In the past we often heard this “We are using Dynamics CRM 4.0 and we would like to add attributes to the KB form, email KB articles from Outlook, audit changes made to articles and contextually store documents in SharePoint with the KB article in CRM.” In the 4.0 world this was not an easy task – but now… You’re in luck. Dynamics CRM 2011 was just released and these are all new enhancements with out of the box functionality. Let me walk you through CRM 2011 articles and knowledge base enhancements.
First like any other entity in the system, KB articles are now configurable through the declarative design model in 2011. Open up a KB article, click on the customize tab and then customize form. You can add fields through the field explorer and drag/drop them onto the form. This gives you the ability to track whatever attributes you want related to KB articles.
Through the new rich Dynamics CRM 2011 Outlook client you are now able to send or reply to an email and embed a CRM KB Article in the Outlook email communication.
Dynamics CRM 2011 also provides pervasive business data auditing in the system. You define what entities and fields you want to audit. Once configured you can view events such as create, update, set state, approve, etc. For each event you can see the date it took place, who changed it, what changed and the old and new values. For KB articles, a customer service organization could check the audit trail of an article approval process, when, how and by whom it was revised or changed. Auditing data helps organizations quickly and effectively track changes and improve accountability within your organization.
Dynamics CRM 2011 provides the ability to use SharePoint for its great document management capabilities and then view, manage and update them contextually within CRM. And since the document management capabilities are based on SharePoint, users can take advantage of a wealth of document management capabilities including the ability to create custom content types, check-in/check-out, track changes and track versions. Therefore if I have supporting documents for a CRM KB article stored in SharePoint I can now view manage and update them right within CRM without having to log in to another application. This also allows me to collaborate on these documents with non-CRM users.
All of these Dynamics CRM 2011 articles enhancements collectively provide organizations a higher level of flexibility to utilize KB articles in their business processes. KB Articles in Dynamics CRM 2011 allow organizations to configure the article entity, email KB articles from Outlook, audit changes to articles and store supporting documents in SharePoint but access and work with them contextually through CRM.