Using Microsoft Teams with Dynamics

   Words by Paul McQuillan

   on 09/04/2020 10:00:00

When we work on a Project or Client Engagement, we will often want to define a group of Team Members that need to collaborate on the Project and be kept up to date for Documents, Updates and Notifications – this can be for a temporary working team to achieve a particular outcome (such as a Sales Team for an Opportunity), or a Client Team that may be working on a key account for months or years.

Within Microsoft Teams, we can define our Team Members to use the functionality in Teams to share resources, communicate updates and send out notifications – as well as use Video Calls or Chat to keep in contact.

But if we are driving our Project from Dynamics – we may want to define our Team in Dynamics and have this integrated with Microsoft Teams, so we keep our CRM and Collaboration Tools in synch with each other.

We can do this by implementing Dynamics to Teams integration in the following steps:

Dynamics to Microsoft Teams

First, we define what Entity in Dynamics we want to result in a new Team and establish this rule.

In the following example, we take a Custom Entity for Engagement and define that for each new Engagement in Dynamics we add a new Team.

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Defining a DocDrive365 Rule to model each Engagement in Dynamics as a New Team in MSTeams

We can then create a new Engagement and we will see the new Team appear in Microsoft Teams.

This will initially just have our current User added as the Team Owner.

However we will see the ‘Team Members ‘ area in Dynamics that allows us to setup new Team Members from our selection of Users in CRM.

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New Engagement in CRM creates us a new Team in MSTeams

We can add additional users here and each user will then receive a similar notification connecting them to the new Team.

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Defining our Stakeholders for the Team in CRM

This will then show in Microsoft Teams:

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Viewing the Engagement in Teams

This will also start posting notifications to the Team based on events happening for the Engagement in Dynamics.

Document Management in the Team

When a New Team is created in our Organisation – this creates a corresponding SharePoint Site for File Storage and other SharePoint functionality.

This site can be left as the default of containing one Document Library that is then shown in Teams as the Files Tab.

We also have the option to define additional Document Libraries for each new Engagement as way of dividing how we store Documents for the Engagement.

In the example below, we ask each Engagement Team to be created with an additional 2 Document Libraries:

  • Contractual – Document Library for Contract Documents
  • Invoicing – Document Library for Finance and Invoice Documents for the Engagement

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This then appears in our Engagement Team as additional Tabs for Document Management.

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This gives a way of centralising Document Management within the Team and effectively bringing Dynamics, SharePoint and Teams together under one way of doing things – this can bring significant benefits in helping people always be aware of where to look for information or useful documents when working together.

Combining Document Management with Teams Notifications

In the above Contractual Tab, we can see that four Folders have been created automatically in the Document Library from raising the Engagement.

This is due to a Workflow in Dynamics that creates an initial spread of Cases for a New Engagement.

Each Case is then configured to store Documents in a Folder off the parent Document Location for the Engagement in SharePoint.

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Rule defining that each Case in Dynamics should be reflected via a New Folder in SharePoint

We can use similar logic to control when actions in the Case should post a Notification into Teams.

Initially we can define a simple rule which posts a notification each time a new Document is uploaded to a Case.

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Configuring the Rule so each Uploaded Document posts a Notification to the Team associated with that Case

This will then trigger to notify Team Members in the Engagement that a Document has been uploaded for one of the Cases in the Engagement.

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Uploading a Document to the Logistics Case created for the Engagement

This then generates the notification in the Team as way of alerting the Team Members to the new Document.

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This can be useful to provide quick links to new Documents or other resources we want to store precisely in SharePoint but with easy links from Teams.

Using Dynamics to track Emails and have these Attachments then tracked into SharePoint to appear in Teams can be particularly helpful in making sure Documents and other important information can quickly be taken from personal inboxes and made available across the Team.

Using Teams Notifications as an Activity Feed

In the above example we have a Workflow that creates a set of Cases for each new Engagement in CRM, and each new Case then becomes a posting in the Team.

This can be handy to keep the Team notified of when Cases are raised, resolved or when a Team Member requests help or adds a Task to the work taking place on the Case.

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Rolling Notifications within a Team

These notifications can be configured using standard Dynamics Workflow or Power Automate to effectively give us a rolling feed of activity in Teams based on the Case changes in Dynamics.

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Configuring a Dynamics Workflow to call out to Teams

As this Workflow and Flows can be configured for any Entity in Dynamics, this feed of activity can be set up for the Team in a way that keeps Team Members up to date on the areas that are useful for Collaboration – this may be Calls, Emails and Opportunities for a Sales Team; or Cases, Tasks and Articles for a Services Team; or really any set of records that are useful for a Team to work together on.

This can help to ‘close the loop’ on one area of Dynamics that has been attempted through a raft of different technologies – as both Activity Feeds and Yammer have on occasion been integrated into Dynamics to give a solid feed of useful updates to a common team, but using Microsoft Teams here seems a much stronger fit.

Our solutions for Dynamics heavy focus on Case Management and good collaboration within Teams, whether this be working together on a Property, Asset Portfolio, Legal Case or other type of shared record, and so looking at ways to improve how Dynamics, SharePoint and now Microsoft Teams work together for a productive workspace is our end goal here.

If you have any thoughts on how Teams could work better for your Organisation, or how CRM could promote better working, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to share ideas or look at how this integration between Dynamics and Teams can be implemented.

contact@crmcs.co.uk

I can also be contacted on Twitter at @crmconsultancy

This article is also available in the walk-through video below:

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