With SnapShot!, the ultimate documentation tool for Dynamics CRM/365
If you have worked with Dynamic CRM or Dynamics 365 for any length of time, you know that producing documentation covering more than just the metadata (entities, fields, etc.), can be a challenge.
In fact, much of the system requires you to take screen shots with applications like SnagIt because there is really no other way to accomplish the task.
While this may work for smaller projects, producing a comprehensive end-of-project, end-of-cycle documentation can become a nightmare - and one that repeats itself over, and over, and over again.
Let's face it: You have real work to do. Spending hours looking at developer notes (if they exist) and taking screen shots just to satisfy a procedural requirement is probably not the best use of your time.
While there are solutions available to document some parts of your system, there is just no way to easily extract much of the information without resorting to a custom application or a PowerShell script. I know this because this is exactly what I did for years: Created one silly application after another that extracted just the data that I needed for whatever project I was working on. It became very tiresome and in the end, very difficult to manage. This got me to thinking...
What if you had access to a tool that could connect to a Dynamics CRM/365 system and extract all of the relevant settings, configuration, and data?
What if that tool was easy to use and supported versions 2011 through Dynamics 365?
What if that tool dug into the depths of Dynamics CRM/365 and retrieved settings and insights that you did not know existed?
What if you could have that tool installed and producing documentation in less than 30 minutes?
What about that?
With those things in mind, on November 27th, 2012, I released SnapShot! for Dynamics CRM. And it's only gotten better since.
Now every Dynamics CRM/365 Administrator, Consultant, and Business Analyst can create picture-perfect documentation and save many hours of manual labor.
Disclaimer Alert: Ok, sometimes it 5 minutes, sometimes it's 30, and sometimes it depends. It's all relevant to the number and depth of your customizations, but the majority of the time SnapShot! will run in less than 30 minutes.
Here are the major categories for which SnapShot! creates reports. You may see the layout and structure of the entire output folder system by visiting this page. You may also find some tips and tricks here.
Can you say Kitchen Sink? We don't just stop with metadata. The Customizations reports really digs deep into Dynamics CRM/365 to help you understand your Dynamics CRM system from the inside out.
The most useful Administration and Business Management settings are also reported on.
I am quite proud of the level of detail found in the Security Reports. Not only does it document everything related to security, but it also creates reports that resemble the Dynamics CRM/365 interface so they are easily consumable by others with Dynamics CRM/365 knowledge. Check out a sample Security Role report here.
The Email Configuration reports detail the various email entities with Dynamics CRM/365. The Email Settings report consolidates both system and user email settings within a single report. This is most helpful since many of the settings that cause issues are actually User Personal Options, which are maintained at the user, not system-level.
The Auditing Summary gives you a comprehensive review of the auditing settings across all of your entities and fields.
OK, to be honest, some of these are a bit esoteric but they solved a problem I was having on a project at one time or the other so I have included them in hopes that they would be useful to others.
However, the Automation Testing Matrix report is fairly useful. It identifies all of the events that can happen to an entity or field. This list can be used to assist the Quality Assurance department when testing changes.
This is all it takes to create a SnapShot! report:
CONNECT TO DYNAMICS CRM/365
Using any of the supported connection methods: Online, On-Premises, IFD (Federation)
As you can see from the images above, selecting the reports you wish to export is simply a matter of checking a box.
SELECT AN OUTPUT FOLDER
After all, the reports have be written somewhere.
CLICK THE CREATE BUTTON
Instructs SnapShot! to start the data extraction and reporting process.
And there you have it. It really is that easy.
KPMG Australia uses SnapShot! on all our Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement projects using our global partner license. SnapShot! enables us to quickly and automatically document our clients’ system configuration customisations in a couple of minutes as a regular step in our agile release process. Having accurate and up-to-date system documentation easily available builds confidence in every client that KPMG is a trustworthy partner able to support and enhance their most complex business solutions..
I have been a SnapShot! Customer since version 2.3, and it has saved me countless hours I would have spent digging through various sections of Dynamics CRM as well as adding a complete-ness to my monthly backups. I have complete documentation for custom security roles, workflows, duplicate detection rules and more. You get the peace of mind knowing that you have all of your organization’s specific settings in one easy-to-access location, and the comfort of having that information in a user-friendly format for analysis. If you are going to administer Dynamics CRM, you have to use SnapShot! – period!
Socius uses SnapShot! as we acquire new Dynamics CRM/365 clients and in upgrade situations. It helps us understand the complexities and customizations before we upgrade or redesign a system. Over the past year it has saved us, and our clients, significant time and effort to analyze new systems.
SnapShot! for Dynamics CRM/365 is not for everyone, so please review the sections below to see if you are one of the people who will get the most results.
Try SnapShot! risk free for 30 days and if you cannot say that it eases your administration burden by producing top-quality Dynamics CRM/365 documentation, then just send us a message and we'll refund your money, no questions asked.
If you are not totally convinced by now, then here are a few more things to show you that SnapShot! will be of tremendous assistance to you:
There are several reports that will help in this case: Entities, Fields, and Relationships. All of the relevant Dynamics CRM/365 metadata will be extracted and added to various Excel worksheets.
We have three reports for web resources:
The User Privileges reports show what security has been applied to the user after their personal and team security roles have been taken into consideration.
SnapShot! uses an Dynamics CRM/365 SDK call to actually perform this query, then creates a report that resembles that of the Security Role report so that you can easily understand what is what.
Finally, the raw User Privilege data can be extracted should you need to perform a programmatic or other type of analysis of the data.
There are reports for each that contain the most relevant information about each entity type.
Custom security roles and their privileges are documented and look exactly like the forms with Dynamics CRM – right down to the colored circles. Here is a sample.
In addition, all of the raw privilege data can also be captured for comparison from one version to the next and from one security role to another. Here is a sample.
Unfortunately, just the basic configuration information. The information that makes up the actual steps, stages, etc., is encoded and is not documented by Microsoft. Over the years I have made several attempts at producing documentation but so far, all of my results have failed to be reliable, given the variety of environments and versions currently available.
licensing and usage
While you do not have to have the System Administrator Role, it really does help because some parts of Dynamics CRM/365 are only accessible by Administrators.
Pretty far actually. It documents most of the metadata as well as other common scenarios that we've found useful. The point you need to upgrade to SnapShot! Professional is when you have a need to perform a security review.
Yes. There is no technical difference between the two environments besides the initial authentication, which will vary depending on the connection method.
The license is good for 12 months from the date of purchase. After which, SnapShot! will revert back to "Lite" mode with a reduced functionality set.
The license can be renewed for a small annual maintenance fee at any point.
SnapShot! is licensed by Dynamics CRM/365 organization so an unlimited number of users may use the software.
This is great if you have different teams or business analysts who are working within the same Dynamics 365 system but are on different projects.
Just email us any time within the first 30-days of using SnapShot!, explain why you are unhappy, and we'll refund your full purchase price.
"But will that not open you up for fraud and misuse?" Actually yes, it does. There are always people who try and take advantage. But there are many more who will not. We will take the side of the latter.
SnapShot! can connect to an unlimited number of Dynamics CRM/365 organizations. You just have to have a valid license file for each organization to which you connect.
Yes we do. It is called SnapShot! Success. It includes discounts on SnapShot! as well as specialized training and other benefits. Contact us for more information.
SnapShot! is a Windows application that is installed on a user's workstation. You do not need to install SnapShot! on the Dynamics CRM/365 server.
Once installed, it can access any Dynamics CRM/365 installation with which the user has access.
Note: Depending on your individual user security, on your workstation, you may need to right-click on the SnapShot.exe and select Run As Administrator, to allow SnapShot! to write configuration and other data back to your hard drive.
You will need a minimum of Windows 7 and .NET framework 4.6.2.
The .NET framework will be installed automatically when you first run SnapShot! if it is not already installed.
First off, what exactly is MFA? MFA is a secondary authentication mechanism where a device such as your phone can be use to authenticate users after they have performed the standard user/password login. For more information, visit here and here.
At this point in time, the answer is no. The current toolset used to create SnapShot! doesn't support MFA. We are looking at adding it in the future, but for now, you need at least one user that does not have MFA enabled in order for SnapShot! to function correctly.
As far as I am concerned, there is only one tool for taking screen captures and that is Snagit, from TechSmith.
I have it open on my computer all of the time and take hundreds of screen captures and videos every month.
Not exactly. Most of Snapshot! was written by hand. That is not to say that other code was not collected and used from various sources on the Internet, but for the most part, the answer is no OpenSource.
The Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents that make up the reports are generated using commercial libraries from Aspose.