Many of our customers ask if they should be using queues in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. While the answer is normally yes, in order to understand this decision the first step is to understand what a queue is.
What is a queue?
The best way I have found to explain this is to compare a queue
to the dated system of having an "in" and "out" tray on your
desk. A team member would pop something for you to work
on in your "in" tray (you may have more than one "in" tray to
manage the different tasks you perform). You would then pick
up this item and complete the task before putting it into your
"out" tray. From this tray the tasks would then be passed on
to another employee to work on etc. This system works fine if
no one needs visibility of what you are working on, you don't care
how long tasks sit in an "in" tray and you don't mind when things
get busy and your trays start to spill onto the floor.
Dynamics CRM 2011 to the rescue!
Queues in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 mimic this process and
improve on it. A queue is essentially a holding place for
anything that needs action - a task that needs to be
completed, a case that needs action or to be closed, a phone
call that you need to make etc. Queues give you the ability
to run workflow, track tasks, and have permission based views of
other employees queues.
Every CRM user and team gets a default queue created with their
user or team name. You can choose to use this queue for all
your items, or you can create additional queues to help organise
your stuff, for example you could have queue for a project or
multiple queues based on priority. One queue can be shared
between many users or teams or a queue can be available to just one
What can be added to a queue?
Out of the box, you can add all activities, and cases to queues,
but you can also enable other entities for queues as well. In
order to do so, you will need to go to the entity's customization
screen, and tick the tickbox: Queues.
Adding objects to queue
Once you have enabled your entity for queuing, and want to add a
record to the queue now, all you need to do is: Select the record
and click on the Ribbon Button: Add To Queue. Select the queue you
want to add it to and you are done. If you want to see which
queue a particular record is on, open the record and use the Queue
Item Details button.
When you do this you are creating a Queue Item record which acts
as a link between your record and the assigned queue. You can
use this Queue Item record to record additional information like
the priority, who will be working on it etc. The Queue Item
is a customisable entity so you can also add fields which can track
a record's progress in the queue.
What can you do with the queue item?
You can use the Working on field in the queue item to add a user
who'll be working on the queue item. When you are done with your
work, you can release the queue item, which means, there's no one
working on it now. You can also route the queue item to another
queue using Add to Queue functionality. The most powerful thing you
can do with queue items is: write workflows on this entity. For
example, you can write a workflow to send an email to the new
worker when the worker on a queue item changes, or you could
escalate if an activity has stayed in a queue for a certain
duration, and so on and so forth.
Can email come in to a queue?
Yes, a queue can be assigned an email address and the email
router can be set up to route incoming and outgoing emails.
This is very useful where you have a generic email address, e.g.
firstname.lastname@example.org and you have many people assigned to the
role of responding to these emails. Rather than have these
emails sit in one person's inbox, using a queue the emails can be
visible and allocated out to multiple people.
In summary queues are almost essential to any organisation
wishing to have visibility of workload. With some
customisation and workflows, queues can help drive the efficiency
of your business.