Until Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 there were only a bunch of OOB activities like appointment, task, phone call etc. There was no way for user to create new entities like IM, voice chat, SMS etc. which represents new communication channel and need activity party. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 solves this problem by providing capability to create custom activity. Custom activity allows user to have several type of OOB activity party within custom entity itself.
In this post we will cover how to control surfacing of custom activity. By default custom activity appears in UI along with other OOB activities. To enable/disable surfacing of custom activity user simply need to check/uncheck “Display in Activity Menus” checkbox while creating custom activity.
Please note that once this checkbox is checked/ unchecked it can’t be changed later. So user need take a conscious decision while creating custom activity. Once this custom activity is unchecked you will see that this custom activity doesn’t appear in all places where OOB activity and other custom activity appear. This setting is applicable for both web client and Outlook client.
Let’s walk through a scenario to understand this in more detail. A company “XYZ” has following requirements. It needs a new activity “Feedback”. Feedback is only given to a particular user regarding a customer (Account/ contact). So it should be associated with user and customer. It should not appear in all other places. Company also needs another custom activity “SMS” which is like any other activity.
Simon creates a new custom activity “Feedback”. The system customizer Simon unchecks the checkbox of “Display in Activity Menus” while creating this custom activity. He creates a 1: N relationship between “Feedback” and user entity. As this feedback will be about some customer so he adds OOB activity party lookup of “customers” on the main form of Feedback entity.
Simon creates another custom activity “SMS”. While creating this custom activity he checks both checkboxes as he wants to show it in all places along with OOB activities. Along with this he also adds “To” and “From” activity party on main form of custom activity.
Now publishes all customizations. He also creates one record of both entities to test. Now let’s see how these custom activities appear in various places. Let’s check on default places where mainly activities appear:
o Activities Main grid ( Workplace –> Activities)
o Activities associated grid ( From Accounts form)
o Activities advance find
o New Activity on Jewel
o Activities view
o Activities associated view
o Type selector
As you can see, only SMS entity and its records appear. The “Feedback” entity appears only on associated grid of user.
I hope this post will help you to harness the power of controlling the surfacing of custom activity and its implications.