Dynamics 365 certifications study links

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi

If you think you know enough to stop learning, you have more to learn than you think #HoskWisdom

I believe Dynamics 365 developers should get one certification each year, they don’t have to be Dynamics 365 certifications (scrum/.Net/Azure/Architecture) but if Dynamics 365 is your main tool you should have in-depth knowledge.

Why get certified?

I take the customisation and configuration certification for every release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365, this helps me keep up with the latest features added into Microsoft Dynamics 365 and refresh my knowledge on the other features I don’t use much.

To help me learn the information I create study notes which I share

CRM 2016Tips on passing the MB2-712 customization and config exam

The benefit of the certification isn’t the certification itself but the journey in studying for the certification.  Certified have a broader and more in-depth knowledge of the out of the box functionality.

If you can use out of the box functionality, then you should use it #HoskWisdom

The more out of the box functionality you can use, the less code you have to maintain and integrate in a project.

You should use Dynamics 365 out of the box functionality because in theory it has been tested by Microsoft :) #HoskCodeWisdom

Dynamics 365 developers often complain Microsoft uses customer as beta testers and sometimes functionality is rushed out and not fully finished.  Microsoft will  fix these problems and bugs in future releases, leaving you time to develop something else.

If you are still unconvinced read this

What are the benefits of CRM certification

Make it easier

Developers believe they will pass the Dynamics 365 certifications easily because they use Dynamics 365 every day.  Developers rarely use all the available features and not the new features (it takes time to work out their limitations and how to use them, not forgetting the first version doesn’t always work super well)

When you think you are an expert in something, you stop yourself learning more about it #HoskWisdom

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is evolving and it‘s best to keep up with it, studying for certifications set yourself a deadline to learn and test yourself.

I created pages on our internal Dynamics 365 team wiki with links to information to help study for Dynamics 365 certifications (online deployment and customisation).  This allows people to get started and share their notes/information on the certifications.

Dynamics Learning Portal

The videos for the certifications on the Microsoft Dynamics Learning portal give you a good introduction to all the criteria of the certifications.  If you combine these videos with making notes and trying out the functionality in Dynamics 365 then you have enough information to pass the certifications.

Neil Parkhurst has made a good revision guide but make sure you actively use the information by making your own notes and using Dynamics 365.  The goal of certifications isn’t just to get certified it is to learn about Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 – MB2-715 – Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer engagement Online Deployment

MB2-716 – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration

Picture from here

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CRM 2016 – Tips on passing the MB2-712 customization and config exam

Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves.

Jawaharlal Nehru

A new version, a new customization and config certification to pass, this is the 5th Customisation and config exam I have done

I took the MB2-712 exam in June and you can read my thoughts on the MB2-712 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration certification

If you are not sure if you should take the certification I will persuade you why you should take and pass the Configuration and Customization Certification, the quick answer is certified CRM professionals get paid more.

Resources I used

There are lots of resources to help pass the CRM 2016 config and customisation certification, I will explain the ones I used.

Self Paced Online course

Read and understand the official certification criteria by going to the certification page – https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/learning/exam-mb2-712.aspx

I used the self paced online course (you have to work for a CRM partner to use this)

80729: Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

Make sure you go to resources, you can download the slides, these are good because you can read these quickly and they give you some facts.

CRM Trial

The real value of the certification is the knowledge you acquire whilst revising for it, don’t just learn enough to pass the certification but learn how the functionality and features really work.

Use any functionality you haven’t used before, experience is the best teacher.

I watched the videos, searched the internet and setup a CRM trial and used the functionality I hadn’t used before.  Below is what I learnt about Themes

CRM 2016 – What you need to know about Themes

Hosk Study Notes

Hosk CRM 2016 study notes

MB2-712 – CRM 2016 customisation and configuration Hosk study notes

You can also use my CRM 2013 study notes because it covers many areas in the CRM 2016 like solutions, fields, security, etc.

Also read my Tips on passing blog posts

Neil Parkhurst revision guide

Neil Parkhurst has a great collection of blogs posts on topics covered in the exam, this is a great free resource

MB2-712 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration) – Revision Guide

Other blogs

MB2-712 – CRM 2016 customisation and configuration Hosk study notes

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

I recently passed the MB2-712 – CRM 2016 customisation and configuration certification, you can read my thoughts on the MB2-712 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration certification

The certification covers a lot of big areas in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and you will need to make a lot of notes.  If you have taken earlier custom and config certifications a lot of this information can be found on my

I have some previous study notes for the CRM 2013 custom and config certification, much of which is still relevant (security, solutions, Business Rules, etc).  You can find those study notes on the link below

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

CRM 2016 Hosk study notes

The notes focus on CRM 2016 functionality which I hadn’t used, has been updated or I didn’t cover in my previous study notes.

These are just study notes, you will need to understand the functionality and use it before you take the certification.

If you are studying for the certification and you work for a Microsoft Dynamics partner make sure you check out the E-Learning online course – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team – CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration 80729: Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

A lot of the notes  from many excellent technet articles created by Microsoft, which shows they do a great job with their documentation.  Below is just parts I use to study but you should read the article to understand how the functionality works

Business rules

  • Condition is criteria/if statement
  • Action changes values/updates
  • You cannot set to business recommended – must use JavaScript
  • Actions occur when conditions evaluate to true, the AND/OR must be true
  • You can’t mix multiple conditions they are either AND or OR
  • Set scope to Entity if you want a business rule to run on the server, not just on the client side
  • Business rules are not triggered when you save a record
  • Business rules are triggered when a record is opened or when a field is changed which the rule conditions are set to check e.g Form OnLoad and Field OnChange
  • Business rules action will run only if condition is true
  • Business rules work at a field level – not triggered by tabs or sections
  • Scope – All forms is all forms including Quick Create
  • Scope – Entity runs on the server and client
  • Scope – single form – business rules only run for this form
  • If/Else is needed to show and hide fields
  • Nested IF/ELSE not available

Business rules actions can

  • Set field Value
    • Field
    • Value
    • Formula
    • Clear
  • Show error message
  • Set Visibility
  • Set default value

Business Process Flows

  • Enabled from the entity definition screen
  • Once Business process flow is enabled you cannot disable
  • A business flow has a primary entity but can span multiple
  • 3 out of box Business process flows enabled by default
  • 12 additional BPF’s which can be enabled via Settings à data management
  • Once enabled you have to disable each individually
  • One entity per stage
  • Stage category is just for reporting – it’s linked to a global option set (which you can change)
  • Step name = fields shown on the business process flow
  • Branches can be only 5 levels deep
  • Maximum 30 stages
  • Maximum 30 steps per stage
  • Relationships doesn’t need to exist between entities
  • Other entities must have Business process flow enabled
  • Relationships are 1:N
  • Security roles can be assigned, options will be disabled
  • Each entity can have no more than 10 activated business process flows
  • Each process flow has a maximum of 30 stages
  • Multi-entity process can use no more than five entities.
  • You can only run one business flow for each record
  • Current process and stage is a unique identifier. This allows the user to return to the process at a later time.
  • Business process flows can be associated with security roles, so only users with specific security roles will see the business rules.

Yammer

  • Yammer is subscription based and requires an enterprise account
  • Once Yammer is enabled there is not an option to go back to activity feeds

Charts

  • Personal charts can be shared with users or team
  • Charts can be exported as a Chart XML file and imported (use XRMToolbox in real life)
  • With a Chart you can
    • Select the entity
    • Select fields you want to aggregate (sum, count)
    • Select chart type
  • Aggregate options
    • Count: All
    • Count: Non empty
    • Avg
    • Max
    • Min
    • Sum

Dashboard

  • You can display
    • Charts
    • Lists
    • Iframe
    • Web resources
    • Social insights (if you have Microsoft Social Engagement)
  • Dashboards can be made available for tablets
  • System Dashboards can specify security roles which can view each dashboard
  • In properties you can enable dashboard for tablets and individual sections for mobile

Rollup fields

  • Rollup fields recalculate once an hour
  • Rollup fields supported – Whole Number, Date and Time
  • Rollup fields not supported – Option set and Lookup
  • Aggregate value of records related to a specific record
  • Rollups fields are asynchronous, they don’t run in real time
  • Rollup fields can be run by workflows or business rules
  • Read Microsoft Dynamcis CRM 2015 Rollup Fields: The Gotchas
  • Rollup fields can be refreshed manually or triggered by a workflow CalculateRollupField message
  • Changes to rollup fields DO NOT trigger a workflow processes

Available Functions

  • Sum
  • Count
  • Min
  • Max
  • Avg
  • Rollup Fields are automatically rolled up 12 hours after they are created.
  • You can manually Rollup a field at any time by clicking the Refresh button on the rollup field.
  • You can only have a maximum of 10 rollups per entity, and 100 per organization.
    • This is configurable for on premise deployments, but be aware of potential performance implications
  • A rollup field can’t be included in other rollup fields
  • Data from Rollup field are not stored by CRM auditing, so there is no real way to store historical values of a rollup field.

http://www.preact.co.uk/blog/using-rollup-fields-in-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2015

  • Access to rollup data can be secured using regular field security permission to ensure that it is only available to authorized users if needed.
  • When a rollup field is created on any entity, the platform automatically creates two other fields to store metadata for the field calculation timestamp and status of last operation. These are suffixed with “_date” and “_status” accordingly.
  • “_date” stores a timestamp when the rollup field was last recalculated and “_status” shows result of operation in numeric value, these statuses reflect:
    • Not Calculated
    • Calculated
    • Overflow Error
    • Other Error
    • Retry Limit Exceeded
    • Hierarchical Recursion Limit Reached
    • Loop Detected

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn832162.aspx

  • Seamless integration with the user interface. You can include the rollup fields in forms, views, charts and reports.
  • Rollup fields are solution components. You can easily transport the rollup fields as components between organizations and distribute them in solutions.
  • Rollup fields and the calculated fields are complementary to each other. You can use a rollup field as a part of the calculated field, and vice versa.

The text below comes from this technet article

Rollup calculations

  • Mass Calculate Rollup Field is a recurring job, created per a rollup field. It runs once, after you created or updated a rollup field. The job recalculates the specified rollup field value in all existing records that contain this field. By default, the job will run 12 hours after you created or updated a field. After the job completes, it is automatically scheduled to run in the distant future, approximately, in 10 years. If the field is modified, the job resets to run again in 12 hours after the the update. The 12 hour delay is needed to assure that the Mass Calculate Rollup Field runs during the non-operational hours of the organization. It is recommended that an administrator adjusts the start time of a Mass Calculate Rollup Field job after the rollup field is created or modified, in such a way that it runs during non-operational hours. For example, midnight would be a good time to run the job to assure efficient processing of the rollup fields.
  • Calculate Rollup Field is a recurring job that does incremental calculations of all rollup fields in the existing records for a specified entity. There is only one Calculate Rollup Field job per entity. The incremental calculations mean that the Calculate Rollup Field job processes the records that were created, updated or deleted after the last Mass Calculate Rollup Field job finished execution. The default maximum recurrence setting is one hour. The job is automatically created when the first rollup field on an entity is created and deleted when the last rollup field is deleted.
  • Online recalculation option. If you hover over the rollup field on the form, you can see the time of the last rollup and you can refresh the rollup value by choosing the Refresh icon next to the field, as shown below:

Rollup field considerations

  • A workflow can’t be triggered by the rollup field updates.
  • A workflow wait condition cannot use a rollup field.
  • A rollup can’t reference a calculated field that uses another calculated field, even if all the fields of the other calculated field are on the current entity.

Calculated Field

  • Calculated fields are not simple fields – they are Field Type – Calculated
  • You can’t convert a simple field into a complex field
  • You can calculate value on the entity and related parent entity
  • You cannot calculate related records
  • You cannot change the field type after initial save
  • You can always change the calculated expression/formula

Hierarchy security

It’s in addition to your current security.  It extends the current security model.  This works on top of your existing security levels

  • You can choose managerial or position but not both.
  • It works at a position level or managerial level

Managerial

  • A manager must reside in the same business unit or the parent business unit of the person they manage
  • Manager is defined on the user record
  • The manager must have read access enabled on entities

Managers

  • You must set the managers
  • Managers have read, write, update, append and append-to for direct reports. NOT DELETE
  • Non – Direct reports – have only read only access data. (you can only see it)
  • It works within the business unit structure

Position

  • Does not use the direct report model
  • It works beyond business units, e.g. it position spans business units
  • Spans business units
  • The more levels can effect performance for the higher
  • Optimal performance is around 4 levels, maybe 5
  • You can set individual entities to be used in the hierarchy management
  • Position hierarchy can span business units.

Videos on Hierarchy security

 

Technet/msdn articles on hierarchy security

App for Outlook

Works in a server level – works with outlook or OWA (exchange service)

Mobile

  • Tablet
    • Dashboards
    • Offline Drafts – create new records
    • Open in a default browser
    • Offline search
  • Phone
    • Hide from phone (similar)
    • Fields, sections, tabs and lists

Dynamics CRM license options

  • Essential – no access to sales or marketing functionality
  • Basic – access base CRM functionality – Account, contract, lead, cases
  • Professional – access sales, services, marketing
  • Enterprise – Everything + MDM, Parature etc

These notes are from the Slides

Email – Mailboxes

  • Each user/queue enabled for email has a mailbox record
  • Mailbox record defines email synchronisation for the user
  • Incoming, outgoing, and appointments. Contacts & tasks
  • Each mailbox must be approved and enabled before emails can be sent
  • You can check the status of mailboxes in the Server-Side Synchronisation monitoring
  • System Settings – Email sets the default synchronization and emails settings

Dynamics CRM 2016 supports a few different methods for processing email:

  • CRM for Outlook
  • The Dynamics CRM Email Router
  • Server Side Syncing

Multi-Entity Quick Search

  • Out the box, this new search feature will search across the following entities:
  • You can select up to 10 entities for a quick search
  • You can choose any of the 90 visible entities
  • Any custom entities
  • It uses the Quick Find Search settings for each entity
  • Default entities – Account, Contact, Lead, Opportunity, User, Competitor, Activity, Case
  • Out of box, the multi-entity quick find is defaulted to search seven entities in Dynamics CRM:
    • Accounts
    • Contacts
    • Leads
    • Opportunities
    • Users
    • Competitors
    • Activities

It’s hidden in Settings à Administration à System Settings à General tab and there is a button Quick find

Themes

  • The default theme is called CRM Default Theme
  • The default theme is type System and Default Theme = Yes
  • Themes cannot be included in Solutions.  This means you need to export and import them between organisation.
  • After importing a theme you must publish it.
  • When you publish a theme, previously published theme will become unpublished

This technet page has some good limitations

What can you change or adjust with themes?

  • Logo
  • Logo tooltip
  • Navigation bar color
  • Navigation bar shelf color
  • Header color
  • Global link color
  • Selected link effect
  • Hover link effect
  • Process control color
  • Default entity color
  • Default custom entity color
  • Control shade
  • Control border

Theme limitations below are from the technet article

  • Even though the theme colors are applied globally throughout the application, some legacy UI areas, such as gradient buttons, will retain the default colors.
  • Certain areas must use dark or light colors to contrast with the default icon colors. The icon color isn’t customizable.
  • An entity can’t be displayed in different colors under different Sitemap nodes.
  • The Sitemap nodes colors aren’t customizable.

Solutions Patches

Technet – Use segmented solutions and patches to simplify solution updates

  • A patch represents an incremental minor update to the parent solution. A patch can add or update components and assets in the parent solution when installed on the target system, but it can’t delete any components or assets from the parent solution.
  • A patch can have only one parent solution, but a parent solution can have one or more patches.
  • A patch is created for unmanaged solution. You can’t create a patch for a managed solution.
  • When you export a patch to a target system, you should export it as a managed patch. Don’t use unmanaged patches in production environments.
  • The parent solution must be present in the target system to install a patch.
  • You can delete or update a patch.
  • If you delete a parent solution, all child patches are also deleted. The system gives you a warning message that you can’t undo the delete operation. The deletion is performed in a single transaction. If one of the patches or the parent solution fails to delete, the entire transaction is rolled back.
  • After you have created the first patch for a parent solution, the solution becomes locked, and you can’t make any changes in this solution or export it. However, if you delete all of its child patches, the parent solution becomes unlocked.
  • When you clone a base solution, all child patches are rolled up into the base solution and it becomes a new version. You can add, edit, or delete components and assets in the cloned solution.
  • A cloned solution represents a replacement of the base solution when it’s installed on the target system as a managed solution. Typically, you use a cloned solution to ship a major update to the preceding solution.
  • Version numbers are compared when solutions are imported.
    • Newer versions will replace existing versions of the solution.
  • Version Number
    • Up to four numbers separated by decimals
    • Appended to solution name to create exported filename

Entity Assets

  • Specify exactly what should be included in the solution
  • Includes tabs to select specific,
    forms, views, charts, fields,
    relationships, messages,
    Business rules and Hierarchy
    Settings
  • Assets can be can be added later
  • Must be defined for every
    entity added to the solution

Technet – Create patches to simplify solution updates

Read this on solutions segmentation

Types of Solutions

  • System solution: – The default solution, when you go to customization.
  • Unmanaged solutions: Editable solutions which act as a contrainer for customizations Container for unmanaged customizations. Deleting an unmanaged solution doesn’t delete customisations or data.  You can export an unmanaged solution.  When you import an unmanaged solution you must publish it.
  • Managed solutions: non editable.  Deleting a managed solution delete customisations and data.
    • Created by exporting an unmanaged solution (you cannot export a managed solution).
    • Can’t change the customisations inside a managed solution
  • Managed Patches: Updates and fixes that can be pushed out to Managed solutions that allow updated specific components and not having to overwrite the entire contents of an existing solution.

Quick Create forms

  • you can define multiple quick create forms, only one quick create form can be used by everyone
  • The form everyone will use is set using the form order.
  • Quick create forms cannot be assigned to security roles
  • You cannot switch quick create forms
  • You can disable quick create forms by unticking the Allow Quick Create option on entity settings

The following controls cannot be added to quick create forms:

  • Sub-grids
  • Quick View Forms
  • Web resources
  • IFRAMEs
  • Notes
  • Bing Maps

Quick View Form

Technet info – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn531145.aspx

  • Allows you to view information about a related entity from within a form of another record. E.g. see a contact details on an account.
  • You add a quick view control to an entity
  • It can be for lookup fields which exist on the entity
  • You must save and publish the main form before the quick view control changes will be visible
  • You can only view the information not edit with a quick view control
  • Multiple sections are allowed
  • Only one tab

Status Reason Transitions

if you add Status reason transitions, you must include one inactive status for each status.

Relationships

Actions that Trigger Cascading Behaviour for 1 to many relationships

  • Assign
  • Share
  • Unshare
  • Re-parent
  • Merge
  • Delete

 

  • 1 to Many relationship creates a native hidden intersect entity
  • Intersect entity is managed by CRM, cannot view or customize.
  • If you want to record information in the many to many relationship entity then you need to create a new entity, which you can edit/add fields/report on.
  • Native = CRM creating intersect entity
  • Manual = creating a new entity

Connections

  • Ad Hoc relationships – do not need relationships to be created
  • Allows you to connect records
  • Connections can be used in queries and reports
  • Connection role provides a description

Forms

  • Tabs
    • Can have one to three columns
    • Must contain at least one section
  • Section
    • Contains one to four columns
    • Can show
      • Fields
      • Sub Grids (lists or charts)
      • Notes
      • Iframes
      • Web resources
      • Bing maps
      • Spacers (blank space)

Additional components

  • Spacers
  • Timer
  • Knowledge base search
  • Social insights

Sub-grid for Access Teams (must enable entity for access teams)

Multiple forms

  • Enable specific security roles to access forms
  • Can remove security roles from forms
  • Form order determines which form a user sees
  • Enable for fallback is the form for users who security role is not assigned to any form.

CRM Mobile

  • Only first 5 tabs or 75 fields/10 lists appear on mobile client
  • Set available on Phone checkbox to show/hide tabs in mobile
  • Collapsed tabs still count
  • Only 5 tabs will show even if it’s less than 75 fields
  • You have to put fields in the first five tabs for them to appear in a mobile client
  • Mobile can have specific mobile only controls (sliders)

Thoughts on the MB2-712 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration certification

In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.

Tom Bodett

I  took the MB2-712 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration certification last week and will share my thoughts on certification

The CRM version is back

Microsoft removed the Microsoft Dynamics CRM version for the CRM 2015 Dynamics CRM certifications but have added it back.  It‘s good because you can tell what certification CRM professionals has, giving you an idea if they studied new functionality in the latest version of CRM.

Certifications are a great motivator to learn the new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, using new features on projects is delayed by a half a year to a year because solution architects don’t match requirements with the functionality which is still in development or not released when the solution was designed.

Reasons you don’t get to use new functionality

It’s great to learn and use new Microsoft Dynamics CRM functionality in a project but often CRM professionals don’t get to use the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM version because

  • Working support on older CRM versions
  • Large projects can take a year or more and solutions designed on older CRM versions
  • New functionality isn’t needed for project
  • It’s a risk using new functionality, with version 1 often containing limitations or not working properly (Business rules, CRM Mobile, etc)

CRM professionals need to keep up to date with new CRM versions and related products in addition to working on projects because the next project you work might use the new functionality.  The best way to stay up to date with new features and products is reading articles on twitter or blogs.

Reading about new functionality is useful but a passive way of learning which leads to a high level understanding.  CRM Professionals need to understand

  • What new functionality/product is?
  • What does it do?
  • What scenario’s should it be used in?
  • What are the limitations?

CRM professionals need theoretical and practical knowledge of CRM features.  I recommend CRM developers start with the CRM SDK before opening CRM and using the new features.

Experience with new features is important for CRM professionals because you have to understand the limitations of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to make sure you pick the right customisation for the right job.  This is why .NET developers struggle with CRM development, a lack of experience.

Studying for Microsoft Dynamics CRM certifications combines learning about new functionality and trying it out because the best way to studying for a CRM certification is by looking at new features and

  • Try it
  • Learn it
  • Study it
  • get certified in it

If you are not convinced by the value of Microsoft Dynamics certifications, check out the benefits of CRM certifications

It‘s big

The MB2-712 certification is big, covering a lot of functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, look at the certification criteria here

  • Configure settings
  • Security – Business units, teams, access teams, security roles
  • Solutions
  • Entities
  • fields, views, forms
  • Business rules
  • Business process flows

Some of areas are massive, security and solutions are complex areas of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it’s vital a CRM professional understands those areas in depth.

The E-Learning training course is over 12 hours long, you must be logged into partner source to use the training

80729: Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

I’m not a fan of video learning because you can’t skip the parts you know and I find it difficult to sit and focus on long videos.  Microsoft do a good job of overcoming these problems by splitting up the videos into small sections.

One improvement would be to make the test questions similar to the questions exam questions, giving people an idea of the standard they needed to pass the certification.

The criteria is big, covering commonly used functionality, such as fields, forms, views, security and solutions.  Many CRM professionals will know these areas because they use them regularly.

The exam is the same but different

I’ve taken the customisation and configuration certification from CRM 4 onward, this is my 5th customisation and configuration certification.

In the past the certifications focused on the new features, this made sense because it differentiated the certification from earlier CRM certifications, concentrating on learning the new features.

This exam was different, I’m not sure if it‘s because there wasn’t lots of new features but the exams tone  was different than earlier certifications.

The questions were more realistic in testing skills CRM professionals use in regularly.  A few questions were like requests I received from end users.   This differs from earlier exams where the questions focused on testing the user’s knowledge of CRM.

There are still some ridiculously odd/badly worded questions, I needed to read some questions 5 times to get close to understanding the question was asking.  It puzzling Microsoft can let such poor questions to make it into the final exam.

The tone of the questions was a lot better, so well done to the Microsoft.

After finishing the exam, I felt much of my studying wasn’t needed and many areas I focused on didn’t come up in the exam.  I’m not sure if my notes were too detailed or it was the change in type of questions.  In earlier exams you needed to understand the limitations of functionality in detail.

Proctored Exam

Taking a certification is a big hassle, the test centres are often small buildings in odd locations with habit of closing down regularly.  It can easily take half a day taking a CRM certification with the drive to and from the test centre, the need to get to the test centre early.

Pearson VUE and Microsoft allow you to do proctored exams, which means you can do an exam using a computer which has a webcam and microphone, awesome.

I booked the exam in the morning to do in the afternoon (booking test centre exams often done weeks in advance to get a decent time slot).  As long as you have a laptop with Windows 7, 8 or 10, a webcam and Microphone you are probably OK to do the test from home or the office.

You will need to jump through a few hoops, clean your desk, covering pictures and bookshelves, emptying pockets, no interruptions, closing all applications on your computer.   This is good policy because you don’t want people cheating but it can take 15-20 minutes to go through your room with the “greeter”.

The exam time has dropped, you now get 1 hour 30 minutes for 48 questions.  I’m sure it was 2 hours, giving you time to go through the questions twice and have 20 minutes left.

A couple of things to note about the proctored exam, finding the url is a bit tricky, it wasn’t obvious and the link to the exam was small but this tells you what to do

  • To begin your testing session and connect to a Greeter: sign-in to www.microsoft.com/learning, click “Your benefits & exams” to view your appointments, and then choose “Start a previously scheduled online proctored exam.”

If you are going to take the proctored exam make sure you run through the test exam, to make sure the software will work on your machine without problems.

The exam ends suddenly ends, it tells you if you have passed or failed and then exits, it left me wondering if I needed to do anything else.

Proctored exams are great, well done Microsoft.

Conclusion

I passed the exam with a score of 800, the bbenefit of the certification  is learning new features and functionality which I hadn’t before but only read about

The training videos are great and credit to the trainer and the slides are a great resources for revising.  It was enjoyable but I’m glad its done.

CRM 2015 – Tips on passing MB2-707 customization and config exam

This blog post gives tips on passing the MB2-707 certification, the real value of the certification isn’t the certification itself but what you learn to get it.

I created this blog post for the CRM 2013 customization and config certification

Tips on passing MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification

I recommend you read the blog post above, this post will concentrate on CRM 2015 version.

Why should you take the certification

I have written about why you should get Microsoft Dynamics CRM certifications before

Here are a few points

  • It’s a great method to learn the out of the box/inbuilt functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  The first tool a CRM developer should use to deliver request features is out of the box Dynamics CRM functionality.  The out of the box functionality works and has been thoroughly tested by Microsoft (most of the time).
  • Out of the box functionality is quicker to create and is easier to maintain.
  • Study for customization and config certification is a great way to learn new functionality added in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Certification gives you a deadline to motivate you to learn
  • MONEY, a certification is something to take into your yearly review.

Understand the new functionality

I have taken the Microsoft Dynamics CRM customization and config certification for

  • CRM 4
  • CRM 2011
  • CRM 2013
  • CRM 2015

The exams historically have many questions on the new functionality added in each release.  The major new features added into CRM 2015 are

  • Rollup and calculated fields
  • Business Process flows
  • Business Rules (enhanced)
  • Hierarchy Visualization
  • Search multiple entities
  • Enhanced Mobile

This blog Dynamics CRM 2015 / 2013 New Feature Summary has a quick list of new features

This doesn’t mean you should ignore older functionality, you need to study all the areas in the certification criteria

MB2-707 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization and Configuration

Study Material

If you work for a company who has PartnerSource I would recommend you use the study material provided by Microsoft which is free for PartnerSource members.  I found a link here

Course 80665: Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and On Premise [eLearning]

The eLearning provided by Microsoft is the best study resource because it’s focused on the customization and config certification.

I created  articles, questions and videos I have created for the CRM 2013 customization and configuration certification

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Hosk study notes

Most of the content is still relevant for CRM 2015 – MB2-707 exam, you will need to make notes on the new functionality added into CRM 2015.

Make notes and use Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Don’t just read information for the exam, make notes and use a free CRM trial to try out the new functionality.

  • This helps you learn how the functionality works.  It will help you remember it for the exam.
  • My trying the functionality you get practical knowledge, not just theoretical

When I study for CRM certifications I make bullet point lists of what the functionality can do. I use the list to revise and create YES/NO questions and multiple choice to help me study.

Here are my security exam cram notes

CRM 2013 – MB2-703 – Security Exam Cram Notes

A different method is to go through the skills measured in the certification criteria and highlight the functionality you need to study.  Find blogs, articles and white papers and make notes.  I did this but got bored

The Free MB2-703 Study Guide

Other Blogs information

There isn’t much information but here are a few blogs

Good luck to anybody taking the exam

 

CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Exam notes – Entities and fields

Here are my study notes regarding entities and fields in CRM.  I hope you appreciate the picture of a field (entities and fields, get it?)

Entities and fields are probably an error where most people will have a good starting knowledge of and some experience with.  Don’t get fooled into not studying the topic because there is a difference of using fields and entities and having enough knowledge to answer certification question on entities and fields.

It’s important to understand how entities and fields work and the limitations of them, e.g.

  • What entities values cannot be disabled once you have enabled them?
  • How does the new functionality like Image work?
  • How do entities which are activities work?
  • Can you delete fields referenced in a workflow?

 

Whilst studying these two areas I did improve my understanding of the core functionality of CRM and wrote these two blog posts

CRM 2013 – When should you create a custom activity entity?

CRM Entity ownership – How do you decide?

These notes will be added to the other study information I have created, which you can find here – MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification

Even if you are not studying for the MB2-703 certification, it’s interesting to have a quick read of the notes and I bet you find a fact you didn’t know

Entities

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM default instance starts with more than 260 systems entities but which many are hidden from the UI
  • There are two types of entities – Custom entities and system entities
  • More than 90 system entities can be customized
  • Some system entities cannot be customized e.g. system job
  • Entities can be created by the UI, importing records or via code using the SDK
  • Entities which can be customized (system and custom) are known as customizable entities
  • Not all components of a customizable entity can be customized e.g. system fields like created on cannot be deleted
  • Ownership can be either user/team or organisation
  • Organization ownerships does not create an owner field, there is no owner or business units
  • User/team ownership adds lookup fields for business unit, user lookup, team lookup
  • Entities can be owned by users or teams
  • You can create custom activity entities
  • Activity entities have common fields – planned started date, actual start date, actual end date, description, subject and duration
  • All activity entities have a link to the ActivityPointer and can be used in the ActivityParty class
  • The activityPointer allows different activities to be viewed in one view.
  • Custom Entities when created by default are not viewable/usable to any users apart from System Administrator and System customizer roles. Other security roles will have to add the entity.
  • Display name is the name used for the custom entity which the users will see
  • Plural name is the name seen in views etc
  • Name (schema name) is the customizer name, not seen by end users
  • Primary image selected will add a field called image and will allow one image to be added to a each record of the custom entity.
  • Primary image, once ticked cannot be unticked
  • IF an entity is selected as an activity this cannot be undone
  • The primary field is always a single line of text
  • Entities in a lookup field will display the primary field value
  • Areas that display this entity are areas where the entity will be visible. Changes will be written to the sitemap not part of the entity.
  • Additional entity options
  • Business process flows – this will create extra fields and cannot be turned off
  • Notes, activities, Business process flows, connections, Queues, sending email cannot be disabled if selected
  • Allow Quick Create – allows quick create forms which are minimized forms with important fields
  • Some default entities have Allow quick create disabled and cannot be enabled.
  • CRM For Phones, CRM for tablets, if selected the entities will be available on phones and tablets.
  • Renaming entities is not straight forward, labels, reports and views will also need to adjusted
  • Custom entities can be deleted if all dependencies have been removed
  • System entities cannot be deleted

FIELDS

  • CRM 2013 has a maximum of 1023 fields
  • For some fields Microsoft adds other fields e.g. currency adds extra fields for Base Currency, exchange rate, currency value and base currency value.
  • IN CRM 2011 and earlier the SQL structure was held in two tables. The base table holds the system fields and the extended tables holds the custom fields.  A filtered view was created to show both tables in one view.
  • CRM 2013 the two tables are merged but the filtered view is the same.
  • The filtered view has been persisted to support reports written using it.
  • The filtered view takes into account a user security roles and permissions
  • Be careful adding lots of fields to an entity, there are constraints on the SQL database table and views.
  • Single line of text can have the format of Email, Text, Text area, Url, Ticker Symbol, Phone
  • Single line of text can be between 100 characters to 4000
  • IME mode is for Chinese, Korean and Japanese characters
  • IME Mode has four modes – Auto, Active, Inactive, Disabled
  • Option set – Use Existing option Set if set to yes uses a global option set values
  • Two options are always stored as 0 = no – 1 = yes
  • Two options will always have a value and cannot be null
  • Two options can be formed on the form to be Two radio buttons, Check box or list
  • Whole numbers are the SQL server equivalent of an integer (no decimal)
  • Whole number format = none, Duration, Time Zone, Language
  • Whole number duration is held in minutes
  • Floating points can contain a decimal
  • Floating numbers are rounded, which means they can be rounded up/down and liable for small rounding errors.
  • Floating number precision refers to the number of digits after the decimal, max = 5
  • Decimal number is not rounded
  • Decimal number precision max = 10
  • When a currency field is added to a form, if it’s the first currency field then additional fields of exchange rate, currency, price and base price are also added.
  • Currency precision is between 0 and 4.
  • Multiple line of text field max length is 1048576 characters
  • Date and time field can have the format of Date only or date and time.
  • 24 system entities can have the new image field
  • Account, Contact, Lead, Product, Competitor, resource, publisher and user have image enabled by default.
  • You can add a maximum of one image field to a custom entity
  • It is not possible to add an image field to a system entity.
  • The entity image will always have the default schema name of entityimage (with no publisher prefix)
  • The fixed schema name – entityimage stops more than one image field being added to a custom entity.
  • Image field max size is 5 Megabytes
  • Image file extensions supported are jpg, jpeg, gif, tif, tiff, bmp, png
  • Uploaded images are resized to 144 x 144 pixals
  • Field requirement levels are – optional, Business recommended, Business required.
  • Requirement levels are form validation only. Importing and plugins do not have to supply data to business required fields
  • Fields have a searchable property, if this is set to know the fields will not be displayed in advanced finds
  • Auditing for fields can be turned on or off at any time.
  • You can bulk edit fields to set Field requirement, Searchable and auditing properties
  • Local option set is only available on one form
  • Global option sets can be used in multiple forms.
  • Custom and system entities have Status and Status Reason fields
  • Status is active/inactive
  • Status reason (schema name statuscode) has the reason for the status
  • Status reason is an optionset of values for each status
  • Fields dependencies will not show references in Javascript or web resources.
  • You cannot delete a field without removing all the dependencies first.
  • System fields cannot be deleted.
  • Fields which are referenced in workflows or dialogs cannot be deleted.

Tips on passing MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification

I finally took the MB2-703 exam and passed, YIPPPEEEE

This is the 3rd time I have taken the customization and configuration exam because I have taken it for

  • CRM 4
  • CRM 2011
  • CRM 2013

Every time I take the exam, during my studying and preparation for the exam I always learn or understand how CRM works a bit better. The certifications involve studying new functionality added in each new release of CRM but my understanding is different and I focus on different aspects of CRM and try to understand how the internal CRM mechanics are working and I wrote articles like these

CRM 2013 – When should you create a custom activity entity?

CRM Entity ownership – How do you decide?

To see all the articles, questions and videos I have created for the CRM 2013 customization and configuration certification click the link below

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/mb2-703-crm-2013-customization-and-configuration-certification/

I have also createde some links to some good free articles on subjects on the exam but alas there isn’t many links there because I started to late with that idea

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/mb2-703-crm-2013-customization-and-configuration-certification/free-links-mb2-703-study-guide/

It’s worth the effort

The value of the certification comes from the studying and reading for the certification rather than having the certification.  It was a great motivator to learn the new functionality because to make the exams different there is usually an emphasis on new functionality, which is logical because otherwise the exams could be quite similar.

I find it useful to refresh my knowledge on areas I haven’t used for a while, forgotten and the new functionality which I may not have used yet.

Learning the information to a level you can pass a certification does reinforce the information and helps it stick in your mind.

I have written before

CRM 2013 – Why you should take and pass the Configuration and Customization Certification

A quick recap  why I think it’s worth studying for the latest CRM certifications

  • Learn how the new functionality works, particularly it’s limitations
  • Study CRM functionality you don’t use very often
  • Refresh your knowledge on CRM
  • You get a broad knowledge of CRM

My process of studying

Read the MOCS (Microsoft Official Circiculm)

You can find the link to the MOC’s for all the certifications here.  The MB2-703 MOC link is below.

MB2-703: – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization & Configuration

The MOC should be the solid base to build your studying for the certification around.  The MOC covers all the areas which will be in the exam and unlike CRM 2013 books, only focuses on the areas which will be on the exam.

Read articles on the subjects

The MOC’s are great but they can be a bit dry and I like to read articles on areas of the exam.  Articles are small bite sized chunks with the added benefit of usually containing examples and screen shots.  The real world usage of CRM 2013 functionality is very useful for understanding how the CRM 2013 functionality can be used and limitations

Take notes

Taking notes is a good way of highlighting the important points for revision and condescending the MOC’s, blog posts and other sources of information into a smaller collection, which you can revise from.

Using CRM 2013 trial

There is no better way to learn the functionality of CRM 2013 than by using it.  If you are fortunate you will use CRM 2013 every day in your job, but there are still areas you don’t use very often, but make sure you know how they work rather than just the theoretical knowledge of how they work.

Tips on passing the certification

New Functionality

Study the new functionality added into CRM 2013

  • Business Process Flow
  • Business Rules
  • Access Teams

Use CRM 2013

Don’t just read and study about CRM 2013 topics, but actually try it out with a CRM 2013 trial

  • This will give you some practical knowledge/experience of the functionality
  • It will help you understand how it really works, which isn’t always the same as it says in the manual
  • You learn how it doesn’t work (important, particularly for the exam)
  • It creates experiences and visual images which will help you recall information in the exam
  • You will have experience of using the functionality, which is useful for your job

Write your own study notes

Going through the process of making notes when reading the MOC’s or articles on the exam subjects I would make notes.  The process of taking notes means you have to understand the material and select the key points.  To do this you have to actively think about the topic and subjectively understand it to the key features/limitations.  I believe this will help you learn and increase your understanding.

The benefit of taking notes is you can use them to study with later.

Blog about the CRM 2013 functionality

Teaching and explaining about a topic makes you learn and understand the topic in more detail.  This will give you a deeper understanding of the functionality.

I found writing about the security and business rules very useful

CRM 2013 – MB2-703 – Business Units and Security Roles Study Information

CRM 2013 – Understanding Business Rules

If questions came up about these topics I had a very good understanding and could work out the answers

Exam tips

 

Book the exam so you have a deadline

This is a great motivational tool and will stop you keep putting off taking the exam.

Create some practise questions or use mine to practise

If you are studying with someone else both create practise quesitons and notes, share them with each other

There is some practise questions you can find on my blog post below

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/mb2-703-crm-2013-customization-and-configuration-certification/

Study Notes

Create your own study notes, you will be learning and reinforcing the information by creating the notes and reading study notes is quicker and easier than MOC’s or blogs

My study notes are here

CRM Chat Study notes can be found here

CRM GEEK for CRM 2011

The study notes are very useful, 46 pages of good notes about the CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration exam. http://www.crmanswers.net/2014/01/crm-2013-mb2-703-exam-my-experience.html

Exam Techniques

  • Get there early, sometimes the test centers are in odd places which could take some time to
  • Take your time in the exam (you will have plenty)
  • On each question, first eliminate the answers you know are wrong, usually there are some obvious answers which are wrong.  This will leave you with a smaller choice
  • Review all the questions, just to make sure you haven’t made any silly mistakes