Thursday, January 24, 2013

MSCRM 2011: Creating Follow-up Activities

In CRM 4.0, there was a button on the phone call form called “Follow up.” When you clicked this button, a new activity would be created that included the details from the original call. This was a useful way to quickly create and schedule a follow up call.

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, this functionality has been removed. How can follow-up activities now be created ?

The new activity relationship functionality is a great replacement for the follow-up button.

In 2011, you can create a self referential activity relationship. For example, you can customize the phone call entity and create a 1:N relationship for phone call to phone call. Use the custom label and call it Follow Up Calls.

In the mappings area under the Common area in the Relationship,  you can then map the fields that you  want to be copied from the originating call to the follow up call.
Once this relationship is published, you will now see a navigation bar link for “Follow up calls.” When you create a phone call,  you can now create a related follow up activity that contains the data from the originating call.

This also give us some new capabilities that the old follow up call button did not:
1. Follow up activities are related to their originating call. The 4.0 follow-up activity button would create a new call, but it would have no relationship to the originating call. With the new approach, related activities are joined together, so you can group conversations together.
2. You can now customize what maps when the follow up activity is created. Given that you set the mappings of the 1:N relationship, you can choose what fields to map, and which not to map, even with custom fields.

A few limitations with this approach:
1. You cannot map the party-list type fields, such as the “to” or “attendee” fields. These fields are a unique type of field that actually display the contents of multiple related records (activityparty), so the contents of these fields will not map to the follow-up activity.
2. You have to create a follow-up activity prior to closing the activity, since related records cannot be created from inactive records.

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