NH/VT Upper Valley CRMUG Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement User Group

It is time to register for the NH/VT Upper Valley CRMUG Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement User Group Meeting! 

https://www.crmug.com/crmug/events/calendar?CommunityKey=6178ebc2-51fb-4a17-ab26-5b68420fd48c 

If you are familiar with www.crmug.com you can register using the above link OR send me an e-mail.

For my Albany, Boston and Montreal friends - You are also welcome to attend and are within a 2 to 3 hour driving window so perhaps an excuse to get out of the office and to do a little touring. 

 


Microsoft bringing the stack together

This week I presented Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Azure for the XRMVirtual User Group. (www.xrmvirtual.com) I found this experience very uplifting for I was able to emphasize all of the great work that two very different Microsoft development teams working together have achieved. The ability to offer the right technology for the right need is so powerful and is a game changer for the line of business applications in so many different ways!! hashtagfun hashtagmicrosoftazure hashtagpresenter hashtagmicrosoftdynamics


Successful Delivery

In the world of soccer you will find that although everyone on the team has scored goals over the course of their career, there are very few who are consistent finishers. A finisher has a special talent for always being able to move the soccer ball over the goal line. They have a skill for being in the right place at the right time. They have the mindset and the art form. In high school, my step daughter, Janna, was an incredible finisher. 

She was always in the right place, at the right time and when the time came she put the ball over the goal line. Unfortunately,  we don't often recognize the diversity and strengths in our teams. Janna for instance was constantly judged for not being a gazelle and because of this her interest and her motivation shifted from soccer to hockey. I always considered this a great loss for the school and for her long term ability to feel good about her gift. 

The same concept applies to CRM/AnyRM projects. It is actually very hard to successfully deliver across the goal line. As projects move to Agile Scrum methodology there is a delicate balance between moving as fast as the team needs to move, while also capturing all that was built (so future teams can understand the critical details) and delivering to production successfully every 2 to 4 weeks.

The business SME's need to be engaged and trained on process while the overall user audience needs to be well positioned for what's coming. They also need have proper expectations when it comes to what level of maturity and when their requests for changes are going to be incorporated. There are also very small balls that are juggled within the immediate project team. These include dealing with unforeseen problems, refactoring needs and managing expectations and there is a very real need to understand the time that something might take. On a Dynamics 365 for CE engagement the skills needed to successfully deliver are more than being able to write code or configure the system. 

An Agile project shifts responsibility to each developer to be more rounded. If this is not possible, then perhaps a different methodology is needed, but the team needs to understand what is being asked, they need to know what approach will be used and they need to be able to present what was built in a user friendly and articulate manner. They also must be honest, transparent and not distracted by the shear nature of human against human. 

I have been on many project teams and the ones where all of the above came together is a gift! 

 


Calling all St. Louis Dynamics 365 Peeps! Oct 4th - CRMUG Chapter Meeting

I am in  St. Louis this week and I will be heading over to the CRMUG Chapter meeting on the morning of Oct 4th.

Come on over and knowledge share on the greatest platform on earth! Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement.

CRMUG Missouri (St. Louis) Chapter Meeting - October 4

Oct 4, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM (CT)

Agenda:

  • Welcome & Introductions Marketing Tools
  • Fall Release – New Features
  • Summit Tips for new attendees
  • Round Table

Location

UniGroup One Premier Drive Suite 203 Fenton, MO 63026

 

 

 


Understanding the Maturity of a Feature

As Microsoft releases more and more features, modules and wonderful goodness into the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform it is good to build out your understanding of the maturity of each feature. The maturity defines the number of layers of updates or changes that any given feature might have experienced as well as it's depth of functionality. You can also relate this to the version of a feature; although, the version is not always the deciding factor. It is possible to have a very mature version 1.0 feature. 

Why is this important? It helps to set the expectations of where the strengths and weaknesses are as you adopt the platform and extend the features. It also helps you understand and manage your expectations around what the speed of change will be with regards to a specific set of features. 

Extract from the people on your team who have worked with the platform for many, many years - You need to knowledge share around the age and growth of key features. It is also important to have these conversations so you can stretch all resources into considering alternative approaches including the experienced team members. Change is not only constant in this wild world of the Microsoft Stack, but it is also speeding up.

So how do we go about understanding maturity? 

As much as I would like to list every known feature in the system (I might save that for a future blog post), I think the key area to start with on each project is with a list of the features that are relevant. When working on a custom service/call center project you might not care as much about the sales automation processes or when working with an xRM or AnyRM project you might not need to be as concerned with cases and knowledge management.

So once you have a high level understanding of the areas of the platform that you want to leverage, make a quick chart of maturity.  There are a few items that you want to capture as follows:

1) When was the feature released? What version (your choices include version 1.2  all the way up to version 9.1.x.xxxx)

2) Understand how the feature or area of the platform fits within the Microsoft Roadmap. Is this a feature that is waning into deprecation or is it positioned for rapid growth? 

3) Acknowledge what the team knows about the strengths and weaknesses of the feature. A good brain sharing exercise. 

4) Understand the feature dependencies. Take for instance, Cases - Cases have a wide set of dependent entities and functionality that goes fairly deep from SLAs to Contracts to Knowledge Base(s) and Closures. 

5) Acknowledge what can and can't be configured. 

6) Understand which ISVs (third party vendors) have bundled offerings that extend the features so you know your choices. Take for instance Accounts - There are numerous offerings that validate addresses and that help with extracting data on accounts from the internet. There are also numerous social engagement offerings including Microsoft's own Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) Offering.

7) Always keep an open mind for the way that you would solve a problem on your last project is not always the same way to solve the exact same problem on your current project. 

and lastly do a little deep diving into who on the product team or what group among the product team owns the feature set. This research is a key exercise for anyone attending one of the many conferences. Understanding or even meeting the product team who updates and extends features can help you better understand the vision and growth. 

 


SLAs. SLAs, SLAs - The simplicity and complexity of Service Level Agreements in #DYN365

Using SLA's with Cases

There are a number of features built into Microsoft Dynamics that support the configuration of an SLA associated with the Case Entity. When working with any of the features in Dynamics it is always a good idea to understand what the programming team has already created AND what the strengths, maturity and weaknesses of these features are. When it comes to SLA's and CASES there are layers on each.

Take for instance CASES. Cases are not just one simple entity, cases include both the case entity and the Case Resolution Entity. When a case is resolved, key information is captured in the case resolution entity. Each are interdependent. Additionally each offer SOME customization and SOME you can't change that. It is that "you can't change that" which generally trips people up.

SLA's also have layered complexity. An SLA has both FIRST RESPONSE and COMPLETION functionality. You will want to consider what rules you would like to use to indicate a first response and what rules you would like to consider for the completion. Technically these get applied as two separate line items within one SLA and when the system runs these line items they are two separate, but dependent system generated workflows.

I have tried configuring without using a first response and the system just doesn't like this configuration. At this time I always recommend a first response even if the first response doesn't mean much to the end user.

So to use SLA's with Cases

1) Setup your service Calendar

2) Setup your Holiday Calendar

3) Create your SLA and associate the calendars, Add your SLA Line items with both a First Response line item and a Final SLA Line Item.

Pretty Straight forward? Well not exactly for there are some tricks. The first trick is all about those working hours. The working hours in  the calendar can significantly impact the end date for your SLA. PowerObjects has a nice screen shot, by screen shot blog post on setting up the service calendar.  

Key items to consider.

  • Are your users working in different time zones?
  • Have your users configured their Personal Options?
  • Will there be different working times on different days?
  • Do you want to stick with the 24 hour clock? *most likely
  • What time zones are using the results of the SLAs?
  • Do you want your due date to be updated by the SLA?

The next item to consider is your holidays. You need to decide which holidays need to be applied to the Calendar used by the SLA and these need to be entered into the Holiday Calendar. If you have holidays from different countries a reconciliation will need to be decided upon or different SLAs for different countries.

One last trick on calendars: Both the Service Calendar and the Holiday Calendar do not deploy as part of your solutions so update your pre-deployment checklist to include creating these calendars before you deploy to any downstream environment.

3) SLA Line Items - SLA's do not like to stop on activity status = inactive and as such it is always better to find a different way to end your SLAs. On case they might be slightly happier, but on a number of different projects .. ending an SLA line item on activity status = inactive has tripped us up. Each SLA line item that is triggered against a case is reflected as a workflow on the case. The clauses that you defined based on trigger for success, warning and failure are converted in Wait and If conditions.

When it comes to out of the box configuration there are also decisions that need to be made around pausing an SLA. For instance if a CASE is put on HOLD, you can set system settings to pause the SLA. Take a look at Allan Mira's write up on how to pause an SLA on a case (again great screen shots and recreating screen shots seems a bit redundant) 

For more on using SLA's on CASE, here is a STEP by STEP by Vishal Grade.

Using SLA's with a Custom Entity

The Components that make up an SLA include

  •  Customer Service Calendar – defines the business hours to be used in the SLA calculation. A business can have multiple calendars to support different SLAs i.e. 24x7, 9-5 business days, Customer specific calendars
  • Entitlements – defines the agreed number of Cases or Time that has been contracted with the customer for support. Entitlements can only be associated to one SLA. An SLA can be associated to many Entitlements.
  • Service Configuration – define which statuses place an SLA on hold (shortcut to System Settings). Note that the pause and resume statuses apply to all SLAs and thus are not SLA specific.
  • Holiday Schedule – defines the dates that are considered holidays in a particular region. If you work in multiple regions then you may have multiple holiday schedules. Holiday schedules can be applied to the Customer Service Calendar to be observed.
  • Service Agreements – define the rules that apply to the agreement, when a SLA is triggered, when and what should occur if the SLA is successful, non-compliant or nearing non compliancy. (thanks to MVP Stephan for summarizing these in his insiders guide to SLAs post which is another great read)

BUT when configuring SLA's to work on CUSTOM Entities there are a number of other steps that also need to be configured.

1) The Custom Entity must be enabled for SLAs  (there is a checkbox on the Entity to enable SLAs) "A few words of caution! SLA needs a committed relationship. Once you have selected that checkbox and saved, (by the power vested in you by Dynamics CRM and the position of a configurator) SLA cannot be disabled for the entity."

2) The Custom Entity must have a relationships established with the SLA Entities (such as the SLAKPIInstance Entity)

3) You must use Enhanced SLA's with Custom Entities that need SLAs

 To configure the relationships for your Custom Entity with SLAs you can follow the Microsoft Customer Engagement Team's step by step. I have summarized it below, but there is more on the full post such as setting up timers and some key things to remember so I recommend you jump on other to the post.

  1. Enable the custom entity
  2. In the same Customization window, expand the SLA KPI Instance entity.
  3. Click 1: N Relationships.
  4. Click the New 1-to-Many Relationship button.
  5. Select custom <entity> in Related Entity dropdown. Here is a catch! As soon as you select custom entity in the Related Entity dropdown, the Name field gets auto populated to “new_ slakpiinstance_custom entity”. You can use it as it is, but you will face issues if you want to export the SLAs created in this org to an org that also has SLAs enabled for customentity. This is because while importing the SLAs, the system will attempt to create this relationship in the target org. Since there will be a relationship already existing in the target org, the import will fail. So it is strongly recommended to add a different name or change the name to a GUID (with underscores).
  6. Fill the Display Name to your taste
  7. Save and close

 

I have found that I still wish there was more documentation available on Microsoft Dynamics 365 SLAs. They are almost entire module unto themselves.

Happy SLA'ing!

 


NH/VT CRMUG Chapter Meeting: What's New in Dynamics 365

Where: Hanover, NH
When: 9-12am
Date: Thursday, November 15, 2018 
Topic: What's New in 2018 (Spring and Fall editions of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Get out of the office, take a nice drive, come join some peers and learn about what is new in Microsoft Dynamics 365! 

Send questions, requests, difficulties or any interests in advance for even more value add!!! There is no charge for this meeting; however, if you are not a Microsoft Dynamics CRMUG Member then the number of free meetings is limited.

Are you in Boston? The Dartmouth Coach (www.dartmouthcoach.com) travels to Hanover, NH from Logan and South Station a couple of times a day.


Perceptions

I recently was out of town with a bunch of awesome girlfriends. We rented a house and enjoyed cooking, swimming and walking on the beach. On one of our beach trips Julie Yack captured this picture. She is a great photographer.

Anne Stanton - Cape Cod 2018

I was with friends, I was happy and thinking only of the moment which included sand between my toes, salt water in the air and perfect temperatures. I like the picture, but what has been interesting has been the feedback.

Some say I look Happy, Confident and Secure.

Others indicate that I look Arrogant.

Perhaps it could be considered that I am creating frustrations in those who do not happen to be on the beach or who are not happy. I am not always happy, but I was happy in this moment. I am not always confident or secure or sure of my world, but at this moment I was not thinking of these other moments.

So what are your tips and tricks for reading people, for being incredibly empathetic to their perceptions of a moment? I know that I can not make people happy (huge books on that one and many experiences) and that all I can do is be humble, and the best version of myself.

 


NH/VT Dynamics CRMUG New England User's Group Meeting - September 27th, 2018

Come help us kick off the initial meeting of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRMUG NH/VT New England Chapter Meeting!

  • Where: Hanover, NH
  • When: September 27, 2018
  • Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
  • Questions: Reach out to Anne Stanton, Evan Workin or Jeff Hudgins
  • Subject: What's new in Microsoft Dynamics 365 v9.x.x.x !

Let's deep dive on what came out in the Spring 2018 release and what is about to be released as part of the

Fall 2018 Release. We will also round table questions and share industry wide experience and knowledge.

Want to help? Invite your friends, put together your questions, create a carpool, get involved!

 


Editable Grids

Have you discovered the joy of editable grids? This feature was introduced in December of 2016. Editable grid is a custom control in Microsoft Dynamics 365. 

"You can enable editable grids at the entity level to use in the main grid, or at the form level to replace read-only sub-grids (associated grids) with an editable grid." An editable grid is similar to entering data into an Excel spreadsheet and has a number of usability benefits. For instance, users can quickly enter lots of data on different records without needing to open new windows or the editable grid usage can align to business processes that include popping in and out of Microsoft Excel.

Additionally, configuration teams can adjust what a grid looks like based on a set of parameters or data.  Editable grids also support business rules and form scripting so you can apply custom business logic according to your organization's requirements.  

If you want to learn more about how to work with and configure editable grids you can reference the following article  or if you want to see some examples of how editable grids are used this TechNet Article has some interesting use cases.


Don't forget the Glossary and the overwhelming desire to over use status fields

Project Considerations

1) Start with the concept of a glossary and agree on terminology. This seems like such a trivial concept, but has huge ramifications as the systems grow and mature. If everyone agrees on terminology then when fields are named, and option sets defined, the terminology is consistent throughout the system. In fact I know of a company that has a department that defines and manages all of the option set values in every system that they release. This three person team keeps terminology consistent not only in one application, but across all applications created for internal use.  Alignment to the bigger picture and more consistency for the entire company.

2) Now about those status fields. If the status field(s) are option sets then aligning the values to a glossary offers more common understanding.  Each option has a reason and these reasons generally align to business rules. Given the sometimes difficult nature of understanding business rules, common vocabulary can help.

There is a beauty to simplicity.

So how do you simplify complex business rules? Focus the system on the people who are using it and what they care about. Complex business rules are not complex to those who work with them every day. This is their life, so make sure that business rules align to the roles of those who need and care about them.

Eliminate noise: User's do not want to see what they do not care about. Use good definitions of security to allow the system to hide what people don't need to see. This also greatly simplifies the system for their use.

Leverage the power of the out of the box ability to segregate data by business units. Business units are all about segregating data, eliminating noise, speeding up processing and so much more and although they occasionally line up to offices, defining offices is not their primary goal.

Very, very, very carefully consider why and how many status fields you are using and determine a way for the system to manage and keep these status fields updated based on normal human day to day activities.

Understand the personality types of the users in different roles. Are these people task driven? Do they like to complete a list of things to do or are they more organic givers and workers who react to the day? Make sure the system can handle multiple styles of getting work done.

Re-evaluate and Refactor as many times as is necessary to simplify the system.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Have you used Dynamics "CRM" for a while?

If you have extensions that you have upgraded or that your partner has upgraded on your behalf, you will want to schedule a review for the following reason:

"Beginning with the Dynamics 365 (8.0) release, a new OData 4 endpoint was added to the Dynamics 365 application stack. This endpoint is known as the Web API. The Web API provides a development experience that can be used across a wide variety of programming languages, platforms, and devices. The Web API is intended to replace the CRM 2011 endpoint, also known as the SOAP endpoint, for accessing the Dynamics 365 organization web service and other provided web services."

"As of the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Service Pack 1 (8.1.0), the CRM 2011 endpoint has been deprecated. The 2011 endpoint will be removed some time after the release of Dynamics 365 version 9. We plan to provide updates to the Dynamics 365 SDK assemblies and tools over the next several minor releases, retargeting them to use the Web API instead of the 2011 endpoint."

"We strongly encourage developers to use the Web API for accessing Dynamics 365 web services when writing new application code. You must update existing applications to use the Dynamics 365 Web API for accessing Dynamics 365 web services between now and the removal of the 2011 endpoint. When you develop plug-ins and custom workflow activities, continue to link those projects to the Dynamics 365 SDK assemblies. The Dynamics 365 SDK assemblies will be updated to use the Web API. This update will be fully transparent to you and any code written using the SDK itself will be supported."

 

"Additional details will be published in future SDK releases. For more information about the Web API, see Use the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Web API "


Prior CRMUG Board Member

I have had the pleasure of learning from and participating in some many awesome events and I realized that sometimes I need to take a minute and say THANK YOU!

This is a shout out to the International Dynamics Communities CRM User Group! Thank You for the fun, learning, sharing and empowerment!  

CRMUG Board Member

 

 


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

 


Areas in the World of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

Put on the hat "Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement" and the dimensions explode. There are so many different angles to think about such as 

  • The Product
  • The CRM Industry
  • The Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and their extensions, applications and products
  • The Project Methodologies
  • The Communities
  • The Support Resources
  • The Training Options
  • Certifications
  • Industry Uses
  • Usability and Adoption 
  • Integrations
  • Mobility
  • IoT
  • CRM -> ERP : Bridging the teams, the products, the features and more
  • Failures and the Why behind them 
  • Working with the Microsoft teams (product, support, services, executives, sales, etc.)

and the list goes on! 

I recently completed a Solution Architecture Assessment engagement and was amazed at all of the categories of discussion and knowledge sharing that bubbled out of a three month, intense, team empowerment project.

So where to start??

 


Enterprise Customers! Ready to Expand? Embrace the Viral Trial for your other Departments and Groups within your ORG #Dyn365

Now Live in the US (and soon to come Globally)!

Dynamics 365 Trial Sign Up Service & Customer Engagement Viral Trial

Have you looked at the new trial? Go ahead and sign up to test out the service for all Dynamics 365 apps + viral sign up for Customer Engagement in the United States. This includes Operations, Financials, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation.

What’s New?

  • Simplified sign up – business email & phone number
    • All apps utilize Microsoft Office viral sign up framework.
  • Information Worker (IW) sign up – IW’s can now sign up for a trial and add it to an existing tenant or create a new unmanaged tenant.
  • Prospects are joined together in one tenant based on the domain of their work email address for easy collaboration and management.
  • Customer Engagement prospects can now have up to 5 trial instances with 5 users each at any one time.
  • Customer Engagement trials are still licensed for Enterprise Plan 1, but you can choose a single app or all to trial.

Things you should know: 

  • No consumer or government email addresses (outlook.com, gmail.com, .gov, .mil, etc.) are accepted in the viral framework.

 

 

  • All members of a viral trial must have the same email domain.
  • The first user to create a trial instance is the trial or instance owner.
  • Review the FAQ for all details.
  • The traditional admin based sign up you all know is still available and should be used if you plan to customize a trial for a customer to join (since you don’t share an email domain.)

Trial links:

 


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

Start at the Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement Developer Center

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

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

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

Or if you are a partner or Microsoft employee

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

 

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

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

like these

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

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

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


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

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

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


Q100: How many instances per Tenant? #MSDYN365CE

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

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

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


Oh Internet Explore

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

For Windows 8.1 and 7 SP1 Users

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

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

For Windows 10 users search the catalog for

Windows 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


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

If you like video

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

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

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

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

You can start here

 


Extending and Developing with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Developers Center

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Visual Studio Development Toolkit

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

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

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

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Development Best Practices

xRM Best Practices

 

 


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

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

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

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

Microsoft Envision

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

Come Swim in the Sun in Orlando!

And think about these awesome words from the Microsoft Envision Website

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

 


What is Relationship Insights in the world of Dynamics 365?

NOW RELEASED and To sum it up in one little sentence

"Relationship Insights leverages the data-integration and artificial-intelligence capabilities built into Azure to combine and analyze your Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Outlook data" -365Blog

And just think this is part of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online - OH The potential, the power, the depth of new insights

If you want to read more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online Relationship Insights then check out this blog post that the team wrote up when the feature was in preview.

 


Application Performance: Everyone's Worry

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

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

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

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

So where do we start?

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

Take a Look


The Power of Zzzzz's : Keeping a clean house

ZDoNotUse - (original name) 

ZToBeDeleted - (original name)

ZNotinUse - (original name)

ZDepreciated - (original name)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) AUDIT Yes/No

2) SEARCHABLE Yes/No

3) REQUIRED Yes/No

  Bulk Edit

 


Searching Unstructured Data: Text, Documents, Attachments : Yes! #msdyn365

"Relevance Search brings a more Bing-like, global search experience to your mission critical business applications (think Dynamics 365) powered by Azure Search! "

Want to deep dive on this relatively new cool?

You can do that too!

 

"Search within Documents in Dynamics 365: One of the best new capabilities of Relevance Search is that you can now search for text in a document stored in Dynamics 365! These include documents in a Note and Attachments on an Email or Appointment. We support several document formats, including Microsoft Office (Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc), PDFs, EML, HTML/XML, ZIP, and rich text format (RTF). "


Editable Grids

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

So consider the growth from the last numerous years 

v1.0.0.0

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

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

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

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


Dynamics 365 Growth and well WOW!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Take for instance this post from the awesome Jim Daly!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Team: Prescribed vs. Defined

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

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

So the thought of the day?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Automatic Testing and Dynamics in the world of CRM

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

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

 

Tools that the field mentioned:

Sessions discussing Automated Testing

Other Videos in this arena

 

 


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

How to Configure SLAs

Enable Entities for SLAs

Add a Timer to Forms

Configuring SLA Timers

Enhanced SLAs and Entitlements


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

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

Listen to custom sources in Microsoft Social Engagement

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

 

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


CRMUG Summit 2016: Count In, Count On

22 Hours, 44 Minutes and 48 Seconds to the official kick off of CRMUG Summit 2016 under the cloudless skies of Tampa.

Saturday, Sunday & Monday included deep dive Academy training with field veterans ... Definitely a LEARNING packed week. AND here is the key, when you dive into the world of business applications learning and growing is what it is all about. Customers can leverage technology, in addition to their people and their business processes to kick it up a number of notches and we all need those extra notches in this crazy world.

How Can you Get More?

Add learning initiatives, support growth, hold people accountable to share what they learned.

Remember what it is like to teach someone else? To teach you really have to understand, so how do you know what people retained from a conference? Have them teach it to their peers who didn't get to go this time.

What about all those contacts? Well they often don't mean much unless there is follow-up. The idea is not only to meet people, but to build new relationships. How do you build new relationships? You stay in contact, you see each other each year, you participate.

 

 


Knowledge Management : KB Articles in Microsoft CRM

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

Dynamics CRM Knowledge Management by the Microsoft EMEA Support Team

New Knowledge Management Features Introduced by the Microsoft Product Team

New Customer Service Features in CRM 2016 discussed by MSDynamicsWorld

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

One Minute Overview Video on Knowledge Articles

Streamline Knowledge Management in Microsoft CRM Video

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

Tip of the Day : Interactive Service Hub

Overview of the Interactive Service Hub

Working with Cases in the Interactive Service Hub