You are starting to hear about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and you want to learn a bit more?
You are starting to hear about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and you want to learn a bit more?
There is nothing like connecting with other people who are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the best way to do this is to get involved in the Dynamics Communities.
How do you get started? Check out http://www.crmug.com and signup for the upcoming local chapter meeting
The next meeting in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. Area is on November 16 at the Cobalt Office in Alexandria. Full Details and registration here. This is a special meeting and it is in Virginia.
Most meetings in the D.C area are in the Microsoft Chevy Chase Office and if you want specific chapter information check out: http://www.crmug.com/washington
You now have the capability to use service level agreements (SLAs) for entities apart from Case
OH You are not using SLA's for cases yet either ... Well .. they are a unique learning area and you need to understand the strengths and version 1.0 variables. So tune up the grey matter and take a look at some of the following posts.
The awesome Jesper Osgaard has a great write up on how MSE has met the much demanded need to listen to RSS and Atom Feeds ..
"Custom sources offer a way to get additional data from your favorite public RSS and Atom feeds. You can create search topic rules and filters to gain further insight into all your sources"
Is it time to listen to what is being said about your company?
22 Hours, 44 Minutes and 48 Seconds to the official kick off of CRMUG Summit 2016 under the cloudless skies of Tampa.
Saturday, Sunday & Monday included deep dive Academy training with field veterans ... Definitely a LEARNING packed week. AND here is the key, when you dive into the world of business applications learning and growing is what it is all about. Customers can leverage technology, in addition to their people and their business processes to kick it up a number of notches and we all need those extra notches in this crazy world.
How Can you Get More?
Add learning initiatives, support growth, hold people accountable to share what they learned.
Remember what it is like to teach someone else? To teach you really have to understand, so how do you know what people retained from a conference? Have them teach it to their peers who didn't get to go this time.
What about all those contacts? Well they often don't mean much unless there is follow-up. The idea is not only to meet people, but to build new relationships. How do you build new relationships? You stay in contact, you see each other each year, you participate.
A few resources to ramp up on all that is new in Knowledge Management in Microsoft CRM 8.1.0.00xx (2016 Spring Release)
You will also want to ramp up on the new Interactive Service Hub (ISH) which offers even more access to the wealth of data in Microsoft CRM.
Microsoft CRM supports tracking of e-mail messages and e-mail messages often come with attachments. If you want to prevent Microsoft CRM from storing an e-mails attachments you can set the file size within Configuration to 0.
What if you don't want to block all attachments or what if you inherited a system that has a ton of attachments stored in the database?
You can purge e-mail attachments from the CRM Database.
Take a look at the EMEA Support Teams Blog Post on the subject for more.
Microsoft CRM is tightly married to Microsoft Excel and as such some of the EXCEL functions can come in very handy.
When putting together a demonstration system check out the RANDBETWEEN() Function for generating random numbers in Excel. It can also be used for randomly picking values from a list and many other derivatives.
In Microsoft CRM you can have many knowledge base articles associated to a case, but what if you wanted to always associate a specific article to a specific case based on the type of case?
This can be done using CONFIGURATION.
Create a new N:1 relationship between Case and Article. This sets up the field for the CASE form to associate 1 article to the case. Once the relationship is configured, add the relationship to the CASE form of your choice.
Most likely you don't want to select and pick the article when you create the case (although that is an option), but rather you want the system to automatically associate the article based on the case type.
To do this you would add a process of type workflow that looks at the case type and appends the article you indicate. It is important to realize that an article can not be appended to the case until the case is created and as such the order in which the workflow fires is a variable.
Items to Consider
If you don't know what you get out of the box, then you might be inclined to ignore all the greatness and create your own entities. This is an option, but what it tends to bypass are all of the OOB integrations and small enhancements that offer some incredible power.
Take for instance "Case" and "Case Resolution" These two entities are a married pair. The first tracks the incoming details on any specific case and the second tracks all of the different derivatives of the resolution to that case.
For instance a case can be cancelled with a reason or it can be completed with a failure or a success.
It should be noted that when closing a case, the configuration offers choices. The status reasons can be modified for each Status of ACTIVE and INACTIVE.
Microsoft CRM and Calculate Fields offers some real power for adding scoring to a specific record.
Take for instance a situation where five different departments work on a specific opportunity. You can configure the system so that each department adds a score to the opportunity record, such as a value from 1 (great fit) to 5 (Gaps), and the system can then add up these five scores and give the opportunity a more realistic probability for close.
Total Score : (Calculated by the System) 15
Now tie the 15 to a business rule that sets the opportunity to Hot Fit (Red), Warm fit (Orange), Cold Fit (Blue)
If Total Score =>1 and <=5 then set Opportunity Fit to "Hot Fit (Red)"
If Total Score >5 and <=15 then set Opportunity FIt to "Warm Fit (Orange)"
If Total Score >15 and <=25 then set Opportunity Fit to "Cold Fit (Blue)"
You can even set the "colors" on the option set values for some super cool feature growth ...
Did you know there are more field services technicians in the US then sales people in the entire world?
Field One took Microsoft CRM and mastered the platform. What does this really mean? Mastering the platform?
Microsoft CRM as a platform is a parallel growth paradigm. The product grows and matures every day as the developers on the Microsoft teams build, define, refine and release while the teams (external partners, ISVs, other resources) building extended solutions are doing the same. Each team must work closely with the vision of today and the visions of the future. Decisions are not just meeting a requirement or request, they are meeting a requirement or a request in a manner that fits into this parallel growth.
Field One Mastery (now under the Microsoft Umbrella) continues to offer incredible, already mastered, solutions to some of the most complex field services organizations.
So what do the developers work on, if the above is already so well matured and defined?
Oh there is so much more that just flows into what you have as time goes one.
Consider the Microsoft Platform and all that is available.
Consider Machine Learning and Predictive analysis and the speed in which Microsoft Azure offerings are growing. Consider Microsoft Portal and Microsoft Project Services within CRM and, and, and ....
So if you have not taken a few minutes to start thinking about Field Services then perhaps it is time to start? Take a look at Field One.
Posted at 08:50 AM in MS CRM in Enterprise , MS CRM Partner Resources, MS CRM Selling, MS CRM Users: The Executive Office, MS CRM Users: The Support Department, MS Dynamics Relationship Management Development (xRM), MSDYNCRM16 v8 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tags: field services, Geocoding, mobile, mobile workforce, scheduling
If you have not had a chance to see the incredible new functionality of Project Services then this little video is worth the 5 minutes that it takes to watch it.
There is so much that I don't know and yet, what I do know I am willing to share.
When I share I learn, I like to learn, others learn, I like to teach, we all learn. I like it when we all learn.
Why is learning so scary to so many?
Learning, Learning, Learning
5 Features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 8.1.0.xxxx (aka CRM 2016 Spring Release) to think on
1) INTERACTIVE: The new interactive experience offers redesigned forms that help users experience CRM in a whole new way. This is a new interface with new potential so if you have been working with Dynamics CRM for years you will want to expand your thinking and your back pocket of options. You don't have to delete how you use to do things, you just have even more options to meet the demands of today. Start by looking at the configuration of your system. Look within your CRM Solution and the settings on each entity. You will see Options for Entity. (step one for your new road of enlightenment)Consider this summary from the CRM Help and Training Guide (there is help and training available)
2) C O L O R S: Sometimes Themes and Colors really make a HUGE difference, people like colors. So when you dive into your configuration and you are looking at your entities understand that you have a number of layers of different options when it comes to themes and colors. For CRMOL users there are theme settings for the whole system in https://portal.office.com and for all CONFIGURATION users there are color settings on entities and layered throughout. You can go as deep as setting colors on values in option sets and oh you can have so much fun!
3) CHANGE TRACKING: Not as new as Spring 2016, but new enough to mention that it exists and what it is given that they slipped it in without too much fanfare. This is a new option in the SDK that allows a developer to tap into a drip feed of changes for integration into other systems and other cool developer type techniques. A NEW SDK feature that is worthy of understanding. You can enable change tracking on a specific entity or on all entities. To read more on change tracking tap into the CRM DEVELOPER CENTER.
4) SOLUTIONS: When adding ENTITIES to Solutions, when in doubt or if you have not learned the strengths and yet to be matured areas of the new solution options then CHECK the ADD ALL ASSETS option.
5) Discover PROJECT SERVICES: a managed solution available from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team that offers incredibly deep resource management and project alignment. Gone are the days of using the external Microsoft Project software for CRM projects - USE CRM ! Your entire project team will get hands on day to day use of the software they are deploying for their customer.
Posted at 10:35 AM in MS CRM Partner Resources, MS CRM Roll Out, MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Tip of the Day, MS CRM Training Resources, MS CRM Users: The Support Department, MSDYNCRM16 v8 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tags: Change Tracking, Colors and Themes, CRM 2016, CRM 8.1.0.xxxx, Interactive Service Hub, SDK
One of my greatest passions is helping and learning. Today as I walked the bridges of information helping where I can and learning, I discovered a few new links that are worth tucking into your CRM back pocket.
There is a new tool in town for solving the complexity of issues in this world of many, many different applications and just as many versions of applications and operating systems.
announced release of a CRM diagnostic scenario included in the
So take a stroll and learn a little and along the way pay it forward.
Now this session looks like a real winner!
Given all the BUZZ coming out of Envision it looks like the conference was a success in meeting it's goals of sharing the vision!
If You Are Planning for Next Year?
If you’re a business leader who is charged with making or influencing key business decisions within your organization, you’ll gain tremendous value at Microsoft Envision. You’ll find a depth of resources here that will help you not only come away better positioned for your future, but help you discover how to take advantage of solutions today that will deliver immediate results to your business.
New technologies are rapidly transforming the world. Businesses that understand the available technologies—and anticipate what’s coming next—are able to quickly leap ahead. Microsoft Envision gives you the insights you need to take advantage of the evolving business landscape.
Find out more about how Microsoft Envision can help business, marketing, sales, finance, customer service, operations and IT leaders across a variety of industries excel."
Given that so much new has been released, sometimes it is easy to miss some of the powerful new features.
Take for instance USING WORD TEMPLATES in CRM. Sure, letters are nice, but have you ever considered the power of all the other data you can pull into a WORD template?
Even more Options for E-Mail Synchronization
The Server-Side Synchronization Handbook : Another option for Connecting Microsoft CRM Online to Microsoft Exchange Server
1. Workflows can be REAL TIME (Synchronous) or ALMOST REAL TIME (asynchronous) and if you are a business user creating workflows you want to coordinate the timing. In the world of plugins and extensions timing coordination of steps is all part of the job, but in the world of workflows sometimes it is easy to forget about what we are really asking for.
2. Deleting and Cleanup in the world of customization and multiple environments are a specialized thought process. The system supports a merge mindset so when you want to do cleanup (and you are using unmanaged solutions) you want to make sure you cleanup all your environments. I like to use the technique of naming fields, business rules, forms, views and other such configurations in DEV with a prefix of something like ZToBeDeleted so that after a deployment to TEST and PRODUCTION it is easy to do house cleaning.
3. You are not the only one extending and configuring. Coordination equals huge successes and incredible power and depth. It is a product that is always evolving from the power and insight of the incredible team at Microsoft and then there are the other new features that are purchased, reviewed, updated, coordinated and released. If you are writing unsupported code you are asking for headaches OR if your hired gun is writing unsupported code. Take the time to get it done right. Take the time to vet your resources. A low hourly rate does not mean long term reduction in cost.
4. Software as a Service (SaaS) in the world of Dynamics CRM means that you are continuously getting the chance to improve your businesses cutting edge differentiator through the use of the newest technology and business techniques. Get the Learning Mindset and embrace the wave while also taking bite sized, very manageable growth steps forward. Setup your environment so you have a DEV, TEST and PRODUCTION instance so that you can have DEV upgraded first, then TEST (with a release to TEST and Regression Testing) and then roll to production. For smaller firms perhaps only two instances, but always give yourself that learning arena for the larger feature releases.
5. Just because it looks pretty, and has a really cheap initial price does not mean that you won't be paying more in the long run. In the world of ONLINE and the CLOUD do your research with other customers. Understand the 1, 2 and 3 year average costs and understand what you get for the money. The models can be very different. There are hundreds of applications that can be replaced by Dynamics CRM and with the right resources (trained helps) the price is right. Just because Access and Excel are available with office, doesn't mean they are the right solution for a multi-user environment where people need to share real time data across many different devices. Oh and then there is the Out of the Box integration to the Office 365, SharePoint, Microsoft Excel E-Mail, and so much more.
It really is mind blowing.....
Technology grows as fast as your kids and keeping in touch with the drip just makes life so energized!
Microsoft Dynamics CRM v8.0.0.xxxx (2016) was released last Fall offering more functionality at the deepest level and more options and functionality at the user level. Take for instance the new "Interactive Service Hub". A graphical interface in addition to ALL you have through dashboards, charts and views and then you also have new options around knowledge management and at the deepest level new formats for fields.
Even more important, the incredible ground work around mobile and the mastery of DISTRIBUTED PROCESSING leveraging Azure. Distributed processing with any technology is not easy; although in the world of Microsoft CRM we have long had the Outlook Client, still we needed more options and now we have more options. The synchronization of data between multiple source locations is just ripe with potential difficulty and yet, here you have in CRM 2016 some great MOBILE Answers to a tough need.
Now before you start thinking about all that you have not yet tried in the FALL CRM 2016 release (v8.0.0.xxxx) understand that the SPRING 2016 release is rolling out to the customer focus group now. A group of customers who totally get keeping up and have signed up and agreed to test the new software before it is generally available. A win/win situation for the product development teams and for customers. A team approach using real world solutions.
The Spring release is PACKED!
The teams are leveraging not only the power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (and it really is powerful and occassionally taken for granite), but the depth and power of AZURE, the Out of the Box integration to Office 365 and SharePoint and the maturely integrated solutions like portal and field services.
Given how quickly everything is rolling out the teams have also released a new ROADMAP website so you can immediately know what has been released, what is being released and what is pending for the next update. It is easy to get caught up in the buzz, so this site is available for immediate validation.
Want another insight?
Microsoft Social Engagement is now getting monthly updates.
and then there are versions all the other enhancements on the same page to also catch up on. What? You are interested in Machine Learning? Did you know MSE is ALREADY leveraging the power? Wow!
I work at Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Global Dynamics Domain focused on services. Keeping up with all of the GREAT old and new functionalities can sometimes be interesting, but it is such a thrill to have such a huge tool chest of options for clients in this complex world. A world where technology, configurable technology can offer a great competitive differentiator.
"Big things are happening in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM world"
Learn about the ground-breaking service capabilities, portal solutions, and more coming in the spring 2016 wave: http://bit.ly/1nhl2cQ
Reading a Blog post a day really is an awesome way to get your drip learning on!
I love this quote
“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand“.
Code Review is a great topic, particularly in this world of faster and faster and faster deliver.
In terms of reusing code, one trick is to have a team (even if just a team of two) people who code review each others work. You can also purchase code reviews from Microsoft Services or from a partner. the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team also has tons of samples, white papers and trainings that define best practices. Adding code review and refactoring into your processes can significantly increase quality. The other variable is to include TIME to do code reviews and to think about the bigger picture.
It is the default to "solve the issue and request quickly", but to solve the issue and need with sustainability is the goal.
Build your own mobile app for Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Android, iOS and/or Windows.
One of the big areas of development for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 release has been mobile! Consider multiple operating systems (Android, iOS Apple, Windows), distributed processing (The Power of Azure and the Cloud) and a giant world of choices (One person with an Apple phone, another with a Windows Tablet). Microsoft has always been good at offering a ton of choices.
So you can use all of the choices offered by Microsoft OR you can dive into creating your own. If you align with the team, you leverage the SDK and you write awesome code, the world is yours for the crafting!
Sonoma Partners had a great little post on their blog about all of the different databases that a company might be using and all of the solutions that the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Platform brings to the table. So perhaps "XRM" does not really grab you and define how big the world of possibilities really is! What if you put your head around Any Transactional Relationship Management System?
Pieces of a Lab (the age of the equipment, the pieces that go together, the serial numbers, the experiments related)
Signage on a road (and the vendors that buy the space on those signs and the stores who care (they are located close to the exit))
Accessories for a Fashion Show (and the models and their agents and the clothes they will wear and )
New to Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2016, v2015, v2013?
Relationship Management Software is as deep and complex as the relationships that it is tracking (easy as you and I, complex as you and everyone you know and why) and numerous choices can make it even more complex (do you track the buildings you visit, the people who influence the decisions you depend on?).
YET choice is what makes for a great offering as it morphs to fit businesses from one model to the next. Not only businesses, but the ever changing nature of businesses and the uniqueness of your business.
Three Great Tips to working with Relationship Management Software as the heart beat of the company
1) Make sure you have the people (or support from people) in place that understand the product inside out and backwards. The strengths, the weaknesses, the reasons behind all that is offered and how to leverage those reasons to meet your needs. Also make sure these people have time for continued learning. Everything keeps growing and offering.
2) Make sure you honor and respect the product. If you don't host your own website then perhaps you don't want to host your own web based applications. Leverage the offerings and power of CRM Online which is backed by data centers layered in physical and virtual security. Check out the CRM Trust Center for more information.
3) Polish up your processes. Define consistency, eliminate crazy edge cases and understand what each and every person is doing to get the job done. They have found their own efficiencies, adopt the efficiencies. Consider things such as thinking hard about "alerts" before sending an e-mail alert after everything that happens in the system. Do people really need more e-mail? Leverage Dashboards, charts and PowerBI graphics to really understand the data that gets put in so that putting the data in the system makes a whole lot of sense to everyone. Share the results.
It is true that you can import data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
It is true that you can setup complex integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
It is true that you are not the first person to do this nor the first company or complex Enterprise or complex small business environment.
When you need to get started it is; however, helpful to have a service that supports getting you started. Needless to say Microsoft now offers the DATA LOADER SERVICE for CRM Online.
There are two great blog posts on this service written by the team!
Now that Adult Coloring Books have exploded on the marketplace perhaps it is time for you move from the joys of PowerPoint (Admit it, you love it because it is easy creativity) to the joys and the incredible POWER of VISIO or SWAY (but I will save SWAY for another post)!
Do you have processes? Do you want to get these processes to be adopted and consistent across all departments? Why not drop them into a SIMPLE VISUAL DIAGRAM and post them around the office?
Or you can really get into it and use them to "visualize the future state of transformative initiatives" or to "stay on top of operational insights". It is true that a picture can communicate 1000 words and in this noisy world, using a picture to communicate can make a huge difference (even for the most sophisticated).
To learn more about the new features of Microsoft Visio you can read up about it on the Microsoft office team's blog. I even enjoy older posts like this one which is already a year old!
First define your desired architecture! (Think Design your addition or house)
Then do some reading and planning! (for instance you might want to have your upstairs bathroom above your downstairs bathroom to make the plumbing easier)
Consult an expert or hire an expert! (They have the experiences of numerous projects rolled out successfully that are often very, very, very similar to what you are doing)
If you want to learn by doing, calculated in the learning curve, because you will make mistakes and you will want to have a plan for fixing the mistakes so that the system is not compromised. (Consider what happens when that addition to the house or the house is not built to code)
There was a nice little feature released as part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015. You can now add CUSTOM HELP to your Microsoft CRM system.
Posted at 03:20 PM in MS CRM Users: Network and CRM SQL Database Administration, MS CRM Users: The Executive Office, MS CRM Users: The Marketing Department, MS CRM Users: The Sales Department, MS CRM Users: The Support Department, MS Dynamics Relationship Management Development (xRM), MSDYNCRM15 v7, MSDYNCRM16 v8 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tags: customize help, customized help, dynamics crm, help
Microsoft offers so many choices that sometimes finding out about new choices is noise, noise, noise, but then there are the noises that are worth listening too. Take for instance that for CRM Online users there is a solution that is free and is tucked into your administration options and that makes users go "wow".
Start by going to your CRMOL Administration Portal (http://portal.office.com) and selecting Service Settings, Dynamics CRM
You then want to select Dynamics CRM Administration which will list your instances and solutions
The world of CRM Online Offered Solutions
and I started this post with InsideView's Microsoft Dynamics CRM Insights on my mind. It offers some very interesting Account and Contact updates for users who want "web" data options for updating of account and contact details. READ the readme to fully enable for there is some need to update your forms to take advantage for the solution feature offerings. It also requires that you have configured your system administration account correctly.
In addition to the free offering the company also has more extensions and some international features. Take a peek at their website. and reach out to their team for more support and more awesome.
So you have not quite jumped to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 and you still have users who are learning more and more and more of the DEPTH and potential of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
You might also want to consider updating your DRIP LEARN habits. It is the New Year and new habits are a great way to polish up and sharpen up. What is DRIP LEARN? Drip learn is simply reading one blog post a day or one article or watching one 15 minute video. It is amazing how just a little bit of coffee cup, drip learning can impact your world and your thoughts.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a continuous book, with pages being edited and new pages being added with each release. Those who build their projects to live with the growth of their companies do not need to be concerned for the book continues as your business continues.
For those who are still running Microsoft Dynamics CRM older versions, this page might be of interest. The Microsoft Support Lifecycle Page
What is a Support Lifecycle, you ask or more appropriately, what is the support lifecycle policy? There is more on the website, but consider this ...
"What is the Support Lifecycle policy?
Microsoft provides an industry-leading Support Lifecycle policy—in length and provision—giving customers consistent, transparent, and predictable timelines for which software is supported."
Posted at 08:46 AM in MS CRM General Announcements, MS CRM in Enterprise , MS CRM Selling, MS CRM Studying, MSDYNCRM04, MSDYNCRM11 v5, MSDYNCRM13 v6, MSDYNCRM15 v7, MSDYNCRM16 v8 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tags: CRM, CRM Lifecycle, Extended Support, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support, Standard Support, Support Lifecycle
Microsoft has a long history of offering choices! Just consider how each individual can configure their Outlook usage differently from every other user and yet it is also consistent. This is a very interesting balance.
In the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and particularly in the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (currently v2016 aka 8.0.0.xxxx) the choices list is getting so long that I rarely hit a request that doesn't have many options.
Take for instance the integration to Microsoft Outlook and E-mail.
We have the traditional CRM Outlook Add-In Application which has continued to be updated and upgraded and we have a new Outlook App! Jesper has provided a really nice table of the differences in this blog post.
There is also the new MOBILE EXPERIENCE and MOBILE APPS and it is quite the experience or experiences ! Microsoft is now tapping into the incredible power of AZURE to further enhance the mobile offerings. I so love it when the development teams work closely together for even more WIN/WIN/WIN!
In terms of the details : Many of the partners are blogging on these new mobile features such as indicated in these links
BUT Wait that is not all! Welcome to the world of POWERAPPs! and you definitely want to follow the PowerApps team blog to keep an eye on this whole new business space. I mean don't you want to write your own app, without a developer?
The options don't stop there. There was a time when I would hear a bit of grumbling from the senior techie guru programmers who were not CRM Centric, but this grumbling is fading into a thing of the past. Developers can now work in the world of Dynamic CRM with hundreds of different technology choices. They can leverage the incredible application security depth of CRM, the business friendly process control, the "entity" relationship structure and the power of CRM to meet numerous custom solution needs.
Check out these three videos for more on leveraging the ANYTHING transactional relationship management platform.
Module 1: https://youtu.be/GI54dCi2sIg
Module 2: https://youtu.be/MC2NaanB5Mk
Module 3: https://youtu.be/c-TrDYQ6VQY
And as such I encourage all of the readers to adopt a mindset of continual learning, continual re-evaluation and continual planning to adopt all of the great. Choices are relevant depending on timing and given this world of change that we live in, timing constantly changes. So learn and question, learn and question and grow, grow, grow!
The above paragraph is from the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2016 (also called v8.x.x) Preview Guide. It is important to dive deeper into what this really means, because it can make a huge individual and corporate difference.
Why do we use CRM? In the traditional thought process ..
We use it
In a less traditional sense we also use it to
Why do we keep track of these interactions?
We keep track so that we can remember, we can grow, we can offer services, solutions, and opportunities to those that we have met.
We keep track so that we can meet our goals.
So how does productivity play into this? Why is productivity so very important and emphasized in the cutting edge, just about to be released, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 system?
It is all about how any given individual works on any given day. We write letters in Microsoft Word, we do analysis in Microsoft Excel, we read and respond to e-mail in Microsoft Outlook. We might even have hundreds of libraries of documents and files in SharePoint.
And we work with CRM, BUT what is important to realize is that for those super shined up, and refined businesses! They work with all of these tools seamlessly as if they were one application and they do this by leveraging the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Glue that Office 365 and CRMOnline offer.
It doesn't matter if you are in the CRM Interface or the Outlook interface or your mobile device all of your data is available.
Your contacts are organized against accounts and your documents for that account are available easily. Any sales opportunities are visible as are all of the account specific support cases.
Your client critical e-mails can be stored with one button click or other e-mails that are not worth saving can just remain in the noisy world of your personal Outlook.
WE work in our individual silos, BUT we also work on teams and information needs to be shared. MS CRM adds this duality of shared e-mail and private e-mail. The 360 degree view into the client. It does it by it's deep integration to the Office products.
You love Microsoft Excel! You want to do your data entry in Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 offers Immersive Excel where you can enter data into this beloved tool and have it update the centralized system of records.
You love writing letters in Microsoft Word! Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 supports creating Microsoft Word documents with data pulled from your CRM System. This data is not limited to client name and address. This data can be any data you want to include in your Microsoft Word document that you have access to in your MS CRM System.
Outlook: Ah yes Microsoft Outlook offers so many choices. Do you like using Outlook tasks, well these can be tracked as CRM contact activities with a single click the work you are doing in Outlook updates the client activity record in CRM that was pending completion. This also applies to appointments so valued in your calendar. Others need to know about many of these even if they are not invited.
Now let's talk about Microsoft Office 365, which is flying out of the gate and disrupting the calm world of Microsoft Office. Why ? Because Office 365 is so very much more than just Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook E-mail. O365 offers more and more APPS to office users. Products like SWAY, DELVE, POWERBI, PLANNER and even a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client Application for e-mail management. It is also disrupting with features such as GROUPS and all work tightly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
So productivity is huge, but Microsoft also continues to offer choice. So many choices and so many ways to work, with one consistent experience, the experience of one application with many, many features.
SO How do firms really become super refined and polished with this software? They work with consultants who specialize in helping you to make the right choices from the hundreds of choices to fit your business needs.
As canned as the triangle sounds : PEOPLE, PROCESS, PRODUCT/Technology it really is true. To get the most out of your investment in technology, invest in a partnership with a company who provides the product, and commit to working with people who can provide the experienced services, and refine and document and consult on your processes.
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.
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!
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
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 ...
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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?