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CRM 2013: Understanding Multi-Entity Search

CRM 2013: Understanding Multi-Entity Search

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One of the great features available in the upcoming CRM for Tablets is the ability to execute a Quick Find query across multiple entities at once.  Quick Find is a core feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that has been available since version 1 of CRM. 

In the web application and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client for Office Outlook, you are currently able to search against one entity at a time. 

The ability to search across multiple entities at once is new with this release and is currently only available within CRM for Tablets.  When you perform a multi-entity Quick Find, results are grouped by entity and sorted by the order specified in the Quick Find View for the entity. 

It is important to understand that this feature uses the underlying Quick Find feature.  The only thing that is different is the ability for the app to submit multiple Quick Find queries that are processed in parallel.  The results returned for each entity would be the same as if you performed that same Quick Find search for the entity in the web application. 

As with any Quick Find query the generated query uses a “starts with” condition.  For example:  If you search for “Vestas”, it would return any results where the searchable columns were found to match records that started with those characters. 

 

Example 1: Multi-Entity Quick Find

In this example I have an Account ('Vestas Wind Systems') with one Contact ('Villy Vindfang') and one Opportunity ('Stormende CRM') associated to it

 

If I switch to my CRM for Tablets app, and hit the Search icon, I get the Seach page and can start typing what to seach for. In my example I'm looking for what I have on 'Vestas'

You see that I get results from three entities; Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities

 

If I start a search from the dashboard, the search will default to search across all entities enabled for multi-entity Quick Find.  If I'm are viewing a form or grid for a certain entity (ex. Account) and then I start a search, the search will default to filter based on that entity type. 

In the upper-right corner of the application I get a drop-down field to change the current entity filter.  I can choose to search against a specific entity or choose 'None' to search against all entities enabled for multi-entity Quick Find.

In the "Filter With" drop down I can select to filter on single entities, eg. Opportunity

I get the Opportunity 'Stormende CRM'

 

Example 2: configuring Quick Find

Out of the Box I wouldn't have had a hit on Opportunities (when searching for 'Vestas') since the word 'Vestas' isnt found in the Opportunity Title ('Stormende CRM'). The reason why I *am* getting a hit is that I've configured the Quick Find Columns for the Opportunity entity to include the associated Account also.

To do that I go to Settings -> Entities -> Opportunity -> Views and double-click the view 'Quick Find Open Opportunities'

In the View I click Add Find Columns

In the Add Find Columns I check the checkbox next to 'Account', click OK and then Publish Customizations

With the above configurations I'm searching the Accounts also for Opportunities from now on.

 

Search Configuration

Seven entities are enabled for multi-entity Quick Find by default.  The default list of entities include:

  1. Account
  2. Contact
  3. Lead
  4. Opportunity
  5. User
  6. Competitor
  7. Activities

If you are a System Administrator or System Customizer, you can customize which entities are available in your organization.  You can enable a maximum of 10 entities for multi-entity Quick Find. 

 

Example 3: Adding Entities to the Search

In this example I will add the Note entity to the search

 

I navigate to Settings

I open System Settings under Administration

On the tab "General" I scroll down to the area "Set up Quick Find". I make sure that Yes is selected, and then click the Select button

 

In the "Set up Multi-Entity Quick Find for Default Search" dialog I select Note in the list of 'Available Entities', and the click the Add button

The Note entity is now added to the 'Selected Entities' list, ie the entitites that will appear in the multi-entity Quick Find results. 

You can select entities from the Available Entities list and add them to the Selected Entities list by using the Add button.  Similarly you can select entities from the Selected Entities list and use the Remove button to prevent an entity from appearing in multi-entity Quick Find results.  You can select entities in the Selected Entities list and use the Move Up or Move Down buttons to change the order of the entities that appear in multi-entity Quick Find results.

This change to the number of entities searched (done in the web client) wont be applied to the CRM for Tablets app automatically. However, next time you open the app, you'll have the option to download the changes to the Server Configuration.

Click the Download button

Once the changes are downloaded to your app, you'll be able to search Notes

To test I create a new note

I'm giving the note a title of 'Vestas Vinder'

And sure enough, I now get at fourth column in my search results - I'm not only getting search results from the entites Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities - I'm also now getting results from the entity Note

 

I hope you will get bundles of joy from the new Multi-Entity Quick Find feature available for CRM for Tablets (Windows 8, Windows RT and iPad)

 

 

Notes

  • The multi-entity Quick Find configuration is not solution aware.  This means that if you export your customizations and settings from one organization to another, these settings will not be included.
  • Multi-Entity Quick Find query across maximum of 10 entities at once
  • You need to type at least 3 characters before you can perform a multi-entity Quick Find search.
  • When you configure the list of entities for Quick Find, the list will contain all entities and is not limited to those enabled for CRM for tablets.  However, when CRM for tablets executes a multi-entity quick find, it will filter out the entities that are not enabled for the mobile application.
  • Although it is possible to add a wildcard character (Ex. *Ski), this type of search should be avoided as it will not allow SQL to take advantage of any indexes. This can result in performance issues.

 

Disclaimer

"Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013" is a pre-release product under development. The information in this blog post represents my personal understanding and expectations as of the date of this blog post. All pre-release product release dates and features specified are preliminary based on current expectations, and are subject to change without notice.

Comments
  • Will surely add to the User's delight!

  • This is exactly what my users asked for last week.  They will be very happy once we get onto 2013 and the tablet apps are out.  It's a shame that the feature isn't available in the desktop version, anyone know why ?

    I was going to try out the products that Gareth Tucker reveiwed at this link, but it sounds like they have ben superceeded.

    garethtuckercrm.com/.../global-search-add-on-alternatives-for-microsoft-crm-2011

  • very nice article.

  • Hi This is not available for crm online only for tab. I think rakesh agarwal www.mtccrm.com

  • Very useful write up..

  • It seems that we'll be able to build this kind of functionality using supported SDK calls. After that you'll be able to funnel those results to any interface you build or some nested iFrame.

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