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January 23, 2015

Complex Goal Calculations Using Dynamics CRM 2015 Calculated Fields

We have talked about goals many times on the Hitachi Solutions CRM Blog, because we think they are a great feature.

In the standard goal scenario, you have a Target, an Actual value, and an In Progress value. Target is your goal, Actual is the amount completed, and In Progress is the value of outstanding records that may close and become part of the Actual.

The Percentage Achieved field calculates progress toward your goal by dividing Actual by Target.

But lets say that rather that tracking Actual and In Progress, you wanted to track two different metrics, and compare the combined total to the Target to get a combined percentage to goal?

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Continue reading "Complex Goal Calculations Using Dynamics CRM 2015 Calculated Fields" »

January 19, 2015

Using Cortana with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Phones

Here’s a short video I recently put together showing how you can use Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 with CRM for Phones. Sumo San Optional.

January 16, 2015

Using Goals As Rollup Tables in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

A long time ago I wrote an SSRS report for a client using CRM 4.0.  The report was great, and did everything it needed to do for the business.  The problem was that it was used by the business a lot and it was not fast.   The main reason the report was not fast was because it was doing its calculations on the fly every time it was run, and doing these calculations on large numbers of records across Filtered Views.  Were we still in 4.0 I would have solved this problem with the replacement of ad hoc calculations with SQL rollup tables or even setting up report subscriptions or snapshots.  However, CRM 4.0 is, dare I say it, old school at this point and the customer converted to CRM 2013. This allowed us to consider a new option that was part of even 2011: Goals.

It's worth noting that the report in question was driven off of a custom goals entity in CRM 4.0 which housed essentially the annual target and nothing else.  The report calculated what the achievement was along a variety of different times (monthly for each month of the goal year, quarterly for each quarter of the year, the year itself, and then compared each of these across the previous year for the same).  In short it was quite complicated.   

A rollup table would serve two purposes: it would both speed up and simplify the SQL behind the report.  This would require setting up an integration using SSIS or SCRIBE. Not the worst thing to have happen, as these are certainly viable options.  However, what if the business wanted to change the criteria for these rollup tables?  That would require a development effort.  And what if someone wanted to see the criteria for making these rollup tables?  That too would require a developer to at least validate the documentation of the criteria.  What if there was a way to avoid setting up an integration, allow for both flexibility and visibility, and of course solve the problem that a rollup table is designed to solve? The answer is the Dynamics CRM Goals module. 

 

Continue reading "Using Goals As Rollup Tables in Microsoft Dynamics CRM" »

January 14, 2015

Field Changes and Failing Goal Rollup Jobs

If you ever come across a situation where you see goals are not rolling up when they should be, go to Settings –> System Jobs and look for something like this:

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The error message included with this is actually quite helpful, and directly relevant to the discussion at hand.

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In this case one of the fields referenced in a Rollup Query was removed.  Now if one ever tried to delete a field that was part of a system view or a form, Dynamics CRM would alert the user that this could not be done.  Rollup Queries though are not part of a configuration: they are technically just like any other record.  The Query part of a Rollup Query is a lot like a personal Advanced Find view in a sense. 

There are two lessons learned here.  First, it’s not a bad idea for System Administrators to peruse the System Jobs for failures on a daily basis.  Second, when deleting a field its wise to keep Rollup Queries in mind.  A simple thing to do is to export all Rollup Queries to Excel (make sure to include the Condition Criteria column), and then do a Find in Excel with the name of the field you are about to delete.  That way you will know which ones you need to update.

January 12, 2015

Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I discussed the prep work associated with importing Rollup Queries.  In Part 2 I’m going to show you how to use Microsoft Excel, along with some other tools, to put together the actual import file. For those other tools, you should download two things first: Notepad++ (http://notepad-plus-plus.org) and the XrmToolBox (www.codeplex.com).  The former is a must have, and the latter is only a must have if you are not adept at FetchXML.  But if you are working with Dynamic CRM there are quite a bit of tools in there.

Overall what we need to do is Excel-ify the FetchXML and indirectly make that FetchXML dynamic.  We need to update the FetchXML to a point where Excel can use it in a formula.     This will be done through the use of the CONCATENATE function. But how do we take this:

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And change it to this, so Excel can make sense of it?:

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Continue reading "Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 2" »

January 09, 2015

Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 1

Are you using Goals and find yourself facing the prospect of having to enter in a slew of Rollup Queries? Do you wish you just import them but you don’t have the luxury or time to use ETL tools such as SCRIBE or SSIS? Have no idea what those two things are?  You came to the right blog, because we’ll be stepping through exactly this process.  I did this once a while ago, completely forgot about some of the details, and had to re-learn this once I needed to do it again quite recently.  And in re-learning I hit a couple of snags and found there was little out there in the cyber-universe aside from some poor soul asking the unanswered question about how to do exactly this.  Note that this blog does assume that you have a working knowledge of goals and their component parts, and will not discuss goal basics.

Before we begin though, let’s discuss when you would want to do this. The common denominator is that this flag won’t do the trick:

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Continue reading "Importing Rollup Queries Using Out Of The Box Dynamics CRM Tools Part 1" »

January 07, 2015

Using the Microsoft CRM Developer Toolkit to Deploy Custom Plugin Assemblies

Overview

I love using the Developer Toolkit in Visual Studio to build and deploy plugins.  The out of the box experience will create a plugin and a plugin framework for you and let you you build and deploy right from Visual Studio.  If you already have a plugin assembly that wasn’t created from the the toolkit or if you have your own plugin framework they you’ll need to follow these steps to be able to deploy custom plugins from Visual Studio.

Step 1

Start with the solution that has your plugin project. 

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Continue reading "Using the Microsoft CRM Developer Toolkit to Deploy Custom Plugin Assemblies" »

January 05, 2015

Custom Multi-Entity Searching

Search IconA customer of ours has invested a significant amount of money and time into a portal built on top of CRM 2011.  A Custom UI was created that displayed the data most used by their employees in a way that has really increased adoption primarily because it is customized to exactly how they do business.  As the process of creating this UI evolved, it became more and more apparent that we needed a mechanism that allowed multiple entities to be searched from a single place.  While CRM 2015 offers the Multi Entity Searching functionality, no such wizardry exists for prior versions of CRM (an upgrade is not in this client’s immediate plans). Even the Multi Entity Search would present limitations that would have to be overcome in order to work as desired.

The method chosen to create this functionality needed to use existing software and hardware and provide the ability to both define the entities and attributes to be searched but also execute fast enough to keep the UI from lagging.

Continue reading "Custom Multi-Entity Searching" »

January 02, 2015

Using SSRS as an option for interactive dashboards

Not long ago, I was asked to help a customer come up with a concise dashboard to be used by their business development group.  They sent over a PDF of what they liked and it was a set of six gauge indicators with a number of links to various reports that they wanted to have that would give them insight into how business was developing (imagine that).

PdfMy first thought was that though the CRM dash-boarding capability is fairly robust right out of the box, there was no way to create these gauges that they wanted. I was limited to graphs and tables. I thought about other technologies that were displayable in an iFrame and realized that all of their dash-boarding needs could be fulfilled, including the interactivity between the UI and CRM using a custom SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) report.

SSRS comes with a myriad of different gauges and other display that are highly configurable and could display the information just as the customer requested and could also contain links to drilldown into CRM records and display CRM lists. 

Another realization came when I looked at the reports the customer wanted to display from the links on the right of their mock-up. I found that most of them amounted to custom views into the data that could be created in CRM and linked to the report (See the information here  to understand how Microsoft has made this fairly painless). This meant that the cost of implementing the solution decreased considerably (fewer custom reports) and the displayed data could easily be changed by simply updating the view in CRM without having to engage a report developer.

FinalWhat we ultimately created was a dashboard with the pertinent information displayed in a format that was to the customers liking and we were able to keep all of the benefits of a “native” dashboard.  The gauges showed real-time information while the links opened views into the specific list of records desired or opened custom reports where additional information was required. 

This solution also adds the benefit of being able to display data that does not exist in CRM though that was not needed at this time.  The drawback to this approach, though not a problem for this client, is the inability to view the report on mobile devices.

Microsoft has done an outstanding job of including the building blocks for extensive dashboards right into the product as well as interoperability with other technologies that can extend the abilities to whatever result is desired.

 

December 23, 2014

12th Day of CRMas: Santa Uses Social Insights to Catch a Naughty Elf

It's the final entry in our 12 Days of CRMas series celebrating our favorite things from Microsoft CRM 2015. Today, we'll look at what's new in CRM and Social Listening.

First, just to level set, Microsoft Social Listening is a standalone tool that helps organizations monitor social conversations, analyze sentiment data and deliver social customer care. Now, with the latest integration and licensing model, most users of Microsoft CRM 2015 can have a seamless and informed social management experience. Previously, integration was only available to Microsoft CRM Online. Now it is available for CRM 2015 On-Premises organizations.

Continue reading "12th Day of CRMas: Santa Uses Social Insights to Catch a Naughty Elf" »

December 22, 2014

11th Day of CRMas: Business Rules for Stocking Stuffers!

Well we are closing in on our last day of CRMas and we are almost done handing out the presents but not before we introduce a few little extras to stuff your stockings with!

Now I wrote a blog about Business Rules last Christmas for the 10th Day of CRMas found here http://blog.customereffective.com/blog/2013/12/crm-2013-business-rules-is-boss.html and I am equally delighted to be able to introduce the new and improved Business Rules as a little something extra from the MSFT product team elves.

imageSo what have they been up to in the Northwest Pole of Seattle? Well as we all know Business Rules were introduced in CRM 2013 to allow Microsoft Dynamics CRM administrators the ability to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM without having to write complex code. Business rules provide a simple interface add client side scripting for common business needs that can be applied to Main and Quick Create forms, or to an entity. Now it’s important to note here that originally this new feature was for client side scripting and couldn’t be applied when an SDK call was made. In other words in order for Business Rules to evaluate logic and take action when a record was being created or updated you had to do a little bit more work involving plugins. Additionally, Business Rules could only evaluate whether all conditions in a rule were true and then take action. So in order to really have rich logic, you had to create multiple business rules with single if statements to be evaluated.

Continue reading "11th Day of CRMas: Business Rules for Stocking Stuffers!" »

December 19, 2014

10th Day of CRMas: Using Calculated Fields to Help Determine Total Cost to Santa (TCS)

Santa-claus-moneyWelcome to Day 10 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we have been exploring the best and brightest of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at Calculated Fields.

Yesterday, we helped Santa get a quick view of Tiny Tim's naughty/nice ratio with the use of Rollup fields. Today, we'll use the new Calculated Field feature to help Santa establish a dollar estimate for Tiny Tim's toy allocation.

Scenario

Buddy the Elf is responsible for benchmarking the amount of gifts to make for each kid. From the previous lab, we established that a record is kept for each child for Naughty Things and Nice Things. Buddy has determined that Nice Things will result in a $10 credit and Naughty Things will be debited based on severity of Naughty-ness. The scale he established was 'Not so bad'=-$3 and 'Just awful'=-$10. When he is finished, he'll have a good idea about how much Elfen Magic to apply to each kid. We will be calculating in USD since 'Elfen Magic' is not a recognized currency in Microsoft Dynamics 2015.

Continue reading "10th Day of CRMas: Using Calculated Fields to Help Determine Total Cost to Santa (TCS)" »

December 18, 2014

9th Day of CRMas: Rollups Help Santa with Naughty/Nice Conundrum

Welcome to Day 9 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we have been exploring the best and brightest of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at rollup fields.

In previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, rollups were possible, but required development and utilized jscript, plug-ins, business rules and workflows. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, rollup and calculated fields are included out of the box and can be utilized by business users. They are executed server-side and updated synchronously, so you will see the updates immediately when you save the record.

In this example, we'll use rollup fields to help out Santa with Naughty/Nice rollups and calculations

Rollup Fields

Continue reading "9th Day of CRMas: Rollups Help Santa with Naughty/Nice Conundrum " »

December 17, 2014

8th Day of CRMas: Business Process Flows: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

8th Day of CRMas: Business Process Flows: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

Well well well, the CRM product team has really outdone themselves this time. As if Business Process Flows weren’t cool enough! BPF’s are an excellent way for users to provide guided visualization of processes that match their internal business processes to make CRM more real and meaningful in their organization. We love leveraging them for sales cycles, case management, and many other aspects of our customers’ business where a process has been established and CRM can reflect it. We have written several blogs on how to use this excellent feature in CRM to enhance user experience and add value and user adoption to your implementation.

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Continue reading "8th Day of CRMas: Business Process Flows: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!" »

December 16, 2014

7th Day of CRMas: Stop Sync Grinch

Outlook sync is great. It allow us to keep our calendars and contacts in Outlook (or other exchange clients if you use Server Sync) in sync, so that when an update is made in Outlook, the CRM contact or activity is up to date. it’s a beautiful thing. I can track a contact, somebody else can update her phone number in Dynamics CRM, and suddenly I have the new phone number on my smartphone. We’re all in harmony.

Continue reading "7th Day of CRMas: Stop Sync Grinch" »

December 15, 2014

6th Day of CRMas: Mobile Presents

 

Getting a shiny new device under the tree? Good news! There are some great new mobile features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 that you will be able to use on that new tablet or phone.

1. Disconnected record creation

When disconnected from the internet, the user can click the new record (+) button from the dashboard to create a new draft record.

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Continue reading "6th Day of CRMas: Mobile Presents" »

December 12, 2014

5th Day of CRMas: Searching for the Perfect Thing!

Welcome to Day 5 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at the expanded search capabilities offered.

The searching and filtering capabilities inside of Dynamics CRM are key foundations to so much of what we see inside of CRM. Unfortunately, getting to the right place to initiate that search often sits several clicks away…until now! A flexible Search box and Advanced Find are now front-and-center from any record, list, or dashboard in CRM. Not only that, but we also get additional capability to filter through records in new ways.

Global Search

Global search is now prominently displayed in the CRM navigation bar. Entering any search term (even with wildcards) will direct you to a search results page that shows the search term along with the matching records from any matching fields.

Continue reading "5th Day of CRMas: Searching for the Perfect Thing!" »

December 11, 2014

4th Day of CRMas: Have A Holly Jolly Hierarchy!

Yes you read that right! It’s finally here! One of my absolute favorite new features is finally here, and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning! HIERARCHY VISUALIZATIONS!

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Microsoft's CRM Product team has really been listening this year and it looks like CRM users ended up on the nice list! The latest and greatest release of CRM 2015 is chock full of new enhancements across the board from the marketing module, customer service, mobile, and sales. There are some great enhancements that are truly user focused additions that we are just tickled pink about and hierarchies is no exceptions to this rule. So without further ado, let’s jump right into the features!

The new hierarchy visualization allows the user to graphically visualize the hierarchical relationships of specific records in their CRM system. In the Example below, you can see the parent company account record of Contoso, and as you move down the tree, you see the relationships each of those additional account records have to the other accounts in the same family. The records are represented by tiles and their relationships are mapped out between them. The left hand navigation includes an outline version of the tile visualization for easy navigation to a different layer in the group.

Continue reading "4th Day of CRMas: Have A Holly Jolly Hierarchy!" »

December 10, 2014

3rd Day of CRMas: Help me Dynamics CRM, You’re My Only Hope

Welcome to Day 3 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at the new custom help capabilities.

A high level of flexibility is a powerful thing. In your CRM system it means you can leverage both existing functinality with a few tweaks, all the way to custom functionality that supports your organizational needs. However, with great power comes greater responsibility.

All of this flexibility means, unfortunately, when users click the help button, the out-of-the-box help can fall a little out of touch.

Continue reading "3rd Day of CRMas: Help me Dynamics CRM, You’re My Only Hope" »

December 09, 2014

2nd Day of CRMas: Hierarchical Security

Welcome to Day 2 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features.  Today we'll take a look at the hierarchial security.

You use Dynamics CRM, and you are a sales manager. You want access to all accounts to which your sales team has access. Simple requirement, but in reality fairly complex to deliver. Security roles couldn’t get you there. Sure, you could just give the sales manager Business Unit or organization level permission level, but that would give access to everything in the business unit or organization, which will be more than just your sales team.

Team ownership would not meet this requirement, as you need to have individual sales owners.

Continue reading "2nd Day of CRMas: Hierarchical Security" »

December 08, 2014

1st Day of CRMas: A Personal Side to Power BI

Welcome to Day 1 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at the new capabilities of Power BI in Dashboards.

Power BI integration and Power View visualizations are a powerful way to analyze and display CRM 2013 data. Now with CRM 2015 can now be embedded not only in a System Dashboard, but also in a Personal Dashboard. While a seemingly small change, this is yet another change that puts powerful tools in the hands of users.

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/14112600/cf0b913b-af9a-4e1a-bbd6-9fd07c39e11b.pngTo set this up, CRM Administrators will first need to enable the feature in the CRM Organization:

  • From the Settings->Document Management area, create or edit a SharePoint Site record
  • Set Allow Embedding of Power BI Reports to Yes
  • Repeat this process for any SharePoint Sites that will hold Power BI elements

This wasn't possible before because of security measures meant to protect users. The growing popularity of the Power BI functionality has prompted Microsoft to add a specifically supported exception for PowerBI.

Continue reading "1st Day of CRMas: A Personal Side to Power BI" »

December 05, 2014

Using Voice Input with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2015

I didn’t know that CRM was voice enabled? How to I turn on voice data capture for CRM? The inherent issue with these questions is that we are wondering what CRM has to do with voice recognition. The reality is that you can access CRM from your phone or tablet and those devices are voice enabled. Speech Recognition is included with Windows 8, so voice input is possible from your laptop.

With CRM 2013, most users are entering data using the Web Client or the CRM Client for Outlook. Hence, they are adding data from their PC. However, CRM 2013 (and later versions of CRM 2011) expands the offerings to access CRM from a phone or tablet. The addition of cross browser support opens up just about any device (but there are unsupported combinations of browsers and OS’s so don’t quote me on this). If that device allows you to enter data using voice, you can enter data into Microsoft CRM using voice.

Continue reading "Using Voice Input with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2015" »

December 03, 2014

Dynamics CRM 2015: Upgrade Options

Dynamics CRM 2015 is a major CRM upgrade for CRM On Premises. In the past with upgrades like CRM 4->CRM 2011 and CRM 2011->CRM 2013, it was always a best practice to set up new servers and import upgrade your CRM environment to the new version. This was because there were major changes in system requirements and user experience between major versions.

Continue reading "Dynamics CRM 2015: Upgrade Options" »

December 01, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2015 Released and Available for Download

Microsoft has released CRM 2015 as a Thanksgiving present to all of us.  I guess they knew we would have a few days off and could spend it looking at the new version of CRM.  Don’t miss the Hitachi Solutions CRM 2015 Release Webinar presented by one of our CRM MVP’s.  Use this link to sign up!

http://www.customereffective.com/crm-2015-webinar.php

Below is a short list of “What’s new in CRM 2015” along with two links to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Center page with full details.  The first link is to the 2015 release preview guide.  The second is to the “What’ New” page.  Don’t overlook the “Updating from an earlier version” tab to see what is changing if you are an existing customer.

  • Cortana support to speak CRM commands on Windows 8.1 phones
  • Microsoft “"Social Listening” for on-premises systems
  • Hierarchical charts to more easily see an overview of an account
  • Expanded capabilities when building Business processes
  • “Quick find” enhancements
  • Additional information available to synchronize between CRM and Outlook
  • Customizable Help

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/get-ready-for-the-next-release.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/what-s-new.aspx

A trial is a great place to start to check out the new offerings of CRM 2015.  Use the following link to sign up for a trial today.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-free-trial-overview.aspx

You can download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2015 files here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=45012

If you want to get started with your own CRM 2015 online environment, use the link that follows and click on “Buy” on the page.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-purchase-online.aspx

You will need to enter some information to define the organization you are creating but then you should be all set.

November 24, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics CRM - Online vs. On Premises Decision Matrix

Many companies considering Microsoft Dynamics CRM are weighing the options of installing Dynamics CRM On Premises or going with CRM Online. In this post we compare the two platforms, look at what is similar, and compare the differences.

Core Application Functionality

The core application functionality is at parity, with the same core application entities and extensibility features.

Extensibility

Customizations developed in a supported way for CRM on premise can be moved to CRM Online (and vice versa), and plugins, workflows and any custom extension can be used in either Online or On Premises deployments. Any supported code will work in both CRM online and On Premises.

Mobility

CRM clients for phone, tablet, and Outlook (including offline) work exactly the same between CRM Online and CRM On Premises.

Continue reading "Microsoft Dynamics CRM - Online vs. On Premises Decision Matrix" »

November 20, 2014

Product Key Compatability and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Upgrades

Occasionally when upgrading Dynamics CRM 2011 to CRM 2013, you may receive a warning that "The Product Key is not compatible" in the environmental diagnostics wizard.  If this happens, typicaly you can simply put the IgnoreChecks = 1 in the registry and avoid this issue.

Recently, I was working with a client and despite all my efforts of trying with a CRM 2013 MSDN key, a CRM 2013 VLK key, and the CRM 2013 trial key, I was getting the same error.

Midway through the upgrade, I received this warning:

ProductKeyFail

For those of you hitting on keywords, let me give you the log entry as well.

14:26:50|   Info| Executing Install action: Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Server.AddLicenseAction

14:26:51|  Error| System.Exception: Action Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Server.AddLicenseAction failed. ---> Microsoft.Crm.CrmException: Cannot upgrade to specified license type.

   at Microsoft.Crm.Admin.AdminService.LicenseHelper.SaveLicense(LicenseData license, Version expectedExistingBuildVersion)

   at Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Server.Utility.ConfigUtility.SaveLicense(String licenseKey, Version licenseSourceVersion)

   at Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Common.CrmAction.ExecuteAction(CrmAction action, IDictionary parameters, Boolean undo)

   --- End of inner exception stack trace ---, Error, RetryCancel, Option1

At that point, the only option was to restore the server and databases.  Fortunately, CRM was a VM and we had taken the time to snapshot as well as make the database backups.

Continue reading "Product Key Compatability and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Upgrades" »

November 17, 2014

Announcing the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile Survival Guide

The CRM Mobile Survival Guide is my latest book. In this book I cover the rapidly changing world of Dynamics CRM mobile.

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This book was inspired by the Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementations that I have lead that included phone or tablets. I've been working with Dynamics CRM for 8 years, and it is amazing how rapidly the world has changed during that time. For several years, CRM deployments were limited to internal users connected to their corporate networks. Users would travel, but when they did, they would connect to the application via VPN or use offline data via the CRM Outlook client.

Then came the mobile explosion. Starting in 2009-2010, many customers were starting to want to use CRM from their smartphones. Then the iPad arrived in 2010. We did not have a great answer for mobile. There were third party apps and custom solutions, but most were expensive to implement and complicated.

The BYOD revolution was originally met with a lot of hype, as magical devices that would replace computers. But after living with smartphones and tablets for several years, reality has set in. Mobile devices have changed our lives in many positive ways, but we now have a more realistic picture of what they are good for (and for what they are not).

And that is the reason for this book. Look beyond the hype to what it really means to live with CRM on mobile devices, even using a mobile device as your primary CRM access device.

Continue reading "Announcing the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile Survival Guide" »

November 14, 2014

Dynamics CRM 2015: Every Interaction Matters

The Microsoft Dynamics team has recently released some great new ads showing how various Microsoft technologies will work together in Dynamics CRM 2015.

In this post we looked at the “Dynamics CRM for your Business” ad. the next ad is called “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Helps Your Customers.”

 

Continue reading "Dynamics CRM 2015: Every Interaction Matters" »

November 12, 2014

Three Ways Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Will Speed Up Quoting

Regardless of whether your organization offers products or services, quickly putting together an accurate proposal is crucial to winning business. Often times, however, the process of physically quoting out those components can be quite frustrating and slow.

The upcoming December release of Dynamics CRM 2015, for which Microsoft recently published a preview guide, hints at key updates that will help make the quoting experience much more positive and intuitive.

Easily Add Multiple Related Products

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/14110422/134d9c26-40fa-427e-be90-a4a6337f73da.png

When pursuing a deal and quoting out products, the reality in Dynamics CRM has been that I'm stuck adding products one-by-one unless we've done customization work or bought a CPQ tool. Each additional product requires 5 or more clicks, resulting in a process that is prone to errors and omissions.

The 2015 release brings the concept of related products to out-of-the-box Dynamics CRM. When a product is set up in the system we can now define product relationships as well. Each relationship can be an Cross-Sell, Accessory, or Upsell, all of which will be available in-line as a suggestion when adding a product to a quote. Each related product can be selected with a single click, then once I've made my choices I confirm "Add to Quote" and they're all added in one pass.

Instead of searching for each related product or service that fits the proposal, I multi-select from a list of suggested products saving time and hassle.

 

Continue reading "Three Ways Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Will Speed Up Quoting" »

November 10, 2014

Single Sign-On with ADFS, BigMachines and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Recently, we were working with a client to convert an existing system over to Microsoft Dynamics CRM  2013. Their current system leveraged a web application hosted on BigMachines (Oracle) and they had Single Sign On (SSO) working there.  Because CRM was going to be an Internet Facing Deployment (IFD) we needed to move that SSO configuration over to use ADFS.

In this case, we were using ADFS v2.1.  There was little documentation on how to accomplish this specific task, and the solutions did not surface easily in a search engine.  

Below are the steps we used to get this working.

Go to ADFS FederationMetadata.xml page:

1. https://ADFS.domain.com/FederationMetadata/2007-06/federationmetadata.xml

2. Get the X509Certificate (should be the first one, but within the Signature section it is after, but NOT the Signature Value as they do look similar) Get the whole line minus the <X509Certificate> and </X509Certificate>

Continue reading "Single Sign-On with ADFS, BigMachines and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013" »

November 07, 2014

Duration Calculations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Little or No Customizations

Duration fields are not often utilized within Microsoft Dynamics CRM except in the case of activities (such as Tasks). However, there may be times when it is very useful to know the duration between two dates.

Did you know that Microsoft Dynamics CRM can calculate the days between two dates?

Let’s examine how we can use a calculation that the system performs automatically to achieve this goal.

 

Example/Use-Case Scenario

A client would like to know the duration between the Estimated Close Date and Actual Close Date for Opportunities.

Continue reading "Duration Calculations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Little or No Customizations" »

November 06, 2014

Dynamics CRM 2015: It's More Than CRM

The Microsoft Dynamics team has recently released some great new ads showing how various Microsoft technologies will work together in Dynamics CRM 2015.

The first ad is “Microsoft Dynamics CRM for your Business

 

This ad pack a lot into about 2.5 minutes, so let's dissect it and take a closer look at what is going on.

Continue reading "Dynamics CRM 2015: It's More Than CRM" »

November 05, 2014

Have It Your Way: A Closer Look at the Latest Search Options in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Microsoft has really enhanced the user experience with the last few releases and updates and this is especially true when it comes to search. The Hitachi team has also added a few cool features for searching. There are multiple ways to get to the record you are looking for but let’s specifically take a closer look at the search options that are now available to our customers both out of the box and enhanced features from Hitachi. No worries, we won’t make you choose; our custom solutions simply enhance the search experience and you can leverage all three for comprehensive search in your CRM deployment.

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November 03, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 – Hurrah for Curah!

Since Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is in preparation and ready for release this year, it is time for a new Curah!  To that end, I’ve begun the task of compiling helpful resources. 

You can check it out at https://curah.microsoft.com/211516/crm-2015-helpful-resources.

This is a work in progress and I plan to add new links as I discover them.  Feel free to share your favorite CRM 2015 links with me, in comments below, and I will add them to the Curah with a nice big callout to You!

Cheers!

 

October 31, 2014

Moving Data Between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Organizations

Today, I’m going to look at some of the ways to move data between two CRM environments. There are multiple ways to do this, including third party products like Scribe Insight or SSIS.

In this post, I am going to focus on the “free” options that come with Dynamics CRM.

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October 27, 2014

Showing Entity Logical Names on Forms in Dynamics CRM 2011 & 2013

While there are a few scripts out there that sets the labels for fields on a CRM form to be the logical names, they aren't the quickest to copy/paste from. These scripts also remove the existing field labels which can sometimes make it hard to identify fields especially if the name of fields have changed. It might not be obvious to someone new to a project that two years ago the "Technichal Specialist" role was renamed to "Solution Architect" while the logical name of the field stayed the same.

To make things easier, I wrote a script that shows all controls, sections, and tabs then inserts a textbox next to the existing field labels and selects the text when the textbox is focused to make it easy to copy. It also widens the labels displayed on the form to make room for showing both a textbox and the existing label. While this can crowd out the input, the primary purpose is for quickly pulling out logical names anyways. 

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