MB2-712 Certification: Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 – Dashboards

I am publishing a series of posts to serve as a revision aid for anyone preparing for the MB2-712 certification. (Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016). Recently I have looked into views and charts, meaning the next logical topic is dashboards.

Why are dashboards the next logical topic? Well because they are a visualization of mainly views and charts. Once you understand views and charts dashboards will hopefully be a nice easy / fun subject! J

There are actually two types of dashboard in CRM these days. The “traditional” dashboard that will be the initial focus of this post but also we have the Interactive Service Hub Dashboard. More on those later!

Dashboards are personalized pages. Just like your car dashboard they provide a snapshot of key information in an easy to access format. CRM dashboards typically include charts and list views but you can also add iframes and web resources.

In addition to simply viewing data it is also possible to interact with the information presented. For example, you can drill into charts on a dashboard in exactly the same way as you can from list views elsewhere in CRM.

As with charts and views there are two types of dashboards. System and personal.

Personal Dashboards

  • All users can create personal dashboards
  • Initially only the user creating the dashboard can see it
  • Personal dashboards can be shared with other users and teams.
    • When sharing dashboards, it is important to ensure that all personal charts and views contained in the dashboard are also shared.
    • Sharing does not break any of the security model rules. You are sharing the dashboard not the underlying data!

System Dashboards

  • Out of the box various system dashboards exist by default.
  • System dashboards can be created by developers with the system customizer or system administration roles.
  • System dashboards can be made available to all users or have access restricted based on security role.

As the image below shows, out of the box CRM ships with multiple system dashboards. Some have a customer service focus and some concentrate on sales.

Having clicked on a chart on dashboards three icons become visible. These allow the chart to be refreshed, opened in a full view (showing related records) and expanded to fill the screen.

Creating Dashboards

Whilst creating a new dashboard the user can select one of 6 templates, as shown below.

Once the template has been selected you can add charts, views, ifames and web resources as required.

As you select to insert components a dialogs will prompt for the required details. As an example I have shown the dialog for adding a chart below.

Once the chart or view has been added to the dashboard you can then alter the layout to expand (or shrink) its height and width as required.

Sharing Dashboards

It is possible to share personal dashboards with other users and teams. (Just like charts and views.) Simply select the SHARE DASHBOARD option in the ribbon bar.

The sharing dialog will then appear. It is worth knowing that the process to share views (advanced finds) and charts is pretty much the same. Users and teams can be added and then you select the privileges as required. By default, just the “Read” privilege is given but you can ass additional access permissions as required.

An important tip about sharing is that if you have added any personal charts or views to the dashboard you will need to also share each of those separately.

It is also important to be aware that the CRM roles apply. Sharing does not allow you to circumvent the CRM role based security model. When sharing dashboards, views and charts you are only sharing the view. You are not sharing access to the underlying data. For example:
If you share a dashboard with a sales person that contains cases and they don’t have access to cases, they would not be able to view that section of the dashboard.

Creating System Dashboards

We create system dashboards in a very similar manner to personal dashboards. Except only developers with system customizer or system administrator roles have access. When customizing the system, we have a dashboards option that gives access to existing system dashboards and allows the creation of new ones.

When creating a system dashboard, we have two options, dashboard and interactive experience dashboard. The first being the “traditional” dashboard the second being those available in the Interactive Service Hub.

If you select the Dashboard option, you will be presented with the same screen as when creating a personal dashboard. From this point on the process is pretty much the same. (Expect you will need to remember to publish the dashboard once it has been defined!)

One key difference with system and personal dashboards is that their access can be controlled based on user roles. Using the enable security roles option.

As shown below we can enable the dashboard for all roles or select specific roles.

Interactive Service Hub Dashboard

The interactive service hub is a modern intuitive interface tailored to enhance the user experience for agents with a customer service role. It contains interactive dashboards to help visualize information and determine which tasks need to be looked at. There are two types of interactive dashboard, multi-stream dashboards and single stream dashboards.

Interactive Service Hub – Multi Stream Dashboards

The interactive hub contains a multi-stream dashboard specifically designed to help first line support staff. The agents can view and act on cases / activities quickly across multiple data streams which show data from views or queues. This might include “My Activities”, “My Cases”, “Cases from queues I’m a member of” etc.

Interactive charts provide KPIs on key items and act as a filtering tool to help zoom in on the required data. You can opt to see only lists / tiles and toggle charts on / off. Plus, you can apply global filters to help focus on important pieces of information.

To load the interactive service hub, select the “Experience it now” option or navigate to articles and access it from there;

Another way to quickly access the interactive service hub can be found on the articles option within service;

Plus since CRM 2016, Update 1 we can also load the interactive service hub from an option with settings in CRM.

Having selecting the interactive service hub there will be a short pause whilst it loads;

Notice that the dashboard initially displayed is called “Tier 1 Dashboard”, this can be changed by selecting the down arrow. The tier one dashboard includes panels include;

  • Active cases
  • Resolved case
  • Draft emails
  • Received emails
  • My tasks
  • All queues

The visual flyouts (charts) can be toggled on / off using the chart icon. These differ from charts in traditional CRM dashboards as clicking on a portion of one chart forces the other charts and lists on the dashboard to interactively adjust to reflect the newly selected data.

As you filter the data by clicking on the charts, “bread crumbs” of your selections are displayed in the filter area. Below you can see that I drilled in on origin and then subject.

These filters can be individually added or removed. Plus, you can click on the filter icon to gain access to further abilities to filter your selection.

The dashboard defaults to using this week as its timeframe but you can change it to look at today, this month or even a custom date range.

Having used these filtering options to “zoom” in on the required case(s) you can click on the items in the dashboard lists to load individual cases to work on them.

It is possible to rearrange the dashboard from a stream view to a tile view by using the tile / stream icons in the bottom right hand corner.

In addition to the standard Tier 1 Dashboard users can select from other pre-created dashboards or create their own.

Interactive Service Hub – Single Stream Dashboards

A single stream dashboard will typically show an aggregated view of workload. (From a single entity such as cases.) The single steam dashboard has tiles that can show information from views or queues like on a multi-stream dashboard. They also contain visual filtering capabilities like the multi-stream dashboards.

The tier 2 dashboard is an example of a single stream dashboard You select it from the dashboard picker.

You can immediately see the different between multi-stream and single stream dashboards once the tier 2 dashboard is selected. A single tier dashboard contains just one view or list. In this case a list of active incidents. Also panels and charts are displayed instantly, giving a quick way to view more detailed data about the currently open cases.

It is important to appreciate that a single stream dashboard gives a detailed view of one entity, whereas a multi-stream dashboard can include multiple entities, The Tier 1 dashboard we reviewed contained cases, activities and queues.

Meaning the Tier 2 single stream dashboard is targeted at an agent working on specific cases whereas the Tier 1 multi-stream dashboard is more appropriate for a service manager who needs a wider view of the information.

Creating Interactive Dashboards

CRM comes with a number of preconfigured dashboards you can also create your own dashboards. Unlike the standard CRM dashboards this can only be completed by customizers / system administrators. (As there is no personal dashboard option for interactive service hub dashboards.) The act of creating an interactive dashboard is actually very similar to creating a traditional dashboard. Within customizations select to add a new dashboard and opt for an interactive dashboard.

You then use the wizard to select if you’d like to create a multi-stream or single-stream dashboard and what layout is required.

Next you define the entity that will be used to filter the views, in my example I have selected accounts. And I have based the content of my dashboard on all active account. You can also default the date the records will be filtered on and define the default time frame. So in my example I opted to see all account created this month.

Next you’ll add the visual filters into the dashboard, clicking on the chart icon lets me select a record type, view and chart to display.

I can now opt to add additional visual filters as required. In my example I’ve included account by month, owner and industry type.

Now I add the stream(s) to my dashboard. These could be queues or entity views.

It is important to know that to make my new dashboard available I need to publish it.

Once published, when I reload the interactive hub I’ll see a message warning that changes have taken place and asking me to download the changes.

Once the download is completed my new dashboard will be available and will contain all the same filtering capabilities as the out of the box pre-configured dashboards.

The description above covered the creation of a multi-stream interactive service hub dashboard. But as you have seen we can also have an entity focused single stream dashboard. The creation process is actually very similar except we first navigate to the required entity. See below that a dashboards option exists for each entity. And that for case we have an interactive service hub dashboard.

Opening the case dashboard will show us that the interface for creating a single stream dashboard is similar but it has some key differences. Firstly with the dashboard being based on one view and one entity we need to also select the required view. Then below we select the interactive service hub charts required.

I like dashboards! I hope you will enjoy “playing” around with them. As always, at this point I am going to stress the need for some hands-on time. Try creating different types of personal and system dashboards. Share them out, restrict access based on roles etc etc. Have fun!. J

3 thoughts on “MB2-712 Certification: Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 – Dashboards

  1. Pingback: MB2-712 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration) – Revision Guide | Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Unified Service Desk

  2. Pingback: MB2-712 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration) – Revision Guide - Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community

  3. Pingback: MB2-710 – Customizing Dynamics CRM Online | Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Unified Service Desk

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