MS CRM Partner Resources

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."

READ MORE


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: https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/products/what-is-visual-studio-online-vs 

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.


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.

 


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.  


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!


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


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

https://technet.microsoft.com/library/dn531078.aspx#BKMK_SwitchDelete

 

Switch an instance

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn896590.aspx

 

Delete an instance

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn896592.aspx


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!

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 (http://microsoft.com/dynamicsaa (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 microsoft.com with questions.  Please note that space is limited and applications are only accepted for another couple weeks.  Space is filling quickly!


MDM and CRM : Working Together

So you have been wondering how an application as powerful as MDM (Microsoft Dynamics Marketing) can work so seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It is for instance built and released for the large enterprise marketing department who likes to control their own data and applications.

Well the bridge exists and here is a great blog post that shows the numerous links between MDM and CRM.

 

 


Dynamics CRM 7.x.x Certification Exams

Some good news about exams - You now have some Online Proctored Options so for those of us in more rural areas, we don't have to drive a couple of hours to an exam center!! Hurray!

  • MB2-704            Application
  • MB2-704OP               Online Proctored
  • MB2-706            Online Deployment
  • MB2-706OP
  • MB2-707            Customization and Configuration
  • MB2-707OP
  • MB2-708            Installation
  • MB2-708OP

MB2-720    Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

and there are so many more !     


Form Load Performance: Did you know you can ... in the latest versions?

I always learn something new when I follow and read the incredible Microsoft Professional Field Engineering CRM Teams Blog! Today I thought it was worth reposting and linking to their tip number 4 from Convergence that they shared.

So you might be wondering about performance on your forms. Check out this handy little tidbit.

CRM Performance Center     

  • Ctrl+Shift+Q (Chrome & Firefox –> Ctrl+Shift+E)  Performance tool built into CRM 2013+. 
  • Gives you the ability to see load times for each component on the form.  Available on form loads only

And thanks to PowerObjects for blogging about this item worth of consideration.


Understanding Sentiment Analysis

It is time to get social! and when you want to get social, you want to understand the incredible power behind Microsoft Social within the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

As a primer take a look at this great blog post by one of the greats in the industry!

http://blogs.technet.com/b/lystavlen/archive/2014/09/25/understanding-sentiment-analysis-in-microsoft-social-listening.aspx 


CRMUG has not been sleeping! GREAT Connects, GREAT Content

If you have not visited the CRMUG website lately, you might want to go take a look. They have been using new community software and have continued to organize and host local, national and webinar enabled meetings for users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

One of the best things you can do if you are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM is to get involved in 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.  


Keeping up with Dynamics CRM Versions

Keeping up with the incredible Microsoft Dynamics CRM versions in the old days was hard enough, but now the team is  updating and releasing at an even faster pace. 

Benefits:

  • If you don't like something, enter a CONNECT request and you might be surprised sooner than you think or VOTE on one already submitted.

 

  • Competition: There information is probably outdated, ask multiple sources. Also make sure you include an experienced servcies provider in your conversations. The Field Service teams at Microsoft and at Partners configure and extend past most all objections.

Negatives:

  • You need to make sure to plan on staying current.
  • You need to interrupt the versioning.

These Resources can help

 The Dynamics CRM in the Field Blog

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog

 


Dynamics CRM v2013 Rollup 1 has been released #mscrm2013

I have recently changed my daily process to include Yammer and the value add has been significant. Take for instance the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Rollup 1, Yammer post with link and discussions letting me know it was available.

If your company currently has YAMMER and you are not using it, you might want to reconsider. Timing is everything when it comes to accepting new and sometimes you just need to re-evaluate on an ongoing basis.

 


Jump Start your MS CRM 2013 Understanding #crm2013

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 has so much to offer and one of the best ways to start getting your head around what is being offered is to regularly attend some great either 100 or 300 level webinars.

Luckily Microsoft is offering such webinars for partners, customers and prospects.

You can find the whole series here: http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/offers/crm2013demos/

Or if you want to just sign up for tomorrow's session, here is the link: https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032569331&Culture=en-US&community=0

Promote via LinkedIn/Twitter as well!  Thanks!


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.


Are you ready for some CRM v2013 reading?

 Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Implementations Guide

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Software Developer Kit (SDK)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Performance Counters

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Connectivity and Port Requirements

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Server

Scalable Security Modeling for Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013

Using multi-tenancy in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 to address challenges in enterprise business environments

 


The word of the day is: Composite Control

Within the world of millions of pieces of data, relating certain data to other data can create a new piece of data. Take for instance a Full Name.  

A full name can be considered one piece of data or it can be broken down into two, three, four or more pieces of data. Take the full name : Mr. John Jay Smith III and broken down we see the following:

  • Salute: Mr.
  • First Name: John
  • Middle Name: Jay
  • Last Name: Smith
  • Prefix: III

and these pieces can be data or can be combined to create a number of different data names. John, John Smtih, John Jay Smith, John Jay Smith III, Mr. John Jay Smith III

Why does this even concern anyone? Well these are details that are important within the world of development and coding.

So welcome to Composite Control! A development choice for grouping the need to enter like data through a smooth user friendly interface.

In Dynamics CRM v2013 Composite Control is offered on Name and Address and via the SDK even more can be done.

To read more on Composite Control in the world of Dynamics CRM, CLICK HERE.


Rollup 15 MS Dynamics CRM v2011

Microsoft has posted CRM v2011 Update Rollup 15.

Do you have a lot of other OutLook Integrations? CRM Outlook Client causing you grief on just one machine? 

This  rollup includes “process isolation” to split the Outlook Client out from the core Outlook process, an upgrade to SQL CE 4.0, and reductions in isolated performance issues with a large address books (among other things, it’s all in the KB)

 


Dynamics CRM v2011 Rollup 14 Released

General best practice for OnPremise users is to stay within two roll-ups. Just consider the large team of developers writing code, fixing any issues (reported by the millions of users) and continuing to make Dynamics CRM the absolute best CRM product on the market.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2011 Roll-up 14 has just been officially released. Learn more here.


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

 


Do you think "CRM"?

Julie Yack has such a great way with words that I just had to share. Take a look at her summary about how you might fit in the world of Dynamics CRM.

READ Here

oh and after you read the above, here are a few more

You might be a Dynamics CRM Power User if…

  • You share Dynamics xRM videos with friends because you think the solutions are cool
  • You wake up thinking of yet another Excel application that can be replaced *or MS Access

You might be a Dynamics CRM administrator if…

  • You have a bookshelf full of more than 5 different Dynamics CRM books
  • You know that when it comes ot CRM On-Premise CRM infrastruture support makes a big difference
  • Staff augmentation is not in your best interest for CRM extensions and development

 

You might be a Dynamics CRM developer if…

  • You would rather developer on the Dynamics CRM Platform then build security and UI from scratch
  • You know that a new SDK has been released
  • the word Caching and GAC are in your vocabulary
  • You roll your eyes at beginner lessons learned because you have been there and done that
  • You know where to post and vote on feature and function requests

Convergence: It is that time of year again! #CONV2013

I won't be at Convergence this year, but I wanted to go ahead and share some getting the most out of the event tips and tricks. because Convergence isn't just about great sessions and learning, but it is also about

 

1)      Networking

2)      Meeting the Third Party Providers and ISVs who partner with Microsoft on Dynamics CRM
and add value add

3)      Meeting the Microsoft CRM Support Team and technical resources (bring your questions)

4)      Meeting the Microsoft CRM Developers and development team (there are new faces to watch for)

5)      Meeting other Microsoft team members

6)      Communicating with other CRM users (Look for CRMUG)

7)      Listening and learning from Authors, Field Experts and great consultants

 

So In my many years going to and presenting at Convergence I offer you the following

Tips

 

1)  Know which sessions you want to go to before you go and have a backup option
(sometimes sessions are sold out)

2)  Know who the speakers are: Ask or search the net or read their blogs, being great at what you know doesn't mean you are a great speaker. Look for both!

3) Use Twitter during the conference to keep up with the live session buzz and to connect with other CRM tweeters. My guess is the tweet tag will be #conv2013 or #conv13

4) Know the level of the session: They can range from 100 to 400 and have a lot to do
with presenter and audience. Convergence has both sales sessions to show what is new and deep technical sessions to get you up to speed fast so you have to know how to pick them.

5) Go to the parties and don’t stay at one. Roam from one party to the next and check out the culture, the mood, the tone, the side talks, the buzz

6) Talk to Strangers

7) Eat with people you don’t know and when you sit down, talk to them

8) Make time to visit the bookstore (even if to just see what CRM books are available)

9) Make time to visit the booths (I have had more great technical talks with CEOs at
trade shows than anywhere else)

10)  Go to some non-CRM Sessions such as Office, SharePoint and BI – products that work
great together with CRM

11) Go to some business sessions – they have some incredible leaders presenting on
leadership, change management, etc. Many are well recognized business book
writers. (loved hearing Malcolm Gladwell a few years back)

12)  Setup a Meet the Expert Connect session and have a one on one with a developer,
business leader, or other resource. A few years back I met with the development team working on a key feature in the newest version of CRM. What a blast to get their perspective.

13)  Attend the Pre-Convergence CRMUG Day, the sessions are smaller and the content incredible.

14) Bring business cards, share your business cards, collect business cards AND schedule time when you get home to follow up. Not just the week after, but again two weeks after and a again after 2 months, etc. Networking is about meeting and then building relationships that offer win/win value to both people.

15) Share what you know! Evaluations make a HUGE Difference in the world of Microsoft. Peer to Peer sharing makes a HUGE difference in the success of Dynamics CRM.

16) Attend the last session of the day and the event. Those speakers are sometimes the best, because they draw out the day.

 

Social Tips

1) It is New Orleans! Get up on the balcony and share the fun of throwing beads at people.

2) Plan to eat incredible food.

3) Don't plan on sleeping too much, but don't burn up all the brain cells so you don't have time to learn.

 

 


Keep Learning

I am amazed at how I continue to learn more  and more about Dynamics CRM despite focusing on the platform for over eight years. The product team continues to release small and large updates and are amazing in how fast they manage to keep up with the pace of technology change.

Additionally the current product (even before any updates) has a ton of depth and a number of under utilized functionality. When was the last time you decided to add something new to your business processes? What about learning one small area of the software in full?

Consider Goals, or Connections - take a peek at subjects or perhaps you want to become a FetchXML guru

Did you know you can tie web sense into charts?

There is so much that can be done.

Given this I offer this link and suggestions: Go review the Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2011 IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE. You might not have looked at it for a few years, a few months or even ever and it is packed with great information. So take an hour for study, each day this week - shoot make it a team effort and start up a Dynamics CRM brown bag lunch or book group. You will be pleasantly surprised.

 


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


What happened at Convergence 2012? Twitter happened!

The fastest way for you to find out about the hot trending topics from Microsoft Convergence is to go on over to Twitter and to search on #conv12, #conv2012 and (to get a few missed items) #con12. You can also search on #CRMLady (that is me) and #msdyncrm.

The buzz during the event was hot, fast, real time and enlightening. I can't tell you how many times I smiled while reading 140 characters. A quick glance, a smile and back to 100% listening to content.

What was great was to post a thought and then to see all the reviberating thoughts on the speakers while the speaker was still speaking.

In fact at one of my presentations. Someone TWEETED a question, I read it (yes, while speaking) and responded to the entire group. How did I do that? Well there were two of us presenting so the back and forth gave me a chance for a quick peek.

Talk about an entirely different way to present to geeks and introverts - Look out future tomorrows, the power of the introverts enabled!  


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.

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

 "


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."


Mobility v4 and v2011

The CRM development team at Microsoft slid in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobility option called Mobile Express a while ago - (I could even say years ago -Check out Settings, Mobile Express) and as far as I can see they have been updating it little by little as the rollups and new versions come out.

What does this mean? It means that Mobile Express is an option worth checking out, BUT that it does not necessarily meet ALL your extensive mobility needs depending on what you need in a Mobile client and what and how many platforms you need it to run on as well as how many extra mobile specific features you want.

The mobile ISVs including TenDigits and CWR Mobility are totally focused on working with mobile teams to empower them and encourage them to get more from their Dynamics CRM Investment.  They also have additional features that are integrated so if you need those additional features get the teams at CWR and TenDigits to give you a demo, BUT if you just want to access Dynamics CRM from your cell phone once in a while then take a peek at Mobile Express.

Of note Mobile Express is a Free feature in Dynamics CRM and yes, there are a number of people who don't realize this. Pay to get it configured and to learn the best way to use it from your partner, but don't worry about  extra licensing fees. 

Articles on Mobility and Dynamics CRM are as follows:

Dynamo with Dynamics CRM on Mobility, Mobile Express and CRM v4

Customer Effective on Mobile Express (Oct, 2010)

The more Powerful Mobile Express in CRM 2011


Async, Performance and Dynamics CRM v4

Just because we are a year or two away from the initial release of Dynamics CRM v4 does not mean that we are past some of the long ago solved problems.

Needless to say here is a item that you might want to look into if you are in "Database Cleaning Mode" or if you are having performance issues with a Dynamics CRM v4 footprint.

1) Run cleanup scripts to address existing Database problems!

Warning (probably unnecessary but): Before running any SQL Cleanup scripts backup the database in case you run into problems.


Note: You might want to set the Max Degree Of Parallelism option greater than Zero (1 is just fine) if you are running a multi CPU SQL Server. This option is under the Advanced options of your SQL Server. This one is a bit debatable among the DBAs and CRM experts. On small queries you want to define resources so the system doesn't burn up resources figuring things out and on more complex queries the benefits exist to let the system figure it out.

MaxDegree 

Now the next question you are going to ask is WHERE ARE THESE Cleanup scripts. Good Question!

Right now most teams (particularly in the larger CRM footprints) have their own or perhaps it is better to consider the partners supporting your CRM footprint. They have their own utilities, tips and tricks for great maintenance as well.

So where do you start?

Start here: An easy way to identify if you are running into an old issue with the AsyncOperationBaseTable is by checking how many records are in this table. Run a simple Count(*) and checking how many records you have of OperationType = ‘10’ and Succeeded/Completed.

If you do have this issue you can go back and check out Ben's blog and/or do a bit of Binging.


Case Sensitive Searching

Thanks to David Fronk at Dynamics Methods for sharing a quick little trick for changing a field to be set to Case Sensitive. Now before I share this tip be aware that it is NOT supported by microsoft so what this means is that a Rollup, A SQL Server Update, a Upgrade or any other quick little patch might disable this feature.

This tip was also shared in the heavy v4.0 Days of CRM so when it comes to SQL 2008 R2 you might have to updated the steps.

Now on that note here is the link to David's quick checklist for setting the Case Sensitive Flag.

http://dmcrm.blogspot.com/2009/04/case-sensitive-searches-in-crm.html  

 


June VPC

Partners Restart your Engines!

Have you downloaded the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 VPC? As per most VPCs from the CRM team it is packed with a TON of goodies BUT this version not only has your traditional CRM it also three other xRM Models.

Now if you want to really drive yourself a bit nuts and burn some  time you can take this new VPC and load it up on an underpowered Windows 7 laptop. Ouch! I mean imagine running Windows Server, SharePoint, CRM and more all within a virtualbox on a laptop with 2-4 gbs of ram. Oh it an be done, but you will not be impressed.

So Tip 1

Get the Hardware where it needs to be for demonstrating all the cool power of this incredibly powerful product! If all you have is a laptop then at least max it out with as much RAM as possible and use an external drive (or internal solid state).

Tip 2

Windows 7 Virtual PC cannot run Windows Server 64bit. Yes, this VPC is 64bit so if all you have is a Windows 7 laptop you are going to have to depend on alternative virtual technology support such as Virtual Box from Oracle.

Tip 3

Take a little bit of time and configure the image so that it uses it's resources in the most efficient and best manner possible. Even if this requires that you grab the ear of your infrastructure or Virtual guru.

Tip 4

Make it yours - remove what you don't need, change the data to better fit how you talk about the product and add your own views and reports.

Tip 5

DEMO TO WIN - An incredible class that Microsoft has offered over the years. This little class really helps people who are tasks with demonstrating any software to understand how to both present and how to best present demonstrations of applications. Look it up, Sign Up, take the class.

Tip 6

HAVE FUN! Technology solves some really painful business problems. You can be part of this solution, but in this really noisy world it isn't easy, but it is worth it.


CodePlex and Dynamics CRM

Wow - CodePlex grew while I wasn't paying attention. There are now almost one hundread different free solutions available, all with interesting hints of cool stuff.

Searching on Dynamics CRM: Check it Out


Rollup Sweet Sixteen (CRM v4)

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM development team has released CRM v4.0 Rollup 16 and not only have they managed to resolve some of the issues reported from the field, they have also fine tuned some of the existing features. (it is amazing what a team of programmers writing code every day can create in 8 weeks) Particularly given there are change control processes, testing processes, QC, Builds, Deploys and more to pull together.

Key Areas

  1. The Deployment Manager and Importing an Org
  2. Performance (around deployment manager)
  3. IE 9 Support
  4. Appointments and Synchronization

Do you have feedback?

  • Have you installed the latest rollup?   
  • Did it fix an issue you reported?
  • Did it cause other issues?
  • Did it add some new bling? or a feature you discovered?

Share your comments !


Thoughts on Convergence 2011 in Atlanta

If you work with any of the Microsoft Dynamics products or if you are just thinking about jumping onto the xRM/CRM bandwagon then you will want spend some time thinking or rethinking about attending Convergence 2011 in Atlanta!

Microsoft Convergence is one of the largest Microsoft shows in North America and as such it draws a large number of cool people from a wide variety of vendors and from Microsoft. I love just having a chance to sit down for 15 minutes or so with a number of different partner contacts, support staff, guru field experts and even the people who happen to sit next to me at breakfast. There are so many fascinating minds at work in this world!

Additionally although some of the presentations can be a bit too marketing oriented (the last couple of years have shown huge improvement in this area), there are even more that are totally intense field feedback packed. Not to mention that many of the speakers come right from the front line.

Realize that this year the EXPO hall at Convergence was sold out way in advance. Welcome back buzzing economy! AND the conference attendence is so full that Microsoft marketing doesn't have to do much so don't expect any extra motivation from your local Microsoft Rep!

Here are my top 5 tips for getting the most out of Convergence 2011 AND if you are going to be in Atlanta watch for me!

1) Spend the time to setup meetings in advanced. These can be a quick lunch, a specific breakfast table or an agreement to go to selected sessions together. Meet with people you don't know!  A lot can be accomplished in those first 15 minutes before a presentation starts.

2) Line up your agenda now, but give yourself choices. One of the morning sessions might influence which session you pick in the afternoon.

3) Know the speakers and pick the speaker that is going to offer you the content at the level you are interested in. This could be highly technical, a mix of business and technical, 101 or case studies.

4) Make time to visit the Expo Room so you can connect and learn about all the incredible third party offerings. Many of the people in the booths are GREAT contacts to know from CEOs, to developers to passionate CRM gurus.

5) Attend DAYOne sponsored by CRMUG and supported by xRMVirtual. It is a great way to warm up, ask questions, find out how the week will unfold and meet some of the people who spend a significant amount of their time helping the community and learning from answering CRM specific questions.

6) Follow the TWEETs on the event so you know where things are happening and what you don't want to miss. The tweets let you find out about unpublished events and can give you access to Convergence experienced feedback minute by minute. #CONV11

Now jump on over and get those logistics nailed down before it is too late!


xRM Developers, CRM v4.0 and SDK 4.0.13

For those of you who are cruising along on your last years knowledge of xRM development habit you might make a note to add a task to your to do list!

SDK v4.0.13 (and SDK v4.0.12) offers NEW options and CHANGES old accepted xRM development practices

This release includes the new Advanced Developer Extensions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, also referred to as Microsoft xRM. This is a new set of tools included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK that simplifies the development of Internet-enabled applications that interact with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In addition to the documentation, this download package includes the projects for all sample code found in the documentation, and full featured samples that are not included in the documentation. The package includes a visual style guide you can use to make your customizations fit in smoothly, and a style sheet you can use as a basis for your work. There are also tools and helper code provided in this package. Look for regular updates to this SDK!

So now that you have completed all your New Years Resolutions (or abandoned them) take a bit of time and do a bit of deep diving into the new v4.0 SDK

and for those guru, gurus who are developing on the v2011 platform. The same applies :) as many of the new concepts within the sdk world made it into the v2011 SDK world as well.


Congratulations to the Team!

A late but very heart felt congratulations to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development team who have now officially released Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2011 OnPremise.

Not only do they now have Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online v2011 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM OnPremise released, but they released the OnPremise version ahead of schedule.

Sweet ! Download Information (warning: please do not try to install without reading the implementation guide)

(They now shift their focus to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Rollup1 and the next version)

 


Dynamics CRM and Custom Reports

I just found this great little How To series on creating custom reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

It starts here with Part 1 

and is summarized as part of the last of the series (part 5)

This little series is a great learning tool for the interns that dive into learning about the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.


Bit by the Dynamics CRM 2011 Marketing Bug? Read this First

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has been released now both as an Online offering and as an OnPremise offering.

The buzz from the field is that the product is packed with 500+ new features and a ton of new options with regards to customization and after working with the product I have to agree. The team is offering some incredible power and flexibility while still maintaining all that is great in v4.0.

Power however comes with a price. As partners and customers across the world learned in Dynamics CRM v3.0 and v4.0 if you don't take the time to understand then it is easy to dig your own hole of frustration.

So how can this be avoided by those just getting interested? Particularly given that 2011 offers even more!!

Here are five key steps to getting off on the right foot!

1) Take baby steps and small bites, grow with the product 

2) At a minimum READ the installation guide twice (OnPremise)

3) Remember, just because it is easy to configure and customize doesn't mean you know the best way to configure and customize. Tap into experience.

4) Good "CRM" partners have already invested in the basics and offer those as part of every project (why pay to rebuild these, just for the learning exercise? There are better ways)

5) Senior .NET developers who don't know XRM/CRM still have a lot to learn when it comes to thinking XRM. Junior XRM/CRM developers still have a lot to learn when it comes to thinking .NET

           and as a little bit of extra - Item 6

6) Many of the features within Dynamics CRM are version 4.0! but some are v1.0 - set proper expectations when utilizing a specific feature set.


Tap into MS Dynamics World

The popular online magazine and resource MSDynamicsWorld has a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Resource Page.

Kicking off the New Year, this new page is packed with all things Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011!  If you are planning, prepping or in general curious about the next version of CRM you might want to take a peek.


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/ 

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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