Learning and Studying Feed

A One Inch PowerPoint?

So I was going through my old files and I found the largest PowerPoint I ever generated. I was shocked to see that it was an inch thick! It was presented in the Ingram Micro Solution Center and it had a core focus of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. 

Let's face it, there is a lot to talk about surrounding the industry of awesome Customer Engagement from marketing to service to sales to business to business. Twist in the actual application and all that you can do with the platform and you just can't learn everything in a few quick years. So value your experienced resources. 

CRMPresentation

 


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

 

 


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


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.

 


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!


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

So you have not quite jumped to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 and you still have users who are learning more and more and more of the DEPTH and potential of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Well Aaron shared a number of great videos that are worth adding to your 2016 To Watch List

You might also want to consider updating your DRIP LEARN habits. It is the New Year and new habits are a great way to polish up and sharpen up. What is DRIP LEARN? Drip learn is simply reading one blog post a day or one article or watching one 15 minute video. It is amazing how just a little bit of coffee cup, drip learning can impact your world and your thoughts.

 


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."

 


Powershell and Microsoft Dynamics CRM (#msdyncrm)

So you think you are the ultimate master of Microsoft Dynamics CRM! This is totally awesome, because now you can empower your entire team with new PowerShell Awesomeness for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Organization Data!

AND don't forget to send some feedback and love to the developer!

Read More and Download Here

 


Visual Studio 2013 Tools and Dynamics CRM 2015

If you have not noticed there is an incredible Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software Developers Kit (SDK), but in previous versions of the SDK there were also a set of visual studio tools.

Working in Technology? As We Know Change is A Constant

So lets look at some changes

Visual Studio Tools for Microsoft Dynamics CRM are now available as part of Visual Studio. Check out these to get started

https://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/0f9ab063-acec-4c55-bd6c-5eb7c6cffec4

https://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/3570204a-352f-4b1d-808f-0d65182dfad0

and there are a ton more available and always more coming -> use SEARCH

You can also use the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SDK Visual Studio Tools with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015. You update your references to point to the new SDKdlls and update the framework version to 4.5.2.

There are a number of different blog posts buzzing on this, Such as these:

https://ramontebar.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/dynamics-crm-2015-sdk-developer-toolkit/

http://www.waynewalton.com/dynamics-crm-2015-sdk-notes-developers/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/where-is-the-developer-toolkit-for-crm-2015/

You also need to consider CRM Online and the reality that the current version of CRM Online is v7.1.x and the version of CRM On-Premise is v7.0.1 (although only a few months behind). One of the huge benefits of working with a CRM Online model is the drip feed to stay current. Huge Upgrades are a thing of the past when it comes to Software as a Service (SaaS). This also changes the development and extension model.

 


Smart Clients

In catching up with the communities I saw comments regarding a client who wanted to make sure development and extensions were supported.

Kudos to the client for recognizing that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is flexible, configurable and extendable with supported paths and that developers can sometimes be a little too creative without remembering the long term cost.


Answers to the easy and hard questions to consider as we think about Managed and Unmanaged Solutions (#Msdyncrm)

Answers to the easy and hard questions to consider as we think about Managed and Unmanaged Solutions

1) How do you create a managed or unmanaged solution?

  • Select Settings
  • Select Solutions
  • Select New

New Solution

  • Give your solution a name
  • Add a publisher (see next question for details on publishers)
  • Add a version such as 1.0.0.0
  • Add existing entities you want to modify or new entities you want to create
  • Save your solution
  • Export as either an unmanaged or managed solution

2) What is a CRM publisher?

A publisher allows you to define a prefix and variables for your solutions. A publisher can be used to organize or classify components added to a solution. To create a publisher

  • Select Settings
  • Select Customizations
  • Select Publishers
  • Select New
  • Publisher
      Newpublisher
    Give your publisher a name
  • Set your prefix
  • You can also set the starting number for any values in option sets
  • Save your publisher (you can now use it when creating solutions)

3) What benefit does the publisher give the customizer?

  • Every component (attribute, entity, etc. is prefixed with that publisher prefix)

4) What happens when you import an unmanaged solution?

  • The solution is merged with all other unmanaged solutions.

5) Can you export a managed solution?

  • No, you can only export an unmanaged solution which gives you the option to create a managed solution.

6) Who is the primary audience for managed solutions?

  • Independent Software Vendors (ISVs)

7) What are the disadvantages of using managed solutions?

  • The components of a managed solution can not be changed.

Managed vs. Unmanaged Solutions (MS Dynamics CRM v7.x.x)

Let us take a look at Managed and Unmanaged Solutions.

Unmanaged and managed solutions

There are two types of Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions: managed and unmanaged. Managed solutions  require a clear depth of understanding of managed solutions. They are used by the Independent Software Vendors (ISV's) who sell a set of IP that is not expected to be changed or modified by the customer purchasing these solutions. They are positioned to be updated or upgraded only by the ISV that sells them.

This is an important point for customers (who purchase these solutions and then extend CRM) and for partners (who create solutions for customers that are designed to be given to the customer to maintain).

UNMANAGED solutions are the more historical, potentially more flexible and what I like to call more organic. Organically I can generally fix most issues found in unmanaged solutions whereas managed solutions I must go back to the ISV.

It is also worth mentioning the "System" Solution.

The system solution represents the solution components defined within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Without any managed solutions or customizations, the system solution defines the default application behavior. Many of the components in the system solution are customizable and can be used in managed solutions or unmanaged customizations.

If you add customizations without using a unmanaged or managed solution you are modifying the system solution. If you create an unmanaged solution (so you can easily move your changes to other environments) you are merging your changes in with the system solution. Every component of an unmanaged solution is prefixed with the prefix you define in the publisher. Every component that you add to the system solution (without leveraging managed and unmanaged solutions) is prefixed with new_

The team doesn't let you add, without some indication that it was added. (smart team)

So some easy and hard questions to consider as we thinking about Managed and Unmanaged Solutions

1) How do you create a managed or unmanaged solution?

2) What is a CRM publisher?

3) What benefit does the publisher give the customizer?

4) What happens when you import an unmanaged solution?

5) Can you export a managed solution?

6) Who is the primary audience for managed solutions?

7) What are the disadvantages for the customer of using managed solutions?

 

 


Learning, Always Learning: Microsoft Dynamics CRM MB2-707 Exam

The MB2-707 Exam is focused on Customization and Configuration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM v7.0.x 

To help re-enforce the information in my head and to share knowledge, because knowledge shared is knowledge gained I will try to focus my next set of posts on the new material.


Don't just stay on this side of the Ocean! Microsoft Dynamics CRM in EMEA

The Microsoft Dynamics EMEA Team also shares a ton of great information. Follow their blog and quickly get information on items such as Auditing.

Take for instance this little statement and the article that follows ..

"You have the ability to audit a user's logon access to the CRM Server. The information that is recorded includes when the user started accessing Dynamics CRM and if access originated from the Dynamics CRM Web application, Dynamics CRM for Outlook or SDK calls to the web services."

READ MORE


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (Version 7.x.x.x) Exams

 

Three Words: Do the training 

It is available on PartnerSource, the Dynamics Partner Learning Portal

Exam title

Exam number

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Applications

Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Deployment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Deployment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization and Configuration

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Installation

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing


Time for Graphics, Easy Graphics from Dynamics CRM with Excel PowerBI

Major Update: My deepest thanks to David Hurtado for sharing these slides with me, for letting me share them with the world and for supporting all of his peers inside at Microsoft via the Microsoft Yammer Network (Yammer rocks).

What is incredible about this presentation is that putting the PowerPoint together took or takes longer than helping your customers understand how easy it is to use PowerBI and Dynamics CRM.

So Start Here:

Pull up your favorite View such as a view of all your bubbling opportunities

View Data in CRM - 1

Now confirm your view has account information

View Opportunity data in CRM 2

Choose to Export this View of Data to Microsoft Excel (not the only way to do this, but a familiar way)

Export Data to Excel 3

Now Open the Excel Workbook by clicking Open

Open Excel File 4

Have you noticed this new feature in Microsoft Excel?

  Map Excel Data 5
Now Select your locations

Select Location you want to use 6

And Use your Date Fields as Time Dimensions

Use data fields as time dimensions 8

PRESS PLAY

Press Play 9

And Play, and play and play ... with visual immersion into your data


Much, Much More Depth on SharePoint + Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Lovin'

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers so much choice that it is good to take a deep dive around some of these choices and features. Additionally the features keep on improving and growing with speed unseen in any previous years. Please take information provided to you with a grain of salt and do your own research.

Never make the assumption that the product can't do something for if it can't do it today, it might be available tomorrow. Additionally Services (MCS) is doing incredible on every project (as are many of the partners)

Incredible Happening!

Dana Martens offers a great deep dive presentation on Hybrid mixing of CRMOnline and SharePoint OnPremise and other configurations.  


Developer? New to Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Many years ago when I was trying to ramp up on all things Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I started with the What's new features. I took each feature and mastered it and moved to the next. We also had a great need to depend on books and externally provided information. Needless to say one reason I wrote a book.

Today is Different.

Today developers new to Microsoft Dynamics CRM are lucky to have the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer Center.

If you have not visited, check it out!


Office 365, Groups and CRM Online

I was on a call today, actually the incredible CRM Community Technology call and in addition to the great content being presented, we also had a very active IM window of discussions happening. Yes, I can multi-task.

So always learning, I posted a question/statement about synchronizing group e-mails with Dynamics CRM Online. As it turns out my assumption that this could not be done was wrong.

So I went out to do a bit more learning on the newer GROUPS feature of Office 365 and how it interacts with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the CRM Outlook Client.

If you start with the Office "Find Help about Groups" you will quickly see how much is available.

You them might want to read Jesper's post on Office 365, Groups and CRM Online.  

and for a summary the Office team has written Delivering the First Chapter on Groups.

What is amazing about synchronization is how absolutely difficult distributed data technology can be. There are a huge number of variables that the team continues to nail and hit out of the park, none of which can be under-estimated. So to read more about Synchronization check this out.

 

 


Deleting a CRM Online Development or Sandbox Instance

So you ramped up a development instance, used it heavily, crammed a bunch of testing into it and now you want a clean fresh start. The following is how you delete a development or sandbox instance of CRM Online.

 

Switch or delete an instance of CRM Online

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

 

Switch an instance

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

 

Delete an instance

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


Turbo Forms in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (v7.1.0)

Although not necessary: Writing Code for Forms provides a way to increase interaction between the user and the entity forms. This is often done by using JavaScript that is executed for events that occur on the form.

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 7.1.0 (2015) offers TURBO Forms which are seriously worthy of consideration, both for the Experienced Dynamics CRM Developer and for the CRM end user.  Performance differences have been clocked anywhere from 3x to 7x times faster.

 

Here are some materials and videos to help get you started.

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1 - New Form Rendering Engine

 

Form rendering enhancements

 

Writing code for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 or CRMOL Forms : Read More

 


The Infrastructure of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (#msdyncrm)

NEW Deploying and administering Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Are you hosting your own instance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Have you invested in training your IT Professionals and Network Administrators in the infrastructure behind Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Ask yourself this question "Are you hosting your own web pages?" If the answer to this question is NO, then you want to seriously consider training your resources on hosting the incredible power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Take for instance IFD (The Internet Facing Deployment Options) or The Tablet and Mobile Apps .. So many options :)


So many great resources for Dynamics CRM v7.x.x (#msdyncrm)

Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 Content (Spring 2015)

YouTube Videos

Subscribe to the Dynamics channel to stay up to date: https://www.youtube.com/user/msdyncomm/DynamicsCRM

 

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

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1 (7.1.0) Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1JfsMl9
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 Update 1 Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1JGVOxz
  • Microsoft Social Engagement 2015 Update 1Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1QIgxmq
  • Parature, from Microsoft 15.2 Product Documentation is Available! http://bit.ly/1Pd1625
  • AND SEVERAL MORE excellent blog posts by our field and PMs - check it out!

Security: Microsoft Dynamics CRM gets even more security options

Dynamics CRM 2015 Hierarchical Security

There is so much depth to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Security that it is amazing that they can add more and yet, more has been added. A great post is available on all the new options which you can reach using the link above.


CRM Online in the world of Enterprise : Patterns & Principles for Solution Builders White Paper

"In the world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the shift to the cloud is well underway. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is growing by leaps and bounds, including sales to massive customers with huge user counts. If you’re a partner in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM channel, it’s important that you understand what this means for the solutions you build for customers who want Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online."

READ MORE


The US Dynamics Partner Team And the Dynamics Academic Alliance have teamed up to create some new offerings

The US Dynamics Partner team has joined forces with The Microsoft Dynamics Alliance Team (http://microsoft.com/dynamicsaa (DynAA)) to train students and recent graduates on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, interest them in Dynamics careers, and connect our Partners with this pool of quality candidates who are new to the CRM channel.   

This Microsoft Dynamics CRM Career Connect Boot camp is comprised of:

  • Five days of in-person technical training led by a Microsoft Certified Trainer on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015
  • Microsoft Sponsored Career Fair for Partners to engage with Students
  • Certification in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Virtual Learning sessions with MCTs, Partners, and Microsoft Dynamics experts focused on product functional skills (i.e. consulting, project management and soft-skills training).

Currently they are hosting this in 3 locations, inviting, juniors, graduating seniors, MBAs, graduate students, and recent graduates from local universities:

  • Chicago, IL – at the Chicago Microsoft office
  • Seattle, WA – hosted by the University of Washington
  • Boston, MA – hosted by Northeastern University

All of the boot camps will take place different weeks in June.

Please contact the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Career Connect Bootcamp Team if interested by sending mail to  usdyns2b at microsoft.com with questions.  Please note that space is limited and applications are only accepted for another couple weeks.  Space is filling quickly!


Dynamics CRM 7.x.x Certification Exams

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

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

MB2-720    Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

and there are so many more !     


Don't Forget a Bit of Dynamics CRM Housecleaning!

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

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

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

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


Access Teams and Security! #MSDYNCRM

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

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


CRMUG has not been sleeping! GREAT Connects, GREAT Content

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

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


Class at 8am, Class at 9pm, Still Loving and Learning Dynamics CRM

After 10 years you would think that I know a lot about Microsoft Dynamics CRM and I am so very thankful that I what I learned yesterday still brings me great value today (including the yesterdays of 2004, 2005, 2006, ... , but with an incredible client base of users giving input and an incredible team of developers writing new everyday - learning is ongoing.

So this week I am participating in a morning class with the incredible MVP, Gus Gonzalez, who is providing some great field perspective and an internal evening class on some really cool new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Sales Productivity functionality.

Life is Good!    

 


What's New - Thanks to Dynamics CRM

One of the best parts of being semi-snowed in is that I can convert my travel time into learning and sharing time.

Let's look at a feature that everyone assumes that everyone else knows about. The What's New Social Pane.

Why do I point this out? If your team uses activities to track, retain touches and to communicate (e-mails) this pane gives you an incredible look into which contacts and accounts are actively engaged. It also lets you see an account that is requiring extra attention, a colleague who is working on something that you can help with or an activity that you needed to know about. (but because it is so easy to get into our own little spheres it was missed)

It is about raising the bar of transparency and shifting a culture and it is about creating a culture of sharing among all the users of your Dynamics CRM system.

What only inside Dynamics CRM?

Well actually NO! If you have YAMMER enabled you click a button in configuration and configure Yammer and your YAMMER Feeds become an option under What's New. Bringing in other (even perhaps non-CRM user) conversations into the mix.

Just imagine!

WhatsNew
 


What is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM View?

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

So what exactly is a view?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What Are Some of the Default Entities? #msdyncrm

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.

  • Lead
  • Account
  • Contact
  • Address
  • Opportunity
  • Case
  • Case Resolution
  • Activities including
    • Social Activities
    • Tasks
    • Appointments
    • E-Mails
    • Phone Calls
    • Faxes
    • Letters
  • Product
  • Article
  • Competitor
  • Connection and Connection Role
  • Contract
  • Document Location
  • Entitlement
  • Goal
  • Invoice
  • Order
  • Price List
  • Queue
  • Campaign
  • Team
  • User
  • and so much more!

 


Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 (#mscrm2013)

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

https://crm2013quickviewmenu.codeplex.com/ 


"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"

 


Jump Start your MS CRM 2013 Understanding #crm2013

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

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

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

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

Promote via LinkedIn/Twitter as well!  Thanks!


A Bold New World: Even more choices #CRM2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Are you ready for some Dynamics CRM v2013 Videos from YouTube?


Are you ready for some CRM v2013 reading?

 Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Implementations Guide

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Software Developer Kit (SDK)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Performance Counters

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Connectivity and Port Requirements

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013 Server

Scalable Security Modeling for Microsoft Dynamics CRM v2013

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

 


The word of the day is: Composite Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 


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

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

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


Do you think "CRM"?

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

READ Here

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

You might be a Dynamics CRM Power User if…

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

You might be a Dynamics CRM administrator if…

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

 

You might be a Dynamics CRM developer if…

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

What is a Lead? Isn't that the same as a prospect?

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)