Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 21 Blog Review

This episode should be filled with valuable information since I missed last week’s edition. I have been very busy with different events and things. All the while wondering what these places use to track those involved. I am usually disappointed when I arrive to see that they simply highlight my name on a list. When speaking to the bank this week I was very tempted to ask what they use but I was too nervous they would blacklist me for suspicious activity. Anyways, back to the good stuff – all Microsoft Dynamics CRM news since our last edition on June 11th.

What to do to be prepared for a disaster? Keep your towel with you and read CustomerEffective’s Disaster Recovery Strategies.

If you are having trouble with some Reports but would still like to follow the psychological path and think through the solution to your issues be sure to read CustomerEffective’s Force CRM 2011 Fetch Report to Show Subreport Even If There Is No Data.

Chris Cognetta has several items for us today. First, Preparing for Orion – be prepared for a full re-design of your forms to fit the new UI and also be ready to upgrade SQL and Windows Server. Also some issue fixes: Missing Ribbon after Rollup and SQL Server Unavailable during Installation.

Leon Tribe is still in love with this Microsoft Surface and tells you all about it in “Surface: One Device to Rule Them All”. I must get one myself. Also, in our environment we are just beginning to use Campaigns so I was interested in his blog on Associating Opportunities Directly to a Campaign.

I also found this compilation of blogs very similar to mine with the only difference of it gets to be published on MSDynamicsWorld.

VERY IMPORTANT: Microsoft posted about what to be prepared for with the next release. Here you will find docs on the changes to the implementation planning guide and SDK. I have not had a chance to read over these but will pass on my comments when I do.

Sonoma Partners will help us get prepared with their Summary of the new SDK and “Orion is Coming – Be Prepared”.

Finally, Jukka Niiranen has a great post on Advanced Queries with Advanced Find. He has some great ideas especially around getting past the limitation of being able to find a record with two types of related records – for example when searching for accounts that have purchased two distinct products.


That’s all for tonight folks.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Real Life CRM


Sometimes I think to myself that I would like to get my own CRM Licenses just for my personal life. Then I could keep track of everyone and all their information. I think this could be very useful.

However, I do think some friends would be concerned if they learned about all the details I recorded about them there. Oh but it would be so convenient to use the new Skype integration to talk to them and record our call details right there.

I am concerned that I would become obsessive about it; like I may want to have a “Diseases” entity. Here I could record information like prone to cold sores. Perhaps this could auto-create an Alert of some kind that says do not share drinks. I could include those susceptible to colds. Then when making plans around cold and flu season I know to be extra careful with how close I am to them. I think this could be a very valuable asset to my health.

Here is some other information I would track:
  • Birthdays (of course) – auto-create phone call for that day so I don’t forget to call them.
  • Important Dates – Birthdays are not the only special days; there are also Anniversaries, Job start dates, etc. To minimize clutter on the contact, I would create a separate entity to store any extra dates that I need to keep track of.
  • Gift Ideas – any time someone tells me something they want, I can create a Gift Ideas record. The form could include a details box for things like color, specs, etc. Then there could be a URL field to the product online. Next time an important event comes up I can just review the suggestions I have stored.
  • Gifts Received – It is important to know who has given you what. That way when they come over you can make sure it is out for them to see. Or when you are chatting you can casually say, “I want to thank you again for _____. We are really getting good use out of it”
  • Hobbies/Interests – helpful list of things you know they like to talk about. Perfect to review right before a coffee date.
  • Skills/Talents – You always need to know who knows how to play instruments or sing well for special events. Plus this could be used when determining which friends you should send job openings to.
  • Favorite Restaurants and food – this helps you know where to invite them when you call. Perhaps there will be a lookup to a list of Restaurants. These can be divided by location and food type of course. Favorite Restaurant could be a lookup on the contact (One-to-Many) but there could also be a many-to-many list (if necessary) to include other top picks.
  • Allergies - you need to know what not to feed them of course.
  • Connections - this is a built-in feature and would be the most valuable piece. This could be used to track significant others (and more importantly ex-significant others), best friends, worst enemies, etc. This probably would be the most valuable piece.


The real question is: how would this fit with process-driven forms? Should there be a built-in friendship process? Then I can track how far along the friendship path we are. Or should it just be more maintenance focused with no real process? I am feeling it should resemble the Friendship Algorithm from the Big Bang theory. Next question: does Sheldon Cooper use Dynamics CRM or Salesforce?

So people will of course be contacts but do we want families to be the Accounts. This would need to be discussed, it may be difficult with extended families – when do we separate? Also what significant data needs to be captured for a family – can we just use Connections to link everyone together?

Oh and then Event Management. I will need to determine how to record attendance at different functions. I’m sure this could lend itself to very powerful reporting for more successful events in the future. Or perhaps, it will take more time and lead to a less successful social life.

So in conclusion, I think I would like to have a personal CRM so I could store more information than what is available to me with my phone contacts. I fear the setup could be a bit much and probably lead to far too many theoretical questions about the nature of friendship itself.

Late Weekly Blog Review – June 11


My Friday Blog review is very late since it is now in fact Tuesday. Still, let’s see what we can find.

Leon Tribe has some interesting thoughts on Associating Opportunities Directly to a Campaign.

Madrona posted a Review of Polaris Features. Interesting, most has been covered in the blogosphere already. One point I did find interesting is that in Polaris the Outlook Client search will be consistent with the Quick Find behavior in the web client, as opposed to just searching within the view.

MSDynamicsWorld has an interesting article discussing “Will Marketing Acquisitions change CRM competitiveness?” ExactTarget may be bought by Salesforce soon which could impact the many other CRM software platforms that are integrated with it. Also, with Microsoft’s acquisition of MarketingPilot some marketing vendors may be worried about losing business. General conclusion is that yes, things will change but it will take time. Marketing vendors have been working in the Marketing space longer so they will be able to stay in front of the curve.

Recently CRMUG hosted a great webinar about User Adoption, Gamification and the Yankees. You can read the summary on MSDynamicsWorld. If you are a CRMUG Collaborate member you can view the PowerPoint Slides as well.

Quick Tip from Mitch Milam about Working with Queues – create a new system view for all queues whose name does not begin with “<”. Use this to quickly hide all your personal queues.

Sonoma posted a review of the recently released Scalable Security Modeling White Paper (jump directly to the White Paper if you like). Main takeaways as highlighted in the article are: be careful with using too much sharing, do not have more than 1000 Business Units, don’t put users on too many teams, don’t modify team membership or user details often and be careful if a many users are logging in at the same time.

That's all the goodies for today. Good night!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

May 31 Blog Review


The blog world was relatively quiet this week, seems like everyone was out enjoying the long weekend. Leon Tribe was reading over the weekend and posted a Book Review for an Applications Certification Guide. Personally, when I took the Applications exam I only used the Microsoft training. Since they wrote the test I assumed they knew what was on it. This worked very well for me. Although now studying for the Extending CRM certification I feel I could use a Certification Guide to fill in the missing pieces so I can understand the Microsoft training.

There were several good blogs from PowerObjects this week. First, Comparison: Using Workflows vs JavaScript vs Plugins in Dynamics CRM, this helps describe what processes when and how to decide the best tool for the job. Also, How to Create a Power View Report in Excel with CRM Data showcases how to use the Excel add-on, Power View to manipulate and analyze your CRM data. It is also cool to see the use of Excel 2013. It matches the design of the new CRM process-driven forms nicely. Note: Power View is an Excel Add-on from Microsoft not Power Objects, even though it has Power in the name.

Jukka Niiranen has a post on MS Dynamics World about Preparing for Orion. Some important tidbits (or Timbits for my fellow Canadians):
  •           The left navigation bar is being replaced by the top navigation ribbon. This means that after Orion, there is no going back – only the new user interface will be available. You can no longer go back to the “classic” forms.
  •           End user training will be required
  •           Time will be required to map your business processes to the process-driven forms and test that this is the best layout
  •           No more legacy support for CRM 4.0 APIs – start replacing these today
  •           Remember forms will now auto-save – think about how this will affect your plugins, workflows, etc.
  •           Be prepared for scripting changes
  •           Upgrading to Orion most-likely will be necessary to use the new add-on features such as Yammer integration, Skype integration, MarketingPilot, Netbreese, Bing Maps, new mobile client
  •           Partners will need to evaluate their add-ons for compatibility and modify to blend in with new UI – make sure your partner is ready!


Microsoft posted how to get started with your CRM surface Apps, complete with code and screenshots.

That’s all for today! 

May 24 Blog Review


PowerObjects provides a great blog on how to use Query Strings to populate data on a form.

CustomerEffective describes how to create meaningful charts to show campaign ROI. First, track your campaign costs on the campaign form and relate them to Opportunities where you capture revenue. On your Opportunity form add a “Source Campaign Cost” field and populate it via workflow (just grabbing the rollup field off the campaign). Then make a handy chart on Opportunities showing “Actual Revenue” and “Source Campaign Cost”.

If you have ever been confused about what “The Cloud” is and the benefits of “moving to the cloud” check out Altico’s Infographic on the subject.

While On-Premise Deployments are still catching up to Online, you may want to disable the new Process Driven Forms to display a more accurate representation of what a new user’s experience will be. Leon Tribe discusses how to Get Rid of the Flow Forms by using Form Security.

Congratulations PowerObjects on being name the 2013 Partner of the Year. Check out the summary on DynamicsWorld.

DynamicsWorld also hosted an MVP Interactive discussion this week hosted by Donna Edwards. The session is now available On Demand.