Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adding InsideView To Your CRM Instance

May the seasonal greetings you feel most comfortable with be upon you. My last post for 2014 before getting into the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

If you are outside the USA you may have heard about something called InsideView, and that it is free for Dynamics CRM, but not had much experience with it. The reason for this is it is not added, by default, to CRM Online, except for CRM Online instances on the US servers.

This is how you can add it to your CRM 2013/2015 instance. Admittedly I have not tried this for on-premise but it should work there as well.

Get an Instance of CRM

Firstly, you will need an existing CRM instance. If you are looking for a trial, here is the link. At the time of writing, the page steers you towards getting an agent to walk you through the hearty goodness of CRM. If you are more interested in spinning up a trial than speaking to people, scroll down a bit and look for the blue arrow.


After a few clicks, you will have a trial instance and are ready to go. To make sure it was not being added, I went to an account record in my new trial and, sure enough, no InsideView pane.

Interestingly, a demo I set up a few weeks ago (for the calculated fields review and through a pre-configured partner link) did have an InsideView section but nothing inside but a link on how to set it up.

This is the magic link you will need to get InsideView in CRM.

Get the InsideView Solution File

Going to the link, gives you the solution file.There are a few terms and conditions you must give the nod to before acquiring it but, assuming they are good, you are in.


You should obtain a file called “Insights_3_4_online_managed”

Install the InsideView Solution File

The file installs like any other Solution file. It took a minute or two for mine to complete but it did so in the end.


The warning was about labels not working for languages not installed in the instance and was nothing to worry about.

Enable Syncing

Next we need to connect Insideview to CRM. To do this, go to the solution file in Settings-Solutions, double-clicking on the InsideView solution and going to the Configuration section.


Then click on the start button and grant and accept access to your CRM system.

Eventually you will see a success message.


Fixing the Form

The first thing you will notice is the default forms have been updated. Adjust, as required although do not delete the InsideView objects unless you are completely sure; they are quite tricky to add back.

There is a tab called insights but you will not see a lot in it. It is hidden by default and, even then it seems to only show ‘out of the box’ for old-style i.e. legacy 2011 forms, not the new style. This is a shame as it is nicely laid out and has a few useful functions.


I tried all sorts of parameters to get it working in the new forms and finally found success with this:


which rendered like this:


The main changes were the title of the tab (going from Insights to InsideView) and the parameter version changes i.e. dropping the form name. I assume it was one or both of these that finally cracked it.

I even managed to do a successful sync of information from InsideView to my Contact record.


Data Quality

While it is handy to have this tool outside of the USA, the quality of the data outside of the USA is not great. Doing a vanity search i.e. creating a Contact with my name, returned nothing useful.


So I tried our Prime Minister (the rough Aussie equivalent of the President), Tony Abbott. The first few hits were not great.


but eventually, towards the end of the eleven, we got close (zero points to the Reader’s Digest though, unless they know something I do not).



If you are InsideView-curious, this is all you need to start playing. Be warned though the data is not great for individuals outside of the USA and if InsideView are looking to piggyback on the international success of Dynamics CRM, they will need to address this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dynamics CRM 2015 Calculated Fields

Microsoft invited me to write a review of the calculated fields available for all the field types in CRM 2015. Here is a link to the stub (from which you can get to the full article).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Screwy Surface Driver Behaviour

I am blogging this so it may help others and so I have a reference for the future.

I went to boot my aging Surface 1 Pro this morning and the type keyboard and wifi adaptor were non-functioning (no wifi and no keyboard, only trackpad and stylus).

I beat my head against this for a while and finally figured it out thanks, in part, to this article.

If you find yourself in the same situation, here is the trick to fixing the problem:

  • Go to File Explorer and Right Click on This PC and select Manage


Unlike in the diagram above, you will see yellow exclamation marks against the Surface Type Cover Filter Device and the Marvell AVASTAR 350N Wireless Network Controller.

  • Right click on the Type Cover and select Disable
  • Detach the Type Cover
  • Restart the machine
  • Once restarted, come back to the Device Manage and re-enable the Type Cover by right-clicking

The type cover should now be working and you will be able to type again (you can open up Word or Notepad to test)

  • Uninstall the Marvell AVASTAR (but do not tick the uninstall driver box)


  • Right click on the top of the device tree (where it says Uranus on mine) and select Scan for Hardware Changes

The network adaptor will reload and work again.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fixing Lead Conversion in CRM 2013

The Problem

One of the more subtle changes with CRM 2013 was with Lead conversion. In the old days of 2011, you had a wealth of options when it came to changing your Lead into something else.


The resulting Opportunity can be for an existing Account/Contact or a new one. Alternatively (as is the case for one particular client of mine) you do not have to create an Opportunity at all, but simply create an Account or Contact.

In CRM 2013, things changed.


The dialog box is gone, presumably to make CRM more touch-friendly. Also the system now assumes you want to create an Opportunity. If you fill in the ‘Existing Contact’ or ‘Existing Account’, these will be used as the Customer the Opportunity belongs to (with Account taking precedence). However, if these are left blank, a new Account, Contact and Opportunity are created, just as if the three tick boxes had been selected in the CRM 2011 days. The option missing is the case when we do not wish to create an Opportunity; just an Account or Contact record.

The Solution

The most elegant solution is to replace the Qualify button with your own button and code behind it the behaviour you seek but, failing this, we can provide users an alternative which, as is often my way, codeless.

My approach is to add the Status Reason field to the form and add a Status Reason of ‘Convert to Account’ (or ‘Convert to Contact’, or both). The user then simply changes the Status Reason and a workflow takes care of the rest.

Using this approach you can build in practically any qualification behaviour you want. In the case of a Lead to Account conversion, you create the new Account, link it to the Lead and then change the Lead to Qualified. The workflow is relatively simple and easily adjustable down the track if the business processes change.

If you wish to hide the original Qualify button, consider a tool like the Ribbon Workbench. Also, you can combine the best of both worlds and put some code behind a cloned Qualify button which calls an Action. This combines the elegance of a button replacement with the flexibility of workflow configuration.

You can also use the Status Reason approach to circumvent the usual qualification process in CRM 2011. One client felt the CRM 2011 qualification pop-up was too confusing and easy for the user to do the wrong thing. By using the same approach, the user simply changes the Status Reason and the system handles the rest. In the case of an Opportunity for an existing Account or Contact, you may need a lookup to feed the information to the workflow when the status changes but that is about it.


With the changes between CRM 2011 and CRM 2013, it is possible your previous approach no longer works in the new version. By approaching the problem with the tools available, we can put together something that meets our business need without spending lots of money on consultants and developers. Enjoy ;)