Surfacing User Adoption with Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Part 2

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In my previous post, Surfacing User Adoption with Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 part 1, I touched on the need for tracking user adoption with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.  In this post I will run through the steps to create a user adoption dashboard that will display the number of activities created within the past month by Activity Type.  With this approach you will be able to not only see the number of activities but what type of activities are being created.  This is beneficial in determining how users are utilizing activities in CRM and also perhaps which areas of CRM need more interaction from users.  

The procedure for creating the views, charts, and adding them to a dashboard will basically be the same for other entities. The example below is an example of a user adoption dashboard.  The chart in the bottom left of this screenshot shows a monthly trend of the number of activity records created within the past 4 months.

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*You will need to have a security role in CRM in order to create views, charts, and dashboards in CRM 2011.

Step 1: Create the View to display Activities created within the past month.

  • Create a view that returns all activities created within the past month.  To do this, navigate to Settings > Customizations >Customize the System>Entities>Activity>Views
  • Open the View “All Activities” and in the window that opens click Save As in the top left of the window.  Name your new view “Activities created within the last 4 months”
  • On the right hand side click Edit Filter Criteria.  In the Edit Filter Criteria window, click the underlined word Select and choose “Date Created” in the dropdown.  In the drop down to the right choose “Last X Months”. In the next dropdown type the number 4.  Click Ok.
  • Save and close the View

Step 2: Create the Chart

  • Navigate to Settings > Customizations >Customize the System>Entities>Activity>Charts
  • Select New and name the Chart “Activities Created by Month” in the field with the text “Enter chart name here”.
  • Select “Line” button in the ribbon to make the chart a line chart.
  • In the Legend Entries (Series) area, select “Activity” in the first drop down and “Count:All” in the second dropdown.
  • In the Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels area select “Date Created” in the first drop down and “Month” in the dropdown to the right.  Choose “Activity Type” in the drop down on the second row.
  • Save and close the Chart
  • Navigate to Settings > Customizations >Customize the System>Entities>Activity and click Publish at the top of the window.

Step 3: Create the Dashboard

  • To create a system user adoption dashboard available to everyone, Go to Settings > Customizations >Customize the System> Dashboards>New.  Or to create a personal user adoption dashboard viewable by you, go to Workplace>Dashboards > New (on the ribbon).
  • Select your dashboard layout. I chose a 3-Column Multi-Focused Dashboard in the screenshot. Click Create and in the next window name your Dashboard “User Adoption”
  • Choose the chart icon that has the red, yellow, and red bars in any of the 5 available areas.
  • Select “Activity” for the Record Type. Select “Activities created within the last 4 months” in the View drop down. Select “Activities Created by Month”.  Click OK.
  • Save and close the Dashboard
  • Select the check box next to the “User Adoption” dashboard and click “Publish” in the ribbon.

Step 4: View the User Adoption Dashboard

  • Navigate to Workplace>Dashboards and in the Dashboard selector choose “User Adoption”


In the example above we created a dashboard that contains an activity chart which displays the count of activities created within the last 4 months.  The chart displays each activity type as a separate line on the chart so we can see which type of activities are being created. 

To populate the remaining 4 dashboard elements, repeat the general outline of the provided steps with the entities you wish to display on the dashboard.  You can extend this solution to display information such as who created the records as well.  As always remember to keep it simple and don’t overload the dashboard.  A user needs to be able to glance at the Dashboard and consume the information quickly.  Our main goal is to capture user activity and to display it in an easy to read format.

by Customer Effective

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