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The Microsoft Resource Center in Dynamics CRM

The Microsoft Resource Center is a new addition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. It includes articles, learning and training resources for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users, plus access to a number of Microsoft Dynamics communities and blogs. This chapter explains how to locate and use the Microsoft Resource Center, and also reviews other key features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, such as using the Form Assistant and sending direct emails in Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed
Chapter 7, Common Functions

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed
 

The Microsoft Resource Center is a new addition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. It includes articles, learning and training resources for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users, plus access to a number of Microsoft Dynamics communities and blogs. This chapter explains how to locate and use the Microsoft Resource Center, and also reviews other key features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, such as using the Form Assistant and sending direct emails in Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed, Chapter 7
Table of contents:
Microsoft CRM fundamentals
Using the Microsoft CRM Mail Merge Wizard
Running Microsoft Dynamics CRM Workflow and other functions
Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
The Microsoft Resource Center in Dynamics CRM

The Microsoft Resource Center in Dynamics CRM

Form Assistant

The Form Assistant is ubiquitous throughout the application and can always be found on the right side of any form you're working with. If you open a new Contact, you'll see it

on the right side of the form (see Figure 7.40). Note that your data will likely differ from the information displayed in Figure 7.40, as it will be applicable to your organization.

Figure 7.40: Form Assistant in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.40 Contact form with the Form Assistant expanded.

If you don't see the Form Assistant, it might be collapsed (see Figure 7.41). You can expand it either by selecting the left arrow in the upper-right corner of the form or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F. This is a very helpful resource and can aid in quick entry of data that requires lookup fields.

 
This chapter is excerpted from the book, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed, authored by Marc J Wolenik and Damian Sinay, published by Sams Publishing an imprint of Pearson Education, March, 2008. ISBN 9780672329708. For more information please visit Informit.com.

The Form Assistant has the capability to select an entry for virtually every field on the page that has a lookup field associated with it, without having to open the lookup pop-up window. Additionally, it enables you to populate all lookup fields on a page without having to tab to each. Finally, it has the same search functionality built in and can quickly locate records when searched.

 


NOTE
For all the great and easy-to-use features that the Form Assistant provides, it does have some limitations. You do not have the ability to view properties of prospective records, and you can't do a Quick Add of the entity, as you can when working with the full pop-up lookup.


Figure 7.41: Form Assistant collapsed in Micrsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.41 Contact form with the Form Assistant collapsed.

Record Merge

When working with records, it is possible that you need to merge two records into one record. This might be because a customer consolidated or shut down offices or locations, or because you found a duplicate record in the system.

This functionality is included in the toolbar by selecting the Merge icon, as shown in the Web client in Figure 7.42.

Figure 7.42: Microsoft Dynamics CRM's Merge icon

FIGURE 7.42 Merge icon.

When you select to merge two records, the records are displayed on the Merge Records interface allowing you to select which one has the master data (see Figure 7.43). By selecting the fields you want to keep from each section, you tell the system which record it should have after the merge. The other data in the field is discarded.

Figure 7.43: The Merge Records dialog box in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.43 Merge Records dialog box.

When the merge is complete, the selected records are kept, and the subordinate record is deactivated. If the subordinate record had associations to Contacts (in the case of Accounts), the new Master record now has the Contacts.

Fields that aren't listed in Figure 7.43, such as Notes, are merged into one record.

Send Direct E-mail

The option to quickly and easily send a direct e-mail exists for most entities in the system. Found on the toolbar next to Mail Merge (see Figure 7.44), it allows you to send an e-mail directly from CRM to one or more selected records.

Note that until the e-mail router is configured, this option will not work unless you open the Outlook client.

The e-mail can consist of either a global or specific to the entity template (see Figure 7.45).

Figure 7.44: The direct e-mail option in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.44 Send direct e-mail option.

Figure 7.45: Microsoft Dynamics CRM's e-mail templates

FIGURE 7.45 E-mail templates.

Resource Center

The Resource Center is a new addition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM that, by default, connects to Microsoft for updated content. The content on the Resource Center includes the following:

 

  • Microsoft Dynamics Communities and Blogs
  • Learning and Training Resources
  • Articles related to Microsoft Dynamics

    The Resource Center is located by navigating to the last option in the near navigation (see Figure 7.46).

    Figure 7.46: Microsoft Resource Center

    FIGURE 7.46 The Resource Center.

    When working with the Resource Center, it should be noted that the content is delivered dynamically from Microsoft.com and might or might not be relevant to your particular situation. You can remove the Resource Center from the application by modifying the site map, or you can change what the users see when accessing the Resource Center (see Chapter 19, "Customizing Entities," for more information on working with the site map). An example of the latter might be to change the Resource Center to point to an internal intranet site that displays company information.

    Summary

    We have looked at a number of features that are similar throughout the application and not specific to any one Entity.

    When working with the various features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, such as Advanced Find or Mail Merge, it is important to understand that the system is incredibly flexible. Any customizations and modifications that have been made to the system are available to be queried. This provides for a powerful tool when searching and creating a set of records dynamically.

    Although there are some differences in functionality depending on where you're accessing them from, these features are common throughout the application.

     


    Download Chapter 7, Common Functions

    Read other excerpts and download more sample chapters from our CRM and call center bookshelf

     


    Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed is also Safari Books Online-enabled. For owners of the print book, you will automatically receive access to the online edition for 45 days by following the steps in the back of the book. For those who are interested in the online edition but are not yet Safari subscribers, you can try a free Safari pass here.

     

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