Welcome back to our discussion on new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. In my last post we found out how flexible and powerful the dashboard functionality is in this new version. One of the reasons for utilising dashboards is to get a quick overview of key areas of the business that you deal with. A good way to get at that information is through the use of charts and that is what we’ll concentrate on for today. There is a good reason to learn about charts in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and one of those reasons is because they are everywhere!
Charts are based on views of data, such as ‘my open opportunities’ or ‘overdue cases’ and are graphical representations of that data. As with views you can create them from a system side and publish out to everyone or individual users can easily create charts to manage their own data. They are quick and easy to build and as soon as they are ready you can use them. But charts aren’t just pretty pictures, they automatically have the ability to drill through to underlining data based on filtering by any field in that record type and are looking at live data whenever you go into them. This makes them extremely powerful for getting a quick snapshot of your information with the ability to easily drill through to understand what is really going on.
All of this is really nice from a dashboard view, but when I said everywhere…I mean everywhere. Whenever you go to any view/list of data you can easily display the relevant charts in-line with the records to get the graphical view of the records you are looking at. In addition to this you still get the drill through ability and as you drill into the chart the records displayed in the view change to match the new filtered chart. This is great both from understanding the data in the charts as well as a great navigational aid for those of us that work better with images. All of this can of course still be managed direct within Outlook bringing excellent Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 functionality to users familiar with the Office Outlook program.
Charting is central to the idea of providing users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 with easy to access, clear data and it’s great to know that once you’ve put your information in it is really easy to get it out again in an intelligent way enabling better, more informed decisions and a greater understanding of your clients, opportunities, cases and any other information you keep.