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.

How to obtain FetchXML

OK. I think this comes up more often that you can remember. I hope this helps with anyone trying to learn CRM and how to put FetchXML queries to use.

1. Login into the CRM Web Application.
2. Go to the Entity you want to build a FetchXML Query.
3. From HomeGrid view of the Entity, select “Advanced Find”.
4. If you want FetchXML of an existing View, pick the view or if creating a new one, select NEW for the view.
FetchXML.xml from Advanced Find

5. Once you have built your Query (aka Saved Query), click on Download FetchXML. Save FetchXML.xml file.

Open it in a text editor and Viola, you have your FetchXML Query.

In case you were wondering how to get Layout XML, look up my other post here.

Enjoy!.

Dynamics CRM Report using Excel 2013, oData and PowerQuery.

Cannot say how excited was when I finally found a way to solve the problem of reporting Dynamics CRM Online data with all its restrictions. Hail Excel. Not any Excel, but Excel 2013. Well not just Excel alone, but it was the glue that is bringing different technologies together and made this possible. This is an extension of my previous post on getting around the 10K record limitation.

Working for my customer to build a report that brings Contacts and its associated Account information. These are the ways I tried and their limitations. This is a CRM Online deployment and we have close to 40K contacts and an almost equal number of accounts. I did narrow the record count to by using filters judiciously to not make the system crawl. With these restrictions in mind, here is what I did. Hopefully this keep head in proper shape by not banging on the wall.

a) Advanced Find: Very nice tool to quickly visualize if something possible and I was get all the columns required to provide the report from Contacts and its associated accounts. Viola, this was easy, so I thought. Ran the query and came back with, you guessed correctly, the first 5000 records only. OK, onto the next solution. (I know there is way and tool to increase this limit. Not an ideal scenario users running searches and ending up pulling so many records. )

b) Report to the rescue, so I thought. I took the FetchXML from the Advanced Find and fired up BIDS 2008 R2 and started to put together the report. (Check SDK for how to do this). I placed the correct columns from Contacts and Accounts in the report and hit preview and viola, I instantly got the report to run in Preview. Well, Preview was able to pull in the first 500 contacts that matched the criteria. So I created a NEW report in CRM, used the RDL file from BIDs and published it in CRM.  I was able to specify the criteria and clicked on “Run Report”. Well I should hand it to CRM, it did run, I’m guessing that it timed out due to heavy load of 33K records it was pulling for this report. So I was able to taste a small bit of the fruit, but the not the whole yet.

At this point, I’m wracking my brain on how can I pull 60K records from CRM Online and produce this report. If anyone can come up any other ways of producing this report, please do let me know. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.

c)These two articles from Surviving CRM Blog gave me this idea on dealing with ta large set of data. (http://niiranen.eu/crm/2013/06/dynamics-crm-data-visualization-with-geoflow/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1er6bu9nmlk ).

SOLUTION:

  1. Download and install PowerQuery for Excel 2013. (Update: PowerQuery has become a part of Excel 2013 with sp1).
  2. Export to Excel a small list of records, can be anything within CRM Org as a Dynamic worksheet. CRM will spit out an .xml file.
  3. Open this in Excel 2013. Under the DATA tab, click on Refresh from CRM to fetch the data and also complete authentication. Save the file as an .xlsx file. (This step is very important to our goal).
  4. Create a oData query using XRM Tools solution withont the org. Note: You cann create the query with related records. Using this in feed definition does not bring in the related record fields. oDate_Query
  5. In my case, I had to create two oData queries, one for Contacts and one for Accounts. In the contacts query, i did pull in the parent Customer Id field in order for me to join with Accounts in Excel.
  6. After you have the queries created and tested in the Browser, in the open Excel 2013 Workbook, create a new Sheet and select “From oData Feed” under DATA/GetExternal Data Tab/From Other Sources”.
  7. Paste the oData query into the link section and complete the dialog with default options. Create a New Sheet when fetching the data executing the oData query.
  8. Do the same for accounts as step 7 with query created in step 5.
  9. In order for records in these two sheets called “Contacts” and “Accounts” to be used in PowerQuery, they have to brought in as a Table from PowerQuery ribbon tab.
  10. You will end up creating two more sheets called “Table_Contacts” and “Table_accounts” for each PowerQuery Table that you create.
  11. There is a MERGE option in PowerQuery ribbon, that will first ask you to establish a unique relationship between these two Powerquery Tables. In my case I selected “Table_Contacts.Parentcustomerid” and “Table_Accounts.Account.
  12. Result is a a new Column with an embedded Table in it. Well this is good that it is presenting as such, however I want the embedded Table column to be expanded into its own fields aslongside with fields from Contacts.
  13. Once you complete the above steps, click on “Done” from PowerQuery.
  14. Bang, you have a report of all Contacts with account data for all 33K contacts.

Let us review what we have accomplished. we have created a report in Excel 2013 with master detail relationship for more than 5K or 10K record, which are a limitation in CRM Online. PowerQuery is awesome tool and thanks the SQL server BI teams for building this tool.

NOTE: all of this possible only when you CRM for Outlook client configured to talk to CRM Online or CRM On-prem instance.

Hope this helps.