MB2-713 Certification (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Sales) – Integration (SharePoint)

MB2-713 Certification (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Sales) includes a significant requirement to review integration options with CRM. As I prepare for the exam I am posting my revision notes on my blog, this time I will be looking at SharePoint integration.

The skills measured includes the following statement;

  • Configure collaboration
    • Configure Microsoft SharePoint integration; set up SharePoint documents; use SharePoint documents; use Skype and Skype for Business with Dynamics CRM; use Microsoft Yammer with Dynamics CRM; use Office Groups with Dynamics CRM

I will cover the parts highlighted in red in this post.

SharePoint Overview

SharePoint integration with CRM supports the storing and management of documents in SharePoint document libraries, allowing them to be “surfaced up” directly in CRM in the context of CRM records. This allows users to quickly find documents related to a CRM entity without having to search a potentially massive SharePoint repository.

One advantage of this approach is that access to the SharePoint isn’t limited to CRM users. As the documents are available via CRM or directly in SharePoint. Meaning, for example, you could have a sales proposal held in CRM against an opportunity. This proposal documents can be reviewed and amended by anyone with SharePoint access, no CRM license is required.

Note: Enabling SharePoint document management is also a component of OneNote integration.

Of course, you could simply attach documents to notes in CRM and not use SharePoint integration! But SharePoint offers a number of advantages, including;

  • Uploading a document in notes is useful for static documents that never change. But SharePoint integration allows you to leverage standard SharePoint features for collaboration and versioning.
  • It is possible to search the SharePoint document library. Whilst search attachments on notes is not possible.

It is important to remember that SharePoint does not replace the standard notes functionality. Instead SharePoint complements it, often a combination of both approaches will be used. For example, notes might be ideal for short ad-hoc comments, whilst SharePoint might be used for complex contractual documents. (Such as sales proposals, contracts etc.)

Client-side (List Component) v Server-based SharePoint Integration

There are two SharePoint architectures, client-side or server-based. (or server-side if you like.)

Client-side uses the list component. Meaning the CRM client displayed in a browser “talks” to SharePoint via the list component. The list component provides the grid that displays SharePoint details in CRM.

A server-based architecture does not require the list component. Making it more robust and potentially faster. Future versions of CRM may only offer a server-based architecture! With a server-based architecture the “SharePoint grid” in CRM is utilising a native SharePoint component, meaning CRM and SharePoint can communicate server to server.

Server-based integration is the recommend configuration for CRM online. However, currently a client-side architecture remains the recommend approach for CRM on premise. As the list component supports both SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premise (2010 / 2013 versions).

Enable Server-based Integration

Enabling server-based integration is a one-time process. The first step being to select the option to enable server-based integration. Once completed the option to enable server-based integration will no longer show and it will also not be possible to revert back to the list component.

Step one – click next.

Step two, select online or on-premise and click next.

Step three, enter the url for the SharePoint site you wish to integrate with.

After entering the url of the SharePoint site the site will be validated and then an enable option will allow completion of the process.

Enable Client Side Integration

Enabling client side integration differs as first you’ll need to download the list component.

Once the list component is installed into the SharePoint site collection, in CRM under settings in document management run the document management wizard. In which you will enter the site collection to configure.

SharePoint Folders

Enabling client-side or server-based SharePoint integration will have linked CRM to the SharePoint site. This can be seen in the SharePoint sites option in CRM. When documents are added into CRM, they will be added into a folder at the document location for this site.

Note: Multiple folder locations can exist for an individual CRM record. And a single location can be shared between two CRM records.

You use the document management settings option to define the folder structure to use and which entities are enabled for document management. Out of the box (by default) Account, Article, Category, Knowledge Article, Lead, Opportunity, Product, Quote and Sale Literature are enabled. But any custom or system entity can be enabled.

There are two folder structures possible. The default will be to create a separate folder in the for each record. An alternative is to make the folder structure entity based. With either Account or Contact as the base entity. For example, making the folder structure based on the account would create a parent folder for the account and then sub folders for each entity related to the account.

Having selected the required document management settings a SharePoint document library will be created.

Working with SharePoint

Once the setup has been completed, on any of the enabled entities a document section will exist in the navigation. From here you can view and associate documents with that entity.

From the associated grid on the entity you can create new documents or upload existing ones. Plus, additional document locations can be added or you can edit the current location.

In the example above you can see the documents associated with an account. As I have optioned for a document structure based on account you can also see documents associated to the account. Notice the folder structure!

It is also possible to use the Open location open to open the SharePoint document location.

If you are using client-side (list component) that it is possible to view some additional commands. Including Alert me, Download a copy, View short cut and version history. With the server-based approach all of these options are available by opening the document location and accessing them directly from SharePoint.

By selecting the document, it is possible to interact with the document by viewing and setting document properties for example. Or manage versions by checking the document in / out.

It is also possible to delete the document. Doing so removes the document from CRM and SharePoint. But if you delete the CRM record then the documents would remain in SharePoint.

If two CRM records are merged their document location information is merged. This doesn’t mean the that SharePoint documents are moved or duplicated. Just that the newly merged CRM record will point to both SharePoint locations.

Edit Properties might be useful to fix a broken link! If someone moves or renames a document directly in SharePoint without considering “CRM” the link between CRM and SharePoint can become broken.

SharePoint and CRM Permissions

Firstly, it is important to understand that there is no interaction which pushes permissions from CRM to SharePoint. It will be assumed that the user operating CRM will already have permission on the SharePoint document library. So a common problem with permissions might be that the users have permissions in CRM but also need to be granted access on the SharePoint side.

From a CRM point of view two entities come into play, one for the SharePoint site and one for the document location settings. As with any entity in CRM you can use the security model of CRM to grant or restrict access as required.

Hopefully this post has given you a good overview of the SharePoint integration capabilities for CRM 2016. And an insight into how to configure and use the SharePoint integration. I hope I have included all of the main points which might popup in the MB2-713 certification. But as always getting some hands-on time will be important in your preparation. Good luck.

5 thoughts on “MB2-713 Certification (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Sales) – Integration (SharePoint)

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