Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Activity Feeds

We have gotten quite a few inquiries regarding what Activity Feeds are and how to best use them to satisfy specific business needs.

Activity feeds are not meant to replace face to face conversation, emails or automated workflows, although you can trigger workflows off activity posts and vice versa. Instead, they are meant to increase collaboration between teams working with the same account, opportunity, case, or custom entity etc.

Much like Facebook News feeds, Microsoft CRM Activity feeds allow you to:
1. Stay up to date or follow users or records (leads, accounts, opportunities, cases etc.) that are important to you.
2. Keep others informed with your posts regarding specific records.
3. Communicate in real time. Your posts become available on followers Walls immediately.

Note: In order to see activity feeds for a specific record, the user must have appropriate permissions to that record.
This Microsoft Getting Started Video actually provides a good overview and business case of how to use Activity Feeds (if you can tolerate the Microsoft background music).

Although I believe Activity Feeds can be very useful, I do caution the amount of “noise” it can create within the organization. It can be effective if a user is only following the records or users that they have a vested business interest in. Activity Feed rules also have some limitations such as not being able to create new rules for an entity. Furthermore, you cannot tweak existing rules, you can only activate or deactivate out of the box rules.

The Activity Feeds managed solution is pre-installed and configured on all Dynamics CRM Online Organizations provisioned after the service update in Nov 2011. For CRM 2011 On-premise and for CRM Online Organizations provisioned prior to service update in Nov 2011, the Activity Feeds managed solution can be downloaded from the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace.