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.
Within Microsoft Dynamics CRM each entity has a set of system views. These system views can be configured or added to and as such are a powerful feature within the system. You can even create new views.
So what exactly is a view?
If you are familiar with a spreadsheet, you know that you have rows and columns of data and each piece of data sits in its own little cell. A view in Dynamics CRM is just like a spreadsheet. It has rows and columns of data. Additionally any given view in the system also let's you "click" and export to Excel.
Other powerful features of views include the ability to add columns of data from not just the entity where the view is defined, but from every entity that is related to the entity where the view is defined.
You can also sort views of data by clicking on the header of a column and secondarily sort by shift clicking on the next column.
People using Dynamics CRM can also use "Advanced Find" to create their own personal views of data. So if your IT Department is a bit buried under a long to-do list, you don't have to wait. You can create your own personal views AND you can even share these views with your peers or manager.
OK, so you really don't want to give up Excel and all the pivoting and graphics that you can do with it. Guess what, you don't have too! Views feed Excel and all the powerful data manipulation techniques that Excel offers. Check Out PowerView, PowerBI and PowerPivot, if you love Excel, you will go over the top with these Excel add-ins. CRM + Microsoft Excel "Better Together"
Views have another role within the world of Dynamics CRM. They feed charts, so setup your favorite view and then use the CRM Chart feature to chart the data from that view. These charts can be added to Dashboards for instant, dynamic, graphical love!
If you want to learn even more about views you can read about them in the MSDN library entry called Customize Entity Views.
Posted at 01:17 PM in MS CRM Configuring , MS CRM in Enterprise , MS CRM Knowledge Base Articles , MS CRM Partner Resources, MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Tip of the Day, MS CRM Training Resources, 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, MSDYNCRM04, MSDYNCRM11, MSDYNCRM13 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
When you purchase Microsoft Dynamics CRM a number of entities come with the system (if you need a refresher in entities, see previous post). You can create hundreds more, but here are some of the building block Entites.
One of the often forgotten goodies in the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the wealth of available options in the CodePlex Library.
This library also has Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 goodies such as the
CRM 2013 Quick View Menu
"The Quick View Menu helps you navigate to any location in Dynamics CRM quickly and seamlessly by taking your existing Sitemap and presenting it in an easy to navigate interface"
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.
Within the world of millions of pieces of data, relating certain data to other data can create a new piece of data. Take for instance a Full Name.
A full name can be considered one piece of data or it can be broken down into two, three, four or more pieces of data. Take the full name : Mr. John Jay Smith III and broken down we see the following:
and these pieces can be data or can be combined to create a number of different data names. John, John Smtih, John Jay Smith, John Jay Smith III, Mr. John Jay Smith III
Why does this even concern anyone? Well these are details that are important within the world of development and coding.
So welcome to Composite Control! A development choice for grouping the need to enter like data through a smooth user friendly interface.
In Dynamics CRM v2013 Composite Control is offered on Name and Address and via the SDK even more can be done.
Within the world of the CRM Industry there is a cutting edge ...
AND when it comes to the cutting edge pushing the design of data consumption is right up there with tying the use of CRM to employee motivation. As in they get more motived the more they use the internal CRM application. (yes, really, but I will save that for a future post)
Thanks to Mark for sharing this great post and a free solution on data display design - Perhaps take a few minutes to check it out and comment.
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.
Julie Yack has such a great way with words that I just had to share. Take a look at her summary about how you might fit in the world of Dynamics CRM.
oh and after you read the above, here are a few more
You might be a Dynamics CRM Power User if…
You might be a Dynamics CRM administrator if…
You might be a Dynamics CRM developer if…
Most worlds have a subset of definitions for terms that perhaps you have another understanding for. In the world of Dynamics CRM the term LEAD and the term PROSPECT are actually very different.
So What is a Lead?
A lead is a hint, a potential and an unqualified set of data. The data usually contains a person's name, sometimes the company they work for and maybe some initial information such as a phone number and address. A lead can can from many sources including purchased lists of name, trade show events, advertising, or direct calling. A lead generally is not HOT, but is still being reviewed. There is not much history on leads; although there might be if you are watching a lead from afar. The structure of a lead in Dynamics CRM is flat. One record.
And what is a prospect?
A prospect on the other hand is more qualified. A prospect is more formal. The structure of a prospect in Dynamics CRM is hierarchical and might contain not only a contact and an account record, but also numerous contacts, an opportunity and even assigned potential products. History can be found on these contacts rolling up to the prospect. You might also have a long list of activities or a sales process that you are following on a prospect. A prospect is qualified, known and many times is being actively worked.
If a prospect is associated to an opportunity then there is an associated timeline that has a process that ends with either a signed deal (as they become a client or customer) or with a loss. A loss that can be reported on, analysized and then used to improve processes.
And what is an Opportunity? (ah material for the next post)
It is a rainy day here in the Northeast so what better way to spend an evening. Yes, Enhancing the Dynamics CRM Charts!
Well another new world has opened in the universe of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and a number of long time Dynamics CRM Guru's have questions.
To get you started on what can be extended in the new forms take a look at this great little blog post just released on MSDN
Time to think differently about this concept of reporting. In some systems your only choice to get the data out of the system is with a report, BUT it is not like that with Dynamics CRM.
In fact it has not been like that for quite sometime, but I find that we often forget to mention some of the "cool" that exists when everyone is buzzing about the latest or next greatest feature.
So thinking about slicing, dicing, analysing, and looking at the data that is in Dynamics CRM you have a number of choices that do not contain the word "report"
1. Review Data in a Dynamic Excel Spreadsheet or Pivot Table or Chart
The security on the user opening this in Excel drives the data that is displayed.
2. Review data in a Static Excel Spreadsheet or Pivot Table or Chart
The data stays static, no matter the user.
3. Use Excel 2013 PowerPivot or PowerView on Dynamics CRM Data
4. Leverage Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services
5. Leverage FetchXML to pull data into your choice of BI Tools.
6. Check out Microsoft's Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS)
7. Use Dynamics CRM Advanced Find to pull data from a relationship tree of entities
8. Leverage the built in Dynamics CRM Report Writer
9. Use Microsoft Word Mail Merge to pull Dynamics CRM data into a favorite Microsoft Word Template
10. Tab into the extensive power of the entire Microsoft Office Stack and the integration between the different applications within this stack from CRM -> Excel -> Word -> Visio -> OneNote and more.
11. Leverage the power of Entity specific Charts and charts on related entities
12. Leverage the built in Dashboards and the dashboard building wizards for individuals or for the entire company
13. Use the built in Report Wizard
14. And if the above isn't enough to think about you also have a huge MarketPlace of Reporting and Business Intelligence available addin options.
I won't be at Convergence this year, but I wanted to go ahead and share some getting the most out of the event tips and tricks. because Convergence isn't just about great sessions and learning, but it is also about
2) Meeting the Third Party Providers and ISVs who partner with Microsoft on Dynamics CRM
and add value add
3) Meeting the Microsoft CRM Support Team and technical resources (bring your questions)
4) Meeting the Microsoft CRM Developers and development team (there are new faces to watch for)
5) Meeting other Microsoft team members
6) Communicating with other CRM users (Look for CRMUG)
7) Listening and learning from Authors, Field Experts and great consultants
So In my many years going to and presenting at Convergence I offer you the following
1) Know which sessions you want to go to before you go and have a backup option
(sometimes sessions are sold out)
2) Know who the speakers are: Ask or search the net or read their blogs, being great at what you know doesn't mean you are a great speaker. Look for both!
3) Use Twitter during the conference to keep up with the live session buzz and to connect with other CRM tweeters. My guess is the tweet tag will be #conv2013 or #conv13
4) Know the level of the session: They can range from 100 to 400 and have a lot to do
with presenter and audience. Convergence has both sales sessions to show what is new and deep technical sessions to get you up to speed fast so you have to know how to pick them.
5) Go to the parties and don’t stay at one. Roam from one party to the next and check out the culture, the mood, the tone, the side talks, the buzz
6) Talk to Strangers
7) Eat with people you don’t know and when you sit down, talk to them
8) Make time to visit the bookstore (even if to just see what CRM books are available)
9) Make time to visit the booths (I have had more great technical talks with CEOs at
trade shows than anywhere else)
10) Go to some non-CRM Sessions such as Office, SharePoint and BI – products that work
great together with CRM
11) Go to some business sessions – they have some incredible leaders presenting on
leadership, change management, etc. Many are well recognized business book
writers. (loved hearing Malcolm Gladwell a few years back)
12) Setup a Meet the Expert Connect session and have a one on one with a developer,
business leader, or other resource. A few years back I met with the development team working on a key feature in the newest version of CRM. What a blast to get their perspective.
13) Attend the Pre-Convergence CRMUG Day, the sessions are smaller and the content incredible.
14) Bring business cards, share your business cards, collect business cards AND schedule time when you get home to follow up. Not just the week after, but again two weeks after and a again after 2 months, etc. Networking is about meeting and then building relationships that offer win/win value to both people.
15) Share what you know! Evaluations make a HUGE Difference in the world of Microsoft. Peer to Peer sharing makes a HUGE difference in the success of Dynamics CRM.
16) Attend the last session of the day and the event. Those speakers are sometimes the best, because they draw out the day.
1) It is New Orleans! Get up on the balcony and share the fun of throwing beads at people.
2) Plan to eat incredible food.
3) Don't plan on sleeping too much, but don't burn up all the brain cells so you don't have time to learn.
Posted at 01:57 PM in Announcements, CRM in General, CRM Vendor News, MS CRM General Announcements, MS CRM Partner Resources, MS CRM Selling, MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Tip of the Day, 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)
If I had a dollar for every time the following question was asked in the field I could.. ! Well here is a much better response then a flat No and my thanks to Steven Vlaanderen Oldenzeel from Microsoft PFE for sharing!
Can I write directly to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SQL Database?
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.
1) Unit testing CRM – Some interesting food for thought
2) Enterprise CRM team development – Feedback from the field from Shan (CEO of ADX) and more good food for thought –
A special 2 hour XrmVirtual presentation on Enterprise CRM team development focusing on change management and application lifecycle management (ALM) tools. Here is the event page: http://www.xrmvirtual.com/events/team_dev_ShanMc_CRM2011
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)
A writer never really knows the impact of their book until it is out in the field and feedback is coming in. They can judge if it was helpful by the number of sales, but that is more a matter of publisher marketing than general "Did it make a Difference". They can also judge based on the internal editing process and the critical eyes of the editorial teams, but it isn't really the same.
I have now moved past, that unsure stage, that most writers experience when a book is released. The book Teach Yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2011 in 24 Hours feedback is excellent, people are getting value out of their investment in time and dollars, and a few more hundred souls are more efficiently getting more bang out of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
I was motivated to write this little post today, because the newest Microsoft BizSpark webpage included my book within their FURTHER READING section (bottom right). I am now helping the worldwide economy in one tiny way by supporting Entreprenuers and Microsoft in growing new business seeds of success!
For a gardener like me - this is just as exciting as the new sprouts peeking their heads out of the Spring soil outside my window!
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?
During the December 15th Southern New England CRM User Group meeting, which was focused on Dynamics CRM development utilities, we had some great interactive discussion and I captured some of the tips from the group. Here are those goodies shared.
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
Have You Registered Yet? @crmug: #msdynCRM
Next week is the Southern New England CRM User Group meeting in the Waltham, MA Microsoft Offices.
Come On Over to share in the joys and pains of INTEGRATION!
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.
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)
The Summary from the Southern New England Customer Relationship Management User Group meeting (Microsoft Dynamics CRM User Group - Regional Meeting)
June's SNECRMUG Meeting Summary
Boston once again managed to get the best of me (traffic, late to meeting), BUT I still made it to the Southern New England CRM User group meeting in time to hear the better part of the first presentation and all of the second and third presentation.
I, unfortunately, missed the introductions so if you were there I look forward to seeing you in July or September! Still it also reinforced what a great option it is to have more than one great leader helping to organize and coordinate (Thanks Pat!)
The meeting started out with a presentation by Edgewater Technology on the great new charts, graphs and visual display and reporting options in Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2011. What constantly amazes me is that reporting techniques used in the v1.2, 2.0 and 3.0 days still get a viewing and offer value, as well as all the new cool stuff in Dynamics CRM 2011. Never stop learning just because there is a new version around the corner is a GREAT motto to remember when it comes to Dynamics CRM.
The second presentation had me doing some wows! One of the Gold Certified ISVs, experlogix, showed their highly visual addition to Dynamics CRM. Products, Quotes and Orders will never be the same for me again. This product not only added break down to a very grandular bundling level but it also includes all with product pictures and built in workflow. Jeff showed the process of ordering a fish tank and with each decision the visual choices followed business rules in such a way that if you picked something such as a piranha for your fish tank, it will mark the other fish as not an option. Who wants dead fish!
The last presentation was done by a Customer. Lojack did not do the standard presentation around how sales features are used which although is definitely interesting is not as interesting to those who have seen that type of presentation before. They actualy stepped it up and did a great presentation on how the inner workings of customer service get value out of Dynamics CRM. No PowerPoint, just look this is what we do! They also offered some technology wow with some of the new things that LoJack is offering such as alerts when your "key" is not with your car when it is moving. Hey, I would want an alert on that as soon as possible! Text anyone? What was fun was some of the stories about unusually things that can occur when offering these new offerings.
Posted at 09:23 PM in MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Training Resources, MS CRM User Resources, 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 (1) | TrackBack (0)
Wow - CodePlex grew while I wasn't paying attention. There are now almost one hundread different free solutions available, all with interesting hints of cool stuff.
The word of the day is OData
"The Open Data Protocol (OData) is a Web protocol for querying and updating data that provides a way to unlock your data and free it from silos that exist in applications today. OData does this by applying and building upon Web technologies such as HTTP, Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub) and JSON to provide access to information from a variety of applications, services, and stores. The protocol emerged from experiences implementing AtomPub clients and servers in a variety of products over the past several years. OData is being used to expose and access information from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, relational databases, file systems, content management systems and traditional Web sites" retrieved from www.odata.org
Now apply that to your Silverlight learning as you introduce or mix Silverlight in with Dynamics CRM v4.0 or 2011!
"Silverlight 4 includes rich support for accessing web data either on the Internet or intranet via WCF Data Services. Formerly known as ADO.NET Data Services in Silverlight 3, WCF Data Services provides support for REST-based data access as well as support for the new Open Data Protocol (OData) format" retrieved from http://programming4.us/multimedia/2478.aspx
Over the last couple of years I have participated in the MSDynamicsWorld Decisions conference and the first year it was pretty cool, but a little light by the second year the speakers and vendors were really starting to get the format and now VIRTUAL CONFERENCES are well just hot. (Hey, just checking out the technology is cool)
Yes, the world is noisy, people are busy - but given that Decisions 2011 has one full day packed with great CRM Speakers I am helping to spread the world. Last year I heard and shifted my perspective when listening to a talk on Dynamics CRM and the marketing features (how to really leverage what is there) and this year who knows what I will learn.
SO Mark your calendars as June 17th is CRMDAY!
and for those of you also working with the other products within the Microsoft Dynamics Family you might be interested in these virtual conference days as well.
Posted at 09:34 AM in Announcements, CRM Vendor News, MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Training Resources, MS CRM User Resources, 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)
Wow - I didn't realize that the number of Dynamics CRM users is now up to 1.7 million users. Last year I was impressed at 1.1 million and that was just a short 11 months ago
Glad to be at #CRMUG DayONE! General session is well versed and not too sales oriented.
Nice job Bill! Love the paper versus plastic comment when talking about the huge number of choices. People love and hate choice
The best part (s) of the Dynamics xRM platform
1) Developers don’t ever have to “line up fields on a form”
2) DBAs are not needed to build the database, although a few database indexes are good to have (if wanted) DBAs are still needed!
3) Users can design their own forms (ok this is only in xRM 2011) and not step on other people’s preferences – In v4.0 the CRM trained BA can do it, no developer necessary.
4) Users can come up with their own views, dump the data to Excel, save it as a report and be glorified heroes to their boss. In fact they can export to a Dynamic Excel Pivot chart (that when the boss opens it, shows the bosses secure data in all sorts of cool graphs)
5) In 2011 – Users can create their own charts on the fly, charts have built in drill down (IS doesn’t have to write as many SSRS Reports!)
6) Programmers can focus on the fun stuff like Silverlight interfaces ((not the stuff they have developed 100 times before))
7) The bling – doesn’t take a year to develop
8) Users get new features every 6 weeks and over 500+ new features every 1-2 years from Microsoft (if the extensions are written in the supported framework, it is an upgrade – not an expensive rewrite or a risky set of custom reactive patches that over a number of years gets painful to support)
9) To solve a user problem, to fix a bug or to figure out what is up is usually a phone call away. With 1 million other users you are not always the first one to find it and with Tier 1, 2, 3 support not to mention the blogs and books and a crazy wild community ... well nice to have community.
10) Integration to Google Maps, GeoData or Bing Maps takes less than a week to complete.
11) Popping any other web application (with a link) from the menu can take less than an hour to enable, add role security ok a day or two
12) There are hundreds of Apps that you can buy to plug in. iPad interface, Advanced Marketing, Hoovers integration, BI and OLAP analysis, mobility,
13) You still need .NET developers! Integration, extensions, cool stuff, new things in .NET and SQL and more! not redundant done it 100 times before like authentication code, Form Field line up, etc.
Ok, ok there are some change requirements (believe it or not I am not 100% CRM Kool-Aid (maybe 80%;))
1) Experienced .NET developers have to change process to fit within working with another .NET development team that is external (Microsoft Dev team)
2) The team writing the framework is not perfect and do make mistakes
3) The efficiencies to Microsoft Dynamics xRM have to be learned via training, reading and experience. (the first two are the least painful) particularly if you skip them.
4) The first project never lives up to the expectation of a more efficient turn around particularly when the people trying to hit this expectation do not get the time to get training, or think they can train themselves, (field feedback and connection with the MS Developers helps a lot)
5) Business users also need to realize they get the cool stuff but it comes with other features that don't necessarily just turn off if they don't like that way of doing it.
6) Infrastructure matters: Supporting CRM infrastructure requires expanded network administrator skills and it helps to have DBA input and involvement
7) You can screw it up (but then what else is new)
8) When people screw it up, they blame it on xRM/CRM instead of on all the factors
9) CRM is not an ERP or financial application framework, sometimes the DynamicsAX Framework is a better choice particularly when it comes to crazy tax codes that you don’t want to be the one keeping current.
For those of you who are cruising along on your last years knowledge of xRM development habit you might make a note to add a task to your to do list!
SDK v4.0.13 (and SDK v4.0.12) offers NEW options and CHANGES old accepted xRM development practices
This release includes the new Advanced Developer Extensions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, also referred to as Microsoft xRM. This is a new set of tools included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK that simplifies the development of Internet-enabled applications that interact with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
In addition to the documentation, this download package includes the projects for all sample code found in the documentation, and full featured samples that are not included in the documentation. The package includes a visual style guide you can use to make your customizations fit in smoothly, and a style sheet you can use as a basis for your work. There are also tools and helper code provided in this package. Look for regular updates to this SDK!
So now that you have completed all your New Years Resolutions (or abandoned them) take a bit of time and do a bit of deep diving into the new v4.0 SDK
and for those guru, gurus who are developing on the v2011 platform. The same applies :) as many of the new concepts within the sdk world made it into the v2011 SDK world as well.
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.
I think it is pretty funny that I had an e-mail from Amazon today recommending my book to me.
"Amazon.com recommends "Sam's Teach Yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4 in 24 Hours" and more ....
The best thing about this is it is a good reminder that my original book is still packed with a ton of great learning that applies to both v4 and v2011!!
Kicking off the New Year, this new page is packed with all things Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011! If you are planning, prepping or in general curious about the next version of CRM you might want to take a peek.
Create a simple Ad Hoc Report
Save and Export to an RDL file
Now do the same report directly using Visual Studio and SQL Reporting Services
Compare the two RDLs. Notice anything different?
I recently had the chance to do this and opened a few programmer eyes. As it turns out CRM offers a few tricks to the trade when it comes to getting what you want out of the system. Now from a programmer's view these might be "cheats" but from an application point of few these are features that every programmer working with Dynamics CRM might want to know about.
So the next time you tap into an expert SQL resource for some SSRS reporting, take a few minutes to talk about the Dynamics CRM platform and the features and functions they might be able to leverage.
Also never forget that there is a TON of field experience shared within the world of blogs, twitter, linkedin, CRM forums and even facebook.
This week this post peeked my interest.
Within the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM certain entities have "close" and/or status/state functionality. On activities this close pushes the activity into history and on Opportunity this close function completes or closes an opportunity as Won or Lost. On Accounts the status functionality Activates or Deactivates .. so there are a number of great uses to this design.
You can even do more with these statuses applying the same consistent pattern to many other standard and/or custom entities.
The challenge becomes how to setup the CRM security model around who can change an entity from active to inactive (aka giving a user access to READ/WRITE/UPDATE but perhaps limiting their access to changing statuses) Some functionality is supported, but not all. Yet
I love it when partners step it up and share key tips that make their Microsoft Dynamics CRM clients happy. Today on the PowerObject's blog "JoeCRM" wrote up a really nice post about empowering users in the task of configuring Outlook to get even more out of the embedded Dynamics CRM functionality.
One extra point to bring to everyone's attention. You can quickly find URLs within Dynamics CRM for any number of pages so if you have a favorite specific account that you want to link to directly you can do it.
Open the Account, Select Actions, Select copy shortcut (you can now paste this shortcut into a new outlook shortcut property)
Posted at 08:34 AM in MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Tip of the Day, 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)
A big thanks to Steve Noe, CEO of one of the great Microsoft Dynamics CRM training facilities, Biz IT Pro.
Here are a few great links to help support those who want to get training, but who are struggling with the justification.
Training marks the difference in the field between exceptional Dynamics CRM partners and those who just market that they are Dynamics CRM partners (and who are paying the price in time, dollars and internal marketing hits both to the product and to the partner technical credibility)
As far as I can tell - Microsoft is still trying to figure out what to do about this. Although you might have noticed that they have expanded their Dynamics CRM certification suite from 4 tests with a masters level capstone exam to 6 (or more).
It is true that there are some incredible technical resources in the world and most of these technical resources have taught themselves a good bit of technology. Perhaps they learned one or two development languages in school and then the other five they have mastered on our own.
Or they might know five or six or 15 different applications so what is another application. A word processor is a word processor is a word processor or a spreadsheet, is a spreadsheet, is a spreadsheet. AND for some CRM applications I can even say that a Contact management system is a contact management system
Now let's talk about Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a new tool and platform!Yes, it is written in .NET so one could argue if you know .NET then you can teach yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Alas some have tried, many have failed - a few were open minded enough to have success, and some that have failed are still tripping over their own feet and not admitting their failures, but there is more as follows:
1) Dynamics CRM is built in a manner to enforce standard development practices on the XRM platform. Do you know those standard practices? Every MS CRM deployment can be unique and Microsoft had to come up with a way to both honor the uniqueness and not tick off all their customers when they ship rollup updates and major upgrades. (they figured it out)
2) The Dynamics CRM MS SQL databases are well .. they are not a SQL developers vanilla databases(even for the most advanced SQL guru). They have security built into them and leverage filtered views. Do you know how the filtered views work and why they are the way they are?
3) The application is server side and client side code. Development methodologies need to change so that individual developers can do server side coding and have the option to do client side coding as needed.
4) Team Collaboration when extending Dynamics CRM is unique. Have you learned how to do team programming on the XRM platform? You most likely do not want to be changing, refactoring, deleting and moving around attributes in multiple locations to be pulled together in one place. Key word here is that the XML customization file is additive.
5) Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure:When CRM 1.2 was released it took myself and a guru infrastructure guy 7 hours to install. Now in the world of v4.0 much of that is wizard driven and the time is much, much more reasonable. BUT DO you know what those wizards are doing? Particularly so you don't change something and break the world. I have seen a lot of newbie and oldbie infrastructure mistakes (and I don't tend to play in the infrastructure world).
6) Windows Server, SQL Server, MS SQL Express, Outlook, WSS and MOSS, Office Communicator, and the MS CRM Application footprint.They are all involved when talking about a single instance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (ok SharePoint and MS SQL Express and Outlook are semi optional) Now what do you think happens when you have a multi-tenant environment with multiple domains and trees? There is a reason that the Installation manual is inches thick and there are specific EXAMs for MSCRM infrastructure only.
7) Speaking of Exams on MS CRM- Microsoft has at least five different exams for Microsoft Dynamics CRM which I can think of off the top of my head. These include Infrastructure and Installation, the Application, Configuration and Customization, Extending and Solution development methodology. If you take and pass all those exams they also have master level exams.
So if you LOVE to read then there is a TON of material to read in the exam manuals; however there is even more. A wealth of books all coming at the CRM and the XRM platform from different perspectives.
Do realize that the cutting edge guru, guru Microsoft Dynamics CRM guys (and gals) are not spending time on their CRM developer toolkit (a must have and most likely you will have to build resource), nor are they worried about their library of code snippets that they can always tap into (code used for the other 100+ projects built on XRM they have rolled out), the master level CRM gurus are leveraging tools like Silverlight to make Microsoft Dynamics CRM sing and dance.
So back to the question at hand. Should I teach myself Microsoft Dynamics CRM? or should I ramp up with some of the well known field experts so I can start thinking CRM sooner, get to the fun stuff faster and avoid the deep scar tissue that many have from trying things and getting burned.
I highly recommend training from well regarded, highly referenced Microsoft Dynamics CRM trainers. I also recommend a continued training mindset. There are not a lot great resources out there, but they are out there so do your homework AND if you have had training from someone really good (or really bad) then please share your experience.
Posted at 05:38 PM in MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Tip of the Day, MS CRM Training Resources, 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)
I found this today and thought I would share. Thanks Muhammad for taking the time to post your comments and thoughts. Your feedback makes a huge difference.
"I am a Software developer looking for CRM Dynamics custom development but first wanted to explore the concepts and out of the box functionality. I have thoroughly read until Hour-7 and skimmed over the rest, the book did a great a job so far elaborating and aligning the CRM concepts that most reader will subconsciously be aware of.
I bought another text and was overwhelmed by the information presented only from a usage viewpoint. Definitely, one would have to refer an adavnced title for custom development and that's not suggested by the book's title either. However, unlike its counterparts, the book handles a simple subject with utter simplicity.
No twinkle in fifth star due to size of illustration, hardly can peek into the pictures"
Author's Note: As the book gets updated I will definitely depend on a different tool for capturing screen shots. Vista's Snipping Tool just didn't do the job it needed to do.
You are a new customer to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and one of your first questions might be "How do I get started?" and "What training resources are available to me?"
The Top 7 8 New Customer Resources
1) Microsoft Partner of Record: Never under estimate the power of working with your Partner of record. Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners have been there and many times done that and they have a variety of resources available including consulting services, training options, white papers, and relationships to key contacts both at Microsoft and within the ISV (add-on applications) community. I might also add that if your partner of record isn't working out you do have the power of choice. Invest in a win/win relationship.
2) Books: There are now a number of books available which provide a solid foundation of knowledge. These can be found at your local and online bookstores. For the developers search on the following authors: Mike Synder, Jim Stegner and David Yack and for the users the Microsoft Step by Step book and you can get a good primer and start from my book "Teach yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 24 hours"
3) User Groups: There are two great user groups providing some awesome recorded and live training sessions. The XRM User group has a focus on the people working with, developing in, extending and customizing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the CRM User Group has a focus on leveraging the CRM features of the software to their highest potential. CRMUG additionally has some special interest groups based on industry and both XRMUG and CRMUG have local chapters.
4) Blogs: I follow about 60 blogs (all on Microsoft Dynamics CRM) and I know there are more that I am most likely missing. I have a couple of favorites when it comes to a user focus and the first is Richard Knudson's Dynamics CRM Trickbag blog. Richard is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM trainer and as such his blog is packed with learning CRM resources. The second is the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team blog which is a great place to search for answers.
5) Dynamics CRM Forums: In the Dynamics CRM forums you can post a question and you will get a variety of answers. No questions is to basic! There are forums for all the different audiences using and working with Dynamics CRM. My personal tip: When working with the forums make sure you post your question in the right forum to the right audience. For instance if you have a question about sales process then you might not want to post that in the developer forum.
6) Twitter, LinkedIN and Facebook: On Twitter Search on #MSCRM and you will immediately feel the buzz. If you are not tweeting or if you are just getting into twitter then choose to follow one or two of the consultants in the field and feel free to post your own questions using the #MSCRM tag. On LinkedIn and Facebook (Jim Glass, Guru CRM Community Liasion) has some awesome Dynamics CRM Groups where people from all over the world share information.
7) Microsoft Dynamics CustomerSource: CustomerSource is a benefit of your service contract and is managed by Microsoft Business Solutions.
8) Don't Forget the resources within the third party software vendors (ISV's): The Independent Software Vendors writing solutions on top of Microsoft Dynamics CRM have a TON of educated and trained resources. Talk to them, invite them in to do a presentation and ask them about the Dynamics CRM way of life.
Learn to Think CRM
Posted at 07:52 AM in MS CRM Partner Resources, MS CRM Studying, MS CRM Training Resources, MS CRM User Resources, 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)
There is a lot to learn about Microsoft Dynamics CRM; although many have been tripped up by the ease in which you can configure and customize the system and the general marketing buzz. Don't let this fool you into thinking you are not still working with a powerful machine!
Dan Blake offers a primer on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Infrastructure multi-tenancy options. His post on this is now a year and a half old, but it still packs a mean punch with some great tidbits so if Multi-Tenancy is within your radar take a look.