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imageNow that the Microsoft CRM 2011 Beta is out, so is the much awaited feature of integration with Microsoft SharePoint. Microsoft SharePoint has nailed Document Management and the ability to collaborate on documents is very rich. The versioning control, simultaneous editing, checking in/out are some features in SharePoint that makes SharePoint as powerful as it is.

In CRM, there has been a constant need for a rich Document Management functionality as documents are commonly used in sales cycle and are associated with opportunities and quotes. Customers also associate documents with products and many other entities. In CRM4, the ability for associating documents with a record has been through attachments which have quite a few limitations. Attachments are a passive store which does not help in collaboration scenarios. Users really need to be able to access documents in context of a CRM record, add more documents, edit and share them.

In CRM2011, this problem is addressed. We have provided the ability to associate SharePoint Document locations to a CRM record and hence enabling the ability of accessing documents that are stored in SharePoint within the context of a CRM record. Users can:

a) Create a new SharePoint location(folder) to start storing their documents in

b) Use an existing SharePoint location where the documents are already stored.

We support SharePoint 2010 and 2007 and both MOSS and WSS flavors.

Automatic creation of SharePoint folders

For this to happen, you need SharePoint 2010 with the CRM list component for SharePoint installed. Once you have installed and configured the list solution (follow the readme instructions), here are the steps that you need to follow.

Settings area

The following needs to be done by the CRM admin or System customizer.

1) Go into the Settings area and click on “Document Management “ on the left navigation

2) Click on the “Document Management settings” link

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3) Select the entities that you want to enable integration on( selecting this will make the “documents” tab appear in the left nav for records within the selected entity)

4) Enter a SharePoint 2010 Site Collection URL where you have installed the CRM List component.

5) Click on Next.

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6) The URL will get validated

7) Select if you want to make the creation entity centric.

a. Entities related to accounts

b. Entities related to Contacts

  • Structure: <DefaultSite>/ Contacts /<accountname>/<EntityName>/<recordname>
  • Example: Opportunity called 100WheelRims related to REI Contacts http://SPServer/Contacts/REI/Opportunity/100WheelRims

c. For entities not related to Acounts/ Contacts

  • Structure:<DefaultSite>/<EntityName>/<recordname>
  • Examples:

                  o Opportunity called 100WheelRims http://SPServer/Opportunity/100WheelRims

                  o Quote called REICyclesSep related to REI account http://SPServer/Quotes/REICyclesSep

d. If you haven’t selected anything

  • Structure:<DefaultSite>/<EntityName>/<recordname>
  • Examples:

                o Opportunity called 100WheelRims http://SPServer/Opportunity/100WheelRims

                o Quote called REICyclesSep related to REI account http://SPServer/Quotes/REICyclesSep

8) Click on Next.

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9) Document Library creation happens here to speed up the end user experience. You might get the confirmation dialog based on the number of entities that you have selected on the 1st screen.

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10) Once the creation is done, Click Finish.

CRM record

Now this can be done by anyone who has access to the CRM record. If you have not associated any SharePoint location with the CRM record, follow the following steps.

1) Go to the CRM record for which you want to create a folder and start storing documents in.

2) Click on “Documents” on the left navigation

3) Click OK on the Confirmation dialog that pops up.

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4) A folder will get created in SharePoint where the users can store the documents in.

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If you want to add another SharePoint location to the same CRM record, follow the following steps

1) Go to the CRM record for which you want to create a folder and start storing documents in.

2) Click on “Add location” in the ribbon.

3) Select the 2nd radio button where it says “Create a SharePoint folder”

4) Select the parent URL( if you want to change it or use the default)

5) Change the folder name to the desired folder.

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6) Click OK on the Confirmation dialog that pops up.

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7) A folder will get created in SharePoint where the users can store the documents in.

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Work with existing location

If you have an existing SharePoint location that you want to associate from within a CRM record, you have to do just 2 steps.

1) Go to the CRM record where Document Management is enabled and click on “Documents” on the left navigation.

2) Just copy and paste the SharePoint URL into the Add location dialog that will pop up.

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You are done. The location will show within the context of the CRM record. If the CRM list component for SharePoint is installed on the SharePoint server URL and the SharePoint Site Collection is in the CRM system, then the UI will look like the following.

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If the CRM List component is not installed, we will show the SharePoint location in an IFrame.

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This is just a sneak peek into the SharePoint integration functionality. Look out for more blogs that dwell into the details of each of these flows.

Cheers,

Anusha Shankar


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