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Power User Tip: End Series for Recurring Appointments

Power User Tip: End Series for Recurring Appointments

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 introduces the capability to create recurring appointment in CRM and its bi-directional synchronization support with Outlook. In this blog I am going to discuss about one of the enhanced capabilities introduced by CRM which leverages user to preserve past instances in the user preferred state.

Before going into more discussion we should first understand basic difference between recurring appointment in Outlook and in CRM. In Outlook calendar instances of recurring appointment are Virtual based on recurrence rule whereas in CRM it follows expansion based mechanism where actual appointment records are created in database. (For more info – refer to this blog)

Now let’s begin with End Series functionality which is introduced in CRM. In order to better understand End series functionality we need to first understand one of the similar capabilities which Outlook has that is Remove Recurrence.

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Figure 1: Outlook Recurrence Dialog

There is a key difference in End Series and Remove recurrence functionality. Let’s first understand what Outlook Remove Recurrence actually does. For a recurring appointment if user does Remove Recurrence it replaces recurring appointment into a normal appointment on the last occurring past instance. If Series is completely in the future then it preserves the first instance. It simply removes other instances and all information associated with them. User neither has option to preserve instances and its associated data nor can he/she select date on which he/she wants to Series the Series. It simply preserves one instance.

End Series functionality in CRM for recurring appointment

In CRM we overcome both of these limitations by introducing enhanced capability called “End Series”.

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Figure 2: Recurring appointment form with End series button highlighted in ribbon

As you can see above End Series in CRM provides capability to select the date on which user wants to create the Series and also in which state he/she wants to keep past instances. This is what actually happens when End Series is clicked:

  1. Deletes all the “open” and “scheduled” future instances of the specified Series from the date specified in Date field. However, if the state of the future instances is changed to “completed” or “canceled”, they will not be deleted.
  2. Sets the status of the past instances to the specified value selected via checkbox. However, the past instances are not deleted.
  3. Terminates the Series to the last occurring past instance date with respect to the date specified in the in Date field and sets the state of the Series to “canceled”.

This allows us to preserve the instances of a recurring appointment Series even if you have decided to end it prematurely. This is useful if you have attached notes or attachments to past instances of a recurring appointment Series that contain important information about the customer or business.

This capability is leveraged in SDK by DeleteOpenInstancesRequest. Please refer Microsoft Dynamics CM SDK documentation for more details on this API. Let’s walk through an example to understand this functionality in more detail.

A Scenario-driven Example

Nancy (Salesperson Persona) wants to meet a customer on daily basis to collect requirements for next 6 days. She creates a recurring Series with recurrence information as shown in figure below. She creates this on 6th May 2011.

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This is how instances will look like on your work calendar. As you can see there are 6 records created starting 6 May 2011. They are referred as A1-A6 in the diagram below. All are associated with corresponding master record R1.

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Nancy meets with the customer on daily basis and take notes on the meetings. She attaches notes and other documents to each appointment record. After meeting on the 9th of May 2011, she doesn’t need any more meetings with customer as she has all the required information.

To end her Series, Nancy opens the recurring appointment and clicks on End Series. She selects End Series date as “Today” i.e. 9 May 2011 and she wants to mark all instances as completed. The diagram below shows how Series will look like in calendar. As you can see, all the appointments after 9 May have been deleted. All instances before and on 9 May have been updated with status as completed. The Recurring appointment Series has been marked as canceled.

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Hope this adds clarity to the End Series functionality in CRM.

Cheers,

Niraj Yadav

  • Nice blog.... really helpful

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