MS CRM in Enterprise

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.

Enjoy! 


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.

 

 


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: https://www.youtube.com/user/msdyncomm/DynamicsCRM

 

CRM Team Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1 (7.1.0) Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1JfsMl9
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 Update 1 Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1JGVOxz
  • Microsoft Social Engagement 2015 Update 1Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1QIgxmq
  • Parature, from Microsoft 15.2 Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1Pd1625
  • 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.


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."

READ MORE


The Power of Choice (and the risks)

One of the most fabulous features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the number of choices that any given business can have when leveraging the power of the toolset. This helps the solution and the product, the processes and the people to grow and change as businesses grow and change. 

This is also one of the biggest dilemmas for the "New to Dynamics CRM" crowd. Choice makes a number of seasoned veterans to business applications scratch their heads and ask "Why". They assume that what they see is what they get.

They often mention things like "Why does the product do this out of the box" or "I need to talk to the development team about how (pick your vendor Siebel, SAP, Oracle, etc. etc. etc.) models this differently". They can even lock themselves into a box by eliminating a huge number of choices and blocking these from the business because of their own filters.

What is often misunderstood is that the consulting partner, resource, resources, mix and match team or IT department that a business works with, needs to understand both your business, the CRM Industry and methodologies for success and the depth of the technology.

This is a big ask, but so many customers have found success! It is not an impossible ask.

This post is to encourage CxOs to consider and discuss and participate in technology as part of their long term growth and to insure that the adaptability of that technology is part of the discussion. Take small bites (small phases) and let teams grow, change and mature on a continued and seamless path to success.  Lastly don't make a decision and walk away. The heartbeat of a business is living and changing and many times always being updated. Setup reviews both of the solution and of the processes and make continued decisions.


Don't Forget a Bit of Dynamics CRM Housecleaning!

The people who work on Microsoft Dynamics CRM don't always know all the details of loving and caring for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and although it doesn't need much, it does like some care.

This is why the community is so incredible and no amount of thanks can truly show the appreciation for the hundreds of hours community members spend blogging and sharing great information.

So today  I am sharing an older post for those using all versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but particularly for those who might want to do even more to keep their system singing and moving along.

Take a look at this blog post about maintaining the tables that many business analysts depend on for efficient workflow functionality.


Access Teams and Security! #MSDYNCRM

A user’s security role needs to match the privileges at the ‘User’ level with the Access Team Template Privileges (R,W,A,A2,D,Assign and Share) associated with the Entity.  If an Access Team has Delete privileges and a user's security roles did not, the user will be blocked from being added to the team.  CRM Security is AWESOME and this shows that security can’t be bypassed just by adding someone to a team.  If that user cannot delete a record, then adding them to an Access Team with that privilege won’t work!

Big thanks to the awesome: Thymio Barbatsis, for continuing to share incredible tidbits with the community 


ExtremeCRM : Dynamics CRM Awesomeness!

There are some INCREDIBLE partners and clients doing incredible things in the world with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and a layering of conferences that show the incredible. The Agility, the flexibility and the services that surround the product all create a huge economic advantage to companies from Enterprise to SMB. ExtremeCRM is one of those great conferences.  

A couple of the partners recently presented their solutions at ExtremeCRM and it was summarized so well in this picture.

ExtremeCRM
 


What is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM View?

Within Microsoft Dynamics CRM each entity has a set of system views. These system views can be configured or added to and as such are a powerful feature within the system. You can even create new views.

So what exactly is a view?

If you are familiar with a spreadsheet, you know that you have rows and columns of data and each piece of data sits in its own little cell. A view in Dynamics CRM is just like a spreadsheet. It has rows and columns of data. Additionally any given view in the system also let's you "click" and export to Excel.

Other powerful features of views include the ability to add columns of data from not just the entity where the view is defined, but from every entity that is related to the entity where the view is defined.

You can also sort views of data by clicking on the header of a column and secondarily sort by shift clicking on the next column.

People using Dynamics CRM can also use "Advanced Find" to create their own personal views of data. So if your IT Department is a bit buried under a long to-do list, you don't have to wait. You can create your own personal views AND you can even share these views with your peers or manager.

OK, so you really don't want to give up Excel and all the pivoting and graphics that you can do with it. Guess what, you don't have too! Views feed Excel and all the powerful data manipulation techniques that Excel offers. Check Out PowerView, PowerBI and PowerPivot, if you love Excel, you will go over the top with these Excel add-ins. CRM + Microsoft Excel "Better Together"

Views have another role within the world of Dynamics CRM. They feed charts, so setup your favorite view and then use the CRM Chart feature to chart the data from that view. These charts can be added to Dashboards for instant, dynamic, graphical love!

If you want to learn even more about views you can read about them in the MSDN library entry called Customize Entity Views.  


A Bold New World: Even more choices #CRM2013

As we move into this bold new world of many different devices, we are also opening the door for many different options for accessing our central Dynamics CRM store of data. When learning about all the different options keep in mind the differences between an application that is built to work in different OS environments such as the new Tablet access to Dynamics CRM and an application that is built for a more specific set of criteria such as a specific Windows 8 CRM Phone applications. Key areas of slight shift are items such as on a phone you are usually talking about the "phone" focus and providers like Verizon and AT&T whereas on a tablet your focus on phone might be Skype or Lync.

It is easy to get confused and Dynamics CRM v2013 offers so much!! I have to admit I am excited.

The Tablet access offers cross browser, but also many different tablet centric features like touch, pinning and choice of surfacing what you want to see where.

The Mobile access offers the really tiny form factor (for those small phones) as well as consideration for offline.

We also continue to have the Outlook Client which leverages all that is Dynamics CRM and all the great features within Outlook and the Web Client Access offering the application from your choice of a set of browsers.

In this brave new world you need to figure out how to best communicate all of the power of choice to your customers, peers and team members. As much as we are One Microsoft and One OS across many different devices, there are certain features and options that are very relavant for some devices and not important to others. Given this the technology you are using and the choices it offers does make a difference.

Choice is also not limited to technologies, it is also all about business culture, department process and individual working styles. The convergence of business and information technology is now!

What is amazing about Microsoft is that they offer so many incredible choices without nickel and diming their customers. They help customers use what they need where from their deep pockets of choice.


A Wealth of Resources in the world of #msdyncrm

A little Monday morning wake up and refresh!

Have you found the Microsoft Dynamics CRM IT Pro Center on Technet?

There are a number of nice little goodies in this including the CRM Online Enterprise Planning Guide. CRMOnline is not just for SMB!


Within the world of the CRM Industry there is a cutting edge ...

Within the world of the CRM Industry there is a cutting edge ...

AND when it comes to the cutting edge pushing the design of data consumption is right up there with tying the use of CRM to employee motivation. As in they get more motived the more they use the internal CRM application. (yes, really, but I will save that for a future post)

Thanks to Mark for sharing this great post and a free solution on data display design - Perhaps take a few minutes to check it out and comment.

 http://markmargolis.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/crm-timeline/#comment-500

 

http://markmargolis.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/crm-timeline/#comment-500

 


What the heck is ... CRM:53143123 in my e-mail subject line?

The famous Ben Hosk wrote up a great little post about the e-mail tracking token. I like to call it half of the locket or an automation puzzle piece. It clicks a responding e-mail into the e-mail that is being responded to. Offering incredibly reliable threading. On the other hand it is TOTALLY Optional and Dynamics CRM is sophisticated enough to have even more embedded algoritums of success.

If you would like to know more about the e-mail tracking token, take a peek at Ben's writeup which you can find here.


A day in the life of Enterprise

I can't help sharing when I see stories of companies doing cool things within the world of Dynamics CRM.

Needless to say when this little story crossed my plate today I thought I would share.

Check out Weight Watchers and Dynamics CRM

 


The beautiful world of CRM Multi-Tenant

Rather than dive into writing something again that was so well written by another member of the community I am sharing a post about Multi-Tenant and why this powerful option is now available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online users.

Read Here


Reporting, Reporting and more reporting #msdyncrm

Time to think differently about this concept of reporting. In some systems your only choice to get the data out of the system is with a report, BUT it is not like that with Dynamics CRM.

In fact it has not been like that for quite sometime, but I find that we often forget to mention some of the "cool" that exists when everyone is buzzing about the latest or next greatest feature.

So thinking about slicing, dicing, analysing,  and looking at the data that is in Dynamics CRM you have a number of choices that do not contain the word "report"

1. Review Data in a Dynamic Excel Spreadsheet or Pivot Table or Chart

    The security on the user opening this in Excel drives the data that is displayed.

2. Review data in a Static Excel Spreadsheet or Pivot Table or Chart

    The data stays static, no matter the user.

3. Use Excel 2013 PowerPivot or PowerView on Dynamics CRM Data

4. Leverage Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services

5. Leverage FetchXML to pull data into your choice of BI Tools.

6. Check out Microsoft's Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS)

7. Use Dynamics CRM Advanced Find to pull data from a relationship tree of entities

8. Leverage the built in Dynamics CRM Report Writer

9. Use Microsoft Word Mail Merge to pull Dynamics CRM data into a favorite Microsoft Word Template

10. Tab into the extensive power of the entire Microsoft Office Stack and the integration between the different applications within this stack from CRM -> Excel -> Word  -> Visio -> OneNote and more.

11. Leverage the power of Entity specific Charts and charts on related entities

12. Leverage the built in Dashboards and the dashboard building wizards for individuals or for the entire company

13.  Use the built in Report Wizard

14. And if the above isn't enough to think about you also have a huge MarketPlace of Reporting and Business Intelligence available addin options.

 


Dynamics CRM Testing: UI Tools

Are you diving into the world of automation testing for extended Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects?

 

Take a look at Visual Studio 2012!

 

There is a whole set of UI Automation testing just waiting to be found!

To get you started you can read about testing for continuous development.

You can also read about What's new in Test Manager 2012.

and then there is the Visual Studio Magazine article on Automating UI Testing and

the list goes on ...

 

 

 


A Second in an Elevator

Do you know how every programmer is a creatively unique person? They like to artistically write and develop their custom code and (to the developers - you then tend to be responsible for it for life). I specialize in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, because I want to see more value for business investments in customized and extended solutions. I work with Microsoft Consulting Services to do this, on projects that are different (and sometimes the same) as standard Customer Relationship Management solutions that solve sales process, marketing process and service process needs.

Solutions can range across a very wide range of needs, but generally flow across numerous different departments.  Integration to Microsoft Office is a common need, tracking of relationships between things or people is a common need and tight ties to Excel for pivoting, reporting and analysis comes up a lot. Document Management with CRM's relationship to SharePoint and so much more.

So if you are still using Access (on speed) or Excel (multipled by 1000s) then maybe it is time to rethink.


Unit Testing CRM v2011 and Enterprise Development BP

1)      Unit testing CRM – Some interesting food for thought  

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/devkeydet/archive/2012/10/31/how-i-develop-and-unit-test-crm-2011-plugins.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/devkeydet/archive/2012/11/27/unit-testing-crm-2011-javascript-web-resources.aspx

 

2)      Enterprise CRM team development – Feedback from the field from Shan (CEO of ADX) and more good food for thought –

A special 2 hour XrmVirtual presentation on Enterprise CRM team development focusing on change management and application lifecycle management (ALM) tools.  Here is the event page:  http://www.xrmvirtual.com/events/team_dev_ShanMc_CRM2011


Dynamics CRMOnline and the SLA

When it comes to all things SLA the Dynamics CRM team posted a great blog post a couple of years ago complete with a number of great hyperlinks. I was re-reading this today and I realized that it was definitely worth a reshare!

So if you have questions about CRMOnline's Service Level Agreements START HERE 

 


To the Dynamics xRM Developers in the World

SureStep has a little file that is not always that easy to find, BUT it is a very powerful document for any developer ramping up on or learning Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The specific file name within SureStep is 1.5.1 Development Standards XRM

Additonally any new and old xRM developer should know about the following resources

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development Best Practices (available in PartnerSource and MSDN)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK Documentation (available in PartnerSource and in MSDN)

MSDN: Design Guidelines for Class Library Developers, Microsoft Corporation, 2004 (MSDN Library)

 

 


Dynamics CRM Integration Continued

Yesterday's post generated some nice feedback. As it turns out there is a nice list of Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration options on the Microsoft TechNet Wiki (A great totally under appreciated resource)

You can read more on Integrating to Microsoft Dynamics CRM here


Integration: the joys, pains and options

One of the core design philosophy's of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and the labeling and use of this application as an xRM platform, is that the application is built with the expectation that developers will extend the functionality and teams will integrate other applications into it. This is particularly common within the world of large enterprise.

The joy of integration for the user:  User's can not only see all their data in one place, they also have options to add external data into that one place!  Data that is display only, window frames that peek into other applications within the same interface (like Google or Bing), data that is synchronized realtime (such as SharePoint) and in batch (like Active Directory integration) and even more derivatives of the same!  

Now to a customer, the term integration can have many, many different meanings. One of the first steps for anyone when faced with the term "integration" in a project meeting is to ask for the business process. What is the true need? Visibility, modification, creation? 

"systems integration is the process of linking together different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole"

The key term "to act as a coordinated whole" which does not necessarily mean duplicating data between two systems nor does it imply simple. Distributed system integration is one of the most complex data coordination needs a team can face. In this mobile world, the risk that distributed data is needed on any given project, increases.

Dynamics CRM has some distributed processing built in. When you take your data offline using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook client you are stepping into the distributed world. For instance the timing of when you go back online can impact your data and the coordination and rules around this dip into distributed thought.

OK So integration is a fact of life, so what are the options?

There are some very interesting third party vendor options. Some are loved, some hated, some are loved and hated and others are well brand new and unrated.

One of the new players (at least to me) is Synchronicity Systems out of the UK. They have a product called ECHO. I would be interested in any feedback from the field on ECHO.  They have niched an offering for moving an on-premise Microsoft Dynamics CRM v3, v4 or v2011 to the cloud.  

Another well known player is Scribe Software.

If you are tying into DynamicsGP (Great Plains), eOne is a vendor who has deep DynamicsGP history and Dynamics CRM connecct. 

and there is also always the totally custom route using SSIS or BizTalk.  


Dynamics CRM Utilities, utilities, utilities

For anyone ramping up on Dynamics CRM development make note

There are a TON of utilities to make your life easier available in codeplex, Microsoft Downloads, and in the SDK. Some of these utilities are version specific and some are good for all verisons

Go check them out and to get you started here are just a few to wet the appetite

CRMDiag

– Diagnostics Tool for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 or v4 which helps CRM developers and administrators to enable trace and devErrors on a CRM server.  It also generates an HTML report file with information about the CRM deployment.
 
–A small to tool which Generates CRM 4.0 Picklist Customization XML. This tool allows you to cut and paste a comma separated list of values and descriptions into a text box and then generate a set of XML picklist options which can be pasted into your Customization.xml file.
CRM Documentation - from Microsoft Dynamics CRM Documentation team’s famous Jim Daly
–Automatically generates technical documentation from a CRM Database Metadata
A large set of tools that includes a Sitemap editor, a tool for Dynamics CRM icon resizing (for custom entities), The ability to generate test data quickly and more
–Takes two customization.xml files and compares and reports on the differences
–For those projects where numerous similar views are requested within any entity. This tool offers replication of the Layers, columns and width increasing consistency.
–The tool allows you to display the list of all attributes and select if you want them to be searchable or not. In only one action, you can set all attributes searchable property for one entity. 
–With this tool, you can:
•Indicate which entity you want to inspect
•Enter the identifier of the object in question
•Searching for a user with its name or its unique identifier
•Click the “Retrieve rights” button and the program will tell you what rights the user with respect to the record
Support for all out of the box privileges - By default the export utility will export ALL privileges, including custom privileges.

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!


Fun with Dates

In this incredible world of both technology offering calculated date and people capturing data from all over the world the two concepts can sometimes collide!

Take for instance the world of dates.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers UTC adjustments, personal settings and Date and Time fields. What this means is that depending on how you have your computer configured and your Dynamics CRM Personal Options the dates that you enter are adjusted.

Microsoft Outlook does this as well. If  I was to setup a meeting with an associate in California for instance on my calendar for today the meeting would display as Eastern Time (2pm for instance), but for my associate (CRM Guru Marc Wolenik)  the date and time would display as (11am) and if we then added in another person such as a cool CRM Guru in Australia (Leon Tribe) the time would not only be different, the DAY would be different.   

So what happens when you start capturing these types of dates inside of Dynamics CRM for analysis or reporting?

If all the dates are entered by "humans" correctly configured for their local time zones then the software correctly handles all the adjustments. The only trick with regards to this set of considerations is that DATE Only fields are well not really date only so watch that!

If all the dates however are entered by other "Systems" then a bit more thought needs to go into the architecture. Take for instance a system that resides on a server in a data center that is capturing date information based on that servers date. If you then take that date and enter it via an integration, how would you expect Dynamics CRM to react?

How would that date be managed?

Do you want it to be fixed? or adjusted?

If you want it to be adjusted, how are you going to tell the system to adjust it?

What if you want it to be a date field BUT you want to lock it to a certain time zone?

These are the joys of the world of global!  


IE 8 and CRM - Something you might not know

PowerObjects had a great little blog post on Internet Explore 8 when it came out highlighting a few of the cool NEW features that are worth learning about if you are using Dynamics CRM.

Now that IE 8 is part of your everyday routine (and you are thinking about IE 9) take a look at this post on some of the features that might have slipped your notice in what you ALREADY have.

Oh and in terms of security (for those of you running other web browers)

"Testing conducted by the independent NSS Labs found that IE8 provided signifigantly better malware blocking capabilities than Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and Apple Safari."


My push back to the Senior .NET developer thinking on Why xRM?

The best part (s) of the Dynamics xRM platform 

 1)       Developers don’t ever have to “line up fields on a form”

 2)       DBAs are not needed to build the database, although a few database indexes are good to have (if wanted) DBAs are still needed!

 3)       Users can design their own forms (ok this is only in xRM 2011) and not step on other people’s preferences – In v4.0 the CRM trained BA can do it, no developer necessary.

 4)       Users can come up with their own views, dump the data to Excel, save it as a report and be glorified heroes to their boss. In fact they can export to a Dynamic Excel Pivot chart (that when the boss opens it, shows the bosses secure data in all sorts of cool graphs)

5)       In 2011 – Users can create their own charts on the fly, charts have built in drill down (IS doesn’t have to write as many SSRS Reports!)

6)       Programmers can focus on the fun stuff like Silverlight interfaces ((not the stuff they have developed 100 times before))

7)       The bling – doesn’t take a year to develop  

8)       Users get new features every 6 weeks and over 500+ new features every 1-2 years from Microsoft (if the extensions are written in the supported framework, it is an upgrade – not an expensive rewrite or a risky set of custom reactive patches that over a number of years gets painful to support)

9)       To solve a user problem, to fix a bug or to figure out what is up is usually a phone call away. With 1 million other users you are not always the first one to find it and with Tier 1, 2, 3 support not to mention the blogs and books and a crazy wild community ... well nice to have community.

10)    Integration to Google Maps, GeoData or Bing Maps takes less than a week to complete.

11)    Popping any other web application (with a link) from the menu can take less than an hour to enable, add role security ok a day or two

 12)    There are hundreds of Apps that you can buy to plug in. iPad interface, Advanced Marketing, Hoovers integration, BI and OLAP analysis, mobility, 

 13)    You still need .NET developers! Integration, extensions, cool stuff, new things in .NET and SQL and more! not redundant done it 100 times before like authentication code, Form Field line up, etc.

Ok, ok there are some change requirements (believe it or not I am not 100% CRM Kool-Aid (maybe 80%;))

1)       Experienced .NET developers have to change process to fit within working with another .NET development team that is external (Microsoft Dev team) 

2)       The team writing the framework is not perfect and do make mistakes

3)       The efficiencies to Microsoft Dynamics xRM have to be learned via training, reading and experience. (the first two are the least painful) particularly if you skip them.

4)       The first project never lives up to the expectation of a more efficient turn around particularly when the people trying to hit this expectation do not get the time to get training, or think they can train themselves, (field feedback and connection with the MS Developers helps a lot)

5)       Business users also need to realize they get the cool stuff but it comes with other features that don't necessarily just turn off if they don't like that way of doing it.

6)       Infrastructure matters:  Supporting CRM infrastructure requires expanded network administrator skills and it helps to have DBA input and involvement 

7)       You can screw it up (but then what else is new)

8)       When people screw it up, they blame it on xRM/CRM instead of on all the factors

9)       CRM is not an ERP or financial application framework, sometimes the DynamicsAX Framework is a better choice particularly when it comes to crazy tax codes that you don’t want to be the one keeping current.


Caring for ASYNC

David Jennaway has a great post on the Asynchronous Service as well. You can read some of it here and link to the rest over on Dave's great CRM blog at http://mscrmuk.blogspot.com/ 

=================================================================

CRM 4.0 UR 3 brought in a useful feature, the ability to configure the CRM Asynchronous Service to automatically delete records from completed asynchronous operations, and hence keep the size of the asyncoperationbase SQL table down to a reasonable size. This behaviour is configured by the registry values AsyncRemoveCompletedJobs and AsyncRemoveCompletedWorkflows

However, I recently met an issue with this behaviour, where the CRM Asynchronous Service appears to get in a state where all it is doing is deleting completed jobs, to the exclusion of all other activity. This can leave the CRM Asynchronous Service to have effectively hung (not responding to service control requests, nor polling for new jobs to process) and not to process any new jobs for a considerable period of time (in one environment, this could be several hours).

The main symptoms are:

  • No jobs being processed for a considerable period of time
  • The Crm Asynchronous Service not responding to service control requests (i.e. you cannot stop it through the Services console, so you have to kill the process)
  • No values reported for most performance counters (e.g. 'Total Operations Outstanding', 'Threads in use')
  • If you do restart the service, you see a burst of activity (including performance counters) whilst outstanding jobs are processed, then it reverts to the same behaviour as above
  • If you look at the SQL requests submitted by the Crm Asynchronous Service (I use the SQL dynamic management views sys.dm_exec_requests and sys.dm_exec_sessions) you see just one DELETE request and no other SQL activity

At the moment, the only workaround I have is to remove the registry values, and to use a scheduled SQL job to periodically clear out the asyncoperationbase table. Here is an example of such a script.

 

Read More:

http://mscrmuk.blogspot.com/2010/12/stability-issues-with.html

 


A Little Bit More on ASYNC

Thanks to Matt Wittemann over at ICU MSCRM  

=================

Posted by Matt Wittemann

There have been several KB articles and updates published to help control the size of the AsyncOperationBase table, which can cause your CRM database to grow very large, very quickly. (See here and here.) But just what are all those records anyway?

I pulled the following lists together from the SDK and technet in order to put this info in one place, where it’s a little more user-friendly (at least for me!).

First, the list of AsyncOperationTypes:

READ MORE at

http://icu-mscrm.blogspot.com/2009/12/asyncoperationbase-table-what-are-all.html

Value

Field

Description

1 Event Specifies a system event.
2 BulkEmail Specifies a bulk e-mail operation.
3 Parse Specifies an import file parse operation.
4 Transform Specifies an operation to transform parse data.
5 Import Specifies an import operation.
6 ActivityPropagation Specifies a campaign activity propagation operation.
7 PublishDuplicateRule Specifies an operation to publish a duplicate detection rule.
8 BulkDetectDuplicates Specifies a bulk duplicate detection operation.
9 CollectSqmData Specifies an operation to collect SQM data.
10 Workflow Specifies a workflow operation.
11 QuickCampaign Specifies a quick campaign operation.
12 PersistMatchCode Specifies an operation to update the matchcode.
13 BulkDelete Specifies a bulk delete operation.
14 DeletionService Specifies a Deletion Service operation.
15 IndexManagement Specifies an index management operation.
16 CollectOrgStats Specifies an operation to collect an organization's statistics.
17 ImportingFile Specifies an import subprocess operation.
18 CalculateOrgStorageSize Specifies an operation to calculate an organization's storage size.
19 CollectOrgDBStats Specifies an operation to collect an organization's database statistics.
20 CollectOrgSizeStats Specifies an operation to collection an organization's size statistics.
21 DatabaseTuning Specifies an operation for database tuning.
22 CalculateOrgMaxStorageSize Specifies an operation to calculate an organization's maximum storage size.
23 BulkDeleteChild Specifies a bulk delete subprocess operation.
24 UpdateStatisticIntervals Specifies an operation to update statistic intervals.
25 FullTextCatalogIndex Specifies an operation to generate an organization full text catalog index.
26 DatabaseLogBackup  
27 UpdateContractStates Specifies an operation to update contract states.
28 ShrinkDatabase  
29 ShrinkLogFile  
30 ReindexAll Specifies an index management operation.
31 StorageLimitNotification  
32 CleanupInactiveWorkflowAssemblies  
38 ImportSampleData  

Next, here’s a list of the different state/statuscodes that each of these operation types can be in:

State Status Numeric status value
Ready WaitingForResources 0
Suspended Waiting 10
Locked InProgress 20
Locked Pausing 21
Locked Canceling 22
Completed Succeeded 30
Completed Failed 31
Completed Canceled 32

Hope this is useful to you! Have fun with it.

http://icu-mscrm.blogspot.com/2009/12/asyncoperationbase-table-what-are-all.html


Thank you Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support

A big shoot out to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support. I know they cringe (or run) when they see it is a rare support call from Anne, but I did want to say that I really appreciate all the hard work that the guys in North Dakota put into solving some of the toughest problems. They use team work, a win/win attitude and have they have a keen ability to listen with an open mind to get to the root of things.

All you CRM GURU, GURUs in the field - if you have not shared your latest edge case discovery with support lately then I would encourage you to document and post to the appropriate CRM Forums. "Help thy neighbor, helps thy self."

 

 


Blogosphere - Performance, SQL and DLL Registration

A couple of great posts today that just spurred me to get back on the blogging band wagon.

OK, there was another reason. Over the last couple of weeks I have found that both in Twitter (follow me @CRMLady) and on Facebook and Yammer I have been having a hard time sticking with 140 characters and I am not about to change my entire language to one letter words soo blogging is a better tool for deeper (or perhaps just more wordy) thoughts.

Credit for the posts that caught my eye goes to Sean Shilling from Customer Effective. (Sean you are going to need to get your name added to the list of authors ;)  These posts motivated me to first start sharing via e-mail and then kicked me back into blogging gear (Thanks Sean!)

CRM and SQL : for those with slightly bigger Microsoft Dynamics CRM databases, performance is something you want to think about. This includes standard performance items like indexing the database. To get started take a look at this post to learn more about the CRM SQL Tables.

CRM Plugin Registration and Un-registration Utility: for those who manage a number of different teams, different developers and different environments. You might want a more graphical interface for plugin registration. You can read more about that here.

 


Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.0 Rollup 11 has been released

In a wonderfully consistent best practice the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development team has released their latest rollup for Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.0. Nice Job Guys!

R11 has a number of updates and enhancements for Enterprise including items focused on performance improvement when dealing with tens of thousands of workflows and fine tuning around active directory user settings.

The Microsoft team has also managed NOT to neglect the help files (something easy to do when developing at the speed of light). The documentation team has continued to update the electronic help files that come with the system. A new release of help is included in this rollup and it is recommended that this also be installed.

Download Rollup 11

Read More about Rollup 11




CRM Multitenancy

There is a lot to learn about Microsoft Dynamics CRM; although many have been tripped up by the ease in which you can configure and customize the system and the general marketing buzz. Don't let this fool you into thinking you are not still working with a powerful machine!

Dan Blake offers a primer on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Infrastructure multi-tenancy options. His post on this is now a year and a half old, but it still packs a mean punch with some great tidbits so if Multi-Tenancy is within your radar take a look.