a change in user interaction. The business users are highly receptive to low cost and early implementation if it meets 80% of the need and require workarounds for the rest of the 20%. You would be surprised at how flexible the business is when it comes to the matter of budget and timeline.
A system customizer can benefit from various skills on Microsoft Stack for different scenarios, from customizing Dynamics 365 to creating new plugins and web applications.
Customizing entities includes adding fields to entities, changing the schema, and creating custom entities. An entity can also be defined as an activity entity.
The Microsoft Dynamics 365 user interface can be customized to meet an organization’s requirements. Forms can be modified to show only those fields that are necessary for business processes. And new forms can be added.
There are several types of forms available: Main, Main – Interactive, Mobile, Card, Quick Create, and Quick View. The Main, Main – Interactive, Card, Quick Create, and Quick View forms are available in the web application, Dynamics 365 for Outlook, and Dynamics 365 for tablets. The Mobile form is used for Dynamics 365 for phones.
A view is a grid with records listed under select column headings. It is a type of saved query. Users can select different views to look at a subset of records of the same entity that fit into pre-specified filter conditions. There are three main types of views: public, system, and personal.
These are the views that come with the application. Custom views that an organization creates are also public views. One of these public views can be defined as a default view. When a user selects an entity by clicking on it in the navigation pane, the default view is what gets displayed.
These views, similar to Public views, are automatically created by CRM on installation. They are used for unique situations within the application. System Views include Associated View, Advanced Find View, Lookup View, and Quick Find View
Users can create their own views using the Advanced Find tool and save them as personal views.
With numerous options to implement business logic in Microsoft Dynamics for Customer Engagement (CRM), Business rules are an often overlooked component with real-time capabilities that can be very helpful. While Dynamics 365 Workflows have its own use in CRM, Business Rules in Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement are easy to understand and can offer user-friendly features that limit the custom development that used to be required to do this functionality.
Aside from Business Rules, there are two native processes compared to Dynamics 365 (D365) Workflows, and Microsoft Flow (Flow)—each has its use. Enough though Business Rules can be very effective in CRM, their functionality is limited. It is important to clarify how each of these tools can be used in CRM.
Workflows built inside of CRM can be very helpful when the process happens exclusively inside of CRM. The option to choose between real-time and background for the workflows enables you to choose between functionality and system performance, and, unlike Business Rules, can be activated off nearly any event in CRM. While it is helpful to see the results of a process in real-time, it can also degrade the speed of CRM, so Business Rules can be used in place of some real-time workflows to help with performance.
Additionally, email notifications cannot be sent from CRM through Business Rules, so workflows can be used to send internal emails. For example, if an opportunity has not received activity in a month, then a D365 Workflow may send an email to the associated sales rep in order to check in with that contact This email can also include a dynamic hyperlink to the opportunity record, which streamlines the process for the sales rep receiving the notifications triggered by the workflow.
Business rules often act in real-time and have a variety of functions. Each of the functions will be explored below to explain how they can be used to improve CRM for your business.
The Lock/Unlock Business Rule enables the user to lock or unlock a field dependent on whether another field on the form contains certain data. If the system requires the user to enter Est. Close Date data before Actual Close Date data you may want to use a Business Rule to lock the latter field based on one whether the former contains data, as seen above.
Setting the default value will place a value in a field based on meeting the condition in the Business Rule. A value can be a formula, which can add or subtract from the original field, add days (if it is a date field), or it can set an arbitrary value or the value of another field.
Setting the visibility is a common function to use with business rules. It allows you to streamline the data that is seen by a user when on a form. As an example, the show visibility rule can be used based on whether a box was checked yes or no. If yes is selected, then the other fields would show, but if no is selected, they would stay hidden. This rule and Lock/Unlock can be used in place of each other depending on what you want users to see when on a form.
The recommendation tool does not fill in, lock, or even require another action; however, it can be useful when entering data into CRM, among other uses. On an Opportunity form, when a salesperson enters data in the Est. Revenue field, which is not a required field, there may be a recommendation to put data in the Estimated Close Date and Probability, which can create a weighted pipeline as mentioned above, and allow sales managers to keep track of opportunities with greater detail. Below, you can see that when the Est. Revenue field contains data, then two recommendations to set the field value are given for each the Est. Close Date field and the Probability field.
Other business rules include showing an error message, setting a field value, and setting a field as business required. As detailed above, Business Rules have plenty of potential for business use. Business rules are at their best when you need quick actions done on a form, which they do very well. Business Rules can provide quick, code-less business logic to maintain system performance and are great tools to guide end-users in CRM.
There are many ways a Dynamics 365 application can be extended for user requirements. We know how to make Dynamics 365 projects successful. We have been helping clients in Switzerland and around the world to extend their development teams and provide dedicated developers, with “Swiss Quality, Global Delivery” mindset. We develop ourselves constantly and adapt to latest tech needs.
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Kyle JJ Kemper
Founder, Swiss Key Wallet
26 Aug 2021 Dynamics 365
04 May 2021 Frontend
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