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While Dynamics 365 V9 was officially released in July 2017, many companies postponed upgrades or didn’t have them available and are finally getting around to consuming the latest update now. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the details of what's new on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Documentation site at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/get-started/whats-new/customer-engagement/new-in-version-9. Over the next few posts, I'm going to write about features that I think most people should know about and will want to use. Today's post is about Advanced Find and the new operator "Does Not Contain Data” for related entities.

A common requirement is to use Advanced Find to find records such as opportunities that do not have associated activities so that users can follow up with them. With previous versions of D365, Advanced Find cannot handle this requirement. Fortunately, D365 V9 introduced a new operator "Does Not Contain Data" for related entities. Here's how to use it for the scenario of finding open opportunities with no activities.

  1. Open Advanced Find.
  2. Define the search criteria
    • In the Look for dropdown, select the entity to look for (e.g., Opportunities)
    • Click Select and scroll down in the Fields section to select the Status field, leave the default operator "Equals", and select "Open"
    • Click Select and scroll down to the Related section and select Activities (Regarding). Change the operator from "Contains Data" to "Does Not Contain Data"
  3. Click Results button in the ribbon.

Here are some scenarios to try using Advanced Find and the "Does Not Contain Data" operator for related entities:

  1. Opportunities without any activities
  2. Opportunities without tasks
  3. Opportunities without tasks AND with appointments
  4. Accounts with opportunities, and the opportunities do not have activities
  5. Accounts with cases AND without opportunities
  6. Accounts with opportunities AND without cases

One scenario that still can't be handled using Advanced Find, as far as I can tell, is to find opportunities with no open activities (or some other criteria based on a field on the related entity). For example, Advanced Find cannot be used to find opportunities that might have closed/completed activities, but no open activities. In this scenario, two options are:

  1. Rollup fields on the opportunity to indicate if there are any open activities. Then you can use the rollup field as a criterion (e.g., Number of Open Tasks Is Greater Than 0).
  2. A custom SSRS report.

Be creative! Explore the possibilities to find the data you need. This feature is particularly good for finding exceptions. Remember that views can be saved as either system or personal views and added to dashboards. Charts can also be created based on these views and added to dashboards. These are all good ways to surface situations that need to be addressed by users.

Happy exploring!

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