Activity Feed is a very interesting features introduced in CRM 2011. But it has not become as famous as it should be and one of the most obvious reasons may be that still it has few Question (?) marks that needs to be answered or solved when it comes to security and usability in an efficient manner.
In my opinion still some of the features can be improved as of now in order to accept this globally. But still what we have is lot to cheer about. Why I am dough ting at this time I will clarify later in this post.
Let see how we can use this and take the most out of it. You can get the Activity Feed solution from the Dynamic Marketplace in CRM Settings tab or you can just do Google. The CRM 2011 server setup that was released before Nov 2011 does not contain this solution. So you have to download and import it manually. But in all the latest CRM versions that are coming after Nov 2011 have this activity feed solution installed from before whether it is Online or On- Premise.
Let’s understand the common terms associated with this. We can say it can act as a Twitter for the CRM users plus lot of many other functions.
Post is an Entity and whatever you write is saved internally as a record. So every item on your wall is a post. It is yet like another entity. You can create new post through Plugin, workflow etc. You can even trigger anything on different operation performed. We will see how to create a post from workflow to meet our business need.
Wall is nothing but the UI html page what we see where all the posts are visible. Records even can have wall and a tab ‘Record Wall’ can be seen for that record.
Follow and Unfollow are the two options that will be visible for all entities but will be enabled for only those entities for which the activity feed will be configured.
Configuration of Activity Feed
After importing the solution you will find three links in what’s New in the Workplace Area and the other two as shown below
Let’s configure some entities. Click Activity Feed Configuration and create records for the entities which we want to configure. Remember give the schema name of entity and not the display name.
The interesting thing I found that we cannot define Rules for the entities. Because we cannot find any add New Rule or Existing button. However the system creates few rules for the few entities that exist from before like Lead, Opportunity, etc.
We can configure for custom entities also but cannot define rule directly which I found the funniest part. I hope that issue gets solved in the coming versions /updates. At present if we want to define some rules for custom entities than we can do that by configuring with a workflow.
For following a multiple records we can do Advance Find select the records to Follow or UnFollow.
Workflow to create a Rule and Post Automatically for Custom Entity
We will see how we can configure activity feed for a custom entity. This can be done through a workflow. Let’s take a custom entity called “Investor”. So whenever investor is created by any user then we will post stating that an Investor is created. Let it act as a Notification. Let it as simple as this. Anyways we can do a lot and configure the workflow for our custom logic but here we are going through a sample.
1. Create a Process of category as “Workflow” and configure for ‘When record is created’ as shown below
2. Now we will configure the properties.
Here we can see the Dynamic value assigned called “Post URL (Dynamic)“. This option is only visible when we have the latest Update Rollup installed. This is basically used to provide a link to that record. So we can open that record by clicking this. This is a new feature update from Microsoft in CRM 2011. Really this is very helpful while creating email form the workflow. We can directly open the record from the Email.
Anyways configuring this workflow save and Activate this workflow.
Result: Now whenever the Investor record is created automatically a post will be created. We can see this post in the What’s new in the Workplace Area. Here we have created investor record DTest10.
Note: Yet a lot of things are missing and I think that it needs to be improved a bit more so that it can be accepted widely. Few things that are strange or lack in the current version of the solution are in my opinion are:-
1. We cannot create Rules as per our choice for the entities. Eventually we opt for Workflows to configure.
As we can see that there is no New Button to add any Rules.
2. The post lacks security. This means that anybody who can view that post can delete that post which will be deleted from the system. This means that the person that created that post is not the sole owner of that post. Even we cannot set anything from the roles and permission point of view.
3. The system creates rules for some of the predefined entities like lead, contact, opportunity etc. We can’t add the rules to the entities configured and yet there is Grid where it can be added.
So these were my concerns in terms of usability. Hope this gets better in the coming versions or update.
Happy Reading !!!!!!!