New Features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

1. User Experience

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 introduces an entirely new user experience with a brand new user interface. Say goodbye to those irritating and frustrating pop-ups windows. Get everything that needs on one screen with no flipping and less scroll.


A new horizontal menu bar eases user navigation & frees up screen space by replacing the CRM left menu and ribbon navigation, results in less scrolling and more focus on customer information for the user.

MSDYN Navigation

All modules are accessible under main navigation header and their related sub-modules can be accessed by clicking on the Arrow. From Module to Entity to Records to Related Records, flat structured links help the user to navigate between module and records without any hassles or confusion of where the required record can be accessed. Recently visited records also can be accessed easily by clicking on the arrow button on the right side of the button for the respective entity.


Selecting a record requires a click on the search icon. For creating a new record and attaching it, no need to open the Lookup view as “+New” button is available in the same in down-left most corner of this view.

MSDYN Lookups


Record Headers highlights key information i.g. lead source, status, rating, record owner to grab the user attention.

MSDYN Record Header


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 replaces the cluttered ribbon with simplified design by displaying the most used buttons on it and make the others available through a drop down.

MSDYN Ribbon

2. Data Entry

Auto Save:

Any of the updated forms, now have autosave enabled by default. With autosave enabled there is no Save button displayed in the command bar on the form. Records that have changed data are automatically saved every 30 seconds or when people navigate to a new record. The autosave behavior can be disabled at the organization level in System Settings under General Tab or at the form level through code.

MSDYN Auto Save Setting

Quick Create:

In an attempt to create a record while working on another, leaving the present screen, going to the correct module, opening and scrolling through the large form in search of the important fields has been very painful for users. Quick Create Button would happen to be one of the best features of MSCRM 2013. One button “Create” on the top pane will allow the user to create a new record of an entity without requiring to leave the present screen and task. A user will be able to create the record on the layer screen that appears on the main screen and contains the only prominent fields defined in the “quick create view”. A user can save the record and start working on the previous task.  The entity (both custom and system) whose records which can be created through quickly create button can be configured on customization page.

MSDYN Quick Create

Activity Creation:

One of the major drawbacks of earlier versions was that, in attempt to capture Phone Call, Appointment or any activity details regarding any record, the user would require to open a form for it, create the Activity and come back to the main record form. Microsoft has addressed this pain point with giving an ability to the user to create an activity from the record form itself. For example, User can click on the “Create Phone Call” option and enter the call details in the small form that appears on the record form and create the activity without navigating anywhere else.

MSDYN Activity Creation

MSDYN Activity Creation-1

Quick View:

With Quick View Feature, User can see the key information of any Look-up record on the main form itself. For example, if the user wants to see Parent Account’s only 3 key details i.e.  Name, Phone and Email, One quick form with these 3 fields form can be created for the account entity and configured in the Contact form for the Parent Account Lookup Field. When any record is selected in the Parent Account look-up, its details will be displayed in this embedded Account Quick View Form on the Contact Form itself.

MSDYN Quick View

Inline Editable Grids:

Now, the product line items on the Opportunity, Quote, Invoice and Order Form can be edited quickly without opening the product record. With inline editable grids, Product details can such as price, discount and quantity can be entered in the grid line itself.
MSDYN Inline Editabe Grid

3. Business Processes

This feature makes the system a more process-centric, outcome-oriented and guided experience. The Business Processes let the admin define various guided processes for the users with different security roles. Each stage of a process is clearly outlined, identifying the recommended steps to completion. Users can move forward and backward in a process, and as they do, they will be presented with a new suggested list of steps. Business Process can be spanned on up to 5 entities and can be configured with more than one security roles. More than one Business Processes can be assigned to a Security Profile for an entity, thus one user can be assigned more than one Business Processes. A user can switch among the assigned Business Processes while working on a task. With this, Users always know what has been completed, where he is in the process, and what still remains to be done.

MSDYN CRM Business Process-1

MSDYN CRM Business Process-2

4. Record Image

Image of Customer or Product on the form may help the user in recognizing the record at the first sight without reading too many details from the form and saving her valuable time. An image can be displayed on an entity form, which has been configured to store it. The image attribute can be set up on the entity configuration setting page for any entity.

MSDYN Record Image

5. Access Team

Any business assignment, be it solving customer issue or following-up a Corporate Opportunity, may require the collaboration of a unique set of people. With a record-based Access Team, you can add a user to the record and give them access.  The Access Team is a new type of team that doesn’t own records, but, has access to records. You can create one or more Access Teams to work on the same record and add team members with different Security Roles, to it. Also, you can define Access Team Templates which define the security access rights and create Access Teams quickly.

6. Business Rules

Business Rules Deliver tailored, rule-driven actions across devices without the need for a developer. Business Rules provide a simple declarative interface to implement and maintain fast-changing, commonly used business rules that will be applied to CRM forms (Main and Quick Create) for both the web application and CRM for tablets. Set field values, field requirement levels, and show or hide fields, enable or disable fields and validate data and show error messages without writing a line of JavaScript code.

MSDYN Business Rules

7. Real-Time Workflows

A very powerful feature that can minimize the need for plugin development. Real-Time Workflows are basically synchronous workflows which execute immediately and provides feedback to the user in real-time. Real-time workflows are not queued, as was the case with asynchronous workflows, but execute immediately on-demand or in response to a message being processed by the execution pipeline. Real-time workflows participate in the database transaction and perform similar functionality to plug-ins, yet can be created by a non-developer through the web application workflow designer.

8. Server-Side Synchronization

Server-Side Synchronization capability which enables the server to server sync of email, tasks, appointments, via integration with Exchange Server. This alleviates the need for using the email router (which had to be installed on always connected servers/PC) or Outlook Client to work with emails in CRM.

Exchange Online is supported or alternatively SMTP/POP3 (Gmail / Hotmail / Yahoo / MSN / Live /




Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Beta Refresh – Installation Issues

Microsoft released the revised version of its ‘CRM 2013 Beta’ titled ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Beta Refresh’ on 20th August 2013.
This build is available for download for Microsoft Partners on the Microsoft Connect site.

The ‘Beta Refresh’ is intended as an ISV/Partner/IT Team-centric build which promises to have the resolution fixes to issues which were raised in the ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Beta’ build which was released on 27th July 2013

We were able to download the latest version from the Connect website and install it on our VM (virtual machine).

The installation process of ‘MSCRM 2013 Beta Refresh’ is fairly straightforward and similar to the process which existed for MSCRM 2011.  We got thru all the installation wizard screens smoothly until the last screen (screenshot below) which does the final system checks before proceeding with the install.

Installation was done as a single server deployment (Everything on a single VM including the Domain/SQL Server & Reporting Services).

microsoft dynamics CRM Setup

There were a couple of errors reported related to the SQL & Reporting Service.

Issue #1: Microsoft SQL Server: The instance name must be the same as the computer name.
This occurs when your SQL Server instance name is not the same as your computer name and usually happens if your computer has been renamed after SQL has been installed.
SQL server stores the computer name in the ‘sysservers’ table during installation.  However, when the computer name is changed manually, the above table is not updated.

The good news is there is a simple fix to get the above issue resolved.

Step 1:
Right click ‘My Computer’ and go to the properties options. You should be able to find the Computer Name here.

Step 2:
Open SQL Server management studio Query window and execute the command below
select @@servername
This should provide you with the instance name registered within SQL query
We need to ensure that the name retrieved in step 2 is similar to the one available in step 1.

Within the SQL Server management studio Query window execute the command below (the text highlighted in yellow should be the name which was retrieved in step 2 above)

On receiving a success message execute the command below (the text highlighted in yellow should be the name which was retrieved in step 1 above)

Restart the SQL Server Service.
To confirm the changes execute the query below (this should now return back the name which was available in step 1)
select @@servername

Issue #2: Microsoft SQL Reporting Service: Setup failed to validate specified Reporting Services Report.

This usually occurs when the SQL Reporting Service has not been properly configured after installation.
The screenshot below provides more details on the actual issue we had faced on our environment.

microsoft dynamics CRM Setup 2

To fix this open ‘Reporting Service Configuration Manager’ tool on your SQL Server. (In our case SQL Server was installed on the same machine)

Ensure that the below 3 sections have been properly configured (Refer screenshots below)

a. Web Service URL

SQL Server 2012 config manager

Configure the Virtual Directory Name/port/SSL port etc. and click on the ‘Apply’ button.
Once successfully configured the ‘Apply’ button would be disabled.

b. Report Manager URL

SQL Server 2012 config manager2

Configure the Virtual Directory Name and click on the ‘Apply’ button.
Once successfully configured the ‘Apply’ button would be disabled.

c. Database

SQL Server 2012 config manager3

Since Report Server stores all report server content and data in a database we need to configure the same here.
If the database is already configured you should see the database details here.
If not click the ‘Change Database’ to configure the database then click on the ‘Apply’ button.
Once successfully configured the ‘Apply’ button would be disabled.

After successful  completion of all the above steps, you should be able to browse the URL’s defined within the Web Service URL & Report Manager URL
If you are able to browse the URL’s, Reporting Service is working as expected. (Refer screenshot below).

reporting service working

You can now go ahead and re-start your CRM installation.

New Features in Office 365 SharePoint Online Public Website

The public website available in the new version of Office 365 SharePoint Online is based on SharePoint 2013 platform includes a new design and new features for customizing the website and individual pages. Because the website is built on the SharePoint platform, you now get publishing capabilities, more Web parts, and advanced design options.

More page editing options

The public website in Office 365 now includes more page editing options. You can edit pages and save them as a draft or publish them. You can add and format text and images, embed videos, add Web Parts, and more. It’s easier to change the website title, logo, footer, and other site elements. You can also copy and paste your own cascading style sheet and apply it to the site.

Easily change the look and feel

You can quickly and easily change the look and feel of the entire website by choosing Change the Look. Using this feature, you can browse a catalog of designs, choose the one you like, change the background image and font, and you’re done. The new designs have an entirely new look compared to the previous Office 365 public website.

Customize Website navigation

You can now customize your website navigation directly from the navigation links themselves. A new Edit Links option appears in the navigation. When you click this, you can add a new link, rename a link, drag and drop links to new locations, and so on.

Design Manager for advanced site design

If you want to completely redesign the website from scratch or use a design you already have, you can use the Design Manager. This set of features lets you turn a conventional HTML web page into a SharePoint master page with page layouts, mobile views, cascading style sheets, and more. You can use your own website editor such as Dream Weaver to do the design work before uploading the files to the Design Manager.

Optimize your site for SEO

SharePoint Online now makes it easy to optimize your site for search engines so customers can find you on the web. You can specify the title, keyword, description and other metadata while authoring the page, and adjust these properties later as you analyze search results. You can also specify values to be included in your sitemap, which search engines use to discover new pages in your website. SharePoint Online also now support friendly Page URLs to make them SEO friendly.


An active blog on the Website will improve your SEO rankings. SharePoint Online Public Websites are automatically provisioned with a blog feature complete with a blog post summary page and blogging tools.


With SharePoint online public website it has become easy to add social plug-ins—the Like button, newsfeed, and comments—anywhere on your site. You simply add a social integration application from the SharePoint App Store and then add the social plugin to the desired page.

Website usage reports

To see how well your website is performing for your site visitors, you can open site usage reports, or popularity trends, in Microsoft Excel. Use these reports to view the daily or monthly hits and unique users to your website.

Contact us to know how the new features of Office 365 SharePoint online public website can help you improve your digital marketing.

How to Create Custom Content Types in SharePoint Hosted Apps

This blog explains the process of how to create custom content type, but to make this first you should have to create site columns.

Please refer below link for how to create Site Columns:

Now, check for a complete explanation of how to create custom content type.

Right click project name -> Add -> New Item.

Select ‘Content Type’ template which belongs in ‘Office/SharePoint’ category, set name for the column and click ‘Add’ button.

=> In next wizard page it will ask for Base content type, select Item.

=> It will be added Content type in a project, open content type by double click and create a column.
By typing some initial characters, site column name should appear in a dropdown.

=> Once you select the column, Type and Required field value will automatically set from the Site Column definition.

How to Create Site Columns in SharePoint Hosted Apps

To create a custom list by content types or even to create custom content type first you have to add site columns for those columns which you want to add in list or content type.
It is very easy and short process to create site columns, let’s have a look

a) Right click project name -> Add -> New Item.

b) Select ‘Site Column’ template which belongs in ‘Office/SharePoint’ category, set name for the column and click the ‘Add’ button.


2) It will add Site Column in project, open Elements.xml file of the recently added column.


3) You can set Data Type of column and other attributes in Elements.xml file.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>

<Elements xmlns=””>



Name=”Holidays”  => this Name is used by environment so can’t put any space between the name otherwise apps will not publish

DisplayName=”Holidays” =>This field value will display on UI so here you can keep space between name

Type=”Text”  => set datatype of column

Required=”TRUE” => set either column value should be mandatory or not

Group=”Custom Site Columns”>

<Default></Default>  => here you can set default value for column

<Formula>[mention formula here]</Formula>



Refer below link for attributes & Data type of columns.


Preparing for the Office 365 SharePoint Online Service Update

Microsoft is rolling out an initial phase of service update for Office 365 SharePoint online. As part of this service update existing SharePoint online sites doesn’t get upgraded to SharePoint 2013 and users will not get the new SharePoint 2013 interface or features. The only major enhancement that will be visible is the new office web apps improvements. However, because of the underlying design changes, there are some actions that SharePoint online users need to perform to continue working with SharePoint online sites

  • If you are using SharePoint designer 2010 to customize the site or create workflows then you should download and install SharePoint Designer 2013 as SharePoint designer 2010 will not work with the updated SharePoint online.
  • If you are using InfoPath then apply the hotfix for SharePoint designer 2013
  • If you are using SharePoint workspace 2010 for offline access then apply the hotfix for SharePoint Workspace 2010
  • If you have integrated MS CRM online with SharePoint online then perform the list component fix mentioned in this blog post
  • If you use Internet Explorer 7 or Safari 4.x, you should upgrade to a modern browser

Apart from the above list of items the SharePoint Online Service Update has several other known issues with manual resolution steps which are listed here.

During the update, users will also see minor outages like

  • Some administrative functions such as granting permissions or creating new document libraries will be disabled for a brief period
  • Newly added documents will not be indexed by SharePoint search for a brief period
  • Content will be read-only for a brief period

Contact IOTAP if you want to know about the new features available in SharePoint online 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 and how it can help improve your business productivity.

Things to Do After Service Upgrade to Next Version of Office 365

Microsoft has now released next version of Office 365 to business and soon will be rolling out the service upgrade to next version for existing Office 365 customers. While the service upgrade is automated and customers don’t have to do anything before or during the upgrade there are some tasks to be done after the service upgrade. This blog explains those tasks

Upgrade SharePoint online sites: If your organization is using SharePoint Online then your sites will look the same after the upgrade. You need to upgrade each of your sites to take advantage of the new features of SharePoint online 2013. This is a mandatory step that has to be performed within 3 months of the service upgrade.

Upgrade Lync desktop client: If your organization is using Lync Online then you need to update the Lync 2010 desktop client on all users’ machines to Lync 2013 client.

Upgrade Office desktop client: If your organization has a subscription to Office 365 Pro Plus then you will have to update Office 2010 client including outlook to Office 2013 client applications.

Contact IOTAP if you want to know about the new features available in SharePoint online 2013  and how it can help in improving your productivity.

Working on How to Show Different Views of SharePoint Lists into Page by ID in SharePoint Hosted Apps

1) Create a view of the list.


2) Open Schema.xml file, the code should look like

<View BaseViewID=”2″ Name=”715f4146-f6ae-4cfb-bca8-9d09d6ad4ba1″ DisplayName=”CustomView”   DefaultView=”TRUE” MobileView=”TRUE” MobileDefaultView=”FALSE” Type=”HTML” WebPartZoneID=”Main” SetupPath=”pages\viewpage.aspx” Url=”CustomView.aspx”>

   <Toolbar Type=”Standard” />

   <XslLink Default=”TRUE”>main.xsl</XslLink>




          <FieldRef Name=”EmployeeName” />

          <FieldRef Name=”FromDate” />

          <FieldRef Name=”ToDate” />

          <FieldRef Name=”No_x002e_OfLeave_x0028_s_x0029_” />


   <Query />

   <Toolbar Type=”Standard” />

   <XslLink Default=”TRUE”>main.xsl</XslLink>


3) Add new Client Web Part by right click on project -> Add new item, then select “Client Web Part (Host Web)” template under Office/SharePoint category.

4) In the next wizard, make your choice by either selecting “Create a new client web part page” or even can usedefault.aspx page, based on your requirements.

5) If you have selected the new web part page in the previous section then it will create a new page in the Pages folder.

6) If you want to use a master page in that page then make change accordingly like replace HTML section with content placeholders, add master page URL in page directive etc.

If not using master then you have to add below control in page.

<WebPartPages:SPWebPartManager ID=”SPWebPartManager2″ runat=”Server” />

7) Now add below code for WebPartZone in the same page, irrespective of using master page or not.

<WebPartPages:AllowFraming ID=”AllowFraming” runat=”server” />

       <WebPartPages:WebPartZone runat=”server” FrameType=”TitleBarOnly” ID=”Right”Title=”loc:full”>



8) Open Elements.xml file under Pages module/folder and add new module.


    <File Path=”Pages\Leave_Request.aspx” Url=”Pages/Leave_Request.aspx”Type=”GhostableInLibrary”>

      <View List=”Lists/LeaveRequest” BaseViewID=”2″ WebPartZoneID=”Right” WebPartOrder=”1″>





In above code:

Path attribute in File tag: it should be your aspx file path.

Url attribute in File tag: it should be aspx file URL, the difference is of ‘\’ & ‘/’.

List attribute in View tag: the list name with URL ‘Lists/[List name]’

BaseViewID: this is the ID which you have specified for View in Schema.xml of the list. This id should match with BaseViewID in schema.xml file.

I have followed this instruction to show view based on BaseViewID, but it not showing my view as per id, it only shows a view which has been set as the default view, so currently trying to find out the solution.

Building a SharePoint App Story

We have started the development of SharePoint Apps, currently working on SharePoint hosted App with the custom master page, but having one technical issue in development as explained below.

The scenario from start is:

1)  I have created an App which contains 4 lists, an app has been tested with lists and all work fine.

But the list item open in the main page of an App load on full page, I mean to say is there are no any master page contents like header & Quick launch details, which does not match with my requirements, because I have any number of lists and I would require navigation to move from one list to another.

2) So now to make it available in app page, I have added a custom master page and quick launch in-app default page.

I have followed the article mentioned in below link for this task:

After the implementation of a master page, the page looks like:

But after implementation of this, the new issue has been raised and the issue is when trying to access/trying to open list from the page it throws an error without a proper error message, please check below screenshot for error.

Currently trying to resolve this issue.

Issue Resolution:

I have resolved above issue by one simple process, please check below steps for resolution of an issue in detail:

I have followed below article for master page implementation, but the article contains two sections:

a) Custom Master Page implementation &

b) Custom app web template implementation.

As of now, my requirements are only to implement master page so I have followed below article and create a simple test application with a single list item:

So the changes which I did to works application fine is only, I have commented ‘WebTemplate’ section inAppMenifest.xml file of App, which was added for custom web app template.

<!–<WebTemplate Id=”{24d2d79d-4ecd-4f11-8bcf-24671411fcc4}#CustomAppWebTemplate”/>–>

What will Happen to Public Websites in Office 365 SharePoint Online after The Upgrade?

With the next version of Office 365 is slated to be released for business on February 27, 2013, an upgrade to existing Office 365 customers are expected to follow soon. This upgrade raises concerns to organizations that have a public website developed in SharePoint online in Office 365. In this blog, we try to address the concerns

Will my public website be gone after the Office 365 upgrade?

No the public website that you had created with older version of Office 365 will still be available after the upgrade. Additionally, you will also get a new public website for the new Office 365 platform.

What is the difference between the public website from an earlier version of Office 365 and the upgraded one?

The public website available in the current version of office 365 is limited in functionality. The public website in a new version of Office 365 will provide more flexibility through SharePoint publishing feature. The new website has more features and includes updated design tools and new templates. It’s faster and easier to create the look and feels that you want for your Office 365 public website compared to the earlier website.

Can custom domains be used with the old public website and new public website?

No one public website can be associated with a custom domain.

Should I use the old public website or the new one with the custom domain?

Use the old website if

  • You have already completed the website’s design, and you don’t want to spend time designing another website.
  • You’re almost finished designing your original website and you don’t want to start a new one.

Use the new website if

You haven’t yet started designing a website.

You started designing the earlier website, but you haven’t made significant progress.

IOTAP a Microsoft gold certified partner for Digital Marketing and a cloud accelerate partner can help you build professional looking websites using the Office 365 SharePoint online Public website platform. Contact us if you want to develop a new website for your organization in Office 365 or revamp your existing website.