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September 2011

Dynamics CRM mature

You know that Microsoft Dynamics CRM has really come of age when not only are their over 1 million licenses sold for the product, BUT you start stumbling on information on Dynamics CRM in places like eHOW.

Take for instance this little video on Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.0 Certification

or this one on How to Work with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM eBook 

and of course YouTube is PACKED with more Dynamics CRM information and noise than most people know what to do with.


Utilization and Dynamics CRM

You have rolled out your project or you are working on it and that "I hate change" and "What? I have to learn something new?" are tripping you up and getting in your way.  These mindsets create speed bumps and the more speed bumps the harder the change.

So what can you do and if you know what to do how can you get the attention of your users in this noisy, noisy world so that they understand what is available to them?

The Top 7 Ideas

1. Using an experienced and trained Dynamics CRM resource, present Dynamics CRM regulary. This does not necessarily mean training, this is much more focused on sharing ease of use and the potential for the tool to meet an existing needs. Only present what you have delivered or are delivering.

2. Present audience specific information that meets the interests and needs of a very defined small audience. Don't try to meet the needs of customer service, sales and marketing or the needs of managers, sales people, marketing experts and developers all in the same 1 hour presentation.

3. Adopt the DRIP mindset. A one hour presentation a few times a month, focused on two specific features, is much more powerful and useful than eight hours of overwhelming rain showers.

4. Listen to your audience without trying to change their opinion. Different functions are easy or difficult depending on the user's perceptions. It might be easy for you, but it could be hard for them. Avoid that word EASY. Do you Golf? Consider how hard it is to change your golf swing if you have been swinging it the same way for 10 years. It might improve your game BUT

5.  First impressions are not usually lasting impressions particularly when it comes to Dynamics CRM and the flexibility and multitude of choices it offers. Offer as much training in as many different formats as possible.

Consider that anyone over 30 was trained on applications that let you do one thing at a time. One open account record for instance. Dynamics CRM allows you to work on 5 Accounts at the same time. It fits in your kids world - You know the world where kids have 5 IM windows open on their machine which are current conversations and they are working on their homework and they are listening to music. Dynamics CRM offers the flexibility to fit in this multi-tasking world. Choice makes for more complexity, raising the learning curve. Allow people the time to adjust off of their first impressions through good training.

6) Try to discover mindsets and relationships with the software that cause frustration. "I just tolerate that it has to be done that way" applies to many different tools in use today. Just as in Outlook people fall into pattern and habit which is not necessarily the easiest or the best way to use a tool. Watch how your users use the software to do their tasks. Be a detective, document that business process and then step back and consider and discuss with management what the best options are. Many time these options do not require dollars or huge effort.

7) Remember that in the world of technology and business software the tools and base foundation never stop changing. It is our habits, training, busy lives and reluctance to change that delays the goal of the highest utilization possible with the tools available in any given point of time.


Self Support - Something New

If you have not discovered the new searchable Microsoft Product Support page then you might want to take a look. You can pick your product of choice and then search the knowledge base on your issue of the day! This includes cool products like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but also includes almost any product Microsoft related (phone, IE, XBox, Security, Zune, you name it)  

 


What Version Am I Really Running?

Occassionally the need arises to double check exactly what version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you are running and when I say version, I mean the exact .0000000 version. Christian recently posted on exactly how one goes about doing that.  

His post can be found HERE or below are some of his wise, wise words.

"As many Dynamics CRM 4.0 aficionados know, Microsoft releases regular updates to iron out documented issues [and to sprinkle in a little love].  CRM 2011 is no exception; three Update Rollups have already been released since RTM.

Note that the On-Premise build numbers I list below may be different than what you will find in CRM 2011 Online.  Microsoft continuously adds new updates behind the scenes, thus the likelihood of having a greater build number in comparison to the latest Update Rollup version.

To determine your current build number from the IE web client, simply:

  1. Browse to your CRM 2011 website
  2. Click on the File tab
  3. Navigate to Help
  4. Click on “About Microsoft Dynamics CRM”

To determine your current build number from the Outlook CRM client:

  1. Open Outlook with the CRM Client installed
  2. Click on the File tab
  3. Click on the CRM side tab
  4. Click on the “About Microsoft Dynamics CRM”  button

A window will pop up with your build number listed.  If you used Outlook, you will see the build numbers for both the Server and Outlook CRM Client (sample screenshot below).

See below for a chart of the Dynamics CRM 2011 build versions.  I’ll try to keep it current, so be sure to bookmark and check back later!

Version

Release Date

Build Number

KB Article

Release Candidate

 

5.0.9688.53

2461082

Beta (On Premise)

 

5.0.9585.106

 

Beta (Online)

 

5.0.9585.107

 

RTM

February 16, 2011

5.0.9688.583

Download RTM

Update Rollup 1

April 7, 2011

5.0.9688.1045

2466084

Update Rollup 2

June 2, 2011

5.0.9688.1155

2466086

Update Rollup 3

July 28, 2011

5.0.9688.1244

2547347

 "


Performance and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built using a number of different techniques and tools from Microsoft. Given these various techniques performance is optimized, but that does not mean that each individual partner, customer and developer doesn't need to pay attention.

Performance of a multi-user, highly dynamic, many moving parts system is worth adding to your project plan. To make fine tuning performance even easier the Microsoft CRM Engineering for Enterprise team has continued to keep their "Optimizing and Maintaining the Performance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Clients" and their testing documentation such as the "Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Performance and Scalability with Intel" white paper current.

There are even more resources when it comes to performance and Dynamics CRM so if this is a hot point for you, take a look!