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April 2009
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June 2009

Quotes of the Day

"Understanding is increased when you wear the same brand of shoes and you use the same tools to get your job done" - Anne

"It is one thing to eat your own dog food and quite another when your life depends on the substance it provides." - Anne

"It is easy to design, invent and create without practicality, quite another thing when practical is required" -  Anne


Windows Server 2008 Changes

In follow-up to my post yesterday, the key change I was hinting at was the removal of POP3

"POP3 has been depreciated and will no longer be supplied as part of the Windows OS. Although POP3 was introduced with Windows Server 2003, Microsoft removed it after including it in just one generation of the OS."

Various people are starting to bubble up some work arounds. One that I found is listed below.

http://weblogs.asp.net/hpreishuber/archive/2008/04/30/visendo-smtp-pop3-extender-for-windows-2008-server.aspx

What does this really have to do with Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Well it impacts the design of the testing and development worlds. Yet, it is not only Microsoft Dynamics CRM that has a tiny hit. There are also hits to the world of Microsoft Small Business Server and and the new world of Microsoft Essential Business Server (EBS) and add in Microsoft SharePoint.

Oh I am not saying we need pop back, just that it would be nice to have a solution to the change.


The World of Development - XRM Dilemnas

Windows 2008 changes the world of the bundled VPC when it comes to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

If you consider that the current Microsoft offered CRM VPC contains: Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4 and SQL 2008, SharePoint, Performance Point, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook being key), Office Communication, Dashboards, Scorecards, reporting and so much more.

We end up with a pretty sweet bundle!

Now replace Windows Server 2003 with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 - What happens to Outlook integration within the VPC to Dynamics CRM?

The world changes right? So anyone have any suggested this is what we are doing inputs?


Yes, But - Quote of the Day

Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be customized, extended, changed and developed on top of, but

"as much as Dynamics CRM can be customized and changed it is still a packaged solution with a well thought out and vetted design."  - Anne


Sample Reports Book

I had in the back of my mind that somewhere there was a sample reports book available for Dynamics CRM, but despite my efforts today I could not find one.   

One of the best ways to really understand what your client wants to capture in Dynamics CRM is to ask them what reports they want to get out of the system and not only what reports, but actual copies or mocked up examples of those reports.

You might be able to get the same data from a view or from never printing text on a piece of paper, but the goal of the exercise is to find out what the client is looking for, not necessarily how they want it to look.

Personally I find that a sample reports book is extremely helpful when it comes to really understanding some of the captured data and a great tool for training as well.

Go ahead and create a sample reports book - On one page of the sample report book add a short paragraph describing the report on the facing page. Bind it using wire or three ring so it lays flat and use it as a workbook. Feel free to add views, dashboards, mockups of desired reports, printed samples of the custom reports you have created and more.


New Book from Richard Knudson

Building Workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a subject that is not often covered and yet it is one of the keystones of power behind the software.

One of my favorite bloggers, Richard Knudson, president of IMG, has recently released a small book called "Workflow in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

If you are interested you can purchase the book here.


Twitter on CRM article on Destination CRM

With so much understandable buzz around Twitter and Twitter's impact within the world of relationships and relationship management I was pleased to see this article about how the various CRM vendors are considering tying to the tool.

What is particularly nice about this article, from DestinationCRM, is that it does not only discuss the concept, it actually lists exactly how each specific vendor is approaching the feeds.

CRM vendors are beginning to find ways to put the microblogging marvel to work -- for themselves and for their users.
Posted May 1, 2009

Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs SugarCRM

Although I read a number of blogs I have to admit that I can't keep up with all of them and as such I have been leaning on Twitter (in the CRM world) so that I catch items that my fellow CRM passionate enthusiasts might catch and share.

A few days ago this little tidbit hit my radar and I just had a chance to go look. 

Agree that there are some interesting points to Why Dynamics CRM vs. SugarCRM within this post on a totally different subject so am resharing here.  


Third Parties

I have been keeping an eye on what some of the third party vendors have been doing that run parallel or within the world of customer relationship management software. 

Take for instance HOOVERS - For anyone in sales, Hoovers is one of those resources that at some point over the life time of their career they have probably had access to it. A wealth of core information on public companies to support the Enterprise sales effort.

Well Hoovers has been busy and is now offering both touch points of import/export on key company information from Hoovers to Dynamics CRM and the ability to serve up the Hoovers information in the Dynamics CRM Resource center.

To read about what is new with Hoovers take a browse at some of their new white papers - Oh and before you roll your eyes and think now how much more is that going to cost me.. If you are already a Hoover's client you might be very pleasantly surprised ! Now that is what I call customer service - new value add without new value add prices.


Data Migration

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has the builtin tool to import data; however this is not always the right choice when consider your first initial data migration.

Data Migration is packed with risk, unknowns, data cleansing opportunities, layers and eye opening potential. Needless to say there are numerous tools on the market that make data migration that much less painful. Additionally Microsoft also offers a Data Migration toolkit to support the developer and database crowd in their efforts to create a custom experience.

How have your experiences with data migration been? Feel free to comment and share - Perhaps you will help someone else just getting started.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.0 Rollup 4

Microsoft has released the latest update to Dynamics CRM and is proving their promise to stick to a regular schedule of updates as well as a regular schedule for major upgrades. Congratulations Dynamics CRM Dev Team!

Given that each update and upgrade comes with both risk and opportunity I was pleased to see a shift away from the silo mentality that has tripped Microsoft up in the past. "Silo" development is a big issue for  the Dynamics CRM product as the product works with so many other Microsoft products (Server, Exchange, Word, Excel, SharePoint, Outlook, and more)  

In additon to a shift away from "silo" many, many departments within Microsoft now depends on Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a core internal line of business application. My assumption is that this contributes to and does amazing things to the feature set, testing and over all quality control concept. It is one thing when strangers report a bugs and quite another when the person you sit next to at lunch rags on you developer to developer because you did something foolish.

As much as "eating your own dogfood" in beta and before releases can be an impact to internal production it also has huge benefits to a class of products. When it comes to "CRM" there is no other product that can cross over and meet so many different corporate and individual needs. If you then also tie in the XRM components the opportunities (and perhaps the issues) are endless.