CRM 2015 Customization Exam MB2-707

Last week I took and passed the newly released exam MB2-707 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization and Configuration. The exam title does not mention CRM 2015, although that is clearly the version it is aimed at.

I guess this is because Microsoft don’t want to confuse things when the exam covers how to customise Dynamics CRM 2015 on-premises or CRM Online, which does not really include the version number as such a prominent part of the branding. If you pass this exam it should be clear that you have the skills to customise CRM 2015 on-premise or CRM online equally.

Looking at the skills measured, the only new areas covered compared to the CRM 2013 Customisation exam MB2-703 are calculated and rollup fields. There is no mention of hierarchical security, or configuring sales or service modules such as SLAs and Entitlements or the Product Catalog.
Read my thoughts and tips for passing exam MB2-707 »

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Exams

Some of the details of exams for Dynamics CRM 2015 are now available.

Take careful note of the “Skills measured” sections for these, as they are not exactly aligned to the equivalent 2013 exams in all cases. Courses for these are all e-learning, available via the Dynamics Learning Portal (DLP) for customers and partners signed up to appropriate support plans. Some learning providers may also offer these as a “blended learning” experience, with a classroom instructor to walk you through the course and address areas of difficulty and answer questions. It remains to be seen whether this is a popular option for many people or not.

MB2-704 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application

Slightly strange title on this one. Watch out for the fact that this includes some aspects of social listening, so if you are not using that in your organisation you need to do some good reading on the subject.

MB2-707 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization and Configuration

Looking at the skills measured, it seems that the only new areas covered are calculated and rollup fields. There seems to be no mention of hierarchical security, or configuring sales or service modules (arguably the right choice, as those are possibly business area manager tasks, rather than initial customisations).

MB2-706 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Deployment

Strangely the skills measured for this exam (as of 28th Jan) have lots of overlap with MB2-708, including knowledge about installing the server.roles, SSRS and ADFS for example (I get that ADFS can be used for authentication with online, using federation, but the description sounds more like normal IFD config to me). You will also need to know about online admin of users in the Office365 platform, or Microsoft Online Services as they prefer us to call it these days.Integration with Exchange, Lync and Yammer are included too.

Upgrades, troubleshooting, VSS and data encryption all seem to include topics that would only apply to on-premises environments. This is a truly confusing exam outline, it will be interesting to see what it is like in reality.

MB2-708 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Installation

This one is aimed at skills needed to implement and manage CRM On-Premises deployments, including things like configuring IFD, high-availability options and troubleshooting.

MB2-720 Functional Application in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

Focussed entirely on MDM rather than the limited marketing functionality in CRM itself.

I’ll update this post with details of other exams as they become available.

More Dynamics CRM 2015 videos from the MS Product Team

As a follow up to my previous post showcasing some of the YouTube videos that Microsoft have posted about CRM 2015, here are some more about various features that have recently been added.

Farrukh Ghaffar talks about the update process for CRM Online customers when CRM 2015 gets released.
 

 
There are also some great run-throughs of new features such as “Rollup and Calculated Fields in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015” from Brandon Simons, and “Tablet Productivity Enhancements in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015” presented by Tony Schmidt.

 

 
Daniel Dallala gives a useful overview of some of the enhancements to the product catalog features for product families, related products and bundles
 

Finally Narinder Singh talks about the possibilities for self service reporting using Power BI.
 

Modify Dashboard properties in CRM 2015

In CRM 2011 you could create system and personal Dashboards. You could start from scratch using one of the predefined layout templates, or copy an existing one using “Save As”. Choose a name, give it a description and away you go.

If you changed your mind about the purpose of the dashboard you could simply open it back up and change the name of the dashboard, and you could click the “Properties” button on the Ribbon to change the description.

With CRM 2013 there was a big change – although you could change the name of a dashboard, there was no “Properties” button on the command bar to change the description, so if you got it wrong when you first created and saved it – tough, you could not go back and fix it later. And “Dashboard” is not an entity you can add to a Solution to work on the command bar RibbonXML using Ribbon Workbench, for example.

Dashboard 2013 no properties button

Despite reporting this as a suggestion that needed fixing by using the Connect site, nothing happened for the last year. The workaround of making a further copy of the dashboard and setting the correct properties is all very well, but could mean having to change the default dashboards for each module in the SIteMap, and for users to have to set a new default if they were using the existing one.

Anyone using CRM for Tablets could only use the “out of the box” Sales dashboard, but if you wanted to change this you could modify every aspect of it (including the display name) to use it for non-sales purposes but you still could not change the description. Read what is changing in CRM 2015»

Dynamics CRM 2015 YouTube Videos

The Dynamics CRM team have been busy preparing a series of videos about CRM 2015 to make sure people are ready for some of the great new features in this next release. I am sure they will add more to this as time goes on and the release date gets closer.

First up it’s Matthew Barbour talking about Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 to 2015 (previously known as “Vega”). Note some of the key points, such as the path from CRM 2011 (with UR6 or UR14+) to CRM 2013, then SP1, then upgrade to CRM 2015 (ideally via migration rather than in-place upgrade).

Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 to 2015

Next – did you know that in CRM 2015 you can now use Field Security on out-of-the-box fields, rather than only custom fields? This quick video walks you through this excellent step forward.

Field Level Security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Business Process Flows (BPF) also have some key improvements compared to their first outing in Polaris and later update in CRM 2013. Branching logic and more access via the client API are the main points. Find out abut using BPF in this short video.

Business Process in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

I hope you find these useful and instructive, and help to prepare you for some of the things that are just around the corner with the new release of Dynamics CRM 2015.

CRMUG UK User Group – TWO Meetings in Reading and Edinburgh

CRMUG LogoThis post has been moved to the official CRMUG UK blog at crmug.uk/2014/11/03/crmug-uk-user-group-two-meetings-in-reading-and-edinburgh

Security Roles and Teams in CRM – An Inconvenient Half-Truth

Over the course of the last two years or so reading everything I can about Dynamics CRM, as well as teaching many classes of people how to get the most out of their CRM systems, one thing which comes up again and again is how to best structure Business Units, Users and Security Roles, and sometimes Teams as well to get the exact model you want to match your business requirements for who has access to which records and when.

Users inherit Security Roles from Teams – right?

One concept I have seen repeated many times is that “Users inherit security roles from all the Teams they are in”. And generally this seems to be a reasonable way to describe how it works, but occasionally odd behaviours seem to show up which make this appear to be less than 100% accurate.

I also had a gut feeling for a while that this was not the best way to describe the way this works. I prefer to say that “when a User is in a Team, they can act as if they are the Team, with the rights that the Team has through its Security Roles, but only while considering records in the same Business Unit as that Team”.

More on this later, and the one part of the model that this description does not do justice to.

Overall this means Security Roles use a kind of “impersonation” when Teams are involved and that the rights the User has are not only ‘borrowed’ very temporarily from the Team but they are relative to where the Team is – so access levels / depths such as “Business Unit” or “Parent / Child Business Unit” operate from the Business Unit where the Team is.

So how does this really work?

If you really want to read how security roles work in terms of determining access to a whole bunch of records (to display the results of a view) or a single record, then you need to read the white paper Scalable Security Modelling with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

42 pages later you will probably know exactly how the queries are built to actually enforce the security model, but that may not have made it much clearer from a practical, day-to-day design point of view. To be fair, the point of that white paper is to explain the underlying architecture and query methods properly so you can figure out the performance impact of different security approaches, rather than demonstrating how this informs your design from an end-result “who can see what” point of view. One thing that is never mentioned is any idea of inheritance or merging of privileges from Teams to Users. Every kind of access request is checked against User and Team permissions separately (exactly what is checked depends on things like whether the User has Global access level privileges to that entity at all, and whether the record is owned by the User or any of their Teams. These can help shortcut the otherwise brute force querying that would be necessary, especially to return all records in a view).

“You can’t handle the TRUTH!”

By now, I bet some of you are ready to shout at the screen – “we know Users don’t actually inherit the roles and keep them for themselves, but it works just as if they did, so it’s just a kind of shorthand and we all understand what we really mean, so don’t be pedantic”.

Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men - I Want the TRUTH!I always argue that I am not pedantic, I just like things to be exactly correct – “I want the TRUTH!”

In this case, it is CRM which is pedantic, and does not always behave as expected if you believe that a User can act as if they have all the Roles that their Teams have, all of the time. If you are betting your security model on it working this way then either you will end up with Users who can’t do their job, or possibly a gaping hole in your security. Neither sounds good to me.

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