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Editable Grid vs. Sub-Grids: Comparison | Axonom

Posted by Michael Bauer 05/01/2012 Categories: Editable Grids How Tos Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Comparing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sub-Grid to Powertrak’s Hierarchical, Editable Grid

I was reading this fantastic post on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blog that walks through a case showing sub-grid values that are not directly related to the opened entity. This blog post reveals that in the Update Rollup 7 release, sub-grids can show related entities that are multiple levels down in the relationship hierarchy.

After reading, I was curious to see how the Powertrak Editable Grid functionality stacks up against it. I did a side-by-side comparison and discovered that the set-up time was even but the Powertrak Editable Grid decreased the number of clicks by over 50 percent compared to a system with deep query sub-grid. Continue reading for more details on the experiment and results.

Learn what you can do with Powertrak Editable Grids:

Controlled Experiment 

To make this a controlled experiment, I am keeping the custom entity hierarchy that is described in the Microsoft blog post: a Legal Account, that has a 1:N relationship to Portfolio that has a 1:N relationship to Holding. [Legal Account–Portfolio–Holding]
After walking through the steps, this is what I ended up with: An Legal Account record with a sub-grid of the (indirectly) related Holding records.

Powertrak Sub-grid Screenshot

TIP: Remember that your CRM system should be in Rollup Update 5 or higher for this to work.

Recreating the Setup in Powertrak

Using the Powertrak tools, I created 2 screens, Portfolio and Holdings. Next, I enabled preview for Portfolio screen and linked it to the Holding screen. Finally, I added a navigation link called “Portfolio List” to the Legal Account entity using standard MS CRM customizations.

All of this was accomplished using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Powertrak tool, and does not require any programming skills.

New, Delete, and Save

The screens have buttons for New, Delete and Save. The New button (in this case the Portfolio list screen) creates a row, one for each time the New button is clicked. Here I have selected the New button 2 times, creating 2 new rows. Color-coded indicators appear on the left side of the row(s) affected. A red bar means that I have changed data in that row, but have not saved it.

Color-coded Grid Indicators

The Save button saves the changes in all rows in one go. A green bar on the left side of the row means that I have saved changes to that row since the last refresh.

Powertrak Sub-grid

Here is what the layout looks like for the filtered sub-grids. On one level is all the Portfolio records associated with the Legal Account. Under it is the list of Holdings associated with the Portfolio.

Sub-Grid Editable

Changes can be made to multiple records of the same entity without opening each individual record. The columns that display are selected from the attribute list of the entity, and new columns can be added when needed. I can also select which columns I want editable (For example, I can have just have the Portfolio name column editable but have the portfolio number column read only).

The Results


The setup is a wash. The time it took to put together the sub-grid setup and Powertrak Editable Grid – setup was roughly the same. As I mentioned earlier, you must have your CRM server at Rollup Update 5 or later.

User Experience:

Let’s say I have the Legal Account Record open and want to make changes to 1 related Portfolio record and 3 Holding records. Here are the number of clicks it takes to perform this task.

System without deep query sub-grids:
Go to the Portfolio list, open a Portfolio, make changes and save – 3 clicks
Go to Holding list, open a Holding, make changes and save – 3 X 3 = 9 clicks (for 3 Holdings)
Total clicks: 12

System with deep query sub-grids:
Open Holding, open Portfolio, make changes and save – 3 clicks
Open the Holding from the sub-grid, make changes and save – 2 X 3= 6 clicks (for 3 Holdings)
Total clicks: 9

System with Powertrak Editable Grid screens:
Go to the Portfolio list, make changes and save – 2 clicks (no need to open up a portfolio in its own screen)
Click Portfolio to open list of Holdings, make changes and save – 2 clicks (One save click saves all 3 Holdings)
Total Clicks: 4

*Notice that the changes made to the Portfolio and Holdings is a common denominator in all 3 scenarios, and thus is not counted. I am only adding the “Save” click.

We have improved the number of clicks from 12 to 9 to 4! That’s a 66% decrease from the first system and a 56% decrease from the second system. This leads to a better user experience, and improved productivity. FYI – the percentages only get better as the sample size increases.

Please contact Axonom for more information on Powertrak’s Editable Grid pricing, integration, and extended functionality.

By Mani Ramachandran