Pretty Data at Your Fingertips

Posted by Jen Bieker on July 29, 2014

I’m always amazed at how many people in our weekly meetings have spreadsheets and paper lists, or even notepads full of items they need to keep track of.  What do you use for an overview of your daily data?  Sometimes I see people print reports, but I notice they just end up gathering dust on a desk and wasting a lot of paper.  Does any of this sound familiar?  If so, I have something for you to try – Dashboards.

Dashboards give you a great real time summary of your Dynamics CRM data with the capability to click into it and get more details.  For example, my activity list.  Every morning I take a look at my dashboard and prioritize my tasks for the day.  Then I simply click on an item and it takes me right into the details.
Dashboards are easy, in just a few minutes, users or Dynamics CRM system customizers, can create one with the data that matters to them.  Dashboards can provide an overview of the data you want; and, dashboards are visually pleasing – people love colors and graphs and charts.  Who wants to look at a black and white list any longer?
I know what you’re thinking, I hear it all the time in the office - I don’t have time to learn new things.  Lists and spreadsheets are what I’m used to, and let’s face it, we don’t always like change.  But believe me, dashboards are worth it and once you see the value, you’ll never go back.

First, let’s talk about dashboards.

Why use them?

Plain and simple, they make your life easier. Replacing lines of text with color and pictures – it explains data in an easier manner.  Then if you need, you can dig into the details.

Different Dashboards for Different Roles

There are 14 built-in dashboards already in Dynamics CRM and they are tailored for different roles; such as a sales person, customer service, marketing, or general roles.  If the built-in ones don’t quite do what you need, you can easily modify them or create new ones.
Dynamics CRM has 2 main types of dashboards:  System and User Dashboards.  User dashboards are just that; set up by and for the individual user.  System dashboards are set up for everyone and can be a default dashboard for the organization.

What Can I Put on My Dashboard?

The graphic below shows a basic dashboard.  Charts and simple lists are the primary components that I see people pull in.  Each chart or list is pulling information directly from Dynamics CRM based on the security of the CRM user.  You can also add in IFrames, inline frame, which allows you to pull a web page into the dashboard, or pull other web resources and pictures in to further enhance your dashboard.

How do I get buy in?

I found the best way to get people to change is to just show them the power of a dashboard. Every morning the first thing I do is open CRM and take a look at my dashboard.  My co-workers were intrigued and then I showed them how easy it was. 
So, make one for yourself and show your co-workers.  Then take a few minutes and show them how to set one up.  They will be amazed and before you know it, they’ll be using them every day too.

OK, I Want More Information

For simple step by step instructions on how to create your dashboards, download the Microsoft eBook from our website at:

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