Since the upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 administrators have been able to use the conversations tab to allow users to view related activities, notes and posts against their associated records, essentially replacing the activity and history tabs from previous versions. The conversations tab displays a chronological list of the activities that are either open or completed using the current CRM look and feel, however scrolling through this list for records such as accounts with a high volume of activities to those that are yet to be completed is not very user friendly.
One solution is to use the Timeline for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from xRM Consultancy to provide a visual representation of the future and historical interactions related to the entity in your CRM instance. Recently I have found this a useful addition to clients’ CRM deployments.
The solution can be applied to CRM Online and On Premise deployments and is compatible with CRM 2015 as well as 2013 and 2011, the solution is free if you are looking to apply it to the following entities:
The timeline is pre-configured to use the following default entities to display:
- Phone Call
- Service Task
- Campaign Response
As part of the free version you can manage which of these entities are displayed too, I will cover that later on.
For the walkthrough we will use the free version, you can purchase the full version to enable against custom entities from their website, (pricing at the time of writing is “Less than 50 active users” = 995.00 GBP/ $1935.65 NZ or “More than 50 active users” = 1995.00 GBP/ $3881.03 NZ).
Step 1 – Download & Import the Solution
You can download the managed solution from the xRM Consultancy website, or by using the following link: http://www.xrmconsultancy.com/what-we-do/microsoft-dynamics-crm-timeline/
You will be required to enter your name and email address and select the version of CRM you want the solution to be compatible with (in this examples CRM 203/2015) and then click “Send”. You will then see an alert asking you to click on the newly presented link. Click the link and the download will begin.
Once the download has completed navigate to your CRM instance and import the solution via; Settings > Solutions > Import. And follow the usual steps to complete.
Please Note: As this is a managed solution once you have imported into CRM removing the solution will remove all installed components, however you will still want to use a non-production instance first to assess the suitability of the customisations for your deployment.
Step 2 – Timeline Configuration
Once you have imported the solution you’ll need to open it in CRM and accept the terms& conditions of use as per below. You will then see a link to “Open Timeline Configuration”, click the link to launch the pop-up window.
In the Timeline Configuration window you will see the “Timeline Entities” displayed in a sub-grid, here you can remove entities that you do not want to display in the timeline, (if you have entities in this list that are not in use or viewable to users you may encounter errors so it is best to check). Additionally you can open one of the associated entities to view/amend the settings and the query used (amendments are via the paid version only).
Step 3 – Entity Configuration
Next you will need to add the timeline to your entity, for this you can use a new or existing unmanaged solution. Open the entities form (in this example I am using Account) and insert a new tab or section.
Then in the form editor go to; Insert > Web Resource > search for and select “xrmc_Timeline.html” > Add a Name > Add a Label > Ok, this will add the HTML component from the managed solution. You can then alter the amount of space you require for the timeline using the formatting options.
If you have added the timeline to a new tab, you may want to collapse the tab as default depending on the amount of processing required for your form OnLoad. Then save and publish your changes.
Step 4 – Assign Custom Security Roles
In order for users to view or work with the timeline you will need to assign them one of the custom roles imported as part of the managed solution. “Timeline Writer” allows users to add the timelines to forms and change the configuration (version permitting), the other role “Timeline Reader” will enable them to view the HTML component we have just added to the Account record.
Navigate to the “Administration” or “Security” area of CRM, depending on your version and assign the security role to your users and/or teams as required.
Once you have completed your set up navigate to see your changes. You can click on activities in the timeline to view the details or scroll up and down the timeline with your mouse/finger.
This can be a great addition to your configuration and add to the overall user experience in CRM. Enjoy!