Dynamics CRM 2011 User and System Dashboards Usage and Security introduction

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has powerful Dashboard feature which allows the creation of user and system dashboards.

User dashboards are only seen by the user who created them but they can also be shared with other users or teams. System Dashboards are available to ALL CRM users.

User dashboards are created from within the Dashboards section in the workplace section of CRM 2011. They do not need to be published after creation and cannot be exported and imported using standard CRM functionality. A custom application is required for deploying user dashboards into another organisation.

System dashboards on the other hand are created from within the Settings –> Customisations section in CRM 2011. They are added to CRM Default and/or custom CRM solution packages. System dashboards need to be published after creation unlike user dashboards which do not need publishing.

User Dashboards security is controlled by the User chart and User dashboard entities. System Dashboards are controlled by the System Chart and System Form entities. For example: to deny users of a security role from creating dashboards, remove the create permission in the security role for the 2 User chart and dashboard entities. If, on the other hand, you want to deny users of a security role from viewing all system dashboards, then remove the read permission for the 2 system form and chart entities.

To lock down a dashboard to a specific group of user and to allow certain users to see specific dashboards and other users see other dashboards, the best way to do this is using User dashboards. Create a user dashboard and then share it with the team(s) or user(s) you want to allocate and assign this dashboard to.

One last point: If you go down the user dashboards route to assign dashboards to specific users or teams, you must take into account how you will be deploying these user dashboards as part of your deployment on system test servers, UAT servers, production servers, etc. This is because System dashboards can be exported and imported as part of standard CRM solution packages. User dashboards cannot be included in CRM solutions. You can export and import user dashboards as part of your deployment tasks by building a console application (a CRM App) that uses CRM 2011 API to export dashboards into a file and then import it into the new environment.

I have built a console applicaiton that does exactly that. Please leat me know via a comment if you would like a copy of this dashboards export and import application.