Creating Many to Many Relationships

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Entity Relationships come in many flavors, but many to many  relationship types has some interesting options.

Consider the N:N or Many to Many relationship. If you use the Out of the Box (OOB) N:N relationship option the system will create a hidden in between table. This works wonderful for many situations, but it does not handle situations where you want to track a long list of fields and information about the relationship.

Take for instance if you want to track people who attend one of your provided classes. So for any given contact that you have they might attend one or many of the classes you offer.

You want to track not only that a specific person was in a specific class, but also what grade they received in the class and if they were an actively engaged member of the class.

In order to you to do this you can setup an entity called "Class Participation" and you can then setup relationships to that entity to mimic many to many as follows

Setup a 1:N relationship between Contact and Class Participation (for any given contact they might participate in many classes) 

Now setup am N:1 relationship between Class Participation and Class (for any given class participation it might be related to any number of classes. 

The steps above setup a many to many relationship with full configurability for the Class Participation entity. You can add fields to the class participation entity and you can display and use this entity for many different purposes.

Powershell and Microsoft Dynamics CRM (#msdyncrm)

So you think you are the ultimate master of Microsoft Dynamics CRM! This is totally awesome, because now you can empower your entire team with new PowerShell Awesomeness for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Organization Data!

AND don't forget to send some feedback and love to the developer!

Read More and Download Here


O365 and New Applications

One of the benefits of Office 365 is that it is continually providing you with new applications and features. Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues to deepen and connect with these features as well.

Take for instance Groups

Take a look at this nice video that summarizes what groups are and what you can use them with and remember group mail can also be tracked in Dynamics CRM.


What is xRM? It's Microsoft Dynamics CRM!

IT has been said that the term xRM confuses clients. In fact it has even been said that using the words xRM are "anti-Marketing"; however this youtube video really summarizes the concept quite well.

Additionally smart customers really do want a competitive differentiator and getting this competitive differentiator without writing 100% custom is such an awesome incredible.

Configuration, Configuration,  with a dash of extension ....

Why Supported Extension? Integration options, portal options and  ...

Visual Studio 2013 Tools and Dynamics CRM 2015

If you have not noticed there is an incredible Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software Developers Kit (SDK), but in previous versions of the SDK there were also a set of visual studio tools.

Working in Technology? As We Know Change is A Constant

So lets look at some changes

Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics CRM are now available as part of Visual Studio. Check out these to get started

and there are a ton more available and always more coming -> use SEARCH

You can also use the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SDK Visual Studio Tools with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015. You update your references to point to the new SDKdlls and update the framework version to 4.5.2.

There are a number of different blog posts buzzing on this, Such as these:

You also need to consider CRM Online and the reality that the current version of CRM Online is v7.1.x and the version of CRM On-Premise is v7.0.1 (although only a few months behind). One of the huge benefits of working with a CRM Online model is the drip feed to stay current. Huge Upgrades are a thing of the past when it comes to Software as a Service (SaaS). This also changes the development and extension model.


Thinking of an Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Are you thinking about moving your Microsoft Dynamics CRM instance to Azure? Or perhaps you want to move to CRM Online? Maybe you just want to upgrade from a much earlier version to the most current version?

Microsoft Consulting Services has a set of services that will provide you with an upgrade assessment.

Now is a great time to get that assessment done and to start thinking about polishing up the heart beat technology of your company. The products every one of your staff use : Microsoft Office (or O365) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM!

Learn More

Smart Clients

In catching up with the communities I saw comments regarding a client who wanted to make sure development and extensions were supported.

Kudos to the client for recognizing that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is flexible, configurable and extendable with supported paths and that developers can sometimes be a little too creative without remembering the long term cost.

Dynamics CRM in Enterprise: Areas for More Questioning





When working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Enterprise there are many variables to consider. These include some of the following, but there are also small tidbits that need to be considered. I have listed some of the items below to raise the bar for everyone.

•Security, Compliance, Authentication
•Integration and Migration
•Extensions, Development and Integrations
•Enterprise Reporting
•Operations and Governance

Business Rules: CRM Business Rules are associated to each entity, when you create business rules they are stored with that entity and move with the solution that includes that entity. If you need to delete a business rule you must delete it from every environment that the solution has been deployed.

Process Workflows: In CRM v7.x.x you have the option to END a workflow. One of the issues found in the field when working on existing CRM projects are workflow designs that do not end.

Use Colors: Within the world of Dynamics CRM Online you have custom logos, colors and themes. This allows you to color code different CRM Online instance so that people in large enterprises, who have multiple CRM Online tenants and instances, don’t accidently enter data into the training environment instead of production.


Anticipate Product Line Architecture: MCS Offers a CRM PLA service for clients that need a CRM Product Line Architectural engagement to address questions on shared data, hybrid offerings, leveraging Azure, Enterprise data warehouse options and security needs?  Watch out for the spread of silo'ed data that is such an easy trap for all vendors and customers to fall into.

Plug-Ins: You can change the context in which a plugin runs: By default it runs under the context of the logged in user, but there are cases when you want to run a plugin under the context of a user with different security such as a system user.

Security Roles

Security Roles are not only what you can see. All of the Out of the Box security roles contain hidden permissions that can be utilized through cloning. If you create a NEW security role, pay attention to the lack of hidden permissions that might impede functionality.

Service Module: Follow the Sun: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Module offers, not only an owner of a case record, but also tracking of the person working on a specific case record at any given time.

Performance: CRM Architecture does make a difference. Quick Search needs to be positioned for small searches with one or two search columns. Advanced find can be positioned for more complex queries or better yet leverage the power of the PowerBI Toolkit. You also have Enterprise Search at the top of the screen, use all your search options and even more are mentioned in the CRM Roadmap. You can also leverage the CRM Online Diagnostics Page and test form performance by Measuring Form Performance: CNTRL+SHIFT+Q

Versioning: Understanding Versioning: The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Team has updated their versioning, offering a clearer understanding of Major Releases, Rollup Releases and Service packs, but the true power of the experienced field engineers is knowing which feature was released with which version and the maturity of that feature. Work in partnership with Microsoft Consulting Services.

Client Software: The Outlook Client and the Unified Service Desk (USD) are client side software. One of the key questions within Enterprise are what are some options for pushing out this software. Also the client can have conflicts with certain anti-virus offerings so position and understand these conflicts and install requirements..

Working with the ISV’s: Portals: How many concurrent users was it designed for, used with and supports? Service Agreements with ISVs for outage of dependent components. Who owns updates, upgrades and testing in the fast paced release world of CRM Online?

Outlook Contacts: The Business conversation: Corporate Contacts vs. Personal Contacts and Data Migration. Do users have contacts in Outlook? How will these contacts be reconciled? How will you combine many different silos of contacts into a shared source?



Answers to the easy and hard questions to consider as we think about Managed and Unmanaged Solutions (#Msdyncrm)

Answers to the easy and hard questions to consider as we think about Managed and Unmanaged Solutions

1) How do you create a managed or unmanaged solution?

  • Select Settings
  • Select Solutions
  • Select New

New Solution

  • Give your solution a name
  • Add a publisher (see next question for details on publishers)
  • Add a version such as
  • Add existing entities you want to modify or new entities you want to create
  • Save your solution
  • Export as either an unmanaged or managed solution

2) What is a CRM publisher?

A publisher allows you to define a prefix and variables for your solutions. A publisher can be used to organize or classify components added to a solution. To create a publisher

  • Select Settings
  • Select Customizations
  • Select Publishers
  • Select New
  • Publisher
    Give your publisher a name
  • Set your prefix
  • You can also set the starting number for any values in option sets
  • Save your publisher (you can now use it when creating solutions)

3) What benefit does the publisher give the customizer?

  • Every component (attribute, entity, etc. is prefixed with that publisher prefix)

4) What happens when you import an unmanaged solution?

  • The solution is merged with all other unmanaged solutions.

5) Can you export a managed solution?

  • No, you can only export an unmanaged solution which gives you the option to create a managed solution.

6) Who is the primary audience for managed solutions?

  • Independent Software Vendors (ISVs)

7) What are the disadvantages of using managed solutions?

  • The components of a managed solution can not be changed.

Managed vs. Unmanaged Solutions (MS Dynamics CRM v7.x.x)

Let us take a look at Managed and Unmanaged Solutions.

Unmanaged and managed solutions

There are two types of Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions: managed and unmanaged. Managed solutions  require a clear depth of understanding of managed solutions. They are used by the Independent Software Vendors (ISV's) who sell a set of IP that is not expected to be changed or modified by the customer purchasing these solutions. They are positioned to be updated or upgraded only by the ISV that sells them.

This is an important point for customers (who purchase these solutions and then extend CRM) and for partners (who create solutions for customers that are designed to be given to the customer to maintain).

UNMANAGED solutions are the more historical, potentially more flexible and what I like to call more organic. Organically I can generally fix most issues found in unmanaged solutions whereas managed solutions I must go back to the ISV.

It is also worth mentioning the "System" Solution.

The system solution represents the solution components defined within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Without any managed solutions or customizations, the system solution defines the default application behavior. Many of the components in the system solution are customizable and can be used in managed solutions or unmanaged customizations.

If you add customizations without using a unmanaged or managed solution you are modifying the system solution. If you create an unmanaged solution (so you can easily move your changes to other environments) you are merging your changes in with the system solution. Every component of an unmanaged solution is prefixed with the prefix you define in the publisher. Every component that you add to the system solution (without leveraging managed and unmanaged solutions) is prefixed with new_

The team doesn't let you add, without some indication that it was added. (smart team)

So some easy and hard questions to consider as we thinking about Managed and Unmanaged Solutions

1) How do you create a managed or unmanaged solution?

2) What is a CRM publisher?

3) What benefit does the publisher give the customizer?

4) What happens when you import an unmanaged solution?

5) Can you export a managed solution?

6) Who is the primary audience for managed solutions?

7) What are the disadvantages for the customer of using managed solutions?



Don't just stay on this side of the Ocean! Microsoft Dynamics CRM in EMEA

The Microsoft Dynamics EMEA Team also shares a ton of great information. Follow their blog and quickly get information on items such as Auditing.

Take for instance this little statement and the article that follows ..

"You have the ability to audit a user's logon access to the CRM Server. The information that is recorded includes when the user started accessing Dynamics CRM and if access originated from the Dynamics CRM Web application, Dynamics CRM for Outlook or SDK calls to the web services."


Tips, Tricks, Resources: Put on your reading hat and fasten your seat belt

Mucho Thanks to Shawn Dieken for continuing to embrace Knowledge Shared, Knowledge Learned and by summarizing an incredible library of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tips, Tricks, White Papers and Resources.

I have even known people to respond to posts in the community with comments like "Oh that is Tip #147, read more here"

To see the list, all you have to do is CLICK

and Shawn is not the only one ..  check out these other resources as well

Prefer Video? How about the Microsoft Professional Field Team talking about Dynamics on YouTube

and the Dynamics CRM Tip of the Day

and the Performance Tips and Tricks

and Partners  also offer Dynamics CRM Tips


Customer are So Cool, Azure In Sports (one story of many)

"Next Generation Sports Network (NGSN) wanted to make international soccer matches available live and on-demand to a global viewer base. It required a wide array of solutions to create the next step in in the evolution of the online sports viewing experience. With Microsoft Azure and support from Microsoft Services, NGSN was able to build a global broadcasting network in just six months – just a fraction of the time required for an on-premises solution."



Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (Version 7.x.x.x) Exams


Three Words: Do the training 

It is available on PartnerSource, the Dynamics Partner Learning Portal

Exam title

Exam number

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Applications

Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Deployment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Deployment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization and Configuration

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Installation

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

Visual Studio Online

Did you know that if you track all your requirements and backlog iteration items in Visual Studio Online you can easily bridge Business Speak and Developer Speak?

The developers live in Visual Studio, writing code and looking at lines of characters that are often Greek to the non-dev folks, but by using work items in Visual Studio Online you can all work in one world.

Better yet, you can add Microsoft Test Manager test cases and link those to the work items. Just for fun you also get full graphing on burn down and task management.

I like the AGILE TEMPLATE, but also use the SCRUM Template despite my mantra of all CRM projects should be ITERATIVE or a mix of AGILE and WATERFALL.

Check it out: 

PS: Online, available from anywhere and it sync's with your local version of Visual Studio and Office AND there are some free try it out options.

Dev to Dev, Let them out once in a while

Sometimes the developers have to sit at the table and talk to each other.

In the really big Enterprise projects, where you bring together the greatest of the great (sometimes still bleeding) AND you pull in the well established, proven technologies, you often end up with a wide variety of languages, thoughts, strengths and weaknesses. (sprinkling in acronyms and it can get really crazy) 

Each person is a deep expert in their specialty, but getting each expert to use a language that other experts can understand is a challenge worth noting. 

If one person is talking Plugins, Processes, and Actions and another is talking approval cycles, statuses and signoffs and a third is discussing throughput, bottlenecks and distribution you might have a disconnect.

The trick?

Recognition. : Acknowledge and recognize that different languages are being spoken.

The second Trick?

Diversity Training : Point out that each person is incredibly different, show a few videos.

The Third Trick?

Collect all the egos and put them in a bag on the table. They cause so much heart ache!

Now add transparency. Acknowledgement and diplomacy.

I have yet to master all of the above. My fears, well ingrained XRM/CRM Think, opinions and even my female blond hair have known to get me in trouble, but  I don't regret my transparency and shared knowledge. I regret my lack of occasional sensitivity. I get so excited about the project and the technologies, I can forget about the people.

It does TAKE all variables. People, Process, Technology (well recognized buzz)

So back to the first line of this post. In the world of partners, there is this tendency to yell over the fence to the developers the criteria and requirements that need to be met. This works for many a plugin or DLL, but sometimes the developers really need to talk to other developers.

So this is a shout out to partners, vendors and ISVs to let the guys and gals with their heads down coding out in the field, to fine tuning their business skills and to encourage them to participate in some dev to dev discussions.  It can increase quality and create a bigger network of knowledge shared, knowledge learned.

Oh and a message to all developers in the world of Dynamics CRM and External apps talking to CRM: Keep an open mind, find the STRENGTHS and learn how to work with the not yet released or newer weaker areas, from those who have mastered the road before you.

Your developer peers are a close knit team writing code every day with variables that you might not be aware of.


Don't Forget about the SPN? What? Dynamics CRM On-Premise Installation

Dipping my toe into the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 OnPremise installation and a couple of key tips to remember (posting them here so I can find them).

Thanks to the Microsoft Consulting Services CRM Consultants: Thymio and Salvador who shared their knowledge and continue to make incredible wonderful happen for clients working with Microsoft and clients working with Microsoft Partners and Microsoft Consulting Services. 

1) When you create your service accounts - create them in the SAME Organizational unit (OU)! If you create them some where else and copy them you are not going to be a happy camper and you will spend hours trying to figure out why you are getting issues.

2) Don't forget about the SPN's. To read more about the Service Principal Names and what SPN's mean, take a look at this great TechNet Article.

3) Do you host your own web page? Most likely not and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a very powerful web application with numerous options and offerings. So before you decide you are going to do your own Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise Install - Do some reading and get the help and buy in of the right people from your team. The guru network guys who are swamped (get on their calendar)

A few resources and there are more:

If this is not something you want to tackle there are many options.

1) CRM Online

2) CRM Hosted by a third party partner

3) A certified in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Infrastructure partner or MCS team who can work with your IT Department to get CRM Installed and running smoothly.

4) Leverage the incredible of your professional Field Engineering contract. The CRM PFE Team is so impressive! They really offer a huge amount of experience and lessons learned particularly when it comes to smooth operations, performance and getting this running right.


Lithium and Microsoft : Community, Social and Dynamics CRM

Interesting Press Release:  Lithium and Microsoft

"SAN FRANCISCO – June 2, 2015 – Lithium Technologies and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have signed a strategic alliance agreement to integrate Lithium social interactions and community data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM"


Read More



Transparency and Striving to be our Best Selves!

As we work hard to strive to be our best selves one of the key areas that I am focused on is leveraging my natural transparency, while also adding some polish, so that the red flags don't immediately start waving. I have great experience at pushing that magic button that makes the flag pop up. It doesn't always pop for everyone, but in large audiences having the bell start to ring with just one person can cause noise for the rest. Settling down this noise is also not easy.

This is an interesting challenge in this demanding (and noisy) world of technology and constant learning. We each must continually stay current with all the new business processes, software features, functionalities and most recent versions,  but we must also maintain and grow our soft skills.

In terms of Technologies in my CRM world? Consider the huge suite of pieces that can be connected together to meet an incredible number of customer needs!

  • Azure (many different blocks)
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM v7.0.0 OnPremise 
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM v7.1.0 Online
  • Parature
  • Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE)
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM)
  • Microsoft Excel PowerBI
  • Microsoft Office 365 (which keeps delighting me with new apps)
  • Unified Service Desk (Call Center Extension)
  • Windows 10 (oh look! Cool!)  
  • and this list can certainly be longer (Skype for Business, SharePoint, ...),

but the point is there is so much incredible that it is hard to remember to keep this in perspective when working with your peers. It is also difficult for customers, because so much choice is overwhelming.

As such we have a certain obligation to push each other to be even better than we would be on our own. This is not expecting others to change, but more about encouraging debates, disagreements, and differences of opinion, because this is what raises the bar for all. This is what solves tough problems. The coming together of great minds. It forces each of us to be uncomfortable which then drives questions of our own assumptions and motivates improvements, growth and sometimes change.   

We live in a world of constant change, and so I embrace this, and want all to know that you are incredible and that you are unique.  I value this! I value your opinions, your offerings of thought and your option to listen.

Mistakes are for learning: I recently rained on one of the young associates parades. He had just developed a new application using SharePoint and I was so sad that he had not used CRM that I voiced my disappointment. I immediately saw that it might not get used. Yes, in a large team forum. Hindsight (not one of my smarter moves) The associate however was appreciative, we had a talk after the call and he encouraged me to keep sharing my opinion and to push him to think, but many of the others on the call were shocked. How could I do such a thing to a young growing associate? Needless to say it is still a thinking point for me. I can learn to delivery differently, but there are also trade offs.

Needless to say my efforts to continue with transparency, but to keep thinking and growing with the messaging and with who the audience is.

Time for Graphics, Easy Graphics from Dynamics CRM with Excel PowerBI

Major Update: My deepest thanks to David Hurtado for sharing these slides with me, for letting me share them with the world and for supporting all of his peers inside at Microsoft via the Microsoft Yammer Network (Yammer rocks).

What is incredible about this presentation is that putting the PowerPoint together took or takes longer than helping your customers understand how easy it is to use PowerBI and Dynamics CRM.

So Start Here:

Pull up your favorite View such as a view of all your bubbling opportunities

View Data in CRM - 1

Now confirm your view has account information

View Opportunity data in CRM 2

Choose to Export this View of Data to Microsoft Excel (not the only way to do this, but a familiar way)

Export Data to Excel 3

Now Open the Excel Workbook by clicking Open

Open Excel File 4

Have you noticed this new feature in Microsoft Excel?

  Map Excel Data 5
Now Select your locations

Select Location you want to use 6

And Use your Date Fields as Time Dimensions

Use data fields as time dimensions 8


Press Play 9

And Play, and play and play ... with visual immersion into your data

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Administrator? How about these Top Tasks

I remember when it was difficult to find answers to the easy questions. The "How Do I ......?" Questions.

This difficulty has now been resolved with the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Center. Check out the Top Tasks that a CRM Administrator might perform. 

Much, Much More Depth on SharePoint + Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Lovin'

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers so much choice that it is good to take a deep dive around some of these choices and features. Additionally the features keep on improving and growing with speed unseen in any previous years. Please take information provided to you with a grain of salt and do your own research.

Never make the assumption that the product can't do something for if it can't do it today, it might be available tomorrow. Additionally Services (MCS) is doing incredible on every project (as are many of the partners)

Incredible Happening!

Dana Martens offers a great deep dive presentation on Hybrid mixing of CRMOnline and SharePoint OnPremise and other configurations.  

Calling All CRM Users: Please send feedback on the new DYNAMIC HELP Features!


Calling All CRM Users: Please send feedback on the new DYNAMIC HELP Features!

"This feature was introduced in the Dynamics CRM 2015 for Outlook Client and is referred to as “Dynamic Help”.   Prior to this feature, the Outlook Client included a help link that always directed you to the same troubleshooting page regardless of which error you encountered.  For each error code that occurs during configuration, Dynamic Help can now direct you to a KB article designed to help resolve that specific issue.  This feature was also backported to CRM 2013 Update Rollup 1 for Service Pack 1 and CRM 2011 Update Rollup 18.  The Dynamic Help feature is also included in the new CRM App for Outlook. "

To Read More and To provide Feedback CLICK,

One Person Can Change the World!


Developer? New to Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Many years ago when I was trying to ramp up on all things Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I started with the What's new features. I took each feature and mastered it and moved to the next. We also had a great need to depend on books and externally provided information. Needless to say one reason I wrote a book.

Today is Different.

Today developers new to Microsoft Dynamics CRM are lucky to have the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer Center.

If you have not visited, check it out!

How do Office 365 and CRM Online Work Together?

I can certainly go on and on about all that is wonderful about working with both Office 365 and CRM Online every day.

I can mention items such as having access to the complete hierarchy of my accounts and contacts easily accessible on my phone, to not having to wonder if the calendar on my phone, within my CRM system or on my computer has everything that I am suppose to know about,  BUT

I just read this summary of amazing business productivity when using the suite so I am sharing here for your reading enjoyment.

Screen shots, Videos, Words all wrapped up in one.


Azure + Microsoft Dynamics CRM : Partner Options and Love

Oh Partners and IT Department Leads:

Is it time that your little data center gets an injection of extreme power and versatility? What about adding to your customers CRM Online experience?

Check out this great blog post on CRM Online + Azure

Office 365, Groups and CRM Online

I was on a call today, actually the incredible CRM Community Technology call and in addition to the great content being presented, we also had a very active IM window of discussions happening. Yes, I can multi-task.

So always learning, I posted a question/statement about synchronizing group e-mails with Dynamics CRM Online. As it turns out my assumption that this could not be done was wrong.

So I went out to do a bit more learning on the newer GROUPS feature of Office 365 and how it interacts with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the CRM Outlook Client.

If you start with the Office "Find Help about Groups" you will quickly see how much is available.

You them might want to read Jesper's post on Office 365, Groups and CRM Online.  

and for a summary the Office team has written Delivering the First Chapter on Groups.

What is amazing about synchronization is how absolutely difficult distributed data technology can be. There are a huge number of variables that the team continues to nail and hit out of the park, none of which can be under-estimated. So to read more about Synchronization check this out.



Deleting a CRM Online Development or Sandbox Instance

So you ramped up a development instance, used it heavily, crammed a bunch of testing into it and now you want a clean fresh start. The following is how you delete a development or sandbox instance of CRM Online.


Switch or delete an instance of CRM Online


Switch an instance


Delete an instance

Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Salesforce? A question faced by business leaders

Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Salesforce? A question faced by business leaders thinking about the heartbeat of their company. They want to take what they think is the easy road and grab onto a package that perhaps has a ton of buzz, is sexy or one of their peer firms use or maybe they don't want to consider all the value that services brings to the transformation. Microsoft Dynamics CRM soars with an excellent services consulting team. Technology + People + Process .... 

Why? Because there is so much choice! AND choice requires decisions and decision means a tighter fit for your way of doing business and a competitive edge in the marketplace. 

Believe it or Not when it comes to CRM, it is not just the application. Nor the bells or the whistles, or the backend database, it is about a partnership with the vendor and the services provider AND all the great technologies. A partner who is going to be with you through many years of growth. 

Recently I saw a great blog post about great companies switching away from Salesforce to Dynamics CRM.

As quoted in the article

"While each of these companies have unique customer engagement needs, they all have some things in common: the need for increased productivity, the desire to engage more deeply and consistently with their customers, and faster time to value."

So as you consider your options, consider how much choice and at what price. For in today's world there is so much want and even more need for flexibility and options despite how overwhelming they can sometimes be.

  • Tablet Access
  • Mobile Access (Windows, Apple, Android)
  • Web Access
  • On Premise options
  • Outlook (integration and distributed processing)
  • PowerBI (and Power Pivot, Power ...)
  • Excel (Input and Output, with Dynamic Security)
  • Word (mail merge integration)
  • Cortana (Voice to CRM)
  • Kinect  (For those really into the cutting edge working with services) 
  • Did I mention? Microsoft Social Engagement and analytics 
  • Dynamics Marketing (The Enterprise CMO application)
  • Advanced KBA and Services Management (Socially enabled tweets to case) 
  • Document Management (SharePoint integration)
  • Yammer (Internal Social, integrated groups to accounts)
  • Lync or Skype (presence enabled OOB and click to call)
  • Call Center Unified Service Desk (USD)

and a large database of solutions that meet needs that use to require custom everything such as compliance tracking, verification, facilities management, scheduling, and I can go on.

I can't believe that after 10 years of working with this product I am still continually finding great things to love about it.

Yes, it is not perfect, but then that is what requests via CONNECT to the product team are all about and with major upgrades coming out faster and faster. I get more excited every day not only about all that is currently available, but the proven pattern of growth from Microsoft and The Dynamics CRM teams.

Turbo Forms in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (v7.1.0)

Although not necessary: Writing Code for Forms provides a way to increase interaction between the user and the entity forms. This is often done by using JavaScript that is executed for events that occur on the form.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 7.1.0 (2015) offers TURBO Forms which are seriously worthy of consideration, both for the Experienced Dynamics CRM Developer and for the CRM end user.  Performance differences have been clocked anywhere from 3x to 7x times faster.


Here are some materials and videos to help get you started.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1 - New Form Rendering Engine


Form rendering enhancements


Writing code for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 or CRMOL Forms : Read More


Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Power BI

If you are currently using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, particularly if you are using a more current version or if you are always current with CRMOnline, then it is definitely time to go dive into the world of Microsoft Power BI and all the imbedded tools like Power Map.  

People can be incredibly visual and communicating CRM information using a visual medium like the Microsoft Power BI suite adds a huge refresh to how data and reports are consumed.



Are you a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer? Do you know about Customer Source?

If you have not tapped into Microsoft Customer Source (provided by Microsoft) and some of the incredible resources in the community then you might want to dip your toes into the CRM User Groups offerings, by signing up for a trial and watching the presentation "Getting the Most out of Microsoft Customer Source"

Where is CustomerSource, Right Here!

Where is the CRM User Group?

The Infrastructure of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (#msdyncrm)

NEW Deploying and administering Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Are you hosting your own instance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Have you invested in training your IT Professionals and Network Administrators in the infrastructure behind Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Ask yourself this question "Are you hosting your own web pages?" If the answer to this question is NO, then you want to seriously consider training your resources on hosting the incredible power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Take for instance IFD (The Internet Facing Deployment Options) or The Tablet and Mobile Apps .. So many options :)

Office 365 + Groups + CRMOnline : Amazing

For those of you privileged enough to be using Office 365 you might have a grasp on all the incredible new being released! Fairly recently the concept of GROUPS was released and these GROUPS can now been seen as folders in Outlook.

Rojy takes us one step further and shows how you can configure Office 365 + GROUPS + CRM Online to make for some incredibly powerful 360 Degrees for users. 

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM SPRING Release is incredible so make sure that you are planning for a review of all that you are doing with the system. Work with Microsoft Consulting Services, or one of the proven and experienced Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners.


So many great resources for Dynamics CRM v7.x.x (#msdyncrm)

Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 Content (Spring 2015)

YouTube Videos

Subscribe to the Dynamics channel to stay up to date:


CRM Team Blog

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1 (7.1.0) Product Documentation is Available!
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 Update 1 Product Documentation is Available!
  • Microsoft Social Engagement 2015 Update 1Product Documentation is Available!
  • Parature, from Microsoft 15.2 Product Documentation is Available!
  • AND SEVERAL MORE excellent blog posts by our field and PMs - check it out!

Security: Microsoft Dynamics CRM gets even more security options

Dynamics CRM 2015 Hierarchical Security

There is so much depth to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Security that it is amazing that they can add more and yet, more has been added. A great post is available on all the new options which you can reach using the link above.

27018: Cloud Trust - Learn More about this Differentiator at Microsoft

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online conforms to ISO/IEC 27018, the only international set of privacy controls in the cloud

Microsoft is the first major cloud provider to be independently verified as having  adopted ISO/IEC 27018, the world's first international cloud privacy standard. The adoption of ISO/IEC 27018 by Dynamics CRM Online is part of a broader commitment from Microsoft to protecting the privacy of our customers, as described in a Microsoft on the Issues post from Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President. In addition to Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Intune have adopted ISO/IEC 27018."

CRM Online in the world of Enterprise : Patterns & Principles for Solution Builders White Paper

"In the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the shift to the cloud is well underway. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is growing by leaps and bounds, including sales to massive customers with huge user counts. If you’re a partner in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM channel, it’s important that you understand what this means for the solutions you build for customers who want Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online."


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online vs. CRM On-Premise

A number of people have asked, what is the difference between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise other than where the actual software lives.

This has generated a few articles and resources that answer this question.

An Exposé on the differences between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and On-Premise

Demystifying business value of CRM in the cloud

The US Dynamics Partner Team And the Dynamics Academic Alliance have teamed up to create some new offerings

The US Dynamics Partner team has joined forces with The Microsoft Dynamics Alliance Team ( (DynAA)) to train students and recent graduates on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, interest them in Dynamics careers, and connect our Partners with this pool of quality candidates who are new to the CRM channel.   

This Microsoft Dynamics CRM Career Connect Boot camp is comprised of:

  • Five days of in-person technical training led by a Microsoft Certified Trainer on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015
  • Microsoft Sponsored Career Fair for Partners to engage with Students
  • Certification in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Virtual Learning sessions with MCTs, Partners, and Microsoft Dynamics experts focused on product functional skills (i.e. consulting, project management and soft-skills training).

Currently they are hosting this in 3 locations, inviting, juniors, graduating seniors, MBAs, graduate students, and recent graduates from local universities:

  • Chicago, IL – at the Chicago Microsoft office
  • Seattle, WA – hosted by the University of Washington
  • Boston, MA – hosted by Northeastern University

All of the boot camps will take place different weeks in June.

Please contact the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Career Connect Bootcamp Team if interested by sending mail to  usdyns2b at with questions.  Please note that space is limited and applications are only accepted for another couple weeks.  Space is filling quickly!