Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - SSRS Multi-Series Chart and Display in Dashboard

One of the helpful additions to new CRM 2011 features is Dashboards. In dashboards, charts can give us concise view and an accurate idea of the information we are looking for. If we can always get access to the information easily and whenever needed, then getting to a calculated decision becomes easy.

I remember, in one of my previous projects, client wanted me to have a similar dashboard experience. The problem was Microsoft Dynamics CRM version 4.0. Back then dashboards were not out of the box. So I had to write a custom made solution which was a combination of out of the box entities, plugins, silverlight and custom workflow activities. Not anymore. Dashboards are built into CRM 2011 framework.

My blog on CRM 2011 Dashboards will be coming soon!!!

I will demo how to create a multi series column chart in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). I will also show how to add & display this chart on a custom CRM 2011 dashboard.

1) First I will create a multi series SSRS chart in Visual Studio report project. Then I will display this chart in a custom CRM 2011 dashboard.

The chart will compare the total cost of production for movies and the revenue for these movies for each genre. This chart will compare cost and revenue for the movie genres of Horror, Thriller and Family.

CRM 2011 when released did not have the capability of multi series charts. This capability or enhancement was added as part of  Microsoft Dynamics CRM November 2011 service update. The chart wizard now supports the ability to specify multiple data series when designing charts.

Movie Records (used as data in SSRS Multi Series Column Chart) 

2) I have opened a movie record. This record has 2 fields "Cost of Production" and "Revenue". Both these fields are in millions (let's say currency is AUD - Australian Dollars).

Fields "Cost of Production" and "Revenue" will be used in Multi Series Column Chart

3) I will create this multi series chart outside the CRM 2011 environment. I will create this chart as part of a Visual Studio report project or SSRS project or Business Intelligence project. Open Visual Studio 2008.

Note: Even though we use Visual Studio version 2010 for CRM 2011 development, but this version cannot be used for reports development. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 installs the report project templates in Visual Studio version 2008 (instead of Visual Studio 2010). Visual Studio 2010 only supports developing local reports (.rdlc).

Visual Studio to Create a Report Project

4) Create a report server project. Name the project "MovieReports". Define the location for the project.

Create a Report Project

5) After the report project is created, add a new report. Name this report "CostVsRevenue". The report is an .rdl file. I can use this file in 2 ways. Later I can import this file in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 or I can deploy it to a reporting server. For our demo, I will deploy this report file to SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Server and use the URL address for dashboard display.

Create a New Report

6) In this new report, add a data source. Data source is a connection string embedded inside the report. This connection string connects the report data to a SQL Server database.

Add a Data Source

7) Click Edit button on the data source window. This will open another window to select a SQL Server and a database.

Data Source Window

8) In this window select a SQL Server which hosts your CRM 2011 database. I have selected the default Windows Authentication. Select the MS CRM 2011 database. Click OK button.

Create a Data Connection

9) The connection string is created. I have named my data source "Movies". Click OK button.

Data Connection String as Data Source

10) Add a new dataset. Dataset is a TSQL query connecting back to the database and getting results. Dataset will feed the data to our multi series column chart.

Add a Dataset

11) I have named my dataset "CostVsRevenueSQL". Now I will create and test my TSQL query in SQL Server R2 Management Studio.

Define a TSQL Statement

12) Open the SQL Server R2 Management Studio. Below is the query which I have created and tested. This query returns the SUM of cost and revenue. It is grouped by movie genre.

Create and Test the TSQL Statement

13) I will now embed my TSQL statement in the dataset "Query" field. I have selected "Movies" as my data source which I created above (STEP - 7).

Save the Dataset

14) The new dataset appears under the Datasets folder.

Dataset Added

15) I am all set to insert my chart, as I have my data ready. Take your mouse anywhere on the report's design surface and right click your mouse. Select Insert and then select Chart. This will bring the chart window.

Add a Multi Series Column Chart

16) There are many types of charts like Column, Line, Shape, Bar, Area, Range, Scatter and Polar. I have selected the first Column type chart which can handle a multi series display. My demo also applies to many other types of charts. You can use my demo in the same way with other charts.

Select a Chart

17) This will create a chart skeleton on my report. Now I can start binding data to the chart and I can customize chart as per business requirements. 

The Multi Series Column Chart Added

18) Select and click over on the top right hand corner which has "Series 1" and "Series 2" displayed. This will bring the "Chart Data" window. Add values. Do this by clicking the green plus sign at the right corner. This will bring all the fields from the query.

Since we are comparing cost and revenue, I will select options "Cost_of_Production" and "Revenue". This will add these fields as values. Cost and revenue will be part of "Y-Axis" on the column chart.

Add the Numerical Financial Data Values

19) Now I will add the "Group By" data which will form part of "X-Axis" on the column chart. We are only interested in cost and revenue for movie genres, so we select movie genre.

Add the Movie Genre as a Category Group

20) Our final chart data selected looks like below.

Chart Values and Category Groups

21) I renamed the title, X-Axis and Y-Axis displays for my chart. I gave more meaningful names for what it represents.

Add and Modify Chart and Axis Label

22) I will go to Preview tab and run my report.

The report is running and displaying data as required. It is called as multi series column chart as we have 2 columns side by side displaying 2 different value types.

Cost Vs Revenue Chart Output for all the Movie Genres

23) Take your mouse over the project name in Solution Explorer in Visual Studio 2008. Right click the project name and select properties. This will bring the properties window as shown below. I have added the values as per my scenario. These values will be used to deploy my report to the required folder inside reporting server as per what I need.

Report Project's Deployment Settings

24) I will now deploy my report. Select the report and right click and select "Deploy". This will deploy my report on the reporting server. I can access my report through a browser.

Deploy the Chart

25) Open Internet Explorer. I will go to my reports area and which is "http://crm2011/reportserver". Then as per the project settings I had given above (STEP-23), I can see my report under the folder structure "/MyHome_MSCRM/CustomReports/MovieReports".

Test the Chart from the Reports Server in a Browser (Internet Explorer)

26) Click the report to run in Internet Explorer. The report runs fine. Copy the URL address of this report which is required to display report in the CRM 2011 Dashboard IFrame.

Run the Chart and Get the URL Address

27) I will open CRM 2011 in the browser (Internet Explorer). I will go to my unmanaged solution where I need this new dashboard added. I will go to Dashboards section and click on New.

Create a new Dashboard in Movies (Unmanaged Solution)

28) This brings "Select Dashboard Layout" window. I will select the dashboard of type "3-Column Focused Dashboard". This is helpful in case our dashboard component display is large in height and width.

In my case I would like to display the chart in a bigger cell.

Add a 3-Column Focused Dashboard

29) Selecting the type will open the new dashboard in edit mode. I will add my SSRS chart to the first cell. The best option is to add an IFrame to the first cell and then display the chart in this IFrame. Click on "Select Iframe" option.

In First Column Insert an IFrame

30) The IFrame window opens. I have named my IFrame as "CostVsRevenue". The URL address which I had copied in STEP-26, I will paste it in IFrame URL.

Pay special attention to 3 check boxes. I haven't selected "Pass record object-type code and unique identifier as parameters" check box. I have not selected "Display label on the Dashboard" check box. I have also not selected "Restrict cross-frame scripting" check box.

Define IFrame Properties

31) The IFrame "CostVsRevenue" gets created. I have named my dashboard "Movies". I will "Save and Close" my dashboard. 

Save and Close the Dashboard

32) I will publish my changes by clicking "Publish All Customizations". This will make my dashboard available. This dashboard will be visible through the CRM "Dashboards" navigation in the "Workplace" area.

Publish the Dashboard

33)  I will go to "Dashboards" (left hand side navigation) under Workplace.

CRM Dashboard Section

34) I will go to "Dashboard" (right hand side) select list. I will select my newly created dashboard "Movies".

Select "Movies" Dashboard

35) Here it is, my multi series column chart displayed beautifully in the dashboard.

"Multi Series Column SSRS Chart" Displayed in a Custom CRM 2011 Dashboard

As we saw above, multi series charts are very helpful and powerful. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 brings to us extensive charting and dashboard capabilities, helping the users to analyse their data quickly and effectively. The chart control is rendered as a single image.

Multi series charts help us compare and analyse 2 different values for the same type.

I hope this blog about 'SSRS Multi-Series Chart and Display in Dashboard' was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - Microsoft Certifications

Microsoft Certifications are a great way to prove that you have the required skills. Of course this in combination with practical experience is the key.

Now-a-days companies are looking for CRM resources and they would prefer candidates with certifications. There are 3 main reasons for the companies to hire candidates with Microsoft CRM 4.0 or 2011 certifications.
  • In order to maintain their Gold partner status with Microsoft, the companies need to meet some basic criteria. One of them is to have minimum number of Dynamics certifications. More the number of Dynamics CRM (or any Dynamics Product) certified employees, easier it is to maintain their Microsoft partner status.
  • Having so many certified developers and business analysts looks cool on the company's resume. This helps the company to pitch for Dynamics CRM work. Certified developers raise the profile of a company in the eyes of their potential customers.
  • Certifications are sort of Microsoft's official recognition of the capabilities of a Dynamics CRM professional. So the companies feel safe to hire these certified individuals.
There are 4 Microsoft certifications for each Dynamics CRM version 4.0 and 2011.

Certifications for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 

1) Exam MB2-632: CRM 4.0 Applications
This certification exam measures your ability to understand and articulate how to use and implement the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Applications modules effectively, and use the terms used in the application to adequately convey solutions to other users.

Exam Topics Covered
The following list includes the topic areas covered on this exam.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Concepts
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Service Management
  • Service Scheduling

2) Exam MB2-633: CRM 4.0 Installation and Deployment
Individuals who want to obtain a certification on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Installation and Deployment should take this exam.

This certification exam measures your ability to do the following 
  • Understand and articulate how the components are used in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 deployment.
  • Understand how those components should be effectively installed and deployed to support Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This includes supporting components such as Active Directory, SQL Server, IIS, as well as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM components, which include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server, Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Office Outlook, Microsoft Dynamics CRM E-mail Router, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM sample data.

3) Exam MB2-631 CRM 4.0 Customization and Configuration
This certification exam measures your ability to understand and articulate how to configure the application’s organizational settings and customize the application using its built-in customization tools.

Exam Topics Covered
The following list includes the topic areas covered on this exam.
  • Configuring Your Deployment
  • Customizing Forms and Views
  • Customizing Entities and Attributes
  • Customizing Relationships and Mappings
  • Maintaining Organizations

4) Exam MB2-634: CRM 4.0 Extending Microsoft Dynamics
This certification exam measures your understanding of important skills and areas of knowledge used in the development of extensions for Microsoft CRM 4.0.

Exam Topics Covered
  • Extension Approach
  • Web Service Programming
  • Custom Workflow Activities
  • Developing Plug-ins
  • Application Programming

Certifications for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

1) Exam MB2-868: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications
This certification exam measures your ability to understand and articulate how to use, maintain and support Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 application including managing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 marketing automation applications, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 sales applications, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 service management applications, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 services scheduling applications.

Exam Topics Covered
  •     Managing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketing Automation Applications
  •     Managing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales Applications
  •     Managing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Management Applications
  •     Managing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Scheduling Applications

2) Exam MB2-867: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment
This certification exam measures your ability to understand and articulate how to install and deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 including planning the installation, installing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server, installing and deploying the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Email Router, installing and deploying the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Client for Microsoft Office Outlook, configuring Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, and upgrading to and redeploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

Exam Topics Covered
  •     Planning the Installation
  •     Installing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server
  •     Installing and Deploying the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Email Router
  •     Installing and Deploying the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Client for Outlook
  •     Configuring Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
  •     Upgrading to and Redeploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

3) Exam MB2-866: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration

This certification exam measures your ability to understand and articulate how to customize and configure Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 including configuring a Microsoft Dynamics CRM organizational structure, managing users & teams and security, customizing attributes and entities, customizing relationships and mappings, configuring auditing, managing forms & views and charts, and implementing a Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution.

Exam Topics Covered
  •      Configuring a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Organizational Structure
  •      Managing Users & Teams and Security
  •      Customizing Attributes and Entities
  •      Customizing Relationships and Mappings
  •      Configuring Auditing
  •      Managing Forms, Views, and Charts
  •      Implementing a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution

4) Exam MB2-876: Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
This certification exam measures your ability to understand and articulate how to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 including planning a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 deployment, performing common and advanced platform operations, creating custom workflow activities, utilizing Windows Workflow Foundation, creating plug-ins, implementing and programming application events, customizing application integration, and implementing web resources.

Exam Topics Covered
  •     Planning to Deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  •     Performing Common Platform Operations
  •     Performing Advanced Platform Operations
  •     Creating Custom Workflow Activities and Utilizing Windows Workflow Foundation
  •     Creating Plug-ins
  •     Implementing Application Events
  •     Programming Application Events
  •     Customizing Application Integration
  •     Implementing Web Resource

I hope this blog about 'Microsoft Certifications' was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

New Zealand’s Orion Health buys Microsoft e-health unit (including Microsoft Amalga Unified Intelligence System, which could have been part of the awesome Microsoft Dynamics Family). What is Microsoft Amalga!!!

On October 13 (2011), Orion has signed an agreement to purchase Microsoft’s Hospital Information System (HIS) software assets, and the related PACs (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) and RIS (Radiology Information System) products previously marketed under the Microsoft Amalga brand. The New Zealand company will sell them as Orion Health HPM (Health Process Management) suite.

What is Microsoft Amalga
Microsoft Amalga Unified Intelligence System (formerly known as Azyxxi) is a unified health enterprise platform designed to retrieve and display patient information from many sources, including scanned documents, electrocardiograms, X-rays, MRI scans and other medical imaging procedures, lab results, dictated reports of surgery, as well as patient demographics and contact information. It was developed by doctors and researchers at the Washington Hospital Center emergency department in 1996, and in 2006 it was acquired by the Microsoft Health Solutions Group, as part of a plan to enter the fast-growing market for health care information technology. It has since been adopted at a number of leading hospitals and health systems across America including St Joseph Health System, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital and five other hospitals in the MedStar Health group, a nonprofit network in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.

Amalga currently runs on Microsoft Windows Server operating system and uses SQL Server 2008 as the data store. Microsoft Amalga falls under the category of Health informatics.

Health informatics (also called health care informatics, healthcare informatics, medical informatics, nursing informatics, clinical informatics, or biomedical informatics) is a discipline at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care. It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems. It is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, occupational therapy, and (bio)medical research.

Molecular bioinformatics and clinical informatics have converged into the field of translational bioinformatics.

Insight into Microsoft Amalga:
Having the right information at hand helps healthcare organizations align their resources and increase operational and financial efficiencies, while preserving clinical performance. Once the critical information is in the hands of the right people, clinicians can truly focus on what actions will drive the best results. The core purpose of Amalga is to inspire clinical decision-making insight, which will help transform care-delivery models. For example, the ability to analyze relevant information, as well as understand the clinical context of a patient’s values, could change the course of therapy.

Easy to administer, configure, and deploy, Microsoft Amalga can help free IT resources required for traditional data aggregation, integration, and reporting.

How Amalga works:
Amalga is different by design. It doesn’t require organizations to know in advance how information will be specifically applied. It’s a paradigm shift in how healthcare providers can aggregate and use information to drive strategic goals as they present themselves. Amalga becomes, in essence, the organization’s health data platform for the future. Amalga offers ultimate flexibility in the way data can be collected and provides visibility into how that data can be used and reused across the enterprise.

By using Amalga, healthcare providers can:
• Access and act on data they already have to understand their patients’ experience.
• Forge new paths and solve problems by using current data that was previously
isolated in disparate IT systems.
• Analyze the impact of new strategic initiatives or partnerships.

Amalga brings data together in a way that dramatically changes the way healthcare organizations and their staff—from the frontline to the board room and everyone in between—can use information to drive transformational change, discovery, and innovation.

My above blog is based on Information as given on Microsoft's Website.

I hope this blog about 'Microsoft Amalga' was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

CRM Anywhere - Q2 2012 Service Update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Microsoft is committed towards the betterment of it's flagship Dynamics product, CRM 2011. The commitment is shown in it's 6 weekly roll ups and half-yearly service updates. The last Service Update (Q4 2011) had 2 popular enhancements: Dialog supporting Lookups and multi-series charts.

This time my favorite features of Q2 2012 Service Update would be the multi-browser support, industry solution templates and SQL Server 2012 support.

The upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 service update represents Microsoft's commitment to improve agility where additional capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (both Online and On-premises) are delivered approximately twice yearly with releases targeted for Spring (Q2) and Fall (Q4) of each calendar year. These new capabilities provide better productivity and enhanced experiences for organizations using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Below are some of the new features and enhancements.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 21012 service update brings a new cloud based mobile CRM service called Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile to customers of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. As part of this new mobile solution, Microsoft will provide a full range of rich native CRM applications (apps) for the most popular smartphones and tablets. These new applications allow a sales, service or marketing professional to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM both Online and On-premises. These apps allow organizations and individuals to be productive with their device of choice thereby enabling them to manage customer relationships anywhere.

In addition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 service update provides the ability for end users to access the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web Client across all modern Internet browsers on various platforms. This includes browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari running on PC, Apple Macintosh or iPad.

In many organizations there are groups of users who typically use a CRM system to look up key information about their contacts, accounts, opportunities and cases but have no immediate need to modify that information. For example, many contact center employees or managers primarily use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to review business information before deciding whether any action is required. For these users the optimal experience is to load this information very quickly so they can immediately assess a situation and determine the correct course of action. In order to provide this type of user experience, Q2 2012 Service Update is introducing rapid view forms. The rapid view form is a read-only form that can be configured like any other form in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to display any record in the system.

Organizations are constantly seeking new ways to facilitate simple and effective communication and collaboration between their employees. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook provide a very simple micro-blogging user experience to post observations and information as well as ask questions and find expertize. More and more users are demanding these types of social experiences in business applications such as CRM. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM November 2011 Service Update delivered these capabilities through Activity Feeds which introduced micro-blogging and social collaboration capabilities within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With the upcoming Q2 2012 service update, Activity Feeds will be further enhanced to provide additional functionality and simplified access to relevant feeds.

Across our product range Microsoft Dynamics offers many specific capabilities and solutions for a number of industries including distribution, manufacturing, public sector, retail and services. We are committed to broadening the industry capabilities and relevance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM through our core product as well as our extensive global partner network. For the Q2 2012 service update we will be delivering a range of templates that illustrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s suitability and flexibility for specific industry needs. Industry solution templates from Microsoft can consist of a number of components including a data model, pre-configured dashboards, workflow processes and sample data.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built on the foundation of .NET and Microsoft SQL Server, a trusted platform that continuously leads in industry-relevant TPC-E and TPC-H performance benchmarks. Microsoft is soon to release SQL Server 2012 which takes it to new levels of performance, scalability and business intelligence.

Currently SQL Server 2012 is deployed in all Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online data centers to further increase performance and reliability for your mission critical customer data. Customers deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises will be able to take advantage of the performance improvements and mission critical capabilities provided by SQL Server 2012.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 introduces a new Reporting Services Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 called Power View, previously code-named Project Crescent. Power View is a next-generation BI tool for interactive data exploration, visualization, and presentation. It provides intuitive ad-hoc reporting for business users such as data analysts, business decision makers and information workers. In short, Power View provides better business insights and collaboration for casual and experienced users alike. Power View allows a user to configure reports that connect to Microsoft Excel’s PowerPivot or SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS).

With the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 service update, developers can build custom .NET Workflow activity assemblies for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. These custom assemblies can be developed and deployed as part of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution package.

My above blog is based on Q2 2012 Service Update Release Preview Guide by Microsoft:

Read the above PDF to have full understanding of new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 Service Update.

I hope this blog about 'Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 Service Update' was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - Dynamic Worksheets in Excel Feature

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has enhanced and improved many features from its predecessor Dynamics CRM 4.0. Dynamic worksheet feature was present in CRM 4.0, but had performance issues. Using intensive data in CRM 4.0 dynamic worksheets mostly led to denial of service. Users were not able to connect to CRM 4.0 through IE and we had to perform an IIS reset.

Things have changed in Dynamics CRM 2011. In Dynamics CRM 2011 the dynamic worksheets are much more bandwidth savvy. The performance is better as compared to CRM 4.0.

I will show how to use this feature (Dynamics worksheets) in CRM 2011. For this example I will export the data from one of the custom views in Accounts. The view has 2 records. The columns in this view are Account Name, Process Name, Created By and Created on. Just make a point that these 2 account records are of Process Name type 'Movies'. Later on I will change the Process Name and refresh the excel data.

I will export the 2 records by pressing the Export to Excel button at the top on Accounts Tab Ribbon. I have selected these 2 records just to highlight (selecting records are not necessary).

Pressing the Export to Excel button will open the following dialog. There are 3 options Static, Dynamics PivotTable and Dynamic worksheet. Select the third option 'Dynamic worksheet'. We can also open the edit columns screen and add/delete any number of columns we want to.

After pressing Export button, CRM will export it to excel. It will ask you where to save this file and I can even change the file name. I have saved the excel file on my desktop. I have kept the default file name.

When we open the excel file for the first time, we won't see any data. This data is dynamic and comes through the embedded connection which is open between excel and CRM. I am using Excel 2010 and the new security model gives me a security warning. Press Enable Content to view the data.

After you press enable content the data appears. This data has the two records (accounts) as we saw in CRM view.

Don't close the excel file. I will now change the 'Process Name' values of these two records in CRM. I have changed the values (as you can see below) from Movies to Entertainment.

Go back to the excel file and open the Data tab ribbon. Press the 'Refresh from CRM' button. Since there is a connection always embedded in this excel file (back to CRM), so this button press will refresh the data.

The data will show new values or updated values. See below that the 'Process Name' has changed from Movies to Entertainment.

Dynamic worksheets are very convenient for saving the required data once and just refresh to get the updates. Managers and CEOs can save this dynamic worksheets on their desktop and refresh whenever they want to have visibility across their team or projects.

I hope this blog about CRM 2011 feature of 'Dynamic Worksheets' was informative. Please feel free to leave comments, if any.