Uninstalling Dynamics CRM

There are times when Microsoft Dynamics CRM needs to be uninstalled. It is a sophisticated application that changes the way a business operates and it is tied to it's sister applications tightly. Microsoft Office, SharePoint, IIS, Microsoft Exchange, Server and more. Needless to say installing Microsoft Dynamics CRM incorrectly can make quite a mess AND trying to fix the mess by uninstalling Dynamics CRM incompletely can make an even bigger disaster.

From the world of LinkedIN Dynamics CRM Experts comes this reminder from Steven Banner a CRM Technical Infrastructure Engineer at Crimson Ltd.

Microsoft has released a technical white paper called how to Manually remove the Microsoft Dynamics CRM server. You can read this white paper by following this link.

If you have to uninstall Microsoft Dynamics CRM I highly recommend a good clean sweep of all the components prior to a reinstall.  


ISA, SBS and MS Dynamics CRM

ISA is a software firewall that comes bundled as part of Microsoft Small Business Server Premium. It is an optional component and yet tends to be either loved or hated. If loved and you are installing MS Dynamics CRM SBE in the mix then you need to do a bit of research.

Luckily a few of the tough and passionate SBS Professionals and SBS MVPs have done some of the work for you.

A major thanks to HandyAndy's persistence in mastering MS Dynamics CRM SBE and ISA. His latest article on the subject can be found here

AND before Dana borrows Susan's 2x4 and smacks me.. Please make note.. You need to define, refine and master your own security best practices. One solution is not necessarily the best solution for all environments. The nice thing about MS Dynamics CRM is you DO have choice.


Having INSTALL issues?

MS Dynamics CRM is as sophisticated in its install as Small Business Server. It ties to just as many Microsoft Applications! It should never be approached lightly EVEN when it can be installed in 30 minutes.. (YES it can be done in 30 minutes when the karma is right)

We now ALWAYS recommend a full environment review before dropping MS CRM into the mix. MS CRM ties to Exchange, MS SQL, IIS, .NET framework, Outlook, Excel, Word, MS SRS and more..

It even runs a full review during the install and will not move forward until you resolve the issues. MS Dynamics CRM PROFESSIONAL can NOT be installed on a Domain Controller and as such MS DYNAMICS CRM SBE is a unique version of MS Dynamics CRM PRO. It has ALL the same features and more – it not only can be run on the domain controller (SBS) but it also ties to SBS features such as FAX services.

Soo.. what do you do when you get an error during the install?Particularly if you are not working with a partner who has been there and done that!

  1. Post to the CRM PARTNERS Newsgroup. Every e-mail in the partners newsgroup gets a response from Microsoft. Microsoft BUSINESS solutions/The Dynamics Team is a totally different subculture of Microsoft. (for better and for worse ;)
  2. Post to the CRM PUBLIC Newsgroup. Tons of the MVPs and community are talking, posting and responding in that space.
  3. Start a support incident with Microsoft Support Business Solutions. If it is a MS CRM problem.. it is WORTH the money. The problems are usually complicated. Try to stay with the CRM team and not get bumped to any of the auxiliary teams (such as the SQL team or Exchange team). The Auxilliary teams just don’t have the experience with MS CRM in the mix and the CRM knowledge that is needed to totally fix the issue.
  4. Posting to [email protected] is an option – fairly quiet but some good SMB IT Pros doing CRM in that forum.
  5. Post to the CRM Sandbox – All developers writing extensions to CRM in that community.. so good .NET and SQL experts in that forum. The Sandbox and communities can be reached off the MS Dynamics CRM web site at http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/crm

DIY MS Dynamics CRM

So you want to teach yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM. You have tried and mastered a number of other CRM applications and you want to see if you can learn MSCRM quickly and if it is a good fit for your organization.

The other products didn't quite do it.

My suggestion. Don't waste your time with false expectations. Sure running CRM from within Outlook is a piece of cake for staff, but it takes a well thought out roll out to do any CRM product right! For the product to be a piece of cake for staff, the deployment needs care and attention.

Understand that learning MS Dynamics CRM is both easy and difficult. If you install it and you expect it to be just like any other flat system (outlook contacts, ACT!, etc), one screen that offers you everything, then you are going to be disappointed. The product has depth, so much depth that it grows with you. As you get better and better at MSCRM, it offers you more and more.

I like to compare MSCRM to Golf. You can quickly understand how to swing a golf club in an hour if you take lessons. You can even figure it out on your own (although the years of torture for doing it wrong are a bummer). BUT learning to swing the golf club feels different, awkward even. You have to want to learn and master and once you do.. You SOOO get it. It is sooo easy!

So realize that the relationship map in our heads, of who knows who and how they relate to each other and all the little nuances of 6 Degress of Seperation are finally mastered in one CRM System. MSCRM, but it does make it a WHOLE lot easier if you work with someone who has experience with MSCRM to configure it.

I am not talking about custom code or customizations (also things you can do), but these are things a small business DOES NOT want to pay extra for nor take long term responsibility for. I am talking about training ad configurations from someone who has spent a lot of time configuring MSCRM systems.

OK, ok you don't want to work with an expert. No problem, then read the books. For the Installation/Deployment Certification there is one book, 8 1/2 x 11 with 548 pages in it. Now this does not mean that the installation is hard, it can be extremely easy because the team has built in checks, balances, wizards and all!

For the Application Mastery there are three books!~ etc. etc..

Get it. MSCRM easily competes with multimillion dollar CRM products. Respect the power of the system AND understand that even if you don't use all the power it can be as simple as you need it to be.


MS Dynamics CRM New Users

So you have just purchased MS Dynamics CRM and you are not sure what CDs or DVDs to use and what updates are needed.

Here is a list

MS Dynamics CRM v3.0 dated January 2006

MS Dynamics CRM v3.0 Rollup dated December 2006

MS Dynamics CRM Outlook Client v3.0C (compatible with Vista and Office 2007)

Key Patch for v3.0C to smooth out the bumps running v3.0C on an XP machine.

This rollup can be downloaded and added after installation, BUT if you have not installed you might want to downloaded the December 2006 90 day trial which includes everything and can be activated with your new license code.

Saves a step and makes for a smoother installation.

There are of course other KB Articles with various tweaks, but none that are screaming loudly off the page as of yet.

Also be aware that other product updates can impact your environment and you want to be careful of Windows Server SP2, MS SQL 2005 SP2 (you want SP2a), etc.


Walking the Line

There is a definite line between small businesses who cruise along with a nice Small Business Server and those businesses who have grown out of a single server hardware footprint.

For instance there are small firms (as in even as small as 10 - 50 people) who really need to move some of their primary applications off the main box. Companies that use applications that demand powerful, dedicated hardware.

Now if you talked with Infrastructure Gurus/Passionists/Pros, often you would know that at any given time you can take a Windows Server Professional and a Small Business Server Professional and immediately start a heated debate with no winner! The debate which is the better recommendation for a small business.

The Windows Server Pros roll there eyes at anyone who would even consider running one server with everything. In fact some even go so far as to call it crazy. On the other hand the SBS Pros know how successful this model is in the field and love that the SBS Development team has made the changes to the core software to make all the applications play nice together. Realize that the Windows Pros don't get all the SBS Teams modifications(nor do they understand that SBS is it's OWN product not just a paste together) so THEY have to make all the applications play nicely together or put them on different boxes.

Now we consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM. For small businesses we have Microsoft Dynamics CRM SBE which has been designed to tap into all the nice features of MS Small Business Server. As in MS CRM DYNAMICS SBE MUST run on the domain control because it has no choice.

When we get into Microsoft Dynamics Professional; however we run into different situations. For instance Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional should not be installed on a DOMAIN Controller (can't has been mentioned). This means that for those firms who have 2 servers, a primary Domain Controller and a Secondary Domain Controller, we get stuck..

If MS Dynamics CRM Pro can't run on a domain controller and if the (MS SQL TEAM cringes when you mention running MS SQL on a DC) then where do you install SQL or CRM in a firm that has 2 servers?

You have 2 choices

1) Add a Member Server to the environment for MS SQL and MS CRM increasing the number of servers supported and managed to 3.

2) Run the environment with a Primary DC Server and a Member/Application Server

Ah the joys of choices at the 10-50 person level firms. Always walking the line between what they have to give up versus what makes sense for their model!