With Dynamics CRM 2015, Microsoft has added a new way to look at records, and their relationships to records of the same entity type. This new functionality is called Hierarchy Visualizations. In this post I would like to show you what the hierarchy visualizations look like, but first, let me show you how to set them up.
First off all, you’ll need to go to the Customizations area of CRM, and open up the entity you want to enable hierarchy visualizations for.
**Note, after installing 2015, some entities are already enabled and setup for hierarchy visualizations, and you won’t be able to change the out of the box setting (accounts, positions, products, and users). Other entities are setup to allow hierarchy visualizations but not setup by default. This includes all custom entities.
A new “Hierarchical” field has been added to the 1:N relationship definition.
**Note that setting this to “Yes” will automatically set the hierarchy flag to “No” for on any other relationship on this entity that was previously setup as hierarchical. CRM 2015 only allows you to setup 1 hierarchy visualization per entity, and the Parent Entity and Related Entity have to be the same. Limitations to these Hierarchy relationships are also enumerated at the end of this blog.
After configuring your 1:N relationship, you need to navigate to Hierarchy Settings within the entity definition. (For demonstration purpose here, I have selected the OOB Parent Account Relationship on account. As this would be created OOB on upgrading to CRM 2015, hence the Hierarchical Field is set to “Yes” and is disabled.)
Once there, you can create your new Hierarchy Setting. The Hierarchy Setting is used to define what 1:N relationship to use, and which Quick View Form to use for the tiles that appear in the hierarchy visualization. You can use one of the out of the box Quick View Forms, or create a new one specifically for the hierarchy visualization.
There are a few important notes to make about Hierarchy Settings:
- Only the first 4 fields from the Quick View Form will currently display on the tile.
- You can only have have one Hierarchy Setting per entity even though the solution explorer makes it look like you can have multiple.
- Hierarchy Settings are Solution Aware and will be exported / imported across organizations
Once you have your relationship and your Hierarchy Setting setup correctly, when you navigate to a grid for this entity, if there is a value populated in the field for the relationship you setup for specific records, you’ll see an icon in the grid indicating that record is part of a hierarchy.
For example, in my case I have set up the Hierarchy on the Parent Account relationship. So, whichever accounts have a parent account defined for them, they would appear with the hierarchy symbol on the grid.
Clicking on that icon will open up the Hierarchy Visualization for the record you selected, and show any siblings of that record, the parent of that record, and any children related to that record.
Once you have the Hierarchy Visualization open, there are a few things you’ll notice. First, there’s a list on the left as well as the larger tiles on the right that are showing the 3 levels of the hierarchy based on what record you selected (current layer, parent, and children)
You can also click on the check mark at the bottom right corner of the tile that will select that record so you can take actions on similarly as if you selected it in a grid (such as assign, edit, share, etc.).
Clicking on the main area of the tile (and not the check mark in the bottom right corner), or selecting a record in the list on the left, will color that tile blue and make it the focal point of the hierarchy and redraw the hierarchy tree.
Finally, on each tile (and also on the list on the left), there’s a “pop-out” icon that when clicked, will open up the form for that particular record in a separate tab/window. If you’re on the form for a record that’s part of a hierarchy, you’ll be able to quickly display the hierarchy view by clicking an icon in the top right corner of the form.
With these changes above, Microsoft also added a couple new operators to Advanced Find. Note, these can only be used in Advanced Find queries (don’t show up on sub-grids of specific records)
- Under: Finds all records that are UNDER a specific node (For example: all Accounts under “Parent Contoso” Account)
- Not Under: Inverse of Under
I would be researching further on the “Advance Features” in my next blogs.
Also an important thing to note is that all of the functionality discussed above will work on the Mobile Client Application as well. So this powerful new feature will NOT be only available on the web client, making it even more powerful!
With Hierarchy Visualizations, there are still some limitations to be aware of:
- Maximum of 4 fields are displayed on a tile
- Visualization is based on a single entity (not multiple hierarchy) – A relationship between 1 entity and itself
- At most 1 hierarchical relationship allowed for an entity
- Only 1:N relationships can be enabled to be hierarchical
As the product matures and Hierarchy Visualizations get more real world exposure, I’m sure Microsoft will invest time into resolving the limitations above (e.g., allowing hierarchy visualizations between different entities, displaying the visualization somewhere other than the entity form like a chart or dashboard, etc.).