Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Deep Queries for subgrids - CRM 2011 and Powertrak offerings compared

I was reading this fantastic post on Microsoft Dynamics CRM blog that walks us through an use case for seeing subgrid values that are not directly related to the opened entity. Great time saver!

After reading through it and trying it out on my test system, I was curious to see how it stacks up against the Powertrak editable grid functionality that is available for some time now.

To make this a controlled experiment, I am keeping the custom entity hierarchy that is described in the msdn crm blog post: a Legal Account which has a 1:N relationship to Portfolio that has a 1:N relationship to Holding.

After walking through the steps, this is what I ended up with: An Legal Account record with a subgrid of the (indirectly) related Holding records.

TIP: Remember that your crm system should be in Rollup Update 5 or higher for this to work.

Recreating the setup in Powertrak:

Using the powertrak tools I created 2 screens, one for Portfolio and one for holdings. Then I enabled preview for portfolio screen and linked it to the holding screen.

Finally, I added a navigation link called "Portfolio List" to the Legal Account entity using standard MS CRM customizations.

All of this Powertrak stuff was accomplished using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) tool, and does not require any programming skills.

The screens have buttons for New, Delete and Save. The New button (in this case the Portfolio list screen) creates a row, one for each time the New button is clicked. Here I have selected the New button 2 times, creating 2 new rows.  Color-coded indicators appear on the left side of the row(s) I affect. A red bar means that I have changed data in that row, but have not yet saved it.

The Save button saves the changes in all rows in one go. A green bar on the left side of the row means that I have saved changes to that row since the last refresh.

Here is what the layout looks like for the filtered subgrids. On one level is all the Portfolio records associated with the Leagal Account. Under it is the list of Holdings associated with the Portfolio.

Changes can be made to multiple records of the same entity without opening each individual record. The columns that display are
selected from the attribute list of the entity, and new columns can be added when needed. I can also select which columns I want editable (For example, I can have just have the Portfolio name column editable but have the portfolio number column read only)

What is the difference?

The setup is a wash, as both the subgrid setup and Powertrak setup took me about the same time to put together.
As I mentioned earlier, remember to have your crm server at Rollup 5 update or later.

User Experience:

Let us say I have the Legal Account Record open, and want to make changes to 1 related Portfolio record and 3 Holding recrods.

System without deep query subgrids:
Go to the portfolio list, open a portfolio, make changes and save - 3 clicks
Go to Holding list, open a holding, make changes and save - 3 X 3 = 9 clicks (for 3 Holdings)
Total clicks: 12

System with deep query subgrid:
Open Holding, open portfolio, make changes and save - 3 clicks
Open the Holding from the subgrid, make changes and save - 2 X 3= 6 clicks (for 3 Holdings)
Total clicks: 9

System with Powertrak Editable screens:
Go to the portfolio list, make changes and save - 2 clicks (no need to open up a portfolio in its own screen)
Click Portfolio to open list of holdings, make changes and save - 2 clicks (One save click saves all 3 Holdings)
Total Clicks: 4

Notice that the changes made to the Portfolio and Holdings is a common denominator in all 3 scenarios, and thus is not counted. I am only adding the Save click.

We have improved the number of clicks from 12 to 9 to 4! That is a 66% decrease from the first system and a 56% decrease from the second system. This leads to a better user experience, and improved productivity. And the percentages only get better as the sample size increases.

Please contact Axonom for more information on the offering. Here is a link that talks about the in-line editable grid in more detail.

No comments:

Post a Comment