Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | F1 Config Continued (Part VI)

Still a couple of configuration steps needs to be finished, before using the FieldOne Sky solution. So today, let´s cover our next steps and start by creating Price-Lists.

Price Lists

FieldOne Sky makes use of the out-of-box available Price Lists. A Price List is a required field to create a Work Order, so you have to create at least one. With Price Lists you define the prices for services or parts that are offered and sold within a Work Order.

Tip: Beside customer based price lists or price lists defined by SLAs, you should have at least a Standard Price LIst that can be used as default.

Work Order Types


Next define Work Order Types, which are also required within a Work Order. They help filtering the amount of Work Orders that are generated. You can associate a Price-List with each Work Order Type and you can also define if an Incident will be needed in relationship with a Work Order.

Service Task Types

ServiceTaskTypesNow think of a typical field service where a service is splits into multiple tasks – let´s assume a printer maintenance. FieldOne Syk solution supports such services by setting up Service Task Types. Each type has a specific duration and order of service task types can be defined. Think of it as having a checklist during providing the service and no item will be missed.


Products are parts that are used for a Work Order and maybe sold to Customers. They can be converted into Customer Assets once used automatically and Products can be of category Inventory or Non-Inventory. Again the default customized Product Entity is used to record Products.

Incident Types

IncidentSkillsLast but not least – for todays configuration part – we can setup Incident Types. Incident Types are common jobs a company performs. They may contain one or more Service Tasks, Products and Services. Skills associated to an Incident Type might define Skills needed to perform the job. Think of Incident Types as a convenient way to define common jobs and once an Incident Type is added to a Work Order all related Tasks, Products, Services and Skills will be tagged within that Work Order. So for instance our Printer Maintenance can be an Incident Type containing several Service Tasks, such as

  • Check Heater Unit
  • Check Printer Unit
  • Check Paper Trays

and Parts (Products), such as

  • new Heater Unit
  • new Toner

As well as all Skills needed to perform that Incident Type.


Not yet finished, but we´re on our final way to complete configuration tasks of FieldOne Sky solution after installing it in a fresh environment. Because of reusing a couple of Out-Of-Box Entities, such as Products, and Price-Lists, Customers already working with those have to think about a concept of re-using – specially if they already customized these themselves.

Stay tuned for another part of Configuration – see ya…


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | F1 GeoCoding (Part V)

positionReady for “take two” of configuring FieldOne, from Microsoft? Today I´m going to introduce you to another important step in configuring FieldOne Sky solution – Geocoding addresses.

This important step is needed not only to benefit from the map view features build inside the solution. It is also a required step for the FieldOne Sky service used by the Scheduling Assistance or Auto Route feature.

All addresses such as Start-Location, End-Location, Service Accounts, Billing-Accounts, etc. can be geocoded using the build in function.

Introducing Geocode Dialog

Geocoding_Account_AddressLet´s start by taking a look from an account list view. After selecting a record you get a new custom command offering to geocode the selected address. After confirming the request, you´ll be presented with the following dialog.


Notice that if you´re using sample data like me, the system won´t be able to find the correct Latitude, Longitude information and therefore presents “a pin inside water”. You can manually change the data, for instance providing the correct name of the street and the engine starts to check for a valid address and provides the equivalent Latitude and Longitude information inside the status bar.

A click on “Change” will then update the address information inside the account and also adds the determined Latitude and Longitude information.

Multiple Addresses

Geocoding_MultipleAddresses_FoundWhat happens, if the information you´ve provided doesn’t´t lead to a single hit? You´ll see another dialog window presenting the addresses found with your provided information and you can then select one of them by clicking on the auto-number icon.


Working with Addresses

WorkOrder_GeocodedServiceAccountAddress_AssociatedOnce geocoded, by creating a new Work Order and selecting the Account as Service Account, all the address information will be automatically copied inside the Work Order. You´ll find the information inside the Address section (subordinated you haven´t customized the Work Order form yet). And inside the Location section you´ll be presented with a map providing a closer look at the Latitude-, Longitude-Position once expanded.

Changing Work Order Addresses manually

WorkOrder_ReGeocode_AddressEven though the address information has been copied you can use the command bar option inside a Work Order to reallocate the address the service should be provided.

By clicking “Change” again the address information will be updated.


Inside List Views you can geocode a single selected record. Once you selected more than one address, the dialog starts with the first record you´ve selected and continues with the next. At the end (max. 250 selected records) you’ll be  provided with information how many could be found based on provided record data and how many couldn’t be found.

The dialog layout might be subject to change, once the FieldOne Sky solution was reviewed and adapted to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016.


Though the FieldOne Sky solution is provided in english version only (first wave), I was able to geocode a german based address once I provided “Germany” as Country. I was told “DE” should work either. I´m wondering what happens, if customers already work with the Country field inside their CRM and already provide information like “Deutschland” or “D-“, as I´ve seen a couple of systems trying to adapt their systems to postal usage for address fields.

I really missed an option of bulk-geocoding my addresses. Guess this is either a limitation build inside because of the current bing limitation in requesting mass data for free (otherwise you need to have a payed license for requesting more data). Though there’s an auto-geocode setting option inside settings area which works against newly created or changed address information. A bulk “service” might be found in the near future as not every customer will start from scratch not having addresses and wants a single bulk-geocode for all existing records.

Inside my environment I noticed that several Command Bar Options were just named as “CUSTOM” which makes it difficult to get the feature behind it. Though the world icon was quite obvious for Geocoding feature.

Having fun today? If not seen, take a look at my previous article around configuring. And stay tuned for the next round as Configuration Task has not been finished yet.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | F1 Start Configuring (Part IV)

FieldOneCertLet me continue my blog series about FieldOne, from Microsoft – this time by start introducing the first steps of configuring the solution after installing it and trying to build up a short checklist for configuring FieldOne Sky solution.

Because of the Configuration Part will take more than one action – I decided to split topics into multiple articles and finally summarize it as a checklist that you can reuse while setting up your environment.


The very first task right after installing the solution is to configure your Resources. So what are Resources? Resources are anything that needs to be scheduled, such as:

  • Users,
  • Crews,
  • Service Centers,
  • Company Assets (Equipment),
  • Accounts or
  • Contacts

For  organizing and structuring your various Resources, FieldOne Sky is introducing Resource Categories. Examples could be: Operators, Trucks, Supervisors or a Technician.

FacilityEquipment_GeneralOnce you create a new Resource you actually notice that the Facility/Equipment Entity has been customized and will be reused for setting up your Resources. As this technique allows to setup multiple types for Resources, you will find a field called Resource Type.

A Resource Type can be either one per Record as of:

• User: meaning the resource is a member of your organization who has a license and access to FieldOne Sky

• Account or Contact: resources that are not directly a part of your organization, but that you subcontract to

• Company Asset: equipment

• Service Center

• Crew: any collection of Resources. Examples: two or more workers or a group of workers and equipment

If you select one of the above types, you will notice some modifications done in real-time on the form, where some fields become visible and others are hidden.


While not a required attribute, you can select a start and an end location from an option list. Depending on the selected option this address will be used for FieldOne Sky service.

Working with Customer Equipment

If you´re working with equipment such as Spare Parts that you might sell in a maintenance scenario, make sure you also setup a Warehouse.


FacilityEquipment_Finish_Setup_with_SkillsAs the FieldOne Sky service – for instance the Scheduling Assistance needs to know about Skills that the Resource has it is mandatory to associate Skills to Resources once they are saved with a name and all the required fields. Skills are maintained in a Sub-Grid

Work Hours

FacilityEquipment_Finish_Setup_with_WorkingHoursDon´t forget to select the correct time zone this Resource should be scheduled in. And also make sure that if you selected a User as a Resource Type that you configure the Work Hours on the Resource entity as related entity. This sometimes can be confusing as a company could already work with Work Hours related to their User entity. But as a reminder, those are not used, when you list the Resource inside the Schedule Board.


FacilityEquipment_Finish_Setup_Issue_Multiple_Territories_NoNamingNotice that while setting up my environment – I might have found a bug inside the system where I was able to associate the Resource to multiple Territories not having a name. This was done by using the + sign and adding new Territories. The follow-up issue was, that I could have created the same Territory twice and therefore associated my Resource twice to the same Territory.


To optimize and calculate Routes, the system needs to have geocoded Addresses. So make sure the selected Address Type for Start- and End-Location on the Resource has been geocoded.

Keep in mind that a Warehouse can be a Truck or a Distribution Center as well.


While working with the Facility/Equipment entity inside the system you really feel the pain about the not upgraded form design. Again not the fault of FieldOne, from Microsoft – I wished this will be updated soon and it feels more natural in a CRM 2015 Update 1 Online or CRM 2016 Online environment to work with the Facility/Equipment entity.

I found some bugs inside the solution that can be solved by setting up a simple process for instance and setting the name of the Resource Territory correctly. And also to help manage that Administrators are not creating the same Territory twice like I did.

As I said there a multiple tasks of configuration – so watch out for my next article

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | #CONV15 EMEA Take Aways


Trying to wrap up Microsoft CONVERGENCE EMEA in Barcelona after 3 days I couldn’t attend in person this time, but was engaged with from a social media point – and it really felt like I´ve been there physically.

So what are my key take aways from this season?


Obviously we´ve been introduced to the GA of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 by our new leader of Microsoft’s CRM Business Applications group – Jujhar Singh – and not being surprised, it is still around Cloud first and mobile first.

20151202_092107000_iOSContinues investments in productivity, mobility and Unified Service been made, this time – and I would say the very first time – we also see investments made in a more complex form of intelligence. This sounds crazy while writing it down, cause we did have Business Workflows, Business Process Flows and a modernized UI in the past (and the past was just yesterday). But honestly – we are truly on a new mission enhancing existing capabilities with the new offers and services from the Azure world.

Cortana Analytics

20151202_104100000_iOSNot only from mobility perspective using Cortana as a personal voice assistant, we will recognize Cortana Analytics helping us to see a better productivity with all the data that we captured inside Microsoft Dynamics CRM or other systems like ERP and external information storages like Sharepoint, Yammer or our File Servers and many more. Turning data into actions by analyzing millions of records within seconds and making suggestions based on algorithms, patterns and things that we did in the past – our future work with Microsoft Dynamics CRM will become much easier.

Azure ML

20151202_152742000_iOSUsing Azure Machine Learning as one component of Cortana Analytics we will see investments made in all typical CRM modules (Sales, Marketing and Service), but also allowing us to enhance modules like Project Management, Field Services and many more xRM scenarios, if you think of our xRM Framework. So with a first wave of seeing cross-sell recommendations being 20151202_152803000_iOSmade with the help of Azure ML and intelligent customer service offered by Azure ML supporting CSRs and support employees to find the best key words for searching kb-articles or creating predictive maintenance work order items based on existing machine log-files – we certainly will see a change the way we´re working today.

The bigger question around is: Are we ready for this?

It is not about creating loyal customers but about being loyal to your customers

Social Engagement

I think the best way we can all think about it, is the way social media changes our daily business – if we want it or not – it is effecting the way we think, the way we share, the way we engage and also the way we influence others’ daily work day. Think of a typical negative tweet you probably made after your flight was cancelled and your flight company wasn’t able to manage or assist you. Now that we are in Christmas season – think of the parcel service that you´re worried about to deliver the present in time before x-mas.


With the help of setting up a sentiment algorithm, train it and again analyze and compare millions of records within seconds, you can now make a difference!


By turning a negative tweet into action, follow up within CRM to enhance data, creating a follow-up action on the channel it started and finally creating a positive customer experience turning into additional positive reactions about what happened here – we are now able to not only start a sh…storm when something went wrong.


People don’t resist change. They resist being changed! – Peter Senge. The reason I took that quote to start talking about the costs (from my personal point of view) is – now that we´ve been introduced to all the capabilities (and congrats to the Microsoft Convergence Team for managing once again an amazing 3 days) – how do we start not being changed?

20151202_152510000_iOSMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 2016 is a big opportunity. I say thank you very much to Jujhar Singh and the complete product team not only enabling most of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online seen features to On-Prem now. Instead – once again – enhancing the suite and setting up new toolsets we can play with.

I´m proud to be an MVP for Microsoft Dynamics CRM these days and love the way we´re moving forward with each release. I personally love the customer service area, I do love creating concepts and visions around creating a better customer service experience.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | F1 Look & Feel (Part III)

After putting some light on the topic of Installing FieldOne, from Microsoft let me introduce you to some basic elements to narrow the question: Do you need to spend hours before you can use it?


Assuming not everyone has heard of FieldOne, from Microsoft or FieldOne Sky – What am I talking about? Reading yesterdays article from our new leader of Microsoft’s CRM Business Applications group – Jujhar Singh – you´ve already recognized it is something around field service capabilities within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

FieldOne Sky is a field service management solution build on top of the xRM Framework of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Leveraging the power of existing service capabilities and enhancing CRM with newly introduced entities as well as combining an intelligent scheduling service to calculate and optimize work orders, FieldOne Sky is an offer to all companies searching for a better scheduling and field service management.

For instance you can start with a manual scheduling in three different ways:

  • Dragging unscheduled Work Orders from list view to Schedule Board
  • Dragging unscheduled Work Orders from map view to Schedule Board
  • Blocking out a slot on the Schedule Board directly and selecting unscheduled Work Order to schedule.

Once you feel familiar with that kind of scheduling, you probably want to use the Scheduling Assistant which you can launch either from a Work Orders view by selecting a Work Order and choose Scheduling Assistant from the Ribbon or inside an individual opened Work Order – e.g. in a typical customer service call scenario, where you created a new Work Order and now want to provide a fitting and optimal time slot for that customer.

But FieldOne, from Microsoft also allows a field service engineer to provide status updates using a mobile field service application based on Resco, re-scheduling himself or simply create follow-up Work Orders if needed.

And because of providing Field Service Management capabilities it also takes care of customer assets, engineer time sheets and invoicing and inventory management. So there´s a full packaged managed solution staying inside your CRM system once you´ve installed it. But let´s focus on some key elements first.

Schedule Board

FieldOne_ScheduleBoard_After_SettingUp_FacilityEquipmentOne of the key areas and probably the most used interface after creating Work Orders or Work Order Schedules, is the newly introduced Schedule Board. This HTML5 based interface combines a closer look into all necessary data for dispatchers, managers or other by security role allowed users with the power of a list view, a digital map, a details tab and a GANTT view. Within this single UI presenting an overview of current status, planned and unplanned Work Orders – A dispatcher can perform typical actions like reassigning Work Orders, schedule unplanned Work Orders or taking a closer look on a digital map interface and provide driving directions to field service engineers while watching their team, their region or other information. The UI is controlled and configured by setting up views with filters using the well known concept of advanced find.

But as always – with high flexibility comes great responsibility – to train your users in arranging their daily life within that interface and make it work the way they want.

Empty Schedule Board?

FieldOne_MapViewSettingsAs said earlier installing the solution is pretty easy, but if you open the Schedule Board the first time after installation you recognize an empty GANTT view after a short loading time. This is because of the need of several configuration steps, before being able to make use of the solution and all components. Without training or at least a checklist what needs to be done first, you probably end up in having a nice looking HTML5 Schedule Board.

FieldOne_ConfigureScheduleBoardSettingsBut you can start playing around and look for configuration – as I did. And you will find the Map View Settings if you expand the Filter & Map View on the right. And I guess you´ll also find the general personal settings of the Schedule Board when you click on the familiar gear wheel icon – normally used for any kind of settings dialog.

Additional security


You will also recognized four newly installed Security Roles you can assign to your users and of course you can explore all the different privileges introduced by each security role, though you won´t find a best practice which role needs to be assigned to which user. Again – this is what I would call a business solution issue. It needs training or a kick-starter package by an Implementation Partner to help with these questions.

Custom Entities

Though FieldOne Sky (re)uses a couple of customized out-of-box entities like:

  • resources
  • price-lists
  • territories
  • account
  • contact
  • invoice
  • systemuser

Navigation_Integration_Module_Areait also introduces some typical custom entities needed to close the gap between offering out-of-box CRM capabilities and Field Service Management capabilities. Some might recognize that the icons haven´t been updated yet in my environment – I bet this is subject to change soon as well.


So Do you need to spend hours before you can use it? The best answer I can provide you with is: Yes

It takes time if you´re not familiar with a Field Service Management solution to configure the basics. It needs a training – some best guidance – or at least a checklist of what needs to be configured (which by the way I´m going to cover in my next article) – but remember: Though the solution installation was made easy, it is a business solution closing some gaps or fulfilling requirements you´ve came up with to introduce a better Field Service Management and enhance customer service capabilities.


For a typical presentation preparation with at least some daily scheduling scenarios a dispatcher can run into, an estimated duration of 2 business days is needed to setup and configure FieldOne, from Microsoft. Additionally you should calculate at least half a business day to prepare Resco and the mobile status feedback scenario or self-scheduling. Maybe we will see something like a “quick start” guidance with some demo data that can be installed to ensure a well configured system can be evaluated without training first. For now – ask your preferred Implementation Partner to help with.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | F1 Installation (Part II)

Last week I kicked of my blog series around FieldOne, from Microsoft. Currently FieldOne Sky solution is available for new trial instances of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online Update 1 and you can expect the solution to be available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online when it hits the ground.

Today I´m going to cover “Do I need special knowledge about installation?

CRM_Admin_Console_SolutionsA simple answer: No, if you´re the O365 Administrator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, familiar with the new solution management from inside the admin console.
The better answer: Yes, cause installation of such solution needs some background knowledge and as a matter of fact, if you click on further information for FieldOne Sky, you currently will be forwarded here.

Presented with a bunch of options for more details you can get, a major step is to sign up for FieldOne, from Microsoft online learning center to get more background knowledge. You have to create an account – which might be subject to change in future – but honestly, I do encourage you to sign up. Some content might change due to the direction Microsoft will go with this solution.


Before Installation

Maybe you´ve heard of FieldOne, from Microsoft being the next step of appointment scheduling inside Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Maybe you think of an extension of the service calendar build inside Dynamics CRM and requested for many years by the community or you think of a clever way of avoiding conflicts during scheduling an appointment.

FieldOne, from Microsoft is more. And though Microsoft is introducing it as a horizontal solution being extensible and customizable in the future – the current solution will still contain a lot of vertical components specialized to fit specific customer care service scheduling scenarios and mobile field management. So please, don´t think of installing it an evaluating it without deeper knowledge about your requirements or at least a fit/gap analysis done by yourself or supported by an implementation partner. Why? Please continue to read.


Installation Process

Assuming you´re not familiar with Field Service scheduling, optimization or management, my advice would be not to install the solution directly inside your production environment without performing one of the courses available from the online learning center or at least staying in contact with an implementation partner who is familiar and can assist.

FieldOne_ListedInSolutionAreaWhy? You might think FieldOne Sky is a managed solution and you should be able to uninstall it anytime and therefore return to your original system. And in fact, after starting installation process and readiness, all the solution components will be listed inside the solutions area in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

But because of the installation is as easy as 1-2-3:

  • You would simply select the solution to be installed,
  • accept the license agreement you will be presented with
  • and immediately the installation process starts in the background

you better be aware what you´re doing.


In my environment this lead to this unfriendly message, while trying to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM right after. Obviously some “bigger” SQL scripts are running in the background preparing and installing the solution itself. And as you can see from the picture above the solution currently contains three components or packages that will be installed. The system needs some background resources for deployment and though you cannot schedule the installation process to start at a specific date/time, you probably shouldn’t start this during business hours. Otherwise your users will already love the new system because of getting that message window.


Further Notes

Keep in mind that this isn´t a fault of the FieldOne Sky solution itself. It is more about an improvement needed from my point of view within the solution admin console inside O365.

I installed FieldOne, from Microsoft inside my environment with german base language and additional english language pack. The progress run without any further complication, but ended in a scenario I did not expected – the solution hasn´t been translated yet?! So in my environment I ended up having a mixture between english / german.

FieldOne_SitemapIcon_GermanLanguageNot a big issue, but it also ended up in a sitemap containing such navigation items. The good news around that one is – it is a solution component, so you can export your translation files and then start translating it the way you want it to be…

ExportedTranslationFile_ShapeSimply export the translation file from your customization area after FieldOne Sky being installed and the extract the solution components. Inside the XML file (opened with MS Excel), you´ll find the f1_ components and will be able to translate them the way you want them to be.

On the other hand, I guess Microsoft will soon ship the according translation files within the solution as it would lead into a lot of work translating it by your own and not knowing the solution logic itself.



FieldOne, from Microsoft installation progress is simple and easy to handle. Installing it in a vanilla system for evaluation / testing can be done with a couple of mouse clicks and takes less then 15 Minutes. Within my next criteria Do I need to spend hours, before I can use it?, I will continue diving deeper into the solution and the components offered. So stay tuned for my next article.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | FieldOne – Part I

fo-ms-iso[1]Yesterday Microsoft announced FieldOne, from Microsoft being ready for purchase and installation directly within O365 by Param Kahlon.

Surprisingly I was just about to start a blog series with FieldOne, from Microsoft – my personal experience during installation and configuration as well as some insights in daily use-cases.

Before kicking things off, let me give you a short background of myself and why I am writing about this topic in specific. Those not knowing me or my blog (as I normally write my articles in german language) – I used to work with Customer Care Service area of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for more than a decade now. I specialized in that area while not loosing my focus on other areas and competitors as well. 3 yrs. ago, I joined FLS (fastleansmart) – a company specialized in Field Service and Workforce Management offering a unique real-time optimization and planning algorithm called PowerOpt. This ISV add-on was built with horizontal focus to enable partners inside service area to lower driving times, costs and optimize field service scheduling mainly by ensuring so called “Domino effects” (based on an algorithm calculated time-windows to allow reassigning worker items instantly).

Not to my surprise, but to be mentioned for sure, this solution could also be installed and “live inside CRM” with FieldOne being used as a vertical industry fitting solution and enhancing this.

With this background it was my pleasure to read about Microsoft making the investment with the acquisition of FieldOne and now having FieldOne, from Microsoft as a horizontal fitting field service scheduling solution/engine to built on top of. So I immediately started figuring out, what an Implementation Partner or an ISV needs to know about offerings, features and entities within current FieldOne, from Microsoft solution and ensure a better field service, a better customer care and in the end a better productivity for all involved parties.

To be honest, I´ve done so many Pre-Sales appointments and trainings around this topic and have seen sales agents talking about so many things that can be done, numbers that should influence a buyers decision or stories that should emphasize users to work with that system. Instead of asking twice about current company service offerings, processes that might need some optimization and of course users that wants to return to productivity – simply by doing what they´ve been asked for – deliver a high quality service to you – the customer.

So my criterias during my “preview” were:

  • Do I need special knowledge about installation?
  • Do I need to spend hours, before I can use it?
  • What minimum data needs to be prepared to setup the system?
  • Do I need specific training for end users?
  • What is the story being flexible around customizations?
  • What process automation capabilities will I find or being able to setup with?
  • Will I need more training around scheduling scenarios and what a “domino effect” might be?

Stay tuned for Part II and following to (maybe) get your first impressions and see how better customer care scheduling and follow-up can help increase your sales, motivate your employees and even improve customer loyalty with simple actions – I´m sure we all have been into scenarios where we wished a better customer service would have helped us. If you need inspiration first, than walk on to this article by Tricia Morris.

See ya…