Learn How to Create Your Own Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011!

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In previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, dashboards have been made possible through the creation of custom SRS reports made accessible straight from the Main Form's Navigation bar. We could even tailor things with a little bit of javascript so that only certain sets of eyes could view the metrics, making it a handy tool for middle and upper management. This came at a hefty price though. Creation and updates to the SRS reports were pricy and often time consuming; after all, the more 'tricked out' the graphs and charts were, the more complicated it was to modify them. This is not to say that SRS reports don't have tremendous value, because they absolutely do. However, we lacked the agility to quickly create a specific set of dashboards meant to be used by different functional areas of the business. Cost factors often prevent us from creating more than one or two dashboards, inevitably leaving many sets of users to fend for themselves in searching and querying for the data they need.

CRM 2011 Dashboards

This is all about to change with CRM 2011, and the huge step forward is being applauded by the CRM community. Microsoft gets you started with a handful of dashboards that come right out the box. These include:

Sales Activity, Sales Performance, Marketing, Customer Service – Operations, Customer Service – Performance, and Customer Service Representative. Below is a screen shot of the Sales Activity dashboard:

Sales Activity Dashboard

Figure 1: Sales Activity Dashboard

Users of CRM Online know that a simplified version of the dashboard concept already exists in the online version of Dynamics CRM 4.0. This screen has been carried over to CRM 2011, and is now called the "CRM Overview" dashboard:

Figure 2: CRM Overview DashboardCRM Overview Dashboard

Figure 2: CRM Overview Dashboard

Create your own Dashboard

This is certainly enough to get people started, but 2011 is made even better by a very intuitive and simple interface to create your own dashboards with no SRS Report needed. Choosing to create a dashboard of your own really has become a point-and-click operation. You may be wondering how much time this would actually take, or how complex the process would be. How does a 3-step process sound? Here they are:

  1. Select a layout.
  2. Select your CRM metrics.
  3. Add views into web pages, other applications, or anywhere else you'd like.

Here are screen shots to go with these steps:

  1. Select a layout:

Screen Shot: Dashboard Layout

Figure 3: Dashboard Layout

2. Select your CRM metrics:
Screen Shot: Dashboard Components

Figure 4: Dashboard Components

3. Add views into web pages, other applications, or anywhere else you'd like:

Screen Shot: Dashboard IFrame Element

Figure 5: Dashboard IFrame Element

For the remaining steps on how to create your very own Dashboards in CRM 2011 Click Here.

For more helpful CRM Tips and Tricks visit FMT Consultants, LLC.

Article written by Natasha M. Serrano, Senior xRM Consultant at FMT Consultants, LLC, California Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

Posted by Nicole Kirkpatrick of FMT Consultants, LLC, Microsoft Dynamics GP and CRM Partner servicing clients nationwide with a regional focus on Southern California including San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

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