Are you interested in a little extra reading on Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Check out this list of 2013 white papers.
Are you interested in a little extra reading on Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Check out this list of 2013 white papers.
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.
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!
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.
If you have taken Outlook to whole new levels by installing various addins or if you have configured and customized Outlook before installing the Dynamics CRM Outlook client.
You might want to install the Outlook Client that is part of RollUp 15.
RollUp 15 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2843571
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)
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.
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.
We intermingling the term xRM and CRM when talking about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but in all reality the name is talking about exactly the same product. A product that can be customized, configured and eXtended.
Changes DO NOT require a developer, but a developer can add an entirely different option set and layer to your already powerful application. The system is built to be configured or extended or both. Developers who work within the defined methodology are also treated by upgrades and updates seemlessly keeping the base option current and in this really fast paced world this is a real PLUS for businesses.
So what is xRM, really?
Here is one example of Dynamics CRM meeting a very different type of need outside your typical Sales, Marketing and Service.
Constitute Relationship Management
Anyone who develops within the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a secret stash of favorite tools.
Want to know what some of those tools are?
Check it out
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.
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)
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)
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.
CRM is highly personal just like each of our own direct relationships. It must also meet corporate and team shared needs. This post dives into this concept.
Take for instance the tracking of details on a relationship between two people. The USER of CRM (such as a sales person) and their prospect or client (such as a key contact at a prospect site)
Some details of a relationship are as unique as each person within that relationship and others are common for all relationships with a specific person no matter who is in that relationship.
These details of a "relationship" can include an incredible list of variables.
What would be considered common and easily shared and valuable to a team? Personal characteristics such as a specific job title, the contacts features (height, gender, eye color) or perhaps even the name of a contacts spouse and friends.
Other variables are unique to a specific relationship and might or might not be valuable to the team.
What would be considered unique? The level of trust between two people, an inside joke, their shared history, perhaps a specific experience and shared networks. This could even extend to likes and dislikes that a person has and their level of likes. A person who is great at skiing might love skiing with a person at their same level, but hate it with a beginner. We could even go so far as to look at other unique traits such as what job or what role is taken as part of a specific relationship. If I think of one person in my network as an example, this same person is a contactor, a developer, a senior software developer (language being a factor), a software engineer, an architect (role being a factor), a speaker, a reference, a father, a son, a coach, a builder and more. So how are all these different variables tracked and shared?
Within the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM these variables are handled in a number of different ways and at various different companies extended with different styles. Partner extensions to the software, customer driven extensions to the software, base use of already available features. This one subject is a great one for the user group! (www.crmug.com)
Depending on the version of the software choices within the software change significantly between version 4 and verson 2011.
In the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.
Contacts are people who have a set of shared fields and these include not only what shipped out of the box, but also any other fields you wanted to add. Out of the box fields include title, gender, e-mail addresses, and how the person likes to be contacted. User defined fields might include if they are a referral source or if they are an influencer within a prospect account.
Microsoft also offered a table in v4 for relationships. This is a two column list where a CRM user could custom define that a specific person (such as person A) was a vendor contact and that a specific second person (person B for instance) was the customer of that vendor contact. You could also choose a company and put it in this relationship table such as company A was a vendor for person B as the customer contact. This relationship feature offered both company and contact cross reference choices.
The feature had/has an interesting set of powerful potential, but it also had limits and I would dare to say it is under utilized inthe field and as such in the world of Dynamics CRM version 2011 a whole new world of options was born under the CONNECTIONS umbrella. Relationships exists in 2011 but has been retired and replaced with connections.
If you have not discovered CONNECTIONS then you want to take time to REALLY understand the power before you architect it into your business process.
So with those thoughts and my writing time ended I open up the idea for discussion and perhaps a few more posts over the next few days.
How does your company track all the variables between all the different relationships for each prospect or client contact that you have?
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
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!
Posted at 08:55 AM in CRM Development, MS CRM Configuring , MS CRM in Enterprise , MS CRM Installing, MS CRM Roll Out, MS CRM Selling, MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Tip of the Day, MS CRM Users: The Executive Office | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
"The term asynchronous is usually used to describe communications in which data can be transmitted intermittently rather than in a steady stream" :
Now given this simple fact you might be surprised to discover that sometimes people forget that if you use asynchronous processes (such as workflow or asynchronous plugins) and you have dependencies particularly on a variety of async processes, timing might be an issue!
An interesting way to consider this is from the perspective of looking into a professional kitchen. Take the Master Chef (Mr. Processor): He must prepare certain items in sequence, for instance the pork chops have to be cut and spiced before they can be put in the pan to be cooked and before they can be prepared for display.
On the other hand if serving two vegtables for the same plate, if the broccoli comes out before the carrots, the chef (Mr. Processor) does not have a problem. The preparation of the broccoli and the carrots can happen in order, reverse order or at the same time. They can be asynchronous. They both need to be prepared in a timely manner (within the same approximate window of time) and they both need to get done within that time frame, but which gets done first doesn't matter that much. They are not dependent on each other.
Now the Chef might prefer the broccoli to come out first, as he has his own habits and best practices to make it all come together, but he can (and does) deal with the reality if they get reversed. On the other hand if an assistant chef forgets to spice the pork chops or spices them after cooking then the flavor of they chef's prized dinner is ruined and sometimes considered unacceptable!
These same concepts apply to functions and processes within the world of Dynamics CRM. There are functions that should be asynchronous, there are processes that need to be synchronous and knowing the difference is an important variable in any developer or power user.
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."
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:
Soundex is not necessarily the ultimate solution to expanding the power of Duplicate Detection, but it is definitely one option.
Check out this post for one approach (comments from the development crowd welcome)
I haven't heard much from Bridge2CRM over the last couple of years and have not had the pleasure of talking to them at some of the big Dynamics Conferences like Convergence 2011, but their solution looks to be another option in the mobility space.
Menno blogged about them a while back, but alas my link to Menno's post has grown cold, brittle and broken.
Comments from the Crowd?
Are you using this solution?
Have you used this solution?
What do you think?
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.
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.
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.
I was going to say lake, or pond but it is way too big for that. I spent the weekend working hard on adding to all of the great Dynamics CRM 1.2, 3.0 and 4.0 knowledge.
First and foremost it is such a joy that there is almost nothing that I have to painfully have to throw away. All the great features within CRM v4.0 are enhanced and expanded and then they added more functionality and more power. All while simplifying the concepts so that the developers have easy tools to bundly (Solutions) and the users have power to personalize (Charts and Forms)
What more can a passionate CRMLady ask for!
Key areas that I have been working with, you ask?
The new Service module has been injected with more TEAM power. You can now share cases using key techniques like "working on" and team ownership.
The Knowledge Base has a number of new enhancements which PowerObjects has done a nice job of quickly summarizing here.
The Relationships functionality has matured and a new concept, "Connections" is introduced.
and lastly as much as an entity is an entity is an entity, the entity concept now has a long list of sister components organized in a nice list for mastery such as Option sets, Connection Roles, Templates, Security Profiles, web resources and more.
Posted at 08:14 AM in CRM Development, MS CRM Roll Out, MS CRM Users: Network and CRM SQL Database Administration, MS CRM Users: The Executive Office, MS CRM Users: The Marketing Department, MS CRM Users: The Sales Department, MS CRM Users: The Support Department | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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.
Do you have feedback?
Share your comments !
I just found this great little How To series on creating custom reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
This little series is a great learning tool for the interns that dive into learning about the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
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.
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
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.
Well said, overall well said
“Over my 12 year career in the CRM space, I have seen customers take a variety of approaches to creating training materials. From leveraging software manufacturers’ user guides to multi-deck power point presentations, I believe I have seen it all. More often than not, these approaches are nothing short of failure. Expecting users to learn your CRM philosophies and strategy from software reference material is akin to expecting one to learn how to drive by simply reading a vehicle’s owner manual. To be successful we must know the rules of the road, or in this case, the business rules to support CRM strategies.” More on the same subject at http://www.dynamicscare.com/blog/index.php/increase-user-adoption-with-effective-training-materials/
Over the years I have been keeping my eye on the Microsoft SureStep Project Methodology. It was originally very ERP centric and as many of the CRM Consultants in the field know - CRM and ERP are very different projects! The audience, the style of design and the rollout are a different mindset.
Consider for instance that an ERP project is focused on a small group of people in the financial department with some interaction from management. CRM on the other hand spreads far and wide and can impact ever department and every person within a firm.
Needless to say despite keeping on eye on SureStep I have yet to embrace it.
With my latest deep dive into the application I can say that it has matured to a point where it is definitely worth checking out. There are still documents that need updating (references to Payroll and AP), but there are also a number of documents that can make your CRM projects much more professional, more organized and more successful.
So if you have not taken a look at SureStep and you are "reinventing the wheel" with regards to project templates or you think it is time to update what you are using then I would suggest that you log into Microsoft PartnerSource and download SureStep.
To set Internet Explorer to open a NEW instance of IE in a NEW window do this:
Note: You have to turn off tabs feature for this to matter (of note this also applies to those using older versions of IE that do not have tabbed browsing functionality)
Posted at 08:58 AM in MS CRM Configuring , MS CRM Installing, MS CRM Roll Out, MS CRM Tip of the Day, MS CRM Users: Network and CRM SQL Database Administration, MS CRM Users: The Support Department | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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.
You wouldn't add nitro to just any car without a good bit of knowledge and the same holds true with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerators. They are powerful! Just put them in the right hands, with the right knowledge and a little bit of tender loving polish and look out.
My hope is that Microsoft will continue to increase the amount of polish, but for now know what you are dealing with and don't expect to just drop in the fuel without understanding.
Release 2 of The Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Accelerator has now been posted. The PRM Accelerator allows businesses to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to distribute sales leads and centrally manage sales opportunities across channel partners.
The cool team over at Power Objects has a nice little post that my library and I wanted to go ahead and share it.
Have you ever had a need to send a generated report in PDF format to someone? The PowerObjects team has developed a workflow extension that allows any user to schedule a SQL Server report to be sent via email.
If you are looking at importing a large amount of data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM then you might want to get caught up with this post Speed up your CRM SDK imports and updates
If you are a Microsoft PARTNER then you will definitely want to check out the current version of the SureStep Project Methodology for Microsoft Dynamic CRM (I think they finally got it) AND have a few of the consultants take the exam
Are you looking for more Address Data Validation? How about tying to a Standard Source? Check out PostCodeAnywhere Address Lookup.
Trying to Solve a Problem with Dynamics CRM v4? Did you turn on Trace? Scott gently offers a reminder on problem solving and disk space.
One of the benefits of blogging is having a place to capture items that might be worth remembering when problems occur.
Recently Microsoft released a technical article on running Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.0 in a Windows 2008 64 Bit Server environment.
Some of the Key Items include an
"Error message when you try to open the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Web application"
but the article also includes work arounds to many of the issues discovered in the field.
Given our focus on builds and deployments to different environments I found this post by the team over at Inetium of interest.
Take a look and Get Ready
Update Rollup 9 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 will be available February 11th
If you are a "CRM Administrator" have you looked at your System Jobs recently? Now for all those working on various projects ... Have you checked out the System Jobs in your development environments?
Choose SYSTEM JOBS
Immediately you will see a list of various information regarding various "system jobs" that might have run or might be "waiting".
Make particular note of the items in the waiting state. Do you know what they are waiting for? Should they really be waiting? Do they need to be cancelled?
Next Question: Are you managing your system job log? Has it been purged lately?
Did you know that Duplicate Detection is a System Job?
Microsoft has released the latest rollup (Rollup 8) to Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.0. Many of the features are focused on compatibility with Office 2010, but there are a few fixes worth reviewing as well.
The teams are on a worldwind release schedule!
Let's hope the documentation teams can keep up!!
There are a number of cool little tools that the partners use to quickly populate user drop down lists.
Here are various blog posts and links to pick from in no particular order
which was updated here 3) http://dynamicscrmbyalfredo.blogspot.com/2006/09/recently-i-found-this-useful-blog.html
4) and back in the 3.0 Days http://blogs.infinite-x.net/2006/08/26/release-utility-to-generate-picklist-options-for-dynamics-crm-30/
Have you found an easier way? Feel free to share!
Just finished up doing a bit of attribute work. There are a few things to keep in mind that I thought I would share.
1) If you do not want to have an attribute show in Advanced Find then you want to set the SEARCH flag on that attribute to NO. By default the search flag is set to YES.
2) You can use the comment field to help organize your work in addition to the display field and the internal attribute schema names. For instance you might want to map your internal schema names to the system you are integrating with, the display names to something that makes sense to users who are using advanced find and the labels on the form to something that works well for data entry. The comment field can also be used by placing a flag at the start of the comment so you can sort by comment during your reviews.
3) Don't have time to enter comments? A few extra seconds per attribute and you can go so much further with documentation and communication. Makes someone elses life easier, include comments.
You have customized the system or the system has been customized for you. You pick Account and on the left navigation pane you have many new and different options.
Did you know that you can change the order of the new items listed in the left navigation pane? Just change the Display Order properties on the N - 1 or 1 - N custom relationship.
Microsoft has a world of "XRM" within Dynamics CRM and as more and more of the framework matures we will see growth.
On my latest deep dive I have been looking at modifying Dynamics CRM Help and the general structure around how changes to Dynamics CRM help are supported in a multi-tenant world. In summary they are not (yet). The help files are stored with the application files.
But luckily there is some great reading material to get started with changes you might want to make to help in a single tenant world and customizing help is supported. You can read the complete Microsoft Dynamics CRM Configuration Guide on Technet and when talking HELP you can focus on this section.
Are you ready to dive into something new with Dynamics CRM?
"The Agent Communications Panel for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is an application add-in to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. It works with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, and enables agents to manage their communications (make calls, receive calls, conference, and chat) from their Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.
The Agent Communications Panel is an XAML browser application (XBAP). It is published to a Web server and opened from a Web browser. "
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Asynchronous processing service runs constantly behind the scenes. This services is very tied to workflow and when workflow is not happy you will find that the Asynchronous service can turn itself off.
You will notice this happening a lot if you have a workflow that gets stuck in either a wait state or an infinite loop.
When it comes to performance the list of variables can be quite long and the solutions do not always bubble up to be what you think they should be.
For instance we can start at the user level and trickle all the way up to the SQL or Application Server, but you can also have application, custom code and network bandwidth that comes into the formula. Mix that in with CPU, Memory Utilization and Disk I/O and the battle is on.
If we start with the user's machine then we must realize that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a web application that is authenticating and using IE. There are key settings that you can make to insure that things are not slowing on the user's machine and Microsoft has provided a number of white papers and recommendations regarding these. (see below)
When using the CRM Web Access option these include items such as insuring the web pages are in the trusted zone, understanding your latency and confirming that your anti-virus software is not fighting with the application.
When looking at the user machine and the CRM Outlook client the volume of variables expands. You want to take into consideration all the different "other applications" that can impact Outlook. For instance the numerous toolbars that can get installed or the size of the Outlook data footprint and if the user has numerous PST files in addition to their Exchange mailbox. You also want to check the settings on the anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-yuck software which often wants to interact with anything going on. Another consideration is the version of Outlook that you are using. Outlook 2007 is significantly different than Outlook 2003 for instance.
For both of the above another consideration comes into play and this has to do with the amount of memory and the hardware being used by the user. Despite the fact that many times hardware is not the solution, hardware can make a huge difference if limited.
We also have the User's Operating system as a variable. Outlook 2007 for instance was built and designed for VISTA and yet many companies are running Windows XP. This means that Outlook 2007 must take into consideration a completely different platform than it was designed for and although I have not seen any specific issues related to this it is a variable.
Now despite all these factors you might find that one small thing makes a huge difference. From my personal experience I have both run the outlook client without issue (perfect performance) and have run into massive headaches (resulting in extended effort to fix things).
Here are some links that might help if you have to dive into this area.
First the Microsoft White Papers and posts
Other Blog Posts on Microsoft Outlook and CRM Performance
and Blog posts on Performance with a Server Focus
What is interesting is that you can easily get into tuning on SQL or IIS that really can make a difference and yet are significantly far away from CRM Expertise.