MSDYNCRM16 v8 Feed

Developers? Are you ramping up as a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guru? #msdyn365

Start at the Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement Developer Center

The CRM Developer Center https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm/crmdevelopercenter.aspx

Download the SDK https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50032

You also have access to a full suite of training materials by logging into Customer Source https://mbs.microsoft.com/customersource/northamerica

Or if you are a partner or Microsoft employee

The Partner Learning Portal https://mbspartner.microsoft.com/Landing

 

You can also reference blogs and link lists within the world of blogs to find even more resources and training such as the Virtual XRM User Group

Lastly there are a set of YOUTUBE VIDEOS that can help, and the Microsoft Dynamics YouTube Channel

like these

XRM in a Nutshell I: Defining the Data-centric Business Application built using Dynamics CRM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbmYhAy3ouM 

and this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_WPaHZZk7k

And this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7MRO7ttRIM


Q101: What are my options with regards to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement Online Administrator and administrator roles. Is there a role that is not Azure Global Administrator?

What are my options with regards to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement Online Administrator and administrator roles. Is there a role that is not Azure Global Administrator?

“You can now assign a Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) administrator at the tenant level, in the same way that you manage other Office 365 services such as Exchange, Skype, and SharePoint. The new Dynamics 365 (online) administrator role can manage instances, do Dynamics 365 system admin functions, and access the Dynamics 365 application if they are licensed to use Dynamics 365” https://roadmap.dynamics.com/#application=326f31ea-2992-e611-80dc-c4346bac0910


Q100: How many instances per Tenant? #MSDYN365CE

It is time for a series of questions with answers, because for some reason sometimes the hardest information to find is the answer to simple questions

How many instances can be included in a single Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement Online Tenant?

A tenant can include up to 50 Dynamics 365 (online) production instances and up to 75 non-production (Sandbox) instances. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn722373.aspx


Oh Internet Explore

If you have started having difficulty with Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement and you are using Internet Explore v11 then you want to make sure you have the latest KBs. The March 20th updates broke a few things, the March 27th updates fixed these.

For Windows 8.1 and 7 SP1 Users

KB4016446 - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4016446

KB4016446 Download Link - http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/search.aspx?q=KB4016446

For Windows 10 users search the catalog for

Windows 10

http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/search.aspx?q=KB4016635 

If you have other Internet Explorer Issues then you might want to walk through this set of Articles.

Compatibility Settings https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3124955/compatibility-with-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2016

Internet Explorer: Web application requirements for Microsoft Dynamics 365 https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh699710.aspx

Internet Explorer: FAQ for IT Pros https://technet.microsoft.com/itpro/internet-explorer/ie11-faq/faq-for-it-pros-ie11

Microsoft Edge Deployment Guide for IT Pros https://technet.microsoft.com/itpro/microsoft-edge/index

Compatibility Changes in IE 11 https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/bg182625(v=vs.85).aspx

 

 


Extending and Developing with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Platform - PART II

If you like video

How about Building an xRM (Anything Relationship Management) Solution in a three part video series.

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/crm/2015/11/25/building-xrm-solutions-a-three-part-video-series/

AND Does your Enterprise have access to http://www.pluralsight.com?

Well there are some awesome Dynamics developer classes via plural sight, put together and released by David Yack.

You can start here

 


Extending and Developing with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Platform

One place to look for information regarding leveraging the Microsoft Dynamics 365 PLATFORM is in the Microsoft Dynamics Software Developer Toolkit (SDK). The Microsoft development teams have included a wealth of samples, knowledge and tips inside the SDK.

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 we have  three areas to consider and this post is about the third

1) Configuration : Walking through a series of questions found in the settings section (Business, Admin, Data, Services, etc.) of the platform, you can change how the system reacts based on your answers.

2) Customization : Using a business interface add new tables, fields, views, charts, dashboards and data entry forms.  

3) Extension : Writing additional code to extend the powerful Dynamics 365 Platform to meet even more business needs.

 So what are some of the resources available to you and things to consider when it comes to Extending the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Developers Center

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Visual Studio Development Toolkit

A Community Alternative to the Visual Studio Development Toolkit for Dynamics 365

AND BECAUSE you want to write the absolute BEST extensions possible, and you want it to be something that any other Dynamics developer can praise, you also tap into the following community shared wonderful practices shared by Minal:

http://minaldahiya.blogspot.be/2016/03/coding-standards-for-dynamics-crm.html?spref=tw

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Development Best Practices

xRM Best Practices

 

 


Microsoft Envision Business and Networking Event: Join the Wave of Digital Transformation

You have heard the buzz about Microsoft Dynamics 365, but you are not really sure what it is all about. Is it Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or something in between or better yet something beyond?

You are thinking that perhaps you have or are using applications that are holding you back, that need to be upgraded or replaced. You are perhaps reconsidering what you are getting out of the technology you currently have. You want to leverage more of the power of the cloud and more from the latest and greatest technologies. You want to be empowered by technology to help you make even more business decisions.

You can start planning now to attend Microsoft Envision the week of September 25, 2017.

Microsoft Envision

Book your tickets to Orlando, FL! Start thinking about interviewing and aligning the right internal and external people and teams for your project. Think about your business processes and at a minimum start documenting what you do today and what you want to be doing tomorrow. Pick the right product, one that can grow with you and can be configured AND extended to meet your needs. Honor the three People, Product and Processes to a successful project.

Come Swim in the Sun in Orlando!

And think about these awesome words from the Microsoft Envision Website

Longevity in this business is about being able to reinvent yourself or invent the future.” Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

 


Application Performance: Everyone's Worry

A bottleneck (in the world of data) is a point where the flow of data is restricted or stopped entirely. When you remove one bottleneck, the data then flows until it hits the next bottlenecks.

Many people assume that bottlenecks are caused by hardware. It is true that SOME Bottlenecks are caused by hardware, but you can also find and create application bottlenecks or database bottlenecks. You can create bottlenecks with hard drives or cables or  JavaScript or C# .. There are many ways in which bottlenecks can be created.

The challenge is then to find your bottlenecks, eliminating each and then eliminating the ones that you find once the upstream bottlenecks are removed.

Ideally you want to move the bottleneck to the point where it is simply hitting  how fast a user can work.

So where do we start?

One starting place is to prove that Microsoft Dynamics CRM does not have an application bottleneck. To do this a subset of awesome people did some testing on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. They published their findings in this new White Paper: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1 Performance Benchmark 

Take a Look


The Power of Zzzzz's : Keeping a clean house

ZDoNotUse - (original name) 

ZToBeDeleted - (original name)

ZNotinUse - (original name)

ZDepreciated - (original name)

The power of the Z's. Why Z? When you tag a field with the first letter Z and your sort alphabetically the field or entity or view or chart or dashboard appears at the bottom of the list.

When you browse field in Advanced find, the fields starting with Z appear at the bottom of the list and when you are looking to do a quick cleanup, having all fields you want to delete start with Z can make life just a little bit easier.

So why would you flag a field ZToBeDeleted - (original name)? Why not just delete the field?

Well, if you have not experienced this first hand, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Build and Release processes MERGE, so if you delete a field in your development environment and you don't delete that field in your test environment, then the field will still exist after your build and release.

It should be noted that there are MANY different types of builds and releases and managed solutions bring a different dimension into this conversation, so let's just assume unmanaged solutions and manual build and release (for the sake of this conversation)

If you train your team to name every field that needs to be depreciated ZToBeDeleted - (original name) and you define a process where you then delete these in batch in ALL environments, then you can save yourself numerous hours of detective work.

The other tidbit is to mark any fields that are labeled with a Zxxxx - (original name) with an unchecked SEARCHABLE AND the awesome team at Microsoft slipped in a little handy trick for doing this quickly. You can now select a set of fields and use BULK EDIT to change three things.

1) AUDIT Yes/No

2) SEARCHABLE Yes/No

3) REQUIRED Yes/No

  Bulk Edit

 


Editable Grids

So it has been two months since Editable Grids were released (approximately) and there was a great wave of HURRAY's at the time.

For those online, just another awesome plus added to your environment.

For those on premise, it is time to move! Technology is moving too fast not to get into the fast lane so you can help your business stay always current with the latest and greatest options.

If you want to read more about editable grids, Sonoma Partners has a great little write up


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Software as a Service with Bling (updates/Service Packs in addition to the drip changes)

In my last post I talked about keeping up with what's coming (https://roadmap.dynamics.com) but I want to talk a little bit more about how I keep up.

One of the tricks is to know and understand the real versioning or the back channel versioning that you can see when you select HELP/ABOUT in the software.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 actually includes all features/functions/updates/service packs of version 8.2.x.xxxx

So consider the growth from the last numerous years 

v1.0.0.0

  • v1.2.0.0
  • v2.0.0.0
  • v3.0.0.0
  • v4.0.0.0
  • v5.0.0.0
  • v6.0.0.0
  • v7.0.0.0
  • v8.0.0.0
  • Etc 

and all the version in between and now we are at v8.2.0.000

 The Microsoft Dynamics team recently posted more insight on this concept of Updates in the following post

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/crminthefield/2017/02/01/podcast-and-overview-december-2016-update-for-dynamics-365-aka-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2016-update-2-0-service-pack-2/ 


Dynamics 365 Growth and well WOW!

I have been working at Microsoft now for four and half years and one of the most awesome benefits of this is the learning culture and we get to attend TechReady and/or watch TechReadyTV. This is a time when internal resources are ramped up on all the latest and greatest and get opportunities to mix and mingle with the various product team members, program managers, visionaries, architects and more. We also get to get our questions answered and to build powerful relationships that help as we work with our clients. Go OneMicrosoft.

So I can't talk about the details, but I can tell you that: Well WOW, you will not believe what is coming on the Dynamics platform and this is also motivation to go look at what was just released in December 2016.

The increased internal recognition and appreciation for Microsoft Dynamics 365 as a powerful line of business application platform and the investment in adding to the platform in the same, great supported manner, just continues to blow me away. I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how closely the Dynamics R&D Team members are working with the other R&D teams, like the AZURE Teams and the Office 365  teams and so much more. 

The platform power together and the speed in which it is growing (major options every 6 months), just sends shivers down my back.

 You can keep your eye on the growth at https://roadmap.dynamics.com

Put your learning hat on and Embrace the change and growth.


The team behind Microsoft Dynamics 365 makes time to share (#msdyn365)

The team behind Dynamics 365 makes time to share, but some times goodies slip under the bridge and out of site. This post is to raise awareness of the CRM Team Blog and some f the goodies on GitHub for cool shares.

Take for instance this post from the awesome Jim Daly!

"I’m pleased to announce we have published two new mobile samples to GitHub.

Both of these samples demonstrate the same ActivityTracker functionality provided by earlier samples. They have been updated to use the Dynamics CRM Web API and they support iOS9 and Android 6 platforms. The iOS application is written using Swift 2, rather than Objective C.

ActivityTracker is a reference scenario for the sample apps. ActivityTracker helps a user quickly search for contacts, access recent contacts and easily report ‘check-in’ activities in CRM. It is designed for sales and customer service professionals to quickly access and update information on the go. With the published source code, the app can be easily modified by developers for your own scenarios and requirements.

For both samples, you will find complete instructions about how to build the sample applications. Find them here:

https://github.com/DynamicsCRM/iOS-Activity-Tracker-for-Dynamics-CRM-Web-API

https://github.com/DynamicsCRM/Android-Activity-Tracker-for-Dynamics-CRM-Web-API

Learn more at https://msdn.microsoft.com/dynamics/crm/mobilesdk.  "


Are you ready to exceed the expectations of the 72% of customers who expect a response to a complaint in under 1 hour?

Are you ready to  exceed the expectations of the 72% of customers who expect a response to a posted complaint in under 1 hour?

Thanks to one of my associates, Nick Fratello, for taking the time and energy to put this little video together which shows how to

  • Listen & engage customers on popular social channels
  • Understand customer's sentiment & intent toward your brand and organization
  • Escalate & resolve customer care issues consistently
  • Collect customer feedback & measure results
  • Transform customers into Fans

Dynamics CRM is not just C or X Relationship Management (CRM or xRM) anymore and as such the expansion to Microsoft Dynamics 365!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is PACKED with powerful features that are fully configurable and can also be extended. Additionally a huge amount of resources, talent and energy are going into adding even more. If you want to keep up with the Microsoft Dynamics Development teams keep an eye on both the development team blogs and on the official Microsoft Dynamics Roadmap

Dynamics CRM is not just C or X Relationship Management (CRM or xRM) anymore and as such the expansion to Microsoft Dynamics 365!


Team: Prescribed vs. Defined

I must be getting old for I am having more of the Carousel experiences of life. 

Take for instance that one of the benefits of getting older is that you get to walk into situations where you have been before. You have multiple similar experiences to draw from based on many other projects. It is a gift to clients, because some processes that are less efficient can be avoided and they get more cream of the crop (potentially).

So the thought of the day?

When defining user stories, gathering requirements, detailing out the current processes of the day. Think really, really hard about defining the specific issues, problems and current state without including the solution.

Ideally what you want is a team solution. A solution that pulls from the experiences of all members of the team. This is harder than it sounds, because it requires that each person really listens to and understands the full scope of the problem. It then requires that the team jointly agrees on the issue or problems and once agreed, solutioning can begin.

Solutioning will need to include the technical best choices and training among the team on the strengths and weakness as well as the business best choices.

Now in an ideal world this would all be done with any egos parked at the door, but rarely is this the reality. People have strong opinions. Humans are designed to compete or culturally trained to compete and thoughts outside of the comfort zones, make people uncomfortable. Mix in the awesome power of diversity and the energy can get very confused.

YET when this energy is aligned and diversity and multiple opinions come together as one. Amazing happens.

So keep stretching for Amazing  and keep learning, because the more we push ourselves to learn outside our comfort zones, the more we learn to listen and hear and the more we learn to share, the better the experiences will be!


Automatic Testing and Dynamics in the world of CRM

Automatic testing is a bit of a niche skill and every application is different in terms of what is needed or what tools can be used. In this situation I depend on knowledge shared, because there is absolutely no reason that we can't learn from each other. Following please find some notes from the field on Microsoft Dynamics "CRM" Automated Testing

Knowledge shared is a powerful skill in the world of technology. It requires that you admit that you might be wrong, that you might have more to learn and that being vulnerable is worth the risk. Yes, it is very much worth the risk in this crazy fast paced world of growth.

 

Tools that the field mentioned:

Sessions discussing Automated Testing

Other Videos in this arena

 

 


Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. Dynamics Users (CRMUG)

There is nothing like connecting with other people who are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the best way to do this is to get involved in the Dynamics Communities.

How do you get started? Check out http://www.crmug.com and signup for the upcoming local chapter meeting

The next meeting in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. Area is on November 16 at the Cobalt Office in Alexandria. Full Details and registration here. This is a special meeting and it is in Virginia. 

Most meetings in the D.C area are in the Microsoft Chevy Chase Office and if you want specific chapter information check out: http://www.crmug.com/washington


SLAs are not just for Service anymore - CRMOnline v8.1.X.xxxx

You now have the capability to use service level agreements (SLAs) for entities apart from Case

OH You are not using SLA's for cases yet either ... Well .. they are a unique learning area and you need to understand the strengths and version 1.0 variables. So tune up the grey matter and take a look at some of the following posts.

How to Configure SLAs

Enable Entities for SLAs

Add a Timer to Forms

Configuring SLA Timers

Enhanced SLAs and Entitlements


Microsoft Social Engagement: Empower Each Individual and listen to your own sources

The awesome Jesper Osgaard has a great write up on how MSE has met the much demanded need to listen to RSS and Atom Feeds ..

Listen to custom sources in Microsoft Social Engagement

"Custom sources offer a way to get additional data from your favorite public RSS and Atom feeds. You can create search topic rules and filters to gain further insight into all your sources"

 

Is it time to listen to what is being said about your company?


Knowledge Management : KB Articles in Microsoft CRM

A few resources to ramp up on all that is new in Knowledge Management in Microsoft CRM 8.1.0.00xx (2016 Spring Release)

Dynamics CRM Knowledge Management by the Microsoft EMEA Support Team

New Knowledge Management Features Introduced by the Microsoft Product Team

New Customer Service Features in CRM 2016 discussed by MSDynamicsWorld

Tip of the Day Video (series): CRM Knowledge Articles

One Minute Overview Video on Knowledge Articles

Streamline Knowledge Management in Microsoft CRM Video

You will also want to ramp up on the new Interactive Service Hub (ISH) which offers even more access to the wealth of data in Microsoft CRM.

Tip of the Day : Interactive Service Hub

Overview of the Interactive Service Hub

Working with Cases in the Interactive Service Hub

 

 


Keeping a Clean House: Sometimes it is about the data

Microsoft CRM supports tracking of e-mail messages and e-mail messages often come with attachments. If you want to prevent Microsoft CRM from storing an e-mails attachments you can set the file size within Configuration to 0.

What if you don't want to block all attachments or what if you inherited a system that has a ton of attachments stored in the database?

You can purge e-mail attachments from the CRM Database.

Take a look at the EMEA Support Teams Blog Post on the subject for more.

Kids-cleaning


Building a Demonstration Environments : Data

Microsoft CRM is tightly married to Microsoft Excel and as such some of the EXCEL functions can come in very handy.

When putting together a demonstration system check out the RANDBETWEEN() Function for generating random numbers in Excel. It can also be used for randomly picking values from a list and many other derivatives.  

 


Associating "One Knowledge Base Article" to a Case based on Case Type

In Microsoft CRM you can have many knowledge base articles associated to a case, but what if you wanted to always associate a specific article to a specific case based on the type of case?

This can be done using CONFIGURATION.

Create a new N:1  relationship between Case and Article. This sets up the field for the CASE form to associate 1 article to the case. Once the relationship is configured, add the relationship to the CASE form of your choice.

Most likely you don't want to select and pick the article when you create the case (although that is an option), but rather you want the system to automatically associate the article based on the case type.

To do this you would add a process of type workflow that looks at the case type and appends the article you indicate. It is important to realize that an article can not be appended to the case until the case is created and as such the order in which the workflow fires is a variable.

Items to Consider

  1. The Security on Case and Article might need to be updated to support Append and Append To.
  2. The Case Types might need to be expanded to cover all case types needed.
  3. The Articles should be created before you create the workflow so that you can pick the article you want to associate.
  4. CRM 8.1.0.00xx has three different knowledge base article entities as depreciation occurs so understanding which article to use is helpful.
  5. Workflows can be ASYNC or SYNCHRONOUS and each have their own strengths. In this situation there are advantages to ASYNC because of the timing of case save.

Out of the Box (OOB) Microsoft Customer Relationship Managment (CRM)

If you don't know what you get out of the box, then you might be inclined to ignore all the greatness and create your own entities. This is an option, but what it tends to bypass are all of the OOB integrations and small enhancements that offer some incredible power.

Take for instance "Case" and "Case Resolution" These two entities are a married pair. The first tracks the incoming details on any specific case and the second tracks all of the different derivatives of the resolution to that case.

For instance a case can be cancelled with a reason or it can be completed with a failure or a success.

It should be noted that when closing a case, the configuration offers choices. The status reasons can be modified for each Status of ACTIVE and INACTIVE.  

Status Active - Status Reasons

Status Resolved - Status Reasons Status Cancelled - Status Reasons

 


Scoring and Assigning Complexity

Microsoft CRM and Calculate Fields offers some real power for adding scoring to a specific record.

Take for instance a situation where five different departments work on a specific opportunity. You can configure the system so that each department adds a score to the opportunity record, such as a value from 1 (great fit) to 5 (Gaps), and the system can then add up these five scores and give the opportunity a more realistic probability for close.

  • Department 1 Score (1-5):  2
  • Department 2 Score (1-5): 3
  • Department 3 Score (1-5): 4
  • Department 4 Score (1-5): 1
  • Department 5 Score (1-5): 5

Total Score : (Calculated by the System) 15

Now tie the 15 to a business rule that sets the opportunity to Hot Fit (Red), Warm fit (Orange), Cold Fit (Blue)

If Total Score =>1 and <=5 then set Opportunity Fit to "Hot Fit (Red)"

If Total Score >5 and <=15 then set Opportunity FIt to "Warm Fit (Orange)"

If Total Score >15 and <=25 then set Opportunity Fit to "Cold Fit (Blue)"

 You can even set the "colors" on the option set values for some super cool feature growth ...


Field One: The Mobile Workforce and Microsoft CRM

Did you know there are more field services technicians in the US then sales people in the entire world?

Field One took Microsoft CRM and mastered the platform. What does this really mean? Mastering the platform?

Microsoft CRM as a platform is a parallel growth paradigm. The product grows and matures every day as the developers on the Microsoft teams build, define, refine and release while the teams (external partners, ISVs, other resources) building extended solutions are doing the same. Each team must work closely with the vision of today and the visions of the future. Decisions are not just meeting a requirement or request, they are meeting a requirement or a request in a manner that fits into this parallel growth.

Field One Mastery (now under the Microsoft Umbrella) continues to offer incredible, already mastered, solutions to some of the most complex field services organizations.   

  • Resource Management
  • Complex Scheduling
  • Durations
  • Territories
  • Mobile
  • Routing
  • Modern
  • and so much more

   So what do the developers work on, if the above is already so well matured and defined?

Oh there is so much more that just flows into what you have as time goes one.

Consider the Microsoft Platform and all that is available.

Consider Machine Learning and Predictive analysis and the speed in which Microsoft Azure offerings are growing. Consider Microsoft Portal and Microsoft Project Services within CRM  and, and, and ....

So if you have not taken a few minutes to start thinking about Field Services then perhaps it is time to start? Take a look at Field One.

FieldOne-Sky-devices-medium


Learning, Learning, Learning: 5 Features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM v8.1.0.xxx (Spring 2016 Release) to think on

Learning, Learning, Learning

5 Features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 8.1.0.xxxx (aka CRM 2016 Spring Release) to think on

1) INTERACTIVE:  The new interactive experience offers  redesigned forms  that help users experience CRM in a whole new way. This is a new interface with new potential so if you have been working with Dynamics CRM for years you will want to expand your thinking and your back pocket of options. You don't have to delete how you use to do things, you just have even more options to meet the demands of today. Start by looking at the configuration of your system. Look within your CRM Solution and the settings on each entity. You will see  Options for Entity. (step one for your new road of enlightenment)Options for Entity - Interactive 2016 SpringConsider this summary from the CRM Help and Training Guide (there is help and training available)

  • "The customer card in the forms gives a complete view of your customer’s touch points
  • The timeline gives a unified view of your customer’s interactions across channels, and lets you act on them quickly
  • The related pane lets you search and act on related records without losing context of customer data and interactions"

Interactive Hub - Spring 2016

 

 

2) C O L O R S: Sometimes Themes and Colors really make a HUGE difference, people like colors. So when you dive into your configuration and you are looking at your entities understand that you have a number of layers of different options when it comes to themes and colors. For CRMOL users there are theme settings for the whole system in https://portal.office.com and for all CONFIGURATION users there are color settings on entities and layered throughout. You can go as deep as setting colors on values in option sets and oh you can have so much fun!

 Color Codes - 2016 spring

Colors on Option Sets Spring 2016

 

3) CHANGE TRACKING: Not as new as Spring 2016, but new enough to mention that it exists and what it is given that they slipped it in without too much fanfare. This is a new option in the SDK that allows a developer to tap into a drip feed of changes for integration into other systems and other cool developer type techniques.  A NEW SDK feature that is worthy of understanding. You can enable change tracking on a specific entity or on all entities. To read more on change tracking tap into the CRM DEVELOPER CENTER. Change Tracking Spring 2016
4) SOLUTIONS: When adding ENTITIES to Solutions, when in doubt or if you have not learned the strengths and yet to be matured areas of the new solution options then  CHECK the ADD ALL ASSETS option.

Add All Assets Spring 2016

 

5) Discover PROJECT SERVICES: a managed solution available from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team that offers incredibly deep resource management and project alignment. Gone are the days of using the external Microsoft Project software for CRM projects - USE CRM ! Your entire project team will get hands on day to day use of the software they are deploying for their customer.

Project Services - Spring 2016


Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Outlook Client

One of my greatest passions is helping and learning. Today as I walked the bridges of information helping where I can and learning, I discovered a few new links that are worth tucking into your CRM back pocket.  

There is a new tool in town for solving the complexity of issues in this world of many, many  different applications and just as many versions of applications and operating systems.

Enhancements have been released to last months announcement regarding the

announced release of a CRM diagnostic scenario included in the

Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant (SaRA)

So take a stroll and learn a little and along the way pay it forward.  


Server-Side Synchronization Handbook for Microsoft CRM and Microsoft Exchange

Even more Options for E-Mail Synchronization

    The Server-Side Synchronization Handbook : Another option for Connecting Microsoft  CRM Online to Microsoft Exchange Server


Five CRM Thoughts

1. Workflows can be REAL TIME (Synchronous) or ALMOST REAL TIME (asynchronous) and if you are a business user creating workflows you want to coordinate the timing. In the world of plugins and extensions timing coordination of steps is all part of the job, but in the world of workflows sometimes it is easy to forget about what we are really asking for.

2. Deleting and Cleanup in the world of customization and multiple environments are a specialized thought process. The system supports a merge mindset so when you want to do cleanup (and you are using unmanaged solutions) you want to make sure you cleanup all your environments. I like to use the technique of naming fields, business rules, forms, views and other such configurations in DEV with a prefix of something like ZToBeDeleted so that after a deployment to TEST and PRODUCTION it is easy to do house cleaning.

3. You are not the only one extending and configuring. Coordination equals huge successes and incredible power and depth. It is a product that is always evolving from the power and insight of the incredible team at Microsoft and then there are the other new features that are purchased, reviewed, updated, coordinated and released. If you are writing unsupported code you are asking for headaches OR if your hired gun is writing unsupported code. Take the time to get it done right. Take the time to vet your resources. A low hourly rate does not mean long term reduction in cost.

4. Software as a Service (SaaS) in the world of Dynamics CRM means that you are continuously getting the chance to improve your businesses cutting edge differentiator through the use of the newest technology and business techniques. Get the Learning Mindset and embrace the wave while also taking bite sized, very manageable growth steps forward. Setup your environment so you have a DEV, TEST and PRODUCTION instance so that you can have DEV upgraded first, then TEST (with a release to TEST and Regression Testing) and then roll to production. For smaller firms perhaps only two instances, but always give yourself that learning arena for the larger feature releases.

5. Just because it looks pretty, and has a really cheap initial price does not mean that you won't be paying more in the long run. In the world of ONLINE and the CLOUD do your research with other customers. Understand the 1, 2 and 3 year average costs and understand what you get for the money. The models can be very different.  There are hundreds of applications that can be replaced by Dynamics CRM and with the right resources (trained helps) the price is right. Just because Access and Excel are available with office, doesn't mean they are the right solution for a multi-user environment where people need to share real time data across many different devices. Oh and then there is the Out of the Box integration to the Office 365, SharePoint, Microsoft Excel E-Mail, and so much more. 

It really is mind blowing.....  


Technology grows as fast as your kids, if not faster ....

Technology grows as fast as your kids and keeping in touch with the drip just makes life so energized!

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v8.0.0.xxxx (2016) was released last Fall offering more functionality at the deepest level and more options and functionality at the user level. Take for instance the new "Interactive Service Hub". A graphical interface in addition to ALL you have through dashboards, charts and views and then you also have new options around knowledge management and at the deepest level new formats for fields.  

 

Even more important, the incredible ground work around mobile and the mastery of DISTRIBUTED PROCESSING leveraging Azure. Distributed processing with any technology is not easy; although in the world of Microsoft CRM we have long had the Outlook Client, still we needed more options and  now we have more options. The synchronization of data between multiple source locations is just ripe with potential difficulty and yet, here you have in CRM 2016 some great MOBILE Answers to a tough need.

Now before you start thinking about all that you have not yet tried in the FALL CRM 2016 release (v8.0.0.xxxx) understand that the SPRING 2016 release is rolling out to the customer focus group now. A group of customers who totally get keeping up and have signed up and agreed to test the new software before it is generally available. A win/win situation for the product development teams and for customers. A team approach using real world solutions. 

The Spring release is PACKED!

The teams are leveraging not only the power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (and it really is powerful and occassionally taken for granite), but the depth and power of AZURE, the Out of the Box integration to Office 365 and SharePoint and the maturely integrated solutions like portal and field services.

More Reading

Given how quickly everything is rolling out the teams have also released a new ROADMAP website so you can immediately know what has been released, what is being released and what is pending for the next update. It is easy to get caught up in the buzz, so this site is available for immediate validation.

Want another insight?

Microsoft Social Engagement is now getting monthly updates.  

Look what's new in version 2016 1.3

and then there are versions all the other enhancements on the same page to also catch up on. What? You are interested in Machine Learning? Did you know MSE is ALREADY leveraging the power? Wow! 

I work at Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Global Dynamics Domain focused on services. Keeping up with all of the GREAT old and new functionalities can sometimes be interesting, but it is such a thrill to have such a huge tool chest of options for clients in this complex world. A world where technology, configurable technology can offer a great competitive differentiator.

 

 

 


Teamwork, Code Reviews and the Speed of Technology

Reading a Blog post a day really is an awesome way to get your drip learning on!

Ben Hosk has a thoughtful Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blog and he makes some interesting points in this post.

I love this quote

“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand“.
Martin Fowler

Code Review is a great topic, particularly in this world of faster and faster and faster deliver.  

In terms of reusing code, one trick is to have a team (even if just a team of two) people who code review each others work. You can also purchase code reviews from Microsoft Services or from a partner. the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team also has tons of samples, white papers and trainings that define best practices. Adding code review and refactoring  into your processes can significantly increase quality. The other variable is to include TIME to do code reviews and to think about the bigger picture.

It is the default to "solve the issue and request quickly", but to solve the issue and need with sustainability is the goal.

 


In the world of databases, do you really need all that you have?

Sonoma Partners had a great little post on their blog about all of the different databases that a company might be using and all of the solutions that the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Platform brings to the table. So perhaps "XRM" does not really grab you and define how big the world of possibilities really is! What if you put your head around Any Transactional Relationship Management System?

Pieces of a Lab (the age of the equipment, the pieces that go together, the serial numbers, the experiments related) 

Signage on a road (and the vendors that buy the space on those signs and the stores who care (they are located close to the exit))

Accessories for a Fashion Show (and the models and their agents and the clothes they will wear and )

The list can go on and there are some cute little videos on YouTube that sum it up better than I can so click and enjoy !

 

 


Microsoft CRM Online : Moving Data, Migrating Data, Getting All Setup

It is true that you can import data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

It is true that you can setup complex integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

It is true that you are not the first person to do this nor the first company or complex Enterprise or complex small business environment.

When you need to get started it is; however, helpful to have a service that supports getting you started. Needless to say Microsoft now offers the DATA LOADER SERVICE for CRM Online.

There are two great blog posts on this service written by the team!

Data Loader for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Post 1 of 2

Data Loader for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Post 2 of 2

 


So you want to configure your Dynamics CRM System?

First define your desired architecture! (Think Design your addition or house)

Then do some reading and planning! (for instance you might want to have your upstairs bathroom above your downstairs bathroom to make the plumbing easier)

Consult an expert or hire an expert! (They have the experiences of numerous projects rolled out successfully that are often very, very, very similar to what you are doing)

If you want to learn by doing, calculated in the learning curve, because you will make mistakes and you will want to have a plan for fixing the mistakes so that the system is not compromised. (Consider what happens when that addition to the house or the house is not built to code)

Reading: Take a peak at this great TECHNET content!


Custom Help in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and beyond

There was a nice little feature released as part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015. You can now add CUSTOM HELP to your Microsoft CRM system.

The awesome, Josh Wells, provides a nice little video on the subject


Gold Nuggets for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Users

Microsoft offers so many choices that sometimes finding out about new choices is noise, noise, noise, but then there are the noises that are worth listening too. Take for instance that for CRM Online users there is a solution that is free and is tucked into your administration options and that makes users go "wow".

Start by going to your CRMOL Administration Portal (http://portal.office.com) and selecting Service Settings, Dynamics CRM

Service Settings Dynamics CRM

You then want to select Dynamics CRM Administration which will  list your instances and solutions

CRMOL Instances ManagementNOW choose the PENCIL: The tiny pencil on the right hand side of the screen under solutions. This represents EDIT and will allow you to step into a very interesting world.

Solutions

 

The world of CRM Online Offered Solutions

Solutions for CRMOL

 

and I started this post with InsideView's Microsoft Dynamics CRM Insights on my mind. It offers some very interesting Account and Contact updates for users who want "web" data options for updating of account and contact details. READ the readme to fully enable for there is some need to update your forms to take advantage for the solution feature offerings. It also requires that you have configured your system administration account correctly.

In addition to the free offering the company also has more extensions and some international features. Take a peek at their website. and reach out to their team for more support and more awesome.

 


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support Lifecycle

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a continuous book, with pages being edited and new pages being added with each release. Those who build their projects to live with the growth of their companies do not need to be concerned for the book continues as your business continues.

For those who are still running Microsoft Dynamics CRM older versions, this page might be of interest. The Microsoft Support Lifecycle Page

What is a Support Lifecycle, you ask or more appropriately, what is the support lifecycle policy? There is more on the website, but consider this ...

"What is the Support Lifecycle policy?
Microsoft provides an industry-leading Support Lifecycle policy—in length and provision—giving customers consistent, transparent, and predictable timelines for which software is supported."

 


Choices, choices and more choices : Accessing Microsoft CRM Online

Microsoft has a long history of offering choices! Just consider how each individual can configure their Outlook usage differently from every other user and yet it is also consistent. This is a very interesting balance.

In the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and particularly in the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (currently v2016 aka 8.0.0.xxxx) the choices list is getting so long that I rarely hit a request that doesn't have many options.

Take for instance the integration to Microsoft Outlook and E-mail.

We have the traditional CRM Outlook Add-In Application which has continued to be updated and upgraded and we have a new Outlook App! Jesper has provided a really nice table of the differences in this blog post.

There is also the new MOBILE EXPERIENCE and MOBILE APPS and it is quite the experience or experiences ! Microsoft is now tapping into the incredible power of AZURE to further enhance the mobile offerings. I so love it when the development teams work closely together for even more WIN/WIN/WIN!

In terms of the details : Many of the partners are blogging on these new mobile features such as indicated in these links

  • http://beringer.net/beringerblog/microsoft-dynamics-crm-2016-whats-new
  • http://blog.dynamicscrm2015.com/2015/10/13/dynamics-crm-2016-and-full-mobile-offline-experience/
  • https://crmspec.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/faq-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2016-autumn-wave/
  • https://cynergies.net/developers/your-business-benefits-of-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2016-part-iii-mobile/
  • http://www.powerobjects.com/events/why-go-mobile-with-dynamics-crm-2016-webinar/

BUT Wait that is not all! Welcome to the world of POWERAPPs!  and you definitely want to follow the PowerApps team blog to keep an eye on this whole new business space.  I mean don't you want to write your own app, without a developer?

The options don't stop there. There was a time when I would hear a bit of grumbling from the senior techie guru programmers who were not CRM Centric, but this grumbling is fading into a thing of the past. Developers can now work in the world of Dynamic CRM with hundreds of different technology choices. They can leverage the incredible application security depth of CRM, the business friendly process control, the "entity" relationship structure and the power of CRM to meet numerous custom solution needs.

Check out these three videos for more on leveraging the ANYTHING transactional relationship management platform.

Module 1: https://youtu.be/GI54dCi2sIg

Module 2: https://youtu.be/MC2NaanB5Mk

Module 3: https://youtu.be/c-TrDYQ6VQY

And as such I encourage all of the readers to adopt a mindset of continual learning, continual re-evaluation and continual planning to adopt all of the great. Choices are relevant depending on timing and given this world of change that we live in, timing constantly changes. So learn and question, learn and question and grow, grow, grow!  

 


Let's Talk About Productivity

CRM 2016 and Productivity

 The above paragraph is from the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2016 (also called v8.x.x) Preview Guide. It is important to dive deeper into what this really means, because it can make a huge individual and corporate difference.

Why do we use CRM? In the traditional thought process ..

We use it

  • to document and keep track of all of the people that we interact with
  • to keep track of the companies that those people are associated with 
  • to individually keep track of the hundreds and thousands of interactions that we might have through e-mail, phone calls, face to face meetings and social interactions
  • to keep track of promises we made to follow-up or send material 
  • to track sales opportunities and their status
  • to track tickets/cases and the associated tasks and information to these cases
  • and to support the companies we work for with information and statuses on deliverables.

In a less traditional sense we also use it to

  • Document standard processes and embed those in the way people work
  • automate processes to reduce the need for a person to do redundant work (which the system can do)
  • Organize information under any given contact or account or defined thing
  • Pull together silo'ed information from many different systems
  • manage compliance and auditing of efforts within business
  • support field resources with information
  • manage complex scheduling needs
  • drip feed our relationships so they don't forget us
  • organize events, survey people, track dollars spent   
  • and so much more ....

Why do we keep track of these interactions?

We keep track so that we can remember, we can grow, we can offer services, solutions, and opportunities to those that we have met.

We keep track so that we can meet our goals.

So how does productivity play into this? Why is productivity so very important and emphasized in the cutting edge, just about to be released, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 system?    

It is all about how any given individual works on any given day. We write letters in Microsoft Word, we do analysis in Microsoft Excel, we read and respond to e-mail in Microsoft Outlook. We might even have hundreds of libraries of documents and files in SharePoint.

And we work with CRM, BUT what is important to realize is that for those super shined up, and refined businesses! They work with all of these tools seamlessly as if they were one application and they do this by leveraging the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Glue that Office 365 and CRMOnline offer.

It doesn't matter if you are in the CRM Interface or the Outlook interface or your mobile device all of your data is available.

Your contacts are organized against accounts and your documents for that account are available easily. Any sales opportunities are visible as are all of the account specific support cases.  

Your  client critical e-mails can be stored with one button click or other e-mails that are not worth saving can just remain in the noisy world of your personal Outlook. 

WE work in our individual silos, BUT we also work on teams and information needs to be shared. MS CRM adds this duality of shared e-mail and private e-mail. The 360 degree view into the client. It does it by it's deep integration to the Office products.

You love Microsoft Excel! You want to do your data entry in Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 offers Immersive Excel where you can enter data into this beloved tool and have it update the centralized system of records.

You love writing letters in Microsoft Word! Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 supports creating Microsoft Word documents with data pulled from your CRM System. This data is not limited to client name and address. This data can be any data you want to include in your Microsoft Word document that you have access to in your MS CRM System.

Outlook: Ah yes Microsoft Outlook offers so many choices. Do you like using Outlook tasks, well these can be tracked as CRM contact activities with a single click the work you are doing in Outlook updates the client activity record in CRM that was pending completion. This also applies to appointments so valued in your calendar. Others need to know about many of these even if they are not invited.

Now let's talk about Microsoft Office 365, which is flying out of the gate and disrupting the calm world of Microsoft Office. Why ? Because Office 365 is so very much more than just Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook E-mail. O365 offers more and more APPS to office users. Products like SWAY, DELVE, POWERBI, PLANNER and even a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client Application for e-mail management. It is also disrupting with features such as GROUPS and all work tightly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

So productivity is huge, but Microsoft also continues to offer choice. So many choices and so many ways to work, with one consistent experience, the experience  of one application with many, many features.

SO How do firms really become super refined and polished with this software? They work with consultants who specialize in helping you to make the right choices from the hundreds of choices to fit your business needs.

As canned as the triangle sounds : PEOPLE, PROCESS, PRODUCT/Technology it really is true. To get the most out of your investment in technology, invest in a partnership with a company who provides the product, and commit to working with people who can provide the experienced services, and refine and document and consult on your processes.