Reporting 201: Dashboards
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”
Executives want analytics and business intelligence. Dashboards can assist with adoption and get executives to begin using the system.
- Power BI for Office 365
- SQL Server (many good features in SQL server 2012)
Dashboards in 2013
In CRM 2013, Dashboards now can have Security Roles associated with them. There is also a new color palette.
Advanced Find has been improved to include an outer join (not in, does not have), which can improve our dashboards.
Often we want to show data as it was at a specific point in time. This can be done with a plugin if you have developer resources.
Smaller companies can create this by creating a separate custom dashboard entity with fields such as number of open cases, number of new accounts, etc. Whatever you want to show in the chart will be a field on the entity. On the first of each month, use a view to gather the information then manually enter it. You can even add fields from another system if you need. Then display a chart of this custom dashboard entity records. You can later build a plugin or use scribe to auto-fill this data.
You can include an iFrame on your dashboard and point it to a URL already in SharePoint. You may need to uncheck the cross domain checkbox, but you can only do this if it is a system dashboard. You can also use an iFrame to display a CRM report, it is more usable if it is a report that does not require a parameter to be selected.
Web resources allow you to display things such as websites and maps. If you display a map you can even overlay this with CRM data. To do this you will need code to grab the data and display, you can support drill down with more code. There are some managed solution examples online.
Changes in CRM 2013
There should not be many changes to reports in CRM 2013 as long as you are using the filtered views. This is the supported method and respects security.
Consider using SQL 2012, you can auto-replicate to create a reporting database.
Dashboards are changed to support Security Roles. There is no more right-click to get dashboard link. The default dashboards have been changed. There have also been design improvements – responsive design, simplified/cleaner layout, individual pieces can be expanded.
System Jobs cannot be reported on within CRM, you will need to use a SSRS/Fetch XML report. You could also create a custom “Audit” type entity that would track workflow progress.
To schedule a report, follow these steps: (1) Create RDL, (2) Schedule in CRM, (3) Find snapshot and set up that to send automatically. Make sure you are grabbing the most recent snapshot to send.
The Report Wizard is good for basic reports. You cannot get count, only sum of number fields. This is not really improved in CRM 2013; the idea is it should be simple for end users.
Reporting Tools and Resources
For help with editing XML a good blog is CRM Chart Guy. These are business charts, not 3D or flashy.
Scribe Online Replicate – easy to use tool to mirror the database
Metadata document generator (CRM toolbox) – view all entities, attributes, options
Metadata entity viewer – Generate Visio diagram for specific entities; do not include the User entity due to the number of connections it has
SQL2Fetch – converts SQL to FetchXML
Recommended BI Tools
- QlikView – link back to CRM, Full Display Control, Join multiple
- GoodData – Online System, expensive
Microsoft Q & A
In this session they discussed the announcement of Business Process templates for CRM 2013. They also mentioned that the Business Process engine will be improved in the future to include branching and workflow-like functionality.
Top Issues with Upgrading to CRM 2013
Main issue has been unsupported customizations such as the version 4 endpoints. Also CRM for Outlook issues where the client cannot connect, this is just a configuration issue. 2400 organizations had been updated successfully at that time (10/24/2013).