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How would you solve this?? Activity versus Non-Activity Entity Issue RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am encountering a dilemma due to the following challenge:

    • Activity entities can’t contain other activities, but can be "regarding" any entity.
    • Non-activity entities can contain activities, but can’t be "regarding" any entity.

    What we desperately need is an entity that combines these two features, I just want a "work item entity" if you will that I can track other activities against  AND associate ("regarding") to any other entity - opportunities, projects etc.  Perhaps a little bit of explanation will help.  We are a professional services firm.  Almost everything I do involves some type of multi-step task that I need to track my activities, emails, calls and time against.  That is what I want to create.  But again, I find myself in a catch 22, due to the challenge listed above.  Here is a screenshot of what I would like to achieve, or would like a suggested workaround.  Thank You.

    Screenshot of Goal





    Sunday, June 5, 2011 7:13 AM

Answers

  • Hi David,

    Yes, after creating your 'Work Item' custom entity and setting it as 'Define as an Activity Entity', you would then add a 1:N relationship to task, email, phone call etc and add the lookup fields to each of these entities' forms. This is to enable your requirement of 'set regarding' any entity but also to link to a work item.

    That way, you could open up a 'Work Item' record and see either those activities that are children of the work item (but set regarding something else - these would appear in a seperate associated view or sub-grid) or for those activities that have been 'set regarding' to the actual work item record, then they would appear in the 'open activities' or 'closed activities' associated view.

    You could add sub grids to the work item form to immediately see all child activities or those activities that are 'set regarding' the work item record but remember that only the first 4 sub-grids will display data without the user needing to click 'show data' in subgrid 5 onwards.

    Rob


    Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (CRM) GAP Consulting Ltd.
    Sunday, June 5, 2011 10:28 AM
    Answerer

All replies

  • BTW, I am completely open to a better way of approaching this, since it appears what I want is impossible without some major development.  I've looked at all sorts of options such as just using the notes field in an activity to make a note every time I follow up on the activity with email or phone call.  But I can't seem to come up with a solution that works very well for tracking repeated actions against an issue (activity).  And again, it's simple to do with a non-activity entity, but then I can't make it "regarding" what I need to.

    So I'm really looking for some advice here.  At this point I'm using a non-activity entity and have created multiple form fields so I can associate it to multiple other entities.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011 7:33 AM
  • Hi David,

    I see you are using CRM2011, in which case you can add relationships to activity entities (in v4.0 you couldn't do this).

    So, how about creating a custom activity entity called 'Work Item' then add a lookup to each of the standard activity entities (task, email, phone call, etc) to point to the work item activity entity.

    This way, your normal activities could be set regarding any record but also linked to a parent 'Work Item' record. Your work item record could in turn be linked to any record also (being a custom activity).

    Does that sound like it will do the trick?

    Rob


    Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (CRM) GAP Consulting Ltd.
    Sunday, June 5, 2011 9:48 AM
    Answerer
  • Thanks Rob.  Am I correct in thinking that you are suggesting I go to the standard activity entities and create a N:1 relationship with my new custom activity entity?  If so, that would allow me to link standard activities to my work items, correct?  But other than that link itself, there wouldn't really be a way to go to "main" work item, and see in a grid view or otherwise the other tasks that are linked to it, would there?

    You see, what I am really looking for is some way to go to an activity and see all the emails or phone calls that were logged against it.

    As I mentioned in another thread on a related issue, I even though of using Connections, but I think it would be too laborious and no one would use it.  I really need to be able to click on my work item and quickly launch a related phone call or email etc. following up on it, that also gets tied to it.



    Sunday, June 5, 2011 10:09 AM
  • Hi David,

    Yes, after creating your 'Work Item' custom entity and setting it as 'Define as an Activity Entity', you would then add a 1:N relationship to task, email, phone call etc and add the lookup fields to each of these entities' forms. This is to enable your requirement of 'set regarding' any entity but also to link to a work item.

    That way, you could open up a 'Work Item' record and see either those activities that are children of the work item (but set regarding something else - these would appear in a seperate associated view or sub-grid) or for those activities that have been 'set regarding' to the actual work item record, then they would appear in the 'open activities' or 'closed activities' associated view.

    You could add sub grids to the work item form to immediately see all child activities or those activities that are 'set regarding' the work item record but remember that only the first 4 sub-grids will display data without the user needing to click 'show data' in subgrid 5 onwards.

    Rob


    Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (CRM) GAP Consulting Ltd.
    Sunday, June 5, 2011 10:28 AM
    Answerer
  • Could you use the Connections feature of 2011? It is like regarding, except you can define how it is regarding.

    Leon Tribe

    Want to hear me talk about all things CRM? Check out my blog

    http://leontribe.blogspot.com/

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    Want to hear me talk about all things CRM? Check out my blog http://leontribe.blogspot.com/ or hear me tweet @leontribe
    • Proposed as answer by Leon TribeMVP Sunday, June 5, 2011 12:22 PM
    Sunday, June 5, 2011 12:22 PM
  • Thanks Rob, I am going to test your suggestion.

     

    Leon, I considered Connections.  I find them a very useful feature, but not an efficient solution for this situation.

    Monday, June 6, 2011 6:54 AM
  • Rob, I just tested this.  I'll have to play with it for a while but I'm excited by the potential.  Thank you again.
    Monday, June 6, 2011 7:21 AM
  • A follow up question.  I'm testing Rob's suggestion and so far like it a lot and think it is better than our current solution.  The one thing I lose with it versus how we were doing it is that I had created several *non*-activity entities, one for "change orders", one for "issues" and so on.  See screenshot example below of how I was able to display them in Outlook shortcuts.*

    Example

    Using the new method suggested by Rob would require rolling all of these into one single new *activity* entity, and simply allowing users to identity the work item with a type field, which they would use to identify the work item as a "change order" or "issue" etc.  So far, so good.  And I could easily create views  to break work items into their respective types.  However now I can't make them show up as nicely defined items in Outlook nor in the CRM navigation bar.  So that's what I lose.

    So is it possible to create links in the CRM navigation bar that are actually nothing more than filtered views?  For instance, a link that says "change orders" that calls up a filtered view of my new entity only showing those where the type is change order?

    I am going to guess not without some real development :-).  But again, I'm open to suggestions.

     

     

     


    Monday, June 6, 2011 5:09 PM
  • A follow up answer...

    1. You could add custom navigation links to your sitemap to point to a specific view (requires editing of the sitemap xml).

    2. Create some views within your workplace > activities area for your specific job types and 'Pin' the views so that when the user clicks on activities, they immediately have the Work Item activities visible.

    3. Add a 'Work Item' dashboard that contains all your types of work items in seperate list views.

     

     


    Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (CRM) GAP Consulting Ltd.
    Monday, June 6, 2011 7:28 PM
    Answerer
  • Thanks again Rob.  I used views for this once before and it worked OK but was a bit laborious flipping between them.  I really like the idea of a chart or dashboard to address this, I was overlooking the obvious.

    Monday, June 6, 2011 8:01 PM