May 29, 2012
In many source systems (such as salesforce.com), the data from multi-select pick-lists is stored in a memo field as a long list of semicolon delimitated values:
ID Value 1 Option1;Option2;Option4 2 Option1;Option3
When upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you may choose to convert those individual fields into N:N (many to many) relationships, but first you’ll need to de-concatenate those values into multiple rows along with the id of the source record.
ID Value 1 Option1 1 Option2 1 Option4 2 Option1 2 Option3
The following example code demonstrates converting a semicolon delimited text field on the opportunity record into a list that is then matched to a related entity and any missing many-to-many relationships are identified for creation.
May 28, 2012
Recently I have been working with some customers to setup their Dynamics CRM 2011 Online environments. Since the application is presented through the Internet Explorer web browser, different users have different settings for security in their Internet Explorer options. In the past, adding https://orgname.crm.dynamics.com to the users Trusted Sites alleviated issues users might experience while using CRM.
Of late, I have found that specifying the organization name within the url is not sufficient.
The settings I am now recommending for Trusted Sites for CRM 2011 users is to add *.crm.dynamics.com and *.live.com. I have provided detailed steps below.
May 25, 2012
Current access to CRM 2011 (before Update Rollup 9 a.k.a. Release 8)
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web Client – The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web Client is only supported using Internet Explorer (version 7 or higher). You have full access to the application. Supported platforms are Windows XP SP3 or higher. For mail merge and Export to Excel feature support, you will need Microsoft Office (version 2003 SP3 or later, 2007 SP2 or later, or any Office 2010).
Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook Client – CRM for Outlook gives the user full access to CRM through the Outlook interface. The Outlook client has some features unique to it which are different from the browser. Most notably are how views function differently in the Outlook client. Internet Explorer only (version 7 or higher) is a requirement for the CRM for Outlook Client. Supported platforms are Windows XP SP3 or higher. For mail merge and Export to Excel feature support, you will need Microsoft Office (version 2003 SP3 or later, 2007 SP2 or later, or any Office 2010).
Customer Effective representatives recently introduced a tablet-based branch banking solution at the CEB Tower Group Financial Services Conference in Boston. The solution was featured in a presentation called “Tablet Technology: It’s Cool, but How Do We Use It?”, which addressed the proliferation of tablet devices in the enterprise and how they can be leveraged in a retail banking environment.
Nicole Sturgill, Retail Banking Research Director at CEB Tower Group, led the session that detailed how banks can start utilizing tablets inside and outside of the branches. The Customer Effective tablet solution was featured as a simple tool that enables a branch employee to securely open a new customer account from a tablet, without having to sit down or go to a desk. The solution is built on top on of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and leverages the flexible workflow platform to allow banks design the process to suit their needs.
"To be able to do all of that without the paper, if the customer prefers it... there is your cost savings right there," says Sturgill. "This is a good reason to transform your branch workflow. It's a great time."
In addition to new account opening, the solution can provide a quick, 360º view of customers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Customer Effective: Banking surfaces next best offers, other account information, bill pay options and PFM (personal financial management) tools. The solution can also surface marketing materials, such as videos and pdf’s, that are managed from the knowledge base.
“The net effect of customers and bankers standing shoulder to shoulder and looking at the bank’s view of the customer is a stronger and more trusting relationship,” said Brad Koontz, Customer Effective Product Manager.
For more information on Customer Effective’s retail banking solution or the retail banking tablet solution mentioned, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Banker’s “In the Branch, Tablets Mean Money”
May 22, 2012
Frequently when importing / scrubbing data within CRM, identifying duplicates to remove or ‘flag’ may be needed. It’s helpful to have a query that will return all the duplicates in the database – but exclude a single ‘surviving’ record. (i.e. Return all-but-one of the duplicated records.)
This query is one of my go-to query patterns – I rarely, if ever, use it as-is, but will modify it to fit the particular entity / scenario I need to investigate.
The returned record set might used as the source for a Scribe Insight job to either ‘flag’ or inactivate or delete the duplicates depending on the situation. – Of course you’ll need to take into account the record’s relationship to other entities etc.
May 21, 2012
Recently, I read “The Six Building Blocks of Customer Trust” by Peppers & Rogers Group, a customer-based business strategy think tank and management consulting firm. The article cites the “Edelman 2012 Trust Barometer, which found that only 53 percent of consumers around the globe find businesses trustworthy. Evidently, companies that do manage to build trusted relationships with their clientele will experience a significant competitive advantage. Acting in the best interests of customers and creating and consistently operating in a trustworthy environment results in clients becoming less sensitive to price and less inclined to consider alternative offers and solutions from competitors. As seen in Figure 1 from the Peppers & Rogers article, having more trusting and engaged customers adds values to the firm in the areas of client acquisition, retention, and growth.
In my last blog, I talked about how Dialogs and Connections can be useful to Investment Bankers who use CRM. Another example of using Connections and Dialogs comes from the Asset Management arena, where it’s important to track, among other things, Consultants and Custodians for the customers of the Asset Management firm. The importance of these relationships, especially the Consultant, cannot be undersold. Using Connections is ideal in this case, but using Dialogs really simplifies the process of creating these Connections. Dialogs reduce the process of data entry to questions and answers that are very intuitive.
May 18, 2012
Eric Souza, Director of IT for Berkshire Partners participated in a live webinar with Brad Koontz of Customer Effective. The topic was CRM for Private Equity and Souza described their CRM journey and what made them successful.
Berkshire was founded in 1984, and has invested in over 100 companies with more than $20 billion of acquisition value. Their investors include many of the world’s largest endowments, foundations, pension funds and insurance companies. Berkshire Fund VIII is a $4.5 billion fund that was raised in 2011.
May 17, 2012
Investment Banks Solidify and Gain Market Share with Customer Effective: FinServ and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
Due to increasing regulation in the financial services industry, proprietary trading units are winding down, financial leverage is being reduced, and capital ratios and liquidity standards have been raised. The ever-increasing constriction of the aforementioned profit engines combined with higher regulatory and operating costs is severely squeezing the earnings of many investment banks. In addition to the tighter margins, regulatory oversight, and capital constraints, the expectations of clients and shareholders are increasing. Despite these economic, regulatory, and competitive challenges, many investment banks are still finding effective means to operate in a profitable and sustainable fashion. These leading investment banks, ranging from global, specialist boutiques, and regional players, are all transforming their organizations and infrastructures to not only increase their operational efficiencies, but also become more firmly aligned with client needs.
May 16, 2012
I was recently looking for a potential release date for Release 8 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 ( aka Update Rollup 9 and CRM Q2 - 2012 Update) and found that the Microsoft Field Engineering team maintains a post with information and projected release dates of the CRM Update rollups. The R8 release has a lot of great features including cross browser support, one of the features about which I have been frequently asked. The current expected release dates for all CRM 2011 and CRM 4.0 Update Rollups can be found here:
There is a lot of great information in this post, including version numbers, kb article, hyperlinks, and a podcast with details of the Update Rollup.
Be aware that Release 8 IS NOT the same as Update Rollup 8 (UR8) which was released in early May but rather is actually Update Rollup 9.
For more detail on what is included in Release 8, use the following link.
May 11, 2012
We recently upgraded a customer from CRM 4.0 to CRM 2011 UR7. After upgrading and applying the update, we received a Query Builder error message whenever we tried to save changes to System Settings. The detailed message said: "'Organization' entity doesn't contain attribute with Name = 'isuseraccessauditenabled'". This is a field that doesn't exist in 4.0 and should have been created with the update. In the CRM Deployment Manager it appeared that the rollup had been correctly applied to CRM 2011, but the rollup was not properly updating the databases. After quite a few headaches and troubleshooting with Microsoft we finally found the issue:
Within the CRM registry keys, we had set the MaxDopForIndexCreation, SortInTempDB, NumThreadsForIndexCreation, and BatchAddAttributeUpdates registry keys according to the following blog post by the Microsoft developers (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2012/03/02/improved-upgrade-performance-in-ur6.aspx) to potentially help improve upgrade performance. Within the blog, the developers noted that these registry keys should only be in place for upgrades and then removed. We did not remove the keys after the upgrade, but before applying UR7. When we removed these four keys and then applied UR 7, the missing entities were created and we had no problem accessing the System Settings area! In order to successfully upgrade, our procedure should have been:
1) Set the registry keys as noted by the blog above
2) Import the CRM 4.0 database into the CRM 2011 environment
3) Remove the registry keys and restart IIS and CRM services
4) Apply the rollup
May 10, 2012
When an account or a contact isn’t currently engaged in business with your company, we might think of them as “inactive.” – CRM offers a button on the ribbon to ‘deactivate’ the record - but is that the right way to manage the status of a record? - Typically not. – The Active/Inactive status of CRM records really refers to the status of the ‘record’ rather than the contact or account the record refers to. Setting a customer to ‘inactive’ means that it cannot be edited, re-assigned, shared and it immediately gets excluded from most views and reports.
While an administrator may ultimately want to de-activate records if the customer goes out of business or is merged, everyday users shouldn’t be deactivating records on-the-fly. Far more useful is to add a customer “Classification” options to include a more descriptive set of data around why the customer is not an ‘active customer.’ – Once that information is captured, a data administrator can review and deactivate those records through a more methodical process.
May 09, 2012
As you’re thinking about or discussing the announced CRM cross-browser support coming in R8 (Q2 2012) be aware that there are some expectations that may or may not be realistic.
If you expect users in your organization to use browsers other than IE to access CRM, it's important to be ready to understand what is supported out of the box - and what modifications to your existing customizations will enable users to get the most out of CRM, regardless of their browser choice.
May 08, 2012
For Dynamics CRM On-Premise, Microsoft SSRS-based reports can be developed either as SQL or FetchXML based reports. SQL is the more common (old-school) style of report development and is probably more familiar with CRM report developers.
There are a handful of common mistakes or traps that anyone writing CRM reports can fall into - and we've all had to tackle 'fixing' a report that runs so heavy it dims the lights when you try to load it.
Fortunately, these best practice are pretty straightforward and will help you develop reports that run quickly and effortlessly on your server.
Let's get started.
May 07, 2012
Microsoft has released Update Rollup 8 for CRM 2011. You can download it and find specific details on this page. The release date is May 3, 2012.
Update Rollup 6 must be installed prior to installing Update Rollup 8.
May 04, 2012
Up until recently my favorite feature of CRM 2011 was Connections. Thanks in part to blogs like this one from our own Joel Lindstrom and some experimenting another feature has moved into a tie for first: Dialogs. Combining the two together makes for a recipe to solve a lot of different business and application design problems, without having to bring in someone to write code.
When a CRM instance is provisioned, a name is created for the organization – but since that name must be unique, we often see some awkward or unmemorable names – which then show up in Outlook. – But these names can be changed (even for CRM Online users) – at the client level:
To change this on a PC, close outlook and launch the CRM 2011 Outlook Configuration Wizard. Choose your organization and then click “Edit”
May 03, 2012
Mutual Fund Wholesalers Locate and Cement Top-Producing Broker Relationships with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Due to ongoing industry consolidation, occasional market turmoil, or personal drive to increase earning power, top-producing financial advisors occasionally change Broker/Dealers (B/Ds). Some go to work for another competing Wirehouse or Regional B/D in the quest for a better overall platform, research, and support team, as well as a lucrative signing bonus. Other breakaway brokers leave to start their own RIA or seek higher payouts and more freedom with an independent B/D. The departure of any veteran advisor with a large book of business can be a crushing blow to the revenue and clients of the firm and particularly to the branch location.
May 02, 2012
Customer Effective has released a new Customer Success Story highlighting the successful CRM implementation at Farm Credit Services of Illinois.
Not only did Farm Credit Services of Illinios need a system that could capture and store all kinds of customer information in one place while integrated with their own loan-origination system; they also needed a CRM partner who understood their needs and would help them train their employees on how to use the updated system.
When asked about the training Customer Effective's team provided to the FCS team, James Fielder, Vice President of Information Systems said, "Mindy’s not a technician, [but] Customer Effective taught her and another sales and service specialist how to manage and implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM and how to train others to use it, all without intimidating anybody and in a very short period of time.”
Read more about the Farm Credit Services of Illinois CRM Success Story by visiting our Customer Success Page.
May 01, 2012
CEOs to Gartner: CRM is the Most Important IT Investment for the Next Five Years
Two recent Gartner surveys of CEOs and CIO indicated that CRM is now a top technology priority. The CEOs who were surveyed said that CRM was the most important investment are to improve business over the next five years. The CIO’s said CRM was the 8th biggest priority, up from 18th last year. “Effective leaders use technology to strengthen the customer experience regardless of the economic environment, and they see customers as the key factor in helping their business deliver growth and operational efficiency in 2012,” said Jim Davies, research director at Gartner, in a press release. “They also understand that a new strategy is needed to embrace social and media trends.” Read the surveys here.
What features do you think should be added to CRM? – or what long-time feature needs to get a “little work done” to bring it up to speed? – Fortunately there’s a great way to feed that information directly into the CRM Product team.
Microsoft Connect (http://connect.microsoft.com) is one of the primary channels for submitting and weighing in on product feedback / suggestions. – In fact, every suggestion gets logged into their bug/triage system to be tracked and considered for future releases.