Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft SharePoint integration introduction


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


Comments (15)

  1. Colin says:

    Great post!  Very excited myself to get this in our shop as its something I been talking to for integration for a while, and I think it should make a lot of our users very happy and information easier to find.

    Question though, what about document library limits, what do you do when you hit the doc # limit?  Are there any options to say provision a site for each account and have a doc lib in there, then you have account sites that an account manager can go in and add additional lists, and items outside of CRM allowing better and further collab by non CRM users.  I think the default folders are great, and I have to play to see what is possible still but it would be amazing to take this to the next step!

  2. Nice write - up says:

    How about write-up on BPOS/SharePoint Online support?

  3. Henry H says:

    Does the SharePoint folder adhere to the security policy of the CRM record? I.e. Are the SharePoint permissions synchronised with the CRM permissions?

    I would not want to expose documents to a user who would not normally be able to access these documents if his/her CRM security role did not allow it.

  4. Anusha S says:

    Colin: We dont provision sites from within CRM. Just Doc Libraries and folders. You can provision sites for each account as part of the extensibility story.

    Nice write up :  There is no difference between SharePoint Online and OnPremise except for signing in.

    Henry H :  the security is maintained in SharePoint. If a user does not have access to documents via SharePoint, they wont have access via CRM as well. If they can access documents via SharePoint, they will be able to access it via CRM as well

  5. Ravi says:

    Hi! Anusha,

    Great blog. Is it ok if i refer your blog url on one of my article on Dynamics CRM 2011

  6. Jim Glass Jr says:

    Ravi, that's okay. Just don't quote more than 10% of the post and provide the pointer to this site. Thanks!

  7. Ravi says:

    Hi! I have just put a pointer to the site. Have taken no content from the blog.

    Ravi Gokulgandhi

  8. patpom says:

    Hey Guys – this is great. One question – if you are using different sets of meta data to describe the document in Sharepoint, can you customize the view in CRM to include these columns? Also, has anyone implemented any of the BDC links to use CRM data to describe the documents in more detail? For example, we have a situation where we need to associate a document with an account and also some other custom entities in CRM (issues, opportunities, etc…) but we only want to store one copy of the document.

  9. auny says:

    Email attachment

    1)Tracking an email with an attachment, historically the email goes to History folder and the attachment goes as an attachment to the record. Can the document then be uploaded to sharepoint 2010?

    2)What about documents that come attached to an email as an attachment?

  10. jakob says:

    Is it possible to let meta data from CRM be stored in sharepoint as you upload a document from crm? (So that the meta data can be utilized in sharepoint search)

    thanks,

  11. Anusha S says:

    Ravi: Thanks

    Patpom: CRM just takes your default list view of SharePoint and displays it within CRM. So go ahead and design the view with all the columns that you want in SharePoint and make that the default view. CRM will show the exact same view. You can associate a single document location to multiple entity records. You just need to add it as a new location.

    Auny: We dont send attached documents to SharePoint directly.

    Jakob: We dont do that out of the box. We move a ver limited adn fixed set of meta data from CRM to SharePoint but you can write your own SharePoint package(WSP) and get that done.

    thanks

  12. Johann says:

    Is it possible to use Sharepoint search from within CRM, i.e. while doing an Advanced Find in CRM, also incorporate the results of the Sharepoint Search in the Advanced Find?

  13. pablop says:

    Hi,

    Nice post!.

    Just in case anybody faces the error 'List component is not installed on the SharePoint URL…' I suggest to check this out: weblogs.asp.net/…/integrating-dynamics-crm-2011-with-sharepoint-2010-error-list-component-is-not-installed-on-the-sharepoint-url.aspx

    PP.

  14. Lamin L Janneh says:

    I went to Pablo's website, but I'm still encountering this error "Install the List component to enable Sharepoint to automatically create a hierarchical folder structure on Sharepoint for Microsoft Dynamics CRM records. The List Component also enables you to get the appearance and behavior of a Microsoft Dynamic CRM list" when I try to connect validate sharepoint URL.

    can someone please help!

  15. Tomas OIejnik says:

    Hello,

    Good article explaining the integration. However there should be also mentioned security risk of this integration. The security is not maintained between Dynamics CRM and SharePoint -> the confidential document will became accessible using SharePoint also for users that cannot see respective account/opportunity/invoice in Dynamics CRM.

    In order to ensure proper security you will need to use some 3rd party software (e.g. CB Replicator -> http://www.youtube.com/watch)

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