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…

Microsoft Dynamics CRM | CRMUGSummit Take Aways

Reno_CRUGSummitEine Woche CRMUG Summit in Reno liegt hinter mir / hinter uns und was konnte(n) ich/wir mitnehmen?

Mit über 800 Teilnehmer und insgesamt über 4.400 Gästen konnte das Organisationsteam seine Erwartungen übertrumpfen und mit über 150 Sessions im Rahmen der CRMUGSummit blicken wir auf ein umfangreiches Informationsprogramm zurück. Administratoren, Benutzern,  Partnern, Entwicklern und zahlreichen Neulingen wurde ein buntes Fortbildungsprogramm geboten, mit dem sich über die aktuellen, aber auch kommenden Neuerungen informiert werden konnte.

Die On-Premise Benutzerquote war zumindest in meinen Sessions höher, als die Online-Fraktion, insgesamt tippe ich auf eine 50:50 bis 60:40 Verteilung. So durfte sich dann auch der CRMUGMedic Stand in diesem Jahr über zahlreiche Besucher freuen, deren Fragen sich mit Tipps zu Anpassungen, Funktionen in den aktuellen Ständen, bis hin zu Upgrade-Fragestellungen richteten. Allen sei an dieser Stelle noch mal die Adresse @CRMUGMedic empfohlen. Richtet eure Fragestellungen via Twitter an die CRMUGMedics und erhaltet einen Tipp oder eine Antwort.

Im Besucher-Pavillon fanden die Besucher zahlreiche Aussteller und konnten sich über die aktuellen ISV Angebote oder auch Implementierungspartner, sowie Begleitthemen, wie etwa Hosting oder Azure Cloud Services informieren.

Und nicht zuletzt der Aspekt des Networkings kam auf der diesjährigen CRMUGSummit nicht zu kurz. Egal, ob Experten zu Microsoft Dynamics CRM oder auch zum Service-Bereich gesucht wurden – es konnte sich mit Support-Mitarbeitern aus Fargo, sowie dem Parature-Team im Rahmen des gleichzeitig stattfindenden Parafestes verbunden werden und wertvolle Kontakte im 1:1 – Gespräch gewonnen werden.

IMG_0361Was gab es neues zum Thema Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016? Im Rahmen der Keynote, die vom General Manager Bill Patterson gehalten wurde und mit Live-Demonstrationen unter anderem von David Pennington unterstützt wurde ging es zunächst um die zahlreichen Auszeichnungen, die Microsoft Dynamics CRM im aktuellen Jahr gewinnen konnte, bevor er auf den Wandel eingeleitet von Satya Nadella und den damit verbundenen Konsequenzen auch in der Ausrichtung und Entwicklung von Microsoft Dynamics CRM einging.

image2So ist es nicht weiter verwunderlich, dass Microsoft mehr und mehr auf die Kundenfeedbacks hört und Lösungen zielgerichtet hin auf das Feedback entwickelt. Jüngste Akquisitionen sollen Lücken schneller füllen und sich leichter und schneller in vorhandene Angebote integrieren. Und nicht zuletzt im Bereich der mobilen Nutzung von Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 wird auf die Aufgabenorientierte Oberfläche besonders Wert gelegt.


Dabei sollen so genannte Mini-Anwendungen helfen, aus einem Kontext heraus, die erforderlichen Aufgaben schneller und leichter wahrnehmen zu können. Gleichwohl soll der Zugriff auf die zahlreichen Informationen im CRM System nicht zu kurz kommen. Und so war es denn auch eine Live-Präsentation der kommenden Mini-Anwendungen, die einen kräftigen Applaus des Publikums im Rahmen der Keynote zur Folge hatte, bevor Bill image1Patterson den Bogen mit dem Verweis auf das bislang umfangreichste kommende Release mit Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, sowie den Lösungen Microsoft Social Engagement, Parature by Microsoft und nicht zuletzt den getätigten Akquisitonen schloss.

Auf weitere Live-Präsentationen wurde mit Blick auf die anstehende Microsoft Convergence EMEA im November in Barcelona verzichtet und so wird denn wohl der Besuch der diesjährigen Convergence für die Besucher erneut einen exklusiven Einblick in die aktuellen Entwicklungen zur Folge haben.

Die nächste CRMUGSummit findet in Tampa, Florida im Oktober kommenden Jahres statt und wer noch nicht Mitglied der CRMUG ist, dem sei ein kurzer Blick in das Angebot empfohlen. Wir wollen im kommenden Jahr für die DACH-Region ein CRMUG Chapter Meeting organisieren und würden uns freuen von euch zu hören und mit euch Ideen auszutauschen.

Vielleicht also bis zum kommenden Jahr oder im Rahmen eines nächsten Meetings.

MIcrosoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | Erste Informationen

dynamics_CRM-2016_New_UI_80-684x513Die nächste CRM Version steht “ins Haus” und das Microsoft (CRM) Team hat einige Vorabinformationen bereitgestellt. So findet sich auf dem YouTube-Kanal ein Release-Preview Video mit einem kurzen Überblick. Auf dem CRM Team Blog gibt Bob Stutz in einem Artikel einen ersten Einblick und auf den Microsoft Download Seiten findet sich der Release Preview Guide zum Selbststudium.

Auch im Newsroom findet sich eine Pressemitteilung, wer noch mehr lesen mag.

Fraqe: Ist Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 ein “online – only” Release?
Antw.: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 wird On-Premise und Online ausgerollt. Einige Funktionen werden jedoch nur im CRM Online Umfeld möglich (nähere Einzelheiten im Release Preview Guide)

Viel Spaß beim Studieren der Informationen…