Upgrading MS Dynamics CRM 2011 to CRM Online

For organisations still operating Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 a move to the cloud could be appealing, but what is involved in upgrading to CRM Online from CRM 2011?

I have previously blogged on items to consider when contemplating moving from MS Dynamics CRM on premise to CRM Online via Office 365. Once you have had the green light to move however, what exactly is involved in getting there?

The move isn’t as simple as backing up a solution, or migrating a backup of your database, but it can be broken down into a few suggested steps;

  • Assess – Your Current State
  • Prepare – Customisations and Data
  • Upgrade – Your On Premise version
  • Review – The updates
  • Migrate – The Solution and your Data

In the following sections I will attempt to provide a little more information on these steps based on current experience and the CRM upgrade path.

  1. Assess

    It is important you take time to assess the current implementation of CRM to identify any current issues which could affect your ability to upgrade successfully.

    It is also advisable that any custom elements such as; JavaScript, Plug-ins, Reports and Third Party Tools are assessed for suitability prior to upgrading CRM.

    Custom JavaScript will need to be updated and optimised for later versions of MS Dynamics CRM due to code changes and cross browser support*, the size of this task will vary depending on the volume of JavaScript involved in your solution. There is a custom code validation tool that can be utilised in this task which can be downloaded here. You can find more information on checking JavaScript here via msdn.

    Third Party Tools & Integrations will need to be assessed in order to decide if they can be replaced with the latest CRM Online features or indeed if they are supported for CRM Online and if they themselves require an upgrade.

    Integrations could benefit from the new CRM Web API, for information on the API and limitations please see this MSDN article; https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/mt628816.aspx

    Reports may not be compatible with CRM Online, for example there may be reports built in SSRS, which is not available with CRM Online in Office 365. But you may be able to agree a strategy to replace some of these in Power BI.

    Data volumes will be an important part of the assessment; what can be cleansed? What data is required? How much storage will you need to purchase? How will attachments and documents be managed?

    *It is very important to identify which browsers are going to be used/suggested for users when accessing CRM Online as updating the legacy JavaScript to support many different browsers and the subsequent testing could be time consuming and/or costly.

  2. Prepare

    Once you have assessed the size of the task at hand it is time to begin the preparation for the upgrade – the data will be crucial to your end result, so it may be a good idea to start a data cleanse as soon as possible to ensure it is completed on time.

    If possible take a back-up of the current Production or an up to date Test instance
    and use this as an assessment/development instance. This means your current Production instance will continue unaffected until you are ready to move.

    Before the upgrade begins, obtain any product keys required. In later versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM the server and client keys are combined so that only one key is required. It may be a good idea to review the need for a Bing Maps key for CRM too, keys can be generated here; https://www.bingmapsportal.com

  3. Upgrade

    There is no supported direct upgrade path to CRM 2016/Online from CRM 2011, therefor the upgrade will involve multiple steps in order to reach your target version. To upgrade you will need to take the pre-prepared version of CRM 2011 to CRM 2013, then 2015 and finally to CRM 2016.

    migration

    This means you will create a CRM 2013 environment with an instance of SQL Server that is supported, such as SQL Server 2014. This step may take some time depending on the size of the CRM database involved, this is because of the number of significant changes to the database when moving between CRM 2011 and 2013. You may want to review the upgrade at this point to check for any issues and insure the latest CRM 2013 roll-up is installed, if you are happy then you can move on to the upgrade to CRM 2015 (use the latest update version) and then finally 2016.

    For more on the MS Dynamics CRM Upgrade path please see the following article; https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh699716.aspx

  4. Review

    After any successful upgrade of the CRM Server application you will then no doubt want to review the form layout, fields and workflow processes, as well as testing and updating any necessary JavaScript. The exact steps to take should be well defined from your assessment phase.

    Form layouts, fields capabilities and navigation of the application in the web UI changed significantly between versions so user acceptance testing and end user involvement in the review and configuration is key to successfully upgrading your solution.

  5. Migrate

    Once you and your user groups are happy with the changes it is time to migrate to CRM Online in the Office 365 cloud. This will likely involve the following;

    – Creating a new CRM Online instance in your Office 365 tenant
    – Exporting and Importing the CRM 2016 Solution from your On Premise version
    – Migration of cleansed CRM data (a third party tool may be required*)
    – Update and Test CRM plug-ins for CRM Online
    – Test your upgraded CRM solution (yes again)

    There may be some additional complication added to this step for any integrations that are affected by the move to CRM Online. Where possible this should be factored in using the CRM Web API.

    In order to allow users to authenticate with CRM Online using their organisational Active Directory credentials your administrators can enable Active Directory Sync’, single sign on can also be implemented using ADFS.

    *The size of the task involved in migrating the data to CRM Online will vary depending on the volume of records and if activities and other more troublesome items such as attachments are required – the recommendation is not to bloat the CRM Online database  with attachments, it may be a good idea to consider SharePoint online for documents storage.

Hopefully this post allows you to get started on your own upgrade plan, check out MSDN for lots more useful information and speak to your Microsoft Partner who can help you through the process.

Happy CRM’ing.

 

 

 

 

 

IE Performance Setting – page load in CRM

Sometimes an instance of MS Dynamics CRM can rely heavily on JavaScript, and ‘On Load’ this can have an effect on page performance.

If this occurs then it can be very frustrating for a user point of view and lead to support calls or disgruntled users. Thanks to a colleague who had spoken to Microsoft about this issue when encountered in IE, there is something you can do on your local machine to improve performance.

Whilst it is suggested you try and avoid the over-use of JavaScript or other performance affecting configurations On Load of an entity form, this happens from time to time.

So what is the fix?  

The fix is to increase the maximum number of connections per server from 2 to 10 on the local machine/PC, the steps to complete are as follows (please note this applied to Internet Explorer);

  1. Start Registry Editor.
  2. Locate the following key in the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\FEATURE_MAXCONNECTIONSPERSERVER

  1. On the Edit menu, point to New, click DWORD Value, and then add the following registry values:

Value name: iexplore.exe Value data: 10 Base: Decimal Note  – set this value to the connection limit that you want for HTTP 1.1 connections. By setting the value to 10, you increase the connection limit to 10.

  1. Locate and then click the following registry sub-key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\FEATURE_MAXCONNECTIONSPER1_0SERVER

  1. On the Edit menu, point to New, click DWORD Value, and then add the following registry values:

Value name: iexplore.exe Value data: 10 Base: Decimal Note set this value to the connection limit that you want for HTTP 1.1 connections. By setting the value to 10, you increase the connection limit to 10.

  1. Exit Registry Editor
  2. Close and Restart IE.

If you do not have admin’ rights to your local machine you may need to speak to your IT service desk. Hope this helps some of you out.

Happy CRM’ing

ClickDimensions error after importing customisations

If you work with ClickDimensions with Microsoft Dynamics CRM you may or may not have discovered that there is an issue caused by exporting a solution for use in another instance.

ClickDimensions is a wonderful tool that is still one of the best ways to extend the Marketing Module in Dynamics CRM. If you haven’t already investigated the product offering take a look here; http://clickdimensions.com/

ClickDimensions is delivered as a managed solution in CRM, with a unique key given to the specific organisation it is purchased for, this key is saved to the CRM sitemap when it is installed. If you haven’t edited the sitemap for your CRM instance then this itself isn’t an issue. But what if you have?

Typically customisation of the sitemap isn’t  uncommon, i.e. when you need to create additional navigation areas outside of Sales, Service, Marketing etc. and when this has taken place in a sandbox, you would simply add the sitemap to a solution in the “Client Extensions” area and export it for use in a test or production system.

In this scenario, if you had for instance a sandbox with s licensed version of ClickDimensions, then it would include the account key embedded in the sitemap and it would be imported into the target CRM instance with the rest of the customisations. The resulting error when trying to navigate to your ClickDimensions settings would be something like this;

crmerror

If you get this error and don’t have a backup of the original sitemap with the correct key, then you can contact the excellent ClickDimensions support team by logging a case here; http://help.clickdimensions.com/ or if you have made a backup (as you should), you can import the old sitemap back into CRM.

For future updates you then need to make note of the correct account key in the sitemap – you can use a find/search in the customisations.xml file and look for; accountKey=.

Publishing the customisations will update the sitemap and you should be able to navigate to Settings> Extensions > ClickDimensions Settings as normal.

Once you have the unique ID for the organisation used ClickDimensions, you can then and this back in each time you need to export the sitemap from one instance to another by updating the tags in the customisation.xml file prior to import.

Happy CRM’ing.

 

 

CRM 2013 Plug-in Regsitration Tool Fails to Connect – IFD

MS Dynamics CRM 2013/15 Plug-in Regsitration Tool Fails to create a connection to an IFD – Error “404”

Recently I came up against an issue where the CRM 2013/2015 Plug-in registration tool from the CRM SDK couldn’t connect to an IFD CRM instance – throwing a “404” exception even though I knew I was using the correct connection details and credentials. I need to turn off some plug-in steps whilst data was updated.

Previously I had been able to connect to the test instance which was also internet facing and the application was available both internally and externally.

Well, one thing you can check (which thankfully worked for me)  was to check the “ActiveMexEndpoint’ for the Federation Provider in the MSCRM_Config database.

STEP 1 – Log into SQL Server Management studio on the SQL server used by the CRM instance in question.

STEP 2 – Navigate to the MSCRM_CONFIG database and then “dbo.FederationProvider”

STEP 3 – Run one of the stored jobs to “Select Top 1000” records, the script executed should read;

/****** Script for SelectTopNRows command from SSMS  ******/
SELECT TOP 1000 [ActiveEndpoint]
,[ActiveMexEndpoint]
,[Enabled]
,[Id]
,[IdentityClaim]
,[MetadataUri]
,[Name]
,[PassiveEndpoint]
,[RelyingPartyActiveIdentifier]
,[RelyingPartyPassiveIdentifier]
,[IsDeleted]
FROM [MSCRM_CONFIG].[dbo].[FederationProvider]

STEP 4 – Check the value stored for ActiveMexEndpoint, there should be more than one line returned, the value should look like this – https://sts.<yourdomain>/adfs/services/trust/mex if it doesn’t, then that’s your problem. You can execute a script like the following to update them;

UPDATE [MSCRM_CONFIG].[dbo].[FederationProvider] SET ActiveMexEndpoint = ‘https://sts.<yourdomain>/adfs/services/trust/mex&#8217;
WHERE ActiveMexEndpoint = ‘https://sts.<yourdomain&gt://adfs/ls/mex&#8217;

STEP 5 – Once the update has run perform an IIS Reset (cmd > iisreset) on the CRM Server and the ADFS Server and try to reconnect. It is also worth checking that access to the CRM instance externally is functioning as expected.

You should now be able to establish a connection from the CRM Plug-in Registration Tool and register/deactivate your plug-in steps.

NOTE: The production instance had been created from a database backup of test initially as the data was imported from external sources and cleansed – therefore the plug-ins hadn’t been manually registered in the past. Otherwise this issue would have been encountered earlier in the deployment.

Dynamics CRM Online – things to consider before moving to the cloud

More and more organisations are considering a move to the ‘cloud’ for their IT systems, including Dynamics CRM. But what things do you need to look out for?

Anyone who works for a Microsoft Partner will likely know that most engagements for Dynamics CRM commence with the ideology of “leading with the cloud”, and there are many reasons why a move to the cloud can be advantageous to an organisation. But not everything is unicorns and rainbows, so what should you look out for when making the decision on switching from On Premise or Partner Hosted CRM deployments to CRM Online? In this post I will attempt to use my personal experiences to date to provide some insight along with the facts.

The Compelling Reason

In order to lead with a ‘cloud first’ approach organisations will likely need a ‘compelling reason’ to consider a deployment online, this is especially important when this involves a migration away from CRM deployed on premise. In most cases this can be directly translated into a cost saving – will it cost less to have CRM and other associated applications available in the cloud vs. managing on premise or with via a hosting partner? But the cost analysis is not the only consideration – so your Microsoft Partner should encourage due-diligence prior to making a decision.

Cost to Manage and Licensing

It is here that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online can come into it’s own, due to the scale of Microsoft’s infrastructure they can operate at a much lower cost a benefit that can be passed on to the customer. Organisations can reduce their overall cost to manage and maintain multiple CRM servers, the savings can be augmented by the use of Exchange, Office and SharePoint through Office 365. If servers and software/applications are aging and a refresh is required this can be an opportunity to consider the cost and effort required against a move to the cloud.

One of the other areas that could prove attractive is the flexibility of licensing compared to purchasing through Software Assurance – licenses can be purchases and then cancelled (given the set notice period) when no longer required.

Another excellent selling point for Office 365 in this area is the price of an Enterprise E3 subscription with CRM Online (check out the details of the E3 Plan here: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-enterprise-e3-business-software), with a direct comparison to a Professional CRM license the slight increase in cost makes them an attractive proposition.

The E3 plan is more suited to larger organisations but the cost can reduce further based on discounts for certain sectors such as; charities and educational establishments, so investigate through your licensing supplier. There are also promos running in some regions that include Unified Service Desk and Parature – check the Microsoft website.

Please Note: The prices below were accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.

Item Description Cost (NZD) Cost (GBP)
Dynamics CRM Online Professional + O365 Enterprise E3 Plan Per User/Month, includes O365 E3, PowerBI and SharePoint 84.17 42.79
Dynamics CRM Online Professional Per User/Month CRM Online 79.60 40.50

Managing Multiple Instances

Any solid CRM deployment is based on multiple instances – Production, Testing and Development environments are at the very least best practice, so how does that work with CRM Online? Well the answer is quite simple; one non-production instance is included when you purchase 25 or more licenses (USLs) that are Professional or above. The instance is added to O365 as a subscription and is managed as such, additional instances can be purchased as subscriptions too, there is no ‘double up’ on licensing, users who have active CRM licenses can be given access to any of your instances.

Upgrades can be applied to your CRM instances in a staggered schedule using the management console in the O365 portal. Usually these are initially scheduled at increments before Production is updated and the updates can be deferred or rescheduled.

You can copy instances (Production to Non-production) in the O365 portal too, the steps to do so can be found on TechNet here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn659832.aspx

Backups are a key area to consider when moving to O365, managing servers and databases on premise means the organisation are the masters of their own destiny, with CRM Online this changes. With CRM Online you have no access to SQL server or the database other than through the application layer, backup copies can be requested through Microsoft Support as can the restoration of a backup here; www.microsoft.com/…/contact-technical-support.aspx.

What about Data Sovereignty? Where is my data?

Depending on the region you select your organisations data will be held in the nearest Microsoft Data Centre, this can be important when considering data sovereignty – different sectors have different rules as to where data can be stored as do different countries (it is best to check this for each organisation). You can check out the various locations here; Online Legal Bits, there is also a brief FAQ section here that can be useful. It is important to note that for the UK, the nearest data centre at the time of writing is Dublin (Eire) which could pose issues for some potential customers. For CRM Online customers in New Zealand and Australia the nearest location was Singapore, but this has been improved by the use of the newer sites in New South Wales and Victoria, though this would still be an issue for those organisations needing to store data within New Zealand for example.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online uses service logs, rather than direct access to customer data, for purposes of providing, maintaining, and troubleshooting the online services. Service logs record errors and performance issues, and may contain limited customer data such as email addresses, subject lines of emails, file names, and site URLs to identify the source of the error or performance issue being recorded. Service logs do not contain customer-authored data such as customer documents, email message bodies or attachments, website content, or IM/voice conversations. Service logs that contain customer data are stored in the datacentres identified

Failover/Disaster recovery is managed between sites.

Database Size -Storage Limits

The default size is 5GB (not huge), after that you may have to purchase additional storage space, depending upon the number of user licenses purchased there is addtional storage given for each user licensed in O365, which is approx. 2.5GB per user.

There was a maximum size limit of 50GB however, I believe this no longer applies. The storage is also shared across instances, you can keep up with the current storage use in the CRM Application (under Settings > Administration > Resource Use). So, if moving from on Premise to the cloud, it is time to cut some of the deadwood!

*Update* – It is also a good idea to consider if Auditing is applied to entities and fields in CRM. A high volume of audit records stored in CRM Online can directly affect performance and storage availability.

Archiving or deletion of Audit Logs should be considered and factored into CRM maintenance to ensure the volume of records does not adversely affect CRM Online. – RedCRM July 2016.

Reporting In CRM Online

Without effective reporting on your CRM data to gain insight it can be argued that there is no real point at all investing in a CRM Application. Being able to retrieve and display data for the Sales Pipeline, KPIs and ROI can be vital to the success of the implementation. Organisations who are currently using CRM on premise may have complex reporting through SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) which can use the MSCRM database as a data source, schedule snapshots, set up subscriptions and use the reports .RDL file to surface the report in CRM through the Reporting Wizard.

Out of the box in CRM Online this is not possible to set up SSRS reporting, you can use the CRM Wizard Reporting tool as well as Advanced Find (as you can on premise), but you cannot currently schedule snapshots nor do you have access to a dedicated Reports Serve to create SSRS reports. Though this can be achieved using Fetch XML and/or SQL replication, (check out this post on Code Project).

If this is not a desirable workaround, it may well be worth considering Power BI. Power BI for Office 365 cloud service works together with Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Dynamics CRM to extend the reporting capability of CRM Online. (Power BI now supports data refresh with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.) And as per the earlier section on licensing Power BI can be purchased as part of the E3 plan for O365.

There are also some handy Analytics Templates for CRM Online and Power BI available via Pinpoint;

Sales Analytics Templates; https://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-GB/Applications/12884985960
Service Analytics Templates; https://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-GB/Applications/12884985963

It is important to establish the level and complexity of reporting prior to recommending a move to the cloud and what that might mean as an impact for delivery or the CRM project. What about data warehousing or big data? – you may ask, well that actually leads me on to the next topic.

Data Integration with CRM Online

Recently I have been engaged with clients that are considering CRM Online with data integrated from others sources, such as AX, GP and/or Data Warehouses. My tip – do not underestimate the importance of this step, it is a huge ask for CRM Online to replicate larger organisations current data integration compared to CRM on premise.

Some of you may or may not know that typically the number of parallel connections allowed to CRM Online is 2, though this can be expanded using manipulation of XML to 4 this could potentially be throttled back to 2  so is not exactly stable. I recommend calculating the volumes of data being transferred and testing performance using a proof of concept and the use of batches, ExecuteMultiple and BDD (balanced data distributor) to enhance integration performance. Using ISV solutions such as KingswaySoft may allow for smoother integration.

Some colleagues of mine tested the indicative transfer rates based on tests conducted against a vanilla instance of MSCRM Online hosted in the Australian datacentre. Tests include both singular requests and the execute-multiple approach, simultaneous execute-multiple connections were also tested:

Data Transfer

CRM Online Vs. On Premise

There are other areas to consider, and to reduce the risk of turning this post into a novel, there is a quick reference table below:

CRMOnlinevOnPrem

In Closing

A move into the cloud doesn’t have to be terrifying, but it does need careful consideration and may be more suitable to some organisations than others. Make sure the requirements are well defined and that wherever possible performance and scalability is tested fully prior to making a commitment. A trial instance usually lasts for 30 days, but can be extended through Microsoft Support.

So – do your homework, assess and cleanse your CRM data, stress test your integrations, compare your costs and happy CRM’ing. 🙂

Trigger OnLoad Workaround for AJAX issues in CRM 2013

I thought I’d create a quick post as I was required to use a workaround for a client today involving an OnLoad event that wasn’t being called correctly in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

The background on this is that the AJAX used to refresh the page in CRM 2013 doesn’t necessarily call the OnLoad action, in this case it was affecting the JavaScript used to switch the Account from base on the value “Account Type” option set.

I remembered that a colleague had mentioned this in the past and advised that there was indeed a workaround using configuration, namely;

  • 1 x Boolean field
  • 1 x Synchronous Workflow
  • Update to the fields OnChange event

So what do you do?

Step 1 – Create a new Boolean (Two Option) field for the entity or entities effected. In my client’s case it was Account, using the following steps; Settings > Solutions > Choose Your Solution and Open it > Entities > Account > Fields > New.

Then make sure you add a display name that will make sense to you, set the “Field Requirement” to “Optional” and set the “Type” option to “Two Options”, then click Save and Close.

boolean_triggerfield

Step 2 – Next add the new field to the required forms against your entity, then click “Change Properties” on your field and uncheck “Display Label on the Form” and “Visible by Default” and also check “Lock the Field on the Form” (this will endure admin’ users will have to think twice before removing the field) then click “OK” to close the box. Next click Save and then Publish your changes and close the form (still no button for Save, Publish and Close), repeat for other forms as required.

properties_triggerfield

Step 3 – Create a new Synchronous Workflow (real-time) Process against the entity with “Organisation” as the scope (in this case Account) in CRM that is triggered when;

  • Record is created
  • Record status changes
  • Record fields change (check the required fields to apply this workflow to)

Add a workflow step to update the entity (in this example Account) and in the “View Properties” area select the Boolean we just added and set the field value to “Yes”. Save and Activate the workflow.

Please Note; be careful to select the right option in the “execute as” property, if the owner of the workflow is the system admin’ account then you should have no issues, if it is the user who made the changes, then you will have to consider their security role for the entity.

Step 4 – Finally add the JavaScript from your OnLoad that switches the form etc. to the OnChange event of the new Boolean field in your entity form. You can find this under the field by navigating to; Change Properties > Events > OnChange > Event Handlers > Add.

Remember to add the function in minus “()”. Then click “OK” and Save, Publish and Close. Repeat as required for other forms.

Don’t’ forget to test your changes and you are done.

Using Queues in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Queues can be instrumental in helping to organise, prioritise, and monitor the progress of your work, such as Cases while you are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

If used properly they can act as a centralised location for users to manage case progress, respond to service calls or work with prospects in your sales pipeline. There is often times when the feature is overlooked or misunderstood, however as the functionality was updated around the use of queues in MS Dynamics CRM 2013 SP1 and 2015 there is a lot more to do with queues and it is not as difficult as you may think.

Recently I published a blog post on the use of Routing Rules in CRM 2015 and CRM Online and during the process referenced the Queue entity. So I thought I would expand a little. At a high level what you may or may not know is that queues;

  • Can be used with any custom entity
  • Can be made “Public” or “Private” (with Private queues making the queue items only available to members)
  • Private queues are auto-created for new users or teams when they are created
  • Queues can actually contain multiple entity types, (e.g. tasks, emails, cases)
  • Users can work on Queue Items to prevent task duplication
  • Queues can be workflow enabled
  • Queues cam ne enabled for auditing

Public or Private? In CRM there is an attribute called “QueueViewType” which is used to define if a queue is public or private. Private uses have individual members (users) which are used to allow/remove access to the queue. You can add a team to a private queue and this will add all the team members as members of the private queue. Some other things to remember about queues are that;

  • All user queues are private, so only the user will be able to see queue items in this queue
  • Team queues are marked as private by default, the team owner and all its members have access to the queue
  • All other queues are considered public, anyone with ‘read’ access to queues can see them

For information on CRM queues in previous versions check this MSDN article; https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg328459(v=crm.5).aspx

Creating a Public Queue:

Creating queues are simple enough in CRM, as mentioned above each user account has it’s own private queue created automatically. The ability to create a queue will be based on the users security role, out of the box the following roles can create a queue;

  • Customer Service Manager
  • System Customizer
  • System Administrator

If you have an applicable role with create permissions then you are good to go – if you are not sure you can check your role by using the steps in this Customer Centre article; http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/view-your-user-profile.aspx

Next go to; Settings > Service Management/Business Management* > Queues, then choose New. You will then need to complete the required fields in the Queue form, out of the box these fields will be;

  • Name
  • Type (Public or Private)
  • Owner (Lookup to System User)
  • Convert Incoming Email To Activities

The “Incoming Email” field is for exactly that purpose, here you can enter the email address that receives all messages for this queue, for example; ‘info@myorganisation.com’.

In the “Convert Incoming Email to Activities” field you will need to make sure you choose the appropriate action, by default this will likely be populated with “All email messages“, this will not be suitable for everyone. Depending on the purpose of the queue you may want to only covert emails that are “Email messages in response to a CRM email” or only emails from Leads, Accounts and Contacts.

The locked field referring to “Mailbox” will be automatically populated with a new mailbox record when you have created the Queue, once this has occurred you can update the mailbox details using the link.

Finally, click Save.

*Service Management will be visible in the Settings area of CRM based on the version you are using.

Queue_Create

Queue Items:

Queue items are displayed in the associated sub-grid within the Queue form. If you are using Cases for your solution then all cases that are either; (a) routed to this queue (using routing rules) or (b) manually assigned cases will be displayed.

It is worth noting that a queue item is automatically deactivated if the associated record is updated from Active to Inactive, which applies as you’d expect to all queue enabled entity records that have Active or Inactive states in CRM.

Create an Automatic Case Creation Rule;

Automatically creating cases from incoming email can be awesome for reducing the amount of manually created cases in CRM and increasing the actual contact time of a support desk and your agents for both internal and external channels. Case creation rules use conditions similar to those found in Advanced Find to automatically convert emails into support cases.

Please Note; This functionality applies to MS Dynamics CRM Online that were either updated to CRM 2013 SP1 (or Spring ’14 release as it is known) or the CRM 2015 product update. If your deployment is On Premise you will also need to have updated to CRM 2013 Sp1 or CRM 2015.

Step 1 – Create a New Record

To create a new Case Creation Rule in CRM 2015 click the “Email to Case Settings” button in the ribbon from your Queue (as created in the above steps). The create window will pop a new Case Creation Rule form, complete the required fields, which include;

  • Name
  • Source Type (Email)
  • Queue (Lookup to your Queue)
  • Owner

Now, you can only associate one rule per source type, so in this example once we have selected the “Source Type” as “Email” in a rule for this queue, we cannot have another active rule associated unless it is used for Social Monitoring. Also, make sure your queue has an email address as per the previous section.

Case_Creation_Rule1

Step 2 – Specify Conditions

Next you will need to go to the “Specify Conditions for Case Creation area in the next section of the form and choose your condition or conditions (as you can add multiple). These include;

  • Create cases for email from unknown senders+
  • Create case if a valid entitlement exists
  • Create cases for activities associated with a resolved case
  • Create case when the case associated with the activity is resolved since

Create Cases for email from unknown senders – if you select this option all emails from unknown senders (i.e. a sender that cannot be associated with an email in a CRM record) are converted to a case, be default this will also create a contact record. However this does work in conjunction with the personal options for “Automatically Create Records” set by the user that owns the rule.

+If this option is not selected cases will only be created automatically for email senders that are attributed to an Account or Contact in CRM, (those email addresses associated to other records will not create a case).

Create case if a valid entitlement exists – if you select this option then the rule will do exactly that, to read more on entitlements see; https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn689025.aspx. If the sender of the email is a contact that has a parent account with a valid entitlement and the contact is associated using the sub-grid on the entitlement, then a case is created, this is also true if the entitlement sub-grid is empty as the entitlement can be applied to all contacts for that account.

Create cases for activities associated with a resolved case – a case will be created if the email is related to a resolved case if it references an active case then no case is created. If you select this option then the option for Create case when the case associated with the activity is resolved since appears which allows you to select/define a duration. This will mean that a new case will be created only if it is resolved earlier than the specified duration. If it is later then it is associated with the existing resolved case.

When you are done click “Save”.

Step 3 – Specify Case Details

Now we need to add conditions for the creation rule, for those users familiar with Advanced Find it is as easy as that. We also need to add the case properties for the records we are going to work with once created, such as the priority etc.

In this step you can define how to treat cases based on their customer category or the contact type, a good tip is to be sure that you use the correct reference in the conditions, for example, for Contacts it is; “Sender (Contact)”, for Accounts the reference is; “Senders Account(Account)”. You add conditions by clicking the “+” icon near for “Condition”.

Case_condtitions

Once you are done click “Save” and if you are happy click “Activate”.

Please Note; Once a case is created the incoming email is removed for your Queue. If there are no routing rules to apply to the newly created case to a user or Queue then the case owner will be set to the user that owns the case creation rule.

Hope this helps, if you need to dig deeper check out the CRM Customer Centre, or for technical information such as case creation from a web service see MSDN. Happy CRM’ing!