Relevance Search is Next Generation Search

Introduction

In last release Microsoft introduced Next Generation Search (AKA Relevance Search) as a preview feature. In the latest release, i.e. November 2016 update, Microsoft has made this feature generally available. In this blog, I have covered this feature in detail.

Types of search

With relevance search, CRM now have 3 types of searches.

  1. Quick Find View – This search is restricted to particular entity. This is the basic search available since CRM 4.0
  2. Categorized search – This search was introduced in CRM 2015 release and is also known as global search. It searches the data across multiple entities using entity’s quick find view and shows the data categorized by particular entity.
  3. Relevance Search – With relevance search, you will get the results which are relevant to the search terms you are searching for. Relevance search will not be restricted to any entity type or any field, but it will search based on the relevance to your search terms.

What is Relevance Search?

  • Relevance search delivers fast and comprehensive search results based on the relevance across multiple entities.
  • It uses dedicated search service provided by Microsoft Azure which is external to Dynamics 365.
  • With relevance search, you can still use the other two types of searches.
  • Below are the benefits and enhancements provided by relevance search:
    • As external search service provided by Microsoft Azure is used to search the data, search performance is improved drastically and search is performed outside the D365 environment.
    • It uses semantic searches hence results may include inflectional words like win, won or winning, etc.
    • It returns results with matching the search term in any words and in any field in the entity.
    • The result is not categorized by the entity type, but it is returned and sorted based on the number of words matched and how the words are related to each other.
    • In the results, the words which are matched are highlighted.

Limitation

  • Relevance search is not available for D365 On Premise environments.
  • There is no limit on number of entities you can search, but there is a limit of 1000 index you can have per organization. While configuring entities for relevance search, you can see how many indexes are needed to enable the respective field and entity.
  • As relevance search is hosted on Microsoft Azure cloud platform, any changes to the data in D365 environment takes 15 minutes to get synced with Azure Search. Also, for average to large data it takes an hour or more to complete the full sync between D365 environment and Azure Search Service.

data-flow

  • Below fields are not supported for relevance search:

Find Fields

  1. Lookup
  2. Option set
  3. Rollup & Calculated fields
  4. Non-text

View Fields

  1. Lookup
  2. Option set
  3. Fields of related entities

Filter Fields

  1. Lookup
  2. Option set
  3. Fields of related entities

How Relevance Search makes a difference?

  • In quick find view search, i.e. entity level search, when user searches for a phrase, it tries to search all the sentence exactly in the fields of the entity and if all the words matches then only it returns the result.
  • In categorized search, i.e. global search, it also gives same result as quick find view, but it searches across the entities and maximum entities which can be searched is 10.
  • In relevance search, individual word from the search phrase is searched across the entities and in all the fields. The more relevant results are shown first. The relevancy is decided based on the number of words matched against the searched data and how close the words are to each other. For e.g., if the search term is found in an address and in an article, then result with address will be considered as more relevant data than the article.
  • There is no limit on how many number of entities you can search using relevance search.

How to configure relevance search?

Configuring relevance search is 3 steps process. First you need to enable the relevance search and then enable the entities which should be involved in the relevance search, and at last you need to configure the fields which should get included in relevance search.

Step 1: Enable relevance search

  1. You need to have system administrator/customizer role on D365 environment.
  2. Go to Settings > Administration > System Settings.administration_system-settings
  3. In General section, you will see an option as Enable Relevance Search. Select Yes and click OK on the popup shown.
    enable-searchpopup
  4. Once you enable the relevance search, it becomes your default searching option and can be changes later to categorized search from your personal settings options.
    personal-optionsdefault-search

Step 2: Enable entities for relevance search

  1. Go to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System.
  2. Under components, expand Entities, and click on Configure Relevance Search option.configure-relevance-search
  3. Select the entities and click okay. Publish all customizations.

Note: If you want to include any entity for relevance search, then below highlighted managed property of the entity should be set to True.

set-managed-properties

Step 3: Enable fields for relevance search

  1. Go to Settings à Customizations à Customize the System
  2. Go to Quick Find View of an entity for which you are configuring the relevance search.
  3. Select the find columns for the entity. By default, the fields you add in find columns of quick find view become part of relevance search. There is no limit on maximum number of fields allowed, but as explained earlier, there is limit on number of indexes involved in relevance search.

How to use relevance search?

  • Once you enable, relevance search becomes your default search. Just like global search, you can start searching your data and it will return data using relevance search.
    ordering-productshow-to-use
  • As you can see in above image, on left side you can filter the records and also select any particular record type to reduce your result set.
  • You can easily switch between relevance search and categorized search.swith-between-searches

Difference between Relevance Search & Categorized Search with few examples

  • Below screenshot shows my available data:

available-data

Case 1: I search for ‘need 110 item’ term.

  • Relevance search returns below datacase-1-1
  • Categorized search did not return anythingcase-1-2

Case 2: I search for term ‘ 10 items + need’

  • Relevance search returns below datacase-2-1
  • Categorized search did not return anything

case-2-2

References

Know more about relevance search

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/use-relevance-search-for-faster-comprehensive-search-results.aspx

https://technet.microsoft.com/library/5ec1a73d-06cb-4d40-adab-8bb293bcedbb.aspx

Learn how to search data with relevance search to get accurate data

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/searchservice/Simple-query-syntax-in-Azure-Search

D365 New Features – Editable Grid (Part 2)

Continued…

In first part of this blog, I have explained features of Editable Grid which is introduced in latest release of MS Dynamics 365. In this blog, I have explained how to configure editable grid and how it can be used.

How to configure editable grid

Read-only grid

  • By default, when you create any custom entity or any OOB entities, editable grid is not configured.
  • By default, read-only grid is shown to the users.
  • You cannot disable read-only grids on any entity. You can choose which one to show by default i.e. either read-only or editable grid.

Home grid (editable grid)

  • To enable editable grid on entity’s public views, you should add new control in entity.
  • You can enable editable grid on entity’s public views as per below steps:
    1. Go to settings > Customizations > Customize the system.
    2. Expand entities section and click on entity on which you want to enable editable grid. You will see entity’s properties.
    3. Click on Controls section.
      control-section
    4. By default, you will see below screen (if editable grid is not enabled).
      default-grid
    5. Click on Add Control
    6. Select Editable grid and click add.
      add-control
    7. You can select which grid to be shown as a default grid for an individual entity.
      select-grid
    8. Select additional settings like filtered lookup properties to filter lookup values in editable grid. Follow below steps to achieve the same:
      1. Select Editable Grid control as selected in above screenshot. You will see below options to set properties of editable home grid.
        editable-grid
      2. Click on Add Lookup (Note: It allows to filter lookup values which will be populated in editable grids lookup field. If your view does not contain any lookup field, then you won’t see anything here).
        configure-property
      3. Set the necessary options and click OK.
    9. Save the changes and publish the customization.

Sub grid (Editable Grid)

  • To enable editable grid for sub-grids, you need to add new control on entity form.
  • You can enable editable grid for sub-grid by following below steps:
    1. Open form editor of entity’s form on which you want to enable editable sub grid.
    2. Select sub grid control and click on change properties.
      change-properties
    3. Go to Controls Tab. Click on add control.
      controls-tab
    4. Rest of the steps are same as I have mentioned above for home grid.

Nested Grid

  • Nested grids are nothing but grid within grid. Nested grids are available only on Mobile & Tablets.
  • Nested grid can be enabled on Home as well as sub grids.
  • To enable nested grid, follow below steps:
    1. Follow similar steps as mentioned earlier to enable editable grid.
    2. Select Editable Grid and you will see an option to set properties for Nested Grid.
      nested-grid
    3. Click on the pencil icon and select the entity and to be shown in nested grid. Select the parent lookup field on which the related records should be fetched.
    4. Save and publish the changes.

Dashboard Grid (Editable)

  • Dashboard editable grid is available only on mobile and tablet devices.
  • Follow below steps to enable editable grid on dashboard:
    1. Open dashboard in design mode.
    2. Select component and click on Edit Component.
    3. Go to Controls Tab and Add control.
    4. Follow the same steps as mentioned above.

How to add event handlers on editable grid events

  • Adding event handlers is similar as we used to do for adding event handlers on form fields.
  • You should navigate to Events tab and follow same steps as we used to perform earlier:
    events
  • For Home grid, you should navigate to Entity’s design page.
  • For sub-grid, you should navigate to property page of sub grid.
  • For dashboard grid, you should navigate to dashboard grid’s property page.

How to use Editable Grid

  • Once grids are enabled for inline editing for home grids, you will see a new option in ribbon as ‘Show As’.
    show-as
  • If you have put Read-only grid as default grid, you can select any of the option. Read-only grid will show the old views.
  • If you select, Editable Grid, you will see below options.
    1. Group By – Users can group by columns. So, if you have option set on any entity and you want to see all records grouped by individual values of option set, you can select the same in Group By drop down.
      active-accounts
    2. Filtering the records – You can still filter the records by clicking an down arrow which is shown on each column’s right side.
      filtering-records
    3. You can click on the column to sort either in ascending/descending order.
      sorting
    4. You can drag-drop the column to see important information at the start at your convenience. Below screenshot is taken when user is dragging the Account Name column after Main Phone column.
      move-columns
    5. Saving the record – As I mentioned in earlier blog, records get saved automatically when focus is moved from the record. Also, users can explicitly save the changes by clicking save option provided on right corner of the grid.
      save-option
    6. Editing the records – The UI of editable grid is so intuitive, that users come to know whether the field is editable or locked. Also, you can easily navigate to the lookup record by clicking arrow. Refer below screenshots.
      my-view
      lookup

Some additional information

  • Editable grid also works on same security model. i.e. if user does not have write access on the record, then editable grid does not allow users to update the record.
  • Field level security works in same way in editable grid as well.

D365 New Features – Editable Grid (Part 1)

Introduction

Finally, most awaited feature has arrived in Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 business apps solution (formerly known as Dynamics CRM). Microsoft has introduced Editable grids in their latest release and new era called Dynamics 365. I am publishing this blog in 2 parts. In this part of blog, I have focused on what is Editable grid, what are its features. In next part of this blog, I will be covering how to configure the grid and how it can be used.

What is Editable grid?

Before release of D365, users needed to open the existing records to update any data in the entity. Even if users want to update single field in multiple records, they had to open the individual record and update the field and save the record. For each record, they had to repeat these steps. This approach of updating data was time consuming and irritating.

With introduction to editable grid, Microsoft has allowed users to update the records right away with all those validations which was applicable on the form.

Editable grid is nothing but a list or view of records having editing capabilities without opening the record.

Editable Grid Features

Types of grids

  1. Read-only grid – These are the same grid which users are seeing in earlier versions. The CRM entity views which do not have editing capabilities are called read-only grids in D365 release.
  2. Home grid – These are the CRM entity views having editable grid capabilities. Entity’s public views and personal views with editing capabilities are called home grid.
  3. Sub grid – This is old grid which is shown on entity form to show related records. Sub grids can also be made editable.
  4. Nested grid – This is new grid introduced in D365. Nested grids are shown when we expand any record in view itself without opening form. This grid also shows related records of expanded record from view.

Note: Nested grid is available only on Mobile and Tablets. It is not available on web client/CRM for Outlook.

  1. Dashboard grid – This is the grid which is shown on CRM dashboards.

Note: Dashboard grid is available only on Mobile and Tablets. It is not available on web client/CRM for Outlook.

Features

  1. Below types of fields have inline editable grid capabilities:
    1. Single line of text
    2. Date and Time
    3. Option Set
    4. Whole Number
    5. Decimal
    6. Floating Point Number
    7. Two Options
    8. Lookup
  2. Below types of fields are read only in editable grid:
    1. Customer
    2. Rollup Fields
    3. Calculated Fields
    4. Composite Fields
    5. Status and Status Reason Fields
  3. Business rules which are have scope at Entity level works on editable grids.

Note: Business Recommendations (introduced in this release) is not available on editable grids.

  1. Below JavaScript events are available on editable grid:
    1. On record select
    2. On save
    3. On change
  2. Users don’t have to explicitly click on save button. Records are saved automatically when focus from the record is moved.
  3. As its name suggests, only inline editing is possible and users cannot create records through inline editable grids. Users can still use quick create form to quickly create the records.
  4. Below grid functionality is available for editable grids:
    1. Sorting
    2. Searching
    3. Grouping
    4. Filtering
    5. Pagination
    6. Column resizing
    7. Column movement by simply drag and drop capabilities
  5. It also saves user state within the session. So, if user does any settings like column resizing, column movement on active accounts view, and if user navigates to any other entity, then when user comes back to the active accounts view within the same session, it shows the same settings.
  6. The editable grid is nothing but an additional control and can be exported through a solution and imported back into target environment as a solution.

Understanding Dynamics 365 Online Instance Management

What is covered in this blog?

Recently, I have received many queries and confusing questions from clients/CRM technical people around managing Dynamics 365 Online (formerly known as CRM Online). So, I felt that I should write an article to explain how licensing of instances work and how we can use the instances.

Note: You need to have Global Administrator role on O365 tenant.

I have covered below concepts in this blog article:

  • What do you mean by Instance Type (Production/Sandbox)?
  • How user licenses work on multiple instances?
  • How licenses are assigned to different instances?
  • What are these features? (Copy instance, Reset Instance, Delete Instance, Configure Instance, Administration Mode etc.)

Introduction

What do you mean by Instance type (Production/Sandbox)?

  • Instance type decides what admin operations you can perform on your instance.
  • Product instance is considered as the live environment and hence you cannot perform some operations on Production type instance.
  • Sandbox instance is considered as non-production environment i.e. we can use it either for development or UAT. It may or may not contain live data.
  • Sandbox instances are cheaper in cost than production type instances.
  • You cannot have sandbox instance without a production instance. Once you have production instance, you can get as many sandbox instances as you want.
  • We always get production instance license when we register for Dynamics 365 Online trial.

How licenses work on multiple instances?

  • At high level, there are two kind of licenses available for Dynamics 365 Online, i.e., An instance license and user licenses.
  • Any CRM Online Instance is assigned either production or sandbox license.
  • Instance license assignment is not dependent on instance type. i.e. Sandbox type instance might be assigned production instance license as well based on license availability. I have explained all scenarios in Example section of this blog at the end.
  • Sandbox instance license is purchased as an add-on product.

How user licenses work on multiple instances?

  • User licenses are separate than instance licenses.
  • All licensed users automatically get added on all instances in the same tenant. Based on the security roles assigned, users get access to the respective instance.

Manage Features of D365 Online Instances

  • Copy Instance
    • This feature is useful when we want to make exact replica of any environment.
    • This feature allows to create exact replica of any instance from same tenant either with data or without data. In case of without data, all the customization get copied.
    • It only allows Sandbox Type instance as a target environment.
    • In copy operation, it copies entire database in the background on target environment. Source environment does not have any downtime during this operation.
    • Whenever copy operation is completed successfully, the target environment is put in administration mode. Whenever any environment (instance) is put in administration mode, only system administrators can log into the environment.
    • Copy operation does not change organization unique id of target environment.
  • Reset Instance
    • This feature is available only for Sandbox type instances.
    • This operation creates vanilla environment (similar as when you create trial environment).
    • Reset operation removes all data and customization from the environment.
  • Delete Instance
    • This feature is available only for sandbox type instances.
    • When this operation is performed, the respective instance license is released and is considered as unused license.

Note: Delete operation does not remove license and hence even if instance license is unused, we must pay for the same until we cancel subscription.

  • Configure Instance
    • This option is made available for unused instance licenses. Whenever we purchase any new instance license (either production license or sandbox instance) or when we delete an instance and if we have any unused license available, then we get this option.
    • This option allows to setup CRM instance starting from its URL & setting base currency.

Examples/Case Study

Business Scenario Assumption

Let’s assume we have a tenant with 5 CRM Online professional licenses (it comes with 1 production license) & 3 sandbox instance licenses. Let’s say we have below configured instances:

  1. https://instance1.crm.dynamics.com – Production Type Instance
  2. https://instance2.crm.dynamics.com – Sandbox Instance
  3. https://instance3.crm.dynamics.com – Sandbox Instance
  4. https://instance4.crm.dynamics.com – Sandbox Instance

Actions and Results

#

Action Performed Result

1

User tries to reset instance1 Reset option is not available on production type instances.

2

User tries to reset instance2 Instance2 gets reset and is created as vanilla environment as a trial environment.

Sandbox license is used.

3

User tries to perform copy operation from instance1 to instance2 without data. Instance2 becomes exact replica of instance1 without data. All customization from instance1 are now available on instance2.

4

User changes instance type of instance1 from Production to Sandbox. Instance1 is now considered as sandbox instance, but it is consuming production license.

5

User changes instance type of instance2 from sandbox to production. Instance2 is now considered as production environment. Instance2 is assigned production instance license and instance1 is assigned sandbox license.

6

User tries to delete instance4. Instance4 is deleted and 1 sandbox license is made available and is unused license.

7

User changes instance type of instance1 from sandbox to production again. Instance1 is now again considered as production instance & it will use sandbox instance license. There is still 1 unused sandbox license.

8

As 1 unused license is available, user gets an option to configure instance. User configures the instance. Instance4 is now again available as vanilla environment. It will use sandbox license.
  • All 5 professional licensed users have access on 4 instances and based on their security roles assigned on respective environments, they get access to those environments.
  • In case, you want to reset production environment for any reason, then you can do so by following below steps:
    • Change production instance’s type to sandbox instance.
    • Reset the environment.
    • Change instance’s type back to production instance.

Reference Links