Getting Started with Your CRM Online Trial – Minimize the Noise

When you first explore a trial of CRM Online, there are so many different areas of navigation and features that make it difficult to get started both from an administrator point of view as well as from the perspective of a business user in sales, marketing or service.

For the average power user/system administrator, there are a few best practices to help you narrow your evaluation focus and minimize the noise within CRM: personal options (easy), security roles(medium) and site map modification (difficult).

1. Let’s start with the easy one: setting personal options.  Do this yourself, then advise all the users of your trial to do the same.  In CRM, go to Tools –> Options –> Workplace tab.  Select the areas that are important to you.


This will minimize the clicks to get to the stuff you care about.


2. Modify security roles.  If you are the sole evaluator of the trial and you want to see another view of the system based on what a typical sales, marketing or service user may see, this isn’t very intuitive or easy to do.  Additionally, you cannot remove yourself from the system administrator security role without some pain.  But you can create more users for yourself and log in under different functional profiles.  Here’s what to do:

– Create a new WLID, or multiple WLIDs, for each group of users who will eventually use or evaluate CRM.  In my demo account, I’ve created “Laura Sales”, “Laura Marketing” and “Laura Service”.

– Assign those users to specific security roles that have the unimportant features turned off but still provide some system administrator privileges.  I’ve created three roles to help you get started and shared them on my SkyDrive for your usage.  (Instructions for importing customizations are here.)

– Log in as one of your other personas.  If you need to “turn on” features again, you can always log back in as the system admin.

– When you are finished evaluating CRM, disable the dummy users.

3. Modify the site map.  If you are using CRM purely for service cases, how do you remove Sales and Marketing from the navigation pane?  Site map.  This falls under “custom development” as it requires a change to the xml, but don’t be scared, you don’t have to be a developer to do this.  Just back up your customizations before you modify anything.  Another note: this is not role-based.  Any changes you make to the site map will apply organization-wide.

Export the site map (Settings –> Customization –> Export Customizations –> View “Client Extensions”) and save one copy as your backup.  Open the other in any xml editor (I use notepad).  In this example I’ve highlighted and removed the Service area.


– Import your new site map.  Refresh CRM online, and voila, no more Service module.



Comments (3)

  1. Mike Olsson says:

    All great tips I utilize in demos.  One item I use to eliminate some headaches is to use the CRM Demo tools from Microsoft for editing the site map.  You can find it with your favorite search engine.  Using it means you don't even have to know XML to edit the site map which helps avoid mistakes.  Follow the same export guidelines, but load it into the Demo Tools instead.  Make changes, save a copy and import.  

    One quirk:  The tool only works by connecting to an On-Prem CRM.  I get around this for Online by using an image from Microsoft with CRM installed.  Load the image, connect to Demo Tools to the CRM instance and then load the XML from your Online version.  You can then make changes save a copy and go from there.

  2. Mike Duffy says:

    We chose Dynamics CRM Online over, for reasons of price and better integration with Outlook 2007.  Our existing data is in Business Contact Manager.  Unfortunately, the data migration tools are worse than useless — something that you would expect to be automatic is anything but, since most of the account/contact fields in BCM don't map correctly to fields in CRM Online.  I'm very disappointed so far, as the goal of my trial was to work through the conversion issues (as I can't afford to idle our sales people).

  3. Neil Benson says:

    @Mike, sorry to hear you are having issues with Dynamics CRM. There are lots of resources to assist customers migrate from other systems, including Outlook BCM. Laura's blog post probably isn't the place to request help, so you might want to try asking the CRM community:…/threads. Unfortunately, BCM suffers because it's only used by a few small businesses who often don't want to pay for professional third-party migration tools or services, but nevertheless you should be able to use Dynamics CRM Data Migration Manager to migrate from BCM to CRM Online.