Getting Personal: CRM Online 2011 and Dashboards
The easily created and customizable Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011 are quickly becoming one of the most useful and talked about features. These dynamic overviews can prove to be critical for managers or department heads, but any user can create a Dashboard.
Microsoft has added some useful Dashboard customization tools. You can rearrange your personal Dashboard on the fly using the new Dashboard layout wizard. We’ll get you started with your first personal Dashboard now!
Navigate to Workplace > My Work > Dashboards. It’s likely that you’ll see the default “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Overview” Dashboard (see below). It contains three Charts and a View, but we’re about to change that. With the Dashboards tab selected, click New.
A wizard launches (see below) to guide you through your configuring of the Dashboard. It has six different layouts available, giving users a fair amount of styles to choose from without being overly complicated. In this example, we are going to select the 3-Column Multi-Focused Dashboard. Once you have selected the template, clicking Create will open a full-sized empty template for customizing.
You will now see an empty template load with five blank sections. (See below.) Each blank section can have its own Chart, List, Web Resource, or Iframe (where another web page can be inserted). We’d like to see some sales data reflected in our dashboard, so we’re going to create a Sales Pipeline Chart. Select the top left section by clicking inside of its rectangular area, and then click on the Chart button (alternatively, you can click directly on the miniature chart button inside of the section).
A small wizard launches to aid you with the configuration. (See below.) You completely customize the Record Type to display, the View that determines which records are included, and the Chart you want to display it all in. As we mentioned, we are going to create a simple Sales Pipeline Chart that will display the status of your current open sales Opportunities. Keep in mind that any changes made to Views in CRM Online will dynamically update Charts, meaning that anytime you update the criteria of a View, it also updates the criteria of any Chart that uses it. Change the Record Type to “Opportunity”, the View to “My Open Opportunities”, and the Chart to “Sales Pipeline”. Click OK.
After you complete the wizard, the Chart appears in the section you selected earlier. If you don’t see your Charts being auto-populated with any data right away, don’t worry. While you are editing your dashboard, real data is not used. After we have finished making our changes, we will look at the dashboard and make sure it is functioning as expected.
After adding a few Charts, your dashboard will begin to take shape like the one below. Give it a Name, and click Save and Close to finalize your dashboard changes.
Navigate back to Dashboards, and open the drop-down menu (see below) by clicking the name of the currently selected dashboard (by default, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Overview”). Click on the name of the dashboard you just saved to load it.
Congratulations. Your new dashboard will load with real-time data! (See below.)
Although we didn’t include detailed instructions on how, users can also add Lists and Web Resources to their Dashboards using simple wizards. Creating a personal Dashboard does not require any special Security Roles in CRM Online, and each user can have as many personal Dashboards as they want. When users are able to configure how their home pages and Dashboards look, they are more easily able to access and overview critical data.
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