Hierarchical Visualization – Features & Limitations

So, you’ve upgrade your CRM to 2015, you’re browsing through the new features, and hierarchical visualization peaks your interest. You can finally do so many nice things where you needed Silverlight or custom HTML web resources before. Or can you?

First off, what is hierarchical visualization?

Starting with Dynamics CRM 2015, for records related in a parent-child relationship (1:N), you can now see a graphical representation of these relationships. Starting in a regular grid view, now the related records are presented with a new icon in front of them.


Clicking on any of those icons will take you to a new view, showing cards for each record, and the relationship structure.


Now, this is great functionality. You can customize the card, to display up to 4 fields with important data. You can also navigate up/down the hierarchy, select another related record, and navigate directly to the record by clicking on the top-right icon on the card.


Basically, once you have the parent-child entity relationship defined, the users can start building these relationships by simply selecting the parent record. Easy as pie.

As far as customizations, the options are quite limited. You can customize the fields to be displayed on the entity tile by editing the [entity] card form. For an Account you edit the Account Card form.


Opening this form presents you with the ability to add various fields. Be careful here, since only the first four (4) fields will be displayed on the record card.


This results in a tile displaying like this:


Other than that, you can’t really change much. No ability to change card presentation, color or layout, number of fields, etc.

But that’s not the biggest problem here. Let’s do a quick test. With the existing hierarchy created, I’m going to go to Blue Inc. (Canada) and deactivate it.


Now, go back to the hierarchical visualization. You would expect that now Blue Inc. (Canada) will not show in the visualization. Well, you would be wrong here.


Observe that the record still displays in the hierarchy. The only way to flag the fact that a record is deactivated is to add the Status field on the card, thus giving up one of the 4 fields you can use on the card. Just something to be aware of when you make decisions on how to implement and take advantage of this feature.


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