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What’s new for administrators and customizers in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and CRM Online

Applies To: CRM 2015 on-prem, CRM Online

Learn about what’s new for administrators and customizers in the this release. More information: What’s new

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers customizable help and tooltips to provide contextual information to users filling in forms. With customizable Help, you can control and override the out-of-the-box Help experience. You’ll be able to provide entity-specific or organization-specific Help, making the content exposed through the Help links more relevant to the user’s day-to-day activities. The customizable Help is available at a global (organization) level or per entity. You can use a single, global URL to override the out-of-the-box Help links for all customizable entities. Per-entity URLs override the out-of-the-box Help links on grids and forms for a specific customizable entity. Also, you can include additional parameters in the URL, such as language code and entity name. These parameters allow a developer to add functionality to redirect the user to a page that is relevant for their language or the entity context within the application. Custom tooltips provide the ability to set the text that appears as a tooltip when the field is displayed in a form.

Previously, you were able to create hierarchies of related records using self-referential relationships, but you had to iteratively query for the related records. New capabilities will let you query and view the records as hierarchies. To query an entity as a hierarchy you must enable a One-to-Many (1:N) or Many-to-One (N:1) self-referential relationship as hierarchical. You’ll be able to query records using Under and Not Underlogic. The Under and Not Under hierarchical operators are exposed through Advanced Find and the workflow editor. For more information on how to use these operators, see Configure workflow steps.

You can gain valuable business insights by visualizing hierarchically related data. The new visualization feature gives you a hierarchical view into the data. You’ll be able to enable visuals for specific system entities and custom entities after you have updated the hierarchy settings for the entity. Users can choose between a tree view, which shows the entire hierarchy, and a tile view, which is a detailed view of a smaller portion of the hierarchy. You can explore a hierarchy by expanding and contracting a hierarchy tree. Also, you can compare the attributes between the records at multiple levels in a tree and perform actions on one or more records right from the tree view. Once defined, the hierarchy settings enable visualization in the CRM web application and in Microsoft Dynamics CRM for tablets, but, for the tablets, in a modified format suitable for the smaller form factor. Because these visualizations are solution components, they can be transported between organizations like any other customization. You can configure the attributes shown in the visualization by using the customization tools in the CRM Web application. There is no requirement to write code.

In addition to an existing security model that uses business units, security roles, sharing, and teams, you’ll have a new security model for working with hierarchies. You can use the new security model in conjunction with all other existing security models to achieve a more granular access to the records. One of the security options is the management chain, which gives managers access to the records of their reports. Another option is the position hierarchy. You can define different job roles in the organization and arrange them in the position hierarchy. Then, you tag a user with a particular position in the hierarchy. Users at the higher positions have access to the records of the users at the lower positions.

More information: Hierarchy security

Many businesses have sensitive data that should only be viewable or editable by certain users. Previously with field-level security, you could restrict access to custom fields, now you can restrict access in other fields as well. For example, admins can enable the Account Number field to be viewed but not changed by members of the sales team.

The rollup fields are used to capture key business metrics at a record level from related entities with One-to-Many (1:N) relationships. The rollup fields also provide the ability to aggregate over hierarchies for more complex scenarios. You can define the entity rollup fields as decimal or whole numbers, currency, and date/time. For example, a salesperson may want to know:

  1. How many leads they’re working on

  2. A total revenue for the open opportunities related to the account

  3. A total number of high priority open cases related to the account

The aggregates are rolled up from the child records to the parent record. A maximum of 100 rollup fields can be defined within an organization and each entity can have no more than 10 rollup fields. The rollup fields are calculated by asynchronous system jobs. The Calculate Rollup Field is a recurring job that runs according to the recurrence pattern. The Mass Calculate Rollup Field job runs once, when a rollup field is added or updated. Because the rollup fields are solution components, they can be easily transported between organizations and distributed in solutions.

More information: Define rollup fields

Often, users are looking for data that is a result of some calculation. For example, a salesperson may want to know the weighted revenue for an opportunity, which is based on the estimated revenue from an opportunity multiplied by the probability. To provide this data, you can define the calculated fields in the CRM user interface without needing to write code. The calculated fields contain a value that is calculated based on conditions and a formula defined within this field. The conditions and formulas can refer to the values of the other fields in the same entity or values of the fields in the related entities. You can define a calculated field to contain values resulting from many common calculations, such as simple math operators, and conditional operations, such as Greater-Than or If-Else, and many others.

More information: Define calculated fields

Business process flows guide you through various stages of sales, marketing, or service processes toward completion. In this release, we will further improve your user experience and efficiency while working with business process flows. We are introducing a branching capability to allow you to design more complex and comprehensive process flows. As an administrator, you’ll utilize the new If-Else-Or logic to add multiple branches to the sequential flow. The branching condition can be formed of multiple logical expressions that use a combination of AND or OR operators. Once in place, the branch selection is done automatically, in real time, based on rules defined during the process definition. For example, in selling cars, you can configure a single business process flow, which after a common qualification stage splits into two branches on the basis of a rule (Is the buyer’s budget below $10,000 or above? Does the buyer prefer only new cars? And so on) – one for selling new cars and another for selling used cars.

In addition, the introduction of the client API for business process flows provides complete programmatic access to active processes available to the user. With JavaScript code, implemented by one of your developers, it’s now possible to ensure that the user is always working on the right stage of the right process in any given situation. The events (such as moving and selecting stages) have been exposed, to permit an action to be taken not just in the context of the process, but in the context of the stage that the user is working on and currently viewing.

In the initial release of business rules, you could only evaluate whether all conditions in a rule were true. In this release, you can use multiple logical expressions, with combined OR and AND operators, to define a more complex and rich business logic. With added support of the If-Else operators, creating branching logic is a simpler task. The business process flow branching capability is built on the new If-Else logic.

In addition, we will provide a capability to evaluate the business rules on the server. When you set the scope of the business rule at an entity level, the rule is evaluated on the server. In the previous release, we provided a simple declarative interface for you to apply form logic without writing JavaScript code. But, the rule logic was only evaluated in the clients that supported business rules, such as the CRM web application or CRM for tablets. For the business rule logic that had to be evaluated on the server and applied to all clients you still needed to implement the plug-ins and run them on the server. With this release, you will be able to evaluate the business rules on the server and apply them to all clients without writing code. For example, you can move the logic for commonly used scenarios out of plug-ins into the entity-level business rules that you define in the CRM user interface. Also, the support for setting default values has been added to the business rules. For example, if a company named “Contoso” does business only in the United States, a simple business rule can be implemented that on creation of an incoming lead, the country/region is automatically set to “U.S.A.”

In this release, we are introducing a richer, easier to configure product catalog that may help your company sell your products more efficiently. A sales operations manager can configure the product catalog to contain fewer SKUs, create product and service bundles as an attractive and cost effective offering, and define up-sell and cross-sell of products. As an administrator, you’ll define system-level settings related to the product catalog and exportand import the product catalog configuration data across CRM servers. For example, after the product catalog configuration is fully tested on the test server, you can move the configuration data to the production environment, without having to recreate it. To perform the migration, use the Configuration Migration Tool: Manage configuration data.

More information: What’s new

You can disable the welcome screen (navigation tour) for the entire organization. If disabled, users aren’t presented with the welcome screen every time they sign in to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

You can bring powerful social insights into your organization by connecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Microsoft Social Listening. With the new release, we will be expanding this functionality from CRM Online to CRM (on-premises). You’ll need to have a subscription to Social Listening and be an authorized Social Listening user before you can connect CRM (on-premises) to Social Listening.

With configurable field synchronization, admins will be able to set the sync direction (one-way or two-way) between Outlook or Exchange and CRM fields, or keep fields from synchronizing at all. For example, a salesperson may want to make personal notes about a contact. You can set the Personal Notes field for contacts in Outlook to not synchronize with CRM so the salesperson’s notes remain private.

In the newly redesigned Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook Configuration Wizard, system administrators will be able to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) through the OAuth 2.0 Framework. OAuth 2.0 is an open framework for authorization that enables users to provide access tokens, instead of credentials, to access their data that is hosted by a given service provider (such as CRM). Using MFA can help make client authentication more secure, especially for mobile users. CRM Online and on-premises versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 can take advantage of MFA; Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 on-premises requires at least Windows Server 2012 R2.

For multinational companies with employees and customers distributed around the world, you can create and manage CRM Online instances specific to your global regions. You can create an instance in a different region than where your CRM Online tenant resides. Local instances can provide quicker data access for users in that region.

Marketing users want to see Marketing dashboards on their tablets. Service personnel want to see Service dashboards. Admins and customizers can set the various CRM Online dashboards to be enabled for CRM for tablets users. It’s not just the Sales dashboard anymore!

More information: What the admin needs to do

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