When customizing Dynamics CRM the question often arises on whether to use System Views or Personal Views. They both have pros and cons that I will explore in this post.
Let’s first look at what is different. I had previously posted an article about the differences between personal and system views, here is a summary:
Can be owned by a user or team
Owned by the organization
By default it is only visible to the user who creates it and users/teams with whom it was shared
By default it is visible to all users.
Can be protected using the standard privilege depths for the entity (none, user, BU, BU and child BU, Organization). This can allow you to make a chart/dashboard accessible to some users but not all and be able to select which users can see which charts/dashboards.
User access can only be configured to all or none (if a user has access to a system chart/view then the user will have access to ALL system charts/views.
Can be shared with a specific user or team. For example the CEO might want to share a chart only with a VP.
Cannot share or unshare system views/dashboards/charts since they are all visible at the organization level (by everyone).
Cannot be included in a solution. This is a show stopper if you need to move personal views/dashboards/charts across deployments and organizations. You would need to copy them manually. For charts, you can export the XML and import as a system chart.
System views/dashboards are solution aware and are fully supported to be transported in solutions.
CUD operations (Create, update, delete)
Most users will have access to create their own personal views, dashboards and charts.
Only high privileged users and system administrators should have access to CUD operations on system views, charts and dashboards.
The problem with system views is that:
- Requires IT to create/update and deploy the views
- Cannot define which users see the view, all users will see all system views.
- Can very quickly clutter the view selector with numerous views making usability a challenge when the users have too many views to choose from.
The problem with personal views is that:
- Often leads to excessive sharing, if every user creates views and shares them with the team then volume of views will grow very fast making it hard for users to find the views they actually use.N
- Once a view has been shared with you, you cannot “reject” it if you don’t want it. You would have to ask the view owner to un-share it with you.
We will explore more in details what best practices can be leveraged to reduce these problems:
- If the view is only required for a small subset of users it is better to leverage shared personal views
- If the view is to be changed often by business users then it is easier as personal view.
- If the view is a default view that everyone needs and does not change often it is better as system view.
- If your entity already has 10+ system views, you should consider whether you really need to add more system views or if you can manage at the personal view level.
- If different users need to see different information (e.g. service vs. marketing user) for the same entity then you can leverage personal views shared with a team (service or marketing team)
- There should be small number of users who are trained to create, maintain and share personal views. You should avoid everyone sharing their own views with everyone else.
- All users should be trained to create their own personal views but be mindful before sharing it.
- Before disabling a user in CRM please ask the user to delete, assign or un-share all personal views.
- When sharing a view, make sure that you also share the “share” privilege so that way you give everyone the chance to opt-out to your view or share with other users:
What happens to personal views if user leaves the company (disabled user)
If a user has created views and the user has shared these views with multiple users then it can be a problem when the view owner leaves the company and the user is disabled because the shared views continue to be active and all users with whom the views were shared will continue to see those views. However, at this point it is not possible to delete or update the views that were created by a disabled user. If you find yourself in this situation you will have to open the disabled user and click on “Reassign Records” so you can reassign the personal view to a new owner. (Note: This will reassign all the records in the system, not just the system views).
If another user shared with you a view that you don’t want to see, you have 2 options:
- If the user who shared the view was kind enough to share with you the “share” privilege then you can easily opt-out to the view by removing yourself or your team from the sharing list.
- However, if you are less lucky and the view owner only shared “Read” privileges with you then you will have find out who is the owner of the view and ask them to remove you. To find the view owner go to Advanced Find, select the entity from the dropdown and click “Saved Views” button. Now you can find out who is the owner of the view that you don’t want and you can ask them to remove you.
If you created a personal view and you no longer want to maintain it, you can assign it to another user by opening the list of your saved views and clicking “Assign Saved Views”
How can IT identify which personal views were shared and with whom
There is no easy way to find all the shared views in CRM, you can create a custom report in CRM or simply run the following query in your database:
select userquery.Name AS 'View Name', userquery.OwnerIdName as 'View Owner', SYSTEMUSER.FullName 'Shared with user', TEAM.Name as 'Shared with Team'
JOIN userquery on objectid = userquery.userqueryid
left outer JOIN SYSTEMUSER on principalid = SYSTEMUSER.SystemUserId
left outer JOIN TEAM on principalid = TEAM.TeamId
WHERE objecttypecode = 4230
This will give you a list of all the views, the view owner and the users/teams with whom each view is shared. You can use the SQL statement above to create a CRM report that is available to CRM users from the CRM application.