Creating and working with relationships between records is one of the core principals of any CRM system. Without that ability all the data you’ve collected becomes a lot less useful to users who need it to make informed decisions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has consistently done a good job of making it easy to view and work with records that are related to one another, but with Dynamics CRM 2013 we have more ways than ever before.
Prior to CRM 2013 we had the handy left navigation menu that gave users easy access to related records. Many people who have upgraded, or are in the process of upgrading, don’t realize that this functionality still exists within CRM 2013 but has been relocated under the active record in the navigation bar.
Before – Dynamics CRM 2011
After – Dynamics CRM 2013
If you want to make changes to what gets displayed, you can still go into the editor for the specific record form you are working with and change it – just as you did before.
Once you select “Navigation” from the ribbon you should see the available related entities appear on the right hand side. From here it’s just a matter of selecting an entity and dragging it over to the left hand side and placing in the desired order. Alternatively if you want to remove an item from being displayed, simply select an item and then use the “Remove” button on the ribbon. After you “Save” and “Publish” you should see the navigation bar reflect the changes you’ve made.
When you navigate to one of these links, you will get a full page view of the related records as well as the full complement of command bar buttons associated with the records so you can easily select one of more records and take actions like running reports, displaying charts, or firing off workflows.
Of course if you want to display frequently used information directly on the record form you have a couple of different options. The most common way is to use a sub-grid. Adding a sub-grid to a form works just the same as it did in Dynamics CRM 2011 through the form editor. The difference now in CRM 2013 is that the displayed actions you can perform on the related records are a bit more limited so not to overwhelm users with multitudes of buttons. Here you can quickly add a new record or navigate to the full page view of the records.
One final option is CRM 2013’s new Quick View form, not only can it display fields from a related record but it can also display sub-grids of related records as well. The fields are displayed in a read-only format but always reflect the current information without having to worry about creating any custom processes to keep the fields up to date. The sub-grid doesn’t let the user navigate directly to the full page view but still provides the option to quickly add a new related record without having to navigate back to the parent.