When and How to use Child Workflows in Dynamics CRM

CRMguru

Girl on Dads shoulders_smallWhen is the right time to have your first child?

A difficult question with a whole range of possible answers, I’m sure you will agree, and there are other websites and forums much better placed to answer it. So instead I’ll answer something slightly easier and with more definitive answers which often comes up when I am delivering training for CRM customisers and super-users who build their own workflows:

When should I have my first child workflow?

There are simple answers to this and some more esoteric and more complex answers to this. Generally I would say there are six main use cases for child workflows, which I will discuss in this post in approximate order of obviousness (most to least).

1: “Let me get on with my job”

A very simple scenario for CRM 2011 – you want the user to work through a Dialog process…

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Cisco Unified CRM Connector for Microsoft® Dynamics CRM

Brief Overview

The Cisco ® Unified CRM Connector for Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise and Hosted and Cisco Unified Intelligent Contact Management provides contact centers with unified call flows, business processes, and desktops for both call handling and business-transaction navigation. With Cisco Unified CRM Connector, agents can place, receive, and transfer customer interactions with full, real-time access to customer data – saving money, increasing efficiency, growing revenue, improving monitoring, and facilitating enhanced customer service.

Product Overview

Modern call centers need unified call flows, business processes, and desktops for both call management and business-transaction navigation. Cisco Unified CRM Connector provides these capabilities in a ready-to-use solution with integrated support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Cisco Unified CRM Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM adds screen pop, click-to-dial, and automatic logging capabilities to contact centers that use Microsoft Dynamics CRM software – so agents can place, receive, and transfer customer calls with comprehensive, real-time access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer data.

Your business can save costs, improve efficiency, and enhance customer service by using Cisco Unified CRM Connector to integrate your Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer database applications with Cisco Unified Contact Center solutions.

Cisco Unified CRM Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the central server component that manages the real-time flow of interactions between the Microsoft Dynamics CRM desktop user interface and the contact center. Cisco Unified CRM Connector gives Microsoft Dynamics CRM clients access to enhanced contact center functions and allows contact centers to more efficiently manage all types of customer interactions and deliver exceptional levels of customer service.

How Cisco Unified CRM Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Works

Through tight integration, Cisco contact centers can enable telephony (computer telephony integration [CTI]) functions in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM desktop, including phone controls, caller identification, and screen population. Agents can place, receive, and transfer customer interactions with full, real-time access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer data. The Cisco Unified CRM Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM features an open architecture that easily and transparently integrates through standard .NET services to deliver interactions to an enhanced desktop.

Read more about CRM Connector here.

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Fall Wave Release Code Name Vega

Editor’s note: Post I gathered this info is gone! Nowhere to be seen. As the article notes, this is pre-release/unconfirmed information on Microsoft’s release plans.

An updated version of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM roadmap surfaced today and it featured a release schedule beyond the Q4 2014 major release codenamed “Vega”, which may become “CRM 2015”. Moving into the year 2015, the Dynamics CRM roadmap continues to separate features between social, marketing, Parature, and core CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM roadmap 2014 2015 (click to enlarge)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2014/2015 Roadmap

As for Dynamics CRM Vega, this is a release focusing on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Core product. The Fall Wave release Vega applies to both CRM Online and CRM On-Premise.

So Vega is apparently going to be officially named: CRM 2015. It will be released before end of this year (Q4 2014). It is expected to include some core product features in Dynamics CRM that many have been waiting for!

New features and enhancements in Vega Dynamics CRM 2015 are:

Business Process Improvements:

  • Rule-based branching
  • Single Edit experience
  • Support for multiple entity loops
  • Programmability through Client API
  • Active processes
  • Change of currently active process
  • Move Stages
  • Stage selection and Changing of currently active stage

User Experience Improvements:

  • Multi Entity Search Capability (horraayy!)
  • A new Advanced Search Button
  • Nested Quick Create forms

Mobility Features:

  • The addition of 29 new Languages
  • More Dashboards and new concept of Home-pages
  • Support of “Any Device”
  • Ability to have offline drafts

Enterprise Sales Features:

  • Entity Hierarchy
  • Cross-sell and Up-sell capabilities (also know as Next Buy Actions)
  • External Pricing features
  • Attribute Inheritance
  • Product Relationship
  • Bundles

XRM and Development Advances:

  • Complex calculations (Calculated Fields & Roll-up of values) (Yes!)
  • Hierarchical Relationship Property
  • Ability to query multiple entities
  • Hierarchical Security Models
  • Field Level Security for system fields (out of the box fields)

Analytics and Business Intelligence Enhancements:

  • Power BI in CRM Web client
  • Transactional reporting of CRM on Windows Mobile Client Application
  • Roll up on different fields across hierarchies

Specific for CRM Online (Microsoft’s Online First motto):

  • Self-Service
  • Sign up process Simplification
  • Global Expansion from 42 to 61 Markets (Latin America data center)
  • Multi-Geographical tenants
  • Scaling out Organization Synchronization
  • Minimal downtime Upgrades
  • Addition of Load balancing

Supported OS and Software Requirements:

  • Windows Server –2012 & 2012 R2
  • Windows Client – Vista, Windows 7 & Windows 8
  • ADFS – 2.0, 2.1, 2.2
  • SQL Server – 2012
  • Exchange Server –2010 & 2013
  • Outlook – 2010 & 2013

Software and OS no longer supported:

  • Windows Server 2008 & 2008 R2
  • SQL server 2008 & 2008R2
  • Windows Small Business Server ( all version )
  • 2008 Series Terminal Servers
  • Windows Vista
  • SharePoint 2007
  • Exchange 2007
  • IE 8, IE 9
  • Office 2007

This post has content from this Dynamics Community post

Product management team has identified features across eight categories where they will be focusing in 2015 and beyond

Microsoft Dynamics CRM post Q4 2014 wave

Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: All of this pre-release information and is subject to change at any point in time.

 

GeoCode Plugin using Google Maps or BING Maps

Overview:

In my previous post, I talked about building a Custom Workflow Activity that works for CRM 2011 Online and CRM 2011 On-Premise. Now decided to build a geocoding plugin which will do the same, except it is like Turbo the snail. Designed it in such a way, you can make this to work for any Entity, OOB or Custom and for any number. Any secrets, naaaahhhhh. Just plain old CRM. That’s what I like about CRM. It is LEGO blocks. No end to creativity. Created a config entity to hold all config data, be it Google Maps or Bing Maps. Ok, enough of the blah, blah, blah. Just get to the meat will ya. I felt there might be a need to goecoding to be synchronous, rather than a workflow. Well with 2013, that will change with Realtime Workflows.

Solution:

In this post I will deal with deploying, customizing and seeing the results of the plugin executing. Will post the source code online at Codeplex(https://crmmaps.codeplex.com/) when I make myself a bit free. Will provide a managed solution with just the plugin and config entity.

Step 1: Import Maps Solution.

Once you import the solution, you should see a new Group on sitemap under settings called E31 Maps. This will give you access to Geocode Config entity.

Step 2: Geocode Config Entity entries

In this step, I’m assuming you are adding a record to geocode an address in Account entity.

Entity Name = account(this is the logical name, not schema name of the entity).

Keeping with the above guideline, please fill in the names of the fields that are the key players in the geocoding process.

Inputs:

  • Entity Name
  • Bing Maps Key ( can be empty when using google maps url)
  • Bing Maps Url, or Google Maps Url
  • Street Field(name of the field in contact entity which hold the Street Address value)
  • City Field (name of the field in contact entity which hold the City value )
  • State Field (name of the field in contact entity that holds the State or Province value)
  • Postal Code Field (name of the field in the contact entity that holds ZIP code value)
  • Country Field

Outputs:

  • Latitude Field (name of the field that will hold geocoded Latitude value in contact entity)
  • Longitude Field (name of the field that will hold the geocoded Longitude value in contact entity).

Example of screenshot for Account entity:

GeocodeConfig_Account_Bing

Geocode Config record values for geocoding Account entity using BING Maps

Step 3a: Plugin Registration – New Step for CREATE

Once the Plugin is registered as part of the installation of the managed solution, fire up the Plugin registration tool supplied with 2011 SDK. Create a new STEP for this assembly as shown below.

Bing_Create_Account

STEP Configuration settings for Account CREATE Message

Step 3b: Plugin Registration – New Step for UPDATE

Want to finish the configuration for the UPDATE message so that you can go ahead and fire up the plugins by creating accounts or updating accounts.

  1. Create a new STEP for the assembly for the UPDATE message,
  2. In the Step Configuration section, please select the Filtering attributes to be Input attributes as mentioned in the previous section. The 5 attributes are a) Street, b) City, c) State, d) Zip and e) Country.
  3. Fill in other parts of the Step configuration screen as shown below.

    Bing_Update_Account

    STEP Configuration settings for Account UPDATE Message

  4. Create a PreImage for the UPDATE message step. It is important that I know the records previous address information before the change occurred. Set up the PreImage for these 5 fields. Mainly the ones that you need to compare with the changed values. These fields are picked from the entity for which you registered UPDATE step for. In our case we are dealing with Account. Select these 5 fields only for the PreImage address1_city, address1_country, address1_stateorprovince, address1_line1, address1_postalcode
    Bing_Update_Account_PreImage

    PreImage Setting for Account UPDATE step.

    There you go. You are done. Way the geocoding works is pretty simple. For a Create message, no need for any explanation. I pass in values that are available to the BING Maps geocode api. Bing maps returns a result and result quality(next release). For the Update operation, it is little bit tricky. CRM will send only the fields that changes to the event. In the case for fields that have not changed I get the value from PreImage. then I do the usual processing in passing all values that are parts of the address to the geocode API. Viola. I tested with CRM Online and works. Now you need to tell me if there are other features that must be added to this and if it is performing well.

NOTE: It is up to you as a developer to register the appropriate STEPS for the respective Geocode API, if it is BING or GOOGLE. This article is primarily is focused on BING Maps API. I’m working on a release of the plugin that uses Google Maps API. Both plugins will make use of Geocode Config entity to decide where the address fields are in the entity record in question.

As always comments are welcome. enjoy!

Download Solution : https://crmmaps.codeplex.com/

Prabhakar