Sales Dashboards- July 2011

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CRM comes with two Dashboards out of the box. The sales activity Dashboard is designed to display individual pipelines, goals, opportunities lists, and current activities lists on one page. It is planned to give salespeople the day to day information they need to effectively do their jobs. The second Dashboard is the sales performance Dashboard. This is the sales manager’s Dashboard to monitor their group’s overall pipeline, goals, deal win/loss ratios, and also sales leaderboard of top salespeople. Both of these are useful out of the box and can achieve the majority of a sales team’s needs for Dashboards. However, we are not talking about out of the box. We are going to show you how to customize these for when you do need them for more.
New Dashboard
There are two ways to make a new Dashboard. If you like the built-in Dashboards, you can copy them using the “save as” button at the top of the Dashboard screen, which will give you a version to manipulate as you please. If you want to start fresh, you can click the “new” button at the top of the Dashboard and have a blank Dashboard to mold. Once you have decided which way you want to go, you will edit the Dashboard. Since editing an existing Dashboard is essentially the same as building a new Dashboard, we will go through the process of editing a new Dashboard. The first thing to do when selecting a new Dashboard is choose the layout type. There are numerous layouts one can choose and customize once the layout has been selected. For this example, we will select a simple two column Dashboard.
New Layout
When you create your new blank Dashboard, you will need to name it and decide what will be placed in each quadrant. Each quadrant has four options for what you can actually implement into the area. The first, as we have seen in the built-in Dashboards, is a Chart. To create a Chart, click on the “Graph” button that says “Chart”. We are going to choose the record type of “Opportunity”. Once in Opportunities, every view you have available in your Opportunity will now be listed so you can filter what type of Opportunity you want to use in this chart. In this case, let’s use the “All Opportunities” view. The last option is the Chart itself. Every built-in Chart and every Chart that has been created by a CRM user will be available to use here. Charts are also user customizable, so if you do not see one you need we will discuss how to build one at a later date.
New Chart
Finally, select the Chart for “Deals Won Deals Lost”. Once you have clicked “Okay”, you should see the chart inserted into the upper left hand quadrant of the Dashboard you are creating. Next, we have the “list type". A list type is simply a list of items in CRM we want to display. These could be activities, opportunities, or accounts, but this list is how you can have an action list in a Dashboard without having to navigate around in CRM. To add a list, click the “list” button and you will see two options “Record Type” and “View”. For this example, choose the Record Type of opportunities and the view of all opportunities to match the Chart we just created. Click “Okay” and return to the Dashboard.
New List
The third item we can add to a Dashboard is an Iframe. An Iframe is essentially a way to pull an external file into a Dashboard. This could be a website such as or it could be a URL tool report you want on your Dashboard. Generally speaking, Iframes need adminstrative assistance to be configured correctly. For the sake of the example, we will make an Iframe to so you have a search bar in your Dashboard. Once you click on the Iframe button, a box will pop up asking you for a name, a URL, and a label. The default name is fine as is, we will make the URL and the label should be Bing. That is all that there is to adding an Iframe in a Dashboard for now but many times the source that the Iframe references will need to be configured by an administrator so it fits into the Dashboard properly.
New IFrame
The last type of item you can add to a Dashboard is called a Web Resource. Web Resources are always created by a CRM administrator and then can be exposed to end users to add to Dashboards. Web Resources can include things like custom web pages for CRM and small applications designed to be run in a Dashboard. Web Resources are a special case and will not be addressed here as your administrator will already have told you how to add it. Once we have filled out all four sections of our Dashboard, we can tweak the configuration to manipulate the size of the panes. The layout area at the top of the Dashboard allows you to increase and decrease the width and height of panes to make them match your needs. Further, all Dashboard panes can be dragged and dropped to position them where you want them on your Dashboard. Once you are done, save and close the Dashboard and your new Dashboard with everything you need to manage sales will now be ready to go.
New Web Resource
As mentioned in this article, the next post will dig into building your own custom charts.
Completed Dashboard

by Arke Systems, a Georgia Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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