Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31 Blog Review

Happy Halloween! It’s time for some CRM Treats and hopefully no tricks.

PowerObjects posted about What’s New for Marketing in CRM: Fall 2014. Read to learn about the new CRM features coming for marketers.

CRM Tip of the Day wrote a tip about Updating Fields on Disabled Records. This describes how you can update disabled records using Export for re-import.

CRM Tip of the Day also posted about Unconditional Business Rules. This talks about how you can make Business Rules that always fire.

Exciting tip from Julie Yack – You can now disable the First Things First lady.

Just a quick recap today so we can all go eat some candy!

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24 Blog Review

Everything is settling back in after the excitement of CRMUG Summit last week. If you were not able to be there, make sure you check out my recap blogs (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3). Let’s see what happened over the last few weeks in CRM.

PowerObjects talked about CRM 2013 Data Import Templates. This walks through how to export the desired import template and import it back into CRM. This is a great way to get data into your system quickly and easily.

PowerObjects also posted about Assigning System Views Based on Security Roles. This talks about a codeplex toll that allows you to set which views are visible by Security Role.

CRM Tip of the Day asked Where do you see Advanced Find View? A commonly forgotten system view is the “Advanced Find View”. This is used to customize what is see when a user opens up Advanced Find for that entity (if not opening from an existing view of course). This can be a great way to help users save time when they are building their views.

Jukka Niianen posted this blog – Don’t Merge your Forms in CRM 2013. This discusses the issues with the Merge form features and encourages you to use this opportunity to optimize your forms for 2013 instead of just matching your old forms.

C5 Insight wrote about their white paper: 4 Reasons your CRM is Failing. This describes the common reasons CRM projects fail and what to do about it.

Have a great weekend folks!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Summit 2014: Day 3 Takeaways

Last day! So much information! There is no way to capture all the important information (especially since I can only be in one place at a time), so be sure to review the slides if you have access and watch the encore webinars when they occur.

Charting you Can’t do out of the Box – Adam Vero
Before you start working ask: Who? What? When? Where (Device, Resolution)?
Tools: Blank paper and pencil or white board and colored pens (get buy-in, determine how it will look); Notepad, Notepad++ or Visual Studio
Goal: “Use simple charts in clever ways”
Method: build what you can with out of the box tools, export, edit, reimport and repeat. Keep in mind if you “Keep Both” on your initial import you will need to export the newly created chart because it has a new GUID.
To save space, make the chart title descriptive so we can remove the axis labels.
You can easily change colors in the XML by listing the RGB values, if you give 4 numbers instead of 3 the first number will set the transparency.
Errors on chart import: Invalid XML means missing < > or similar issue, Specific error probably means a property name is incorrect (generally must be Camel Case).
Use ToolTips to display data on demand. Can be used for information or values. Keep in mind the values cannot be formatted.
“Palette Shift” – colors are assigned in order, not related to the data. You can fix this by using multiple series rather than 2nd category. Filter each series by value.

Upgrading CRM Panel – Chris Cognetta, Bob Kanzler, David Goff
You can postpone updating your 2011 forms but it is recommended that you do this with the upgrade so you do not need to train twice. The forms must be updated before moving to SP1.
Form merge feature will include all default fields plus your form. Recommendation is to start with blank new form and add all your fields to it.
Do not add new functionality with the upgrade. Wait before deploying Business Process Flows. You can use new functionality to replace existing code (replace JS with Business Rules) but do not add new features.
When going live, go right to the latest!
Business Process rules will probably continue to be improved and eventually replace dialogs.
Test ISVs and Integrations in Dev/Test environments.

Outlook Add-in
CRM 2013 for Outlook does not support Citrx (may work but not supported, no longer part of documentation)

Resource Challenges
Need FULL TIME Project Manager
IT must be involved in day to day, do not just let partner do it. They must be able to provide support starting day 1.

Try to freeze development during the upgrade. If fields are added in both places, those fields are NOT the same (different GUIDs). This can cause an error when importing solutions.

Testing and Training Plans
Use front-line users as testers.
Custom security roles will not be upgraded (they will not include new 2013 permissions). Recommendation to resolve is remove custom roles, go back to Out of the box roles and trim down permissions as necessary.

Tips from the CRM Tipsters – George Doubinski, Gus Gonzalez, Joel Lindstrom, Jerry Weinstock
Check out the daily tips at and submit your tips at
Tip #92 – review cascading relationships to evaluate and understand behavior.
Tip #158 – review Security Roles when you upgrade. Do a full review. Start with Out of the Box roles and trim them down. There is a codeplex tool to determine what roles people have. May want to hire a developer to write a tool to replace old roles with the new roles. Do NOT ever modify built in roles, make a copy and edit there.
Tip #121-125 – Workflows and Wait conditions. Be careful using “waiting” workflows because these are always running. When using wait, separate into parent/child workflows where the Child is called after the wait condition. Also be careful with “Canceled” – only use when something must be done.
Tip #84 – To resolve date issues across multiple time zones set the time to 10:59 AM UTC. This will cover most of the world.

The Confidence Code – Kelly Rosvold
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Sit at the table – be a participant not a spectator
Don’t leave before you leave – commit until you can’t, don’t step back too soon
Making your partner a real partner – give up control and let your partner support and help you
Check out: Lean In Circles to find support in your community

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay, Claire Shipman

Learn to be confident by: Failing Fast (take risks, fail smaller), Acting instead of holding back, practice making decisions, self compassion for missteps, move on!, banish negative automatic thoughts, reframe

Summit 2014: Day 2 Takeaways

Sorry for the delay in Day 2 and 3 takeaways, I determined sleep was slightly more important. So let’s get caught back up.

BPM and Process Automation in CRM 2013 – Gus Gonzalez
Always keep in mind the following: (Admin rule #1) keep it simple and (Admin rule #2) check if something already exists before creating a new one.
Sales teams that adopt a sales process experience a 35% higher win rate than those with a random process.
Think about bottlenecks in your current process to find ways to automate.

Business Process Flows
Microsoft has provided Business Processes for download that you can use as a starting point (Settings -> Data Management -> Add Ready to Use Business Processes).
Required fields in the Business Process are only required to pass that stage. If they are passed that stage when the change is made, the field will not be required unless they go back.
2011 BPFs do not upgrade to 2013. In2013, you can only move to child records and then back to the parent as the last stage (closed loop).
There are many enhancements in 2015 including Conditional Branching.

Real-Time Workflows
You can leverage the “Run as” option to run as either the owner of the workflow or the user that caused the workflow to fire. Keep in mind that they will need to have access to do what the workflow is doing.
If the workflow is stopped as canceled you can return a message to the user.
Best Practice: always start workflows with a check condition.

Business Rules
Limited to one entity (cannot search parent records like in workflows).
Benefit over JavaScript is that the dependencies are automatically tracked.
If an error is returned it is displayed in a small bar, Real Time Workflows display a large pop-up error.

Actions are like workflows but called from code.
Easy to administer, allow changes without a developer.
Can be created to be used on multiple entities.

Bonus: for Duplicate Detection check out Jason Lattimer’s tool that will prevent duplicates from being created.

Partner Showcase: FastPath – Security, Audit and Compliance – Andy Snook, Nate Boettcher
FastPath provides a variety of tools to check who is editing or even just viewing data. They also have tools to help standardize and automatically assign security roles and teams.
They handle the auditing using SQL triggers on tables and add this to a custom table on the CRM server which is moved to their database overnight.

CRM 2013 Email Architecture – Gustaf Westerlund
If you have questions about your sync options check out this whole presentation for the pros and cons of each method.
Server Side Sync – [Incoming Email] cannot do “Set Regarding” so Outlook Client is still required; uses exchange web services; part of Async service; probably future investment. [Appointment/Contact/Task] filters are hard to set, some scenarios not supported, still a new technology and tracing could be better.
Custom/3rd party program – keep in mind this will need to keep up with Microsoft Development
Note – beware of blacklisting. This can be a problem if you are sending large volumes of emails from your personal Outlook or the CRM server.

Outlook Client Troubleshooting – Derek Braun, Jon Bimbaum
When tracing the Outlook client the following types of traces can be generated: (1) OUTLOOK-CLIENT (Outlook Nav, Manual Tracking), (2) WebFormsHost-bin (web forms in Outlook), (3) crm-addin (Background synchronization), (4) ETL Tracking (event tracing) and (5) Configuration Wizard (more details than config log file).
If duplicate items are being created check the crmid (text) and crmlinkstate (number) in Outlook.
If an issue with Appointment/Contact/Task – check the SubscriptionSyncIssue table using the Outlook sync subscription ID.
If an email appears tracked but is not in CRM, use the “View in CRM” button to determine if it has been deleted.
Tools you will need: Fiddler, Debug Diagnostics (automated crash/hang analytics), Diagnostics Tracing, Notepadd++

Resources you can use for the Spring ’14 Release – Jackie Smith, Jim Daly
All help for CRM 2013 and beyond can be found at
On Tech Net pages there is an “Other Versions” selector near the top of the page if you want to see the page for a different version.
Through the customer center you can download training and adoption kits. These are customizable presentations, quick videos, etc.

For developers, all resources are linked to the

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Summit 2014: Day 1 Takeaways

I am going to try my best to summarize what I learned on Day 1 of Summit. There was so much more information but I could not possibly process it let alone try to put it into coherent sentences. (But of course the most important piece to note is that Tony Stein called me out in the CRMUG General Session and told everyone to read my blog!!!)

Upgrading CRM – Chris Cognetta
 2015 is more like an R2 version of 2013. It is just additional features so more like an update than an upgrade.
Today 95% of CRM deployments are virtualized. This is great for Security, Disaster Recovery, etc.
Upgrade Checklist:
1.      Review upgrade path
2.      Review infrastructure set up, current users, DB Size, etc.
3.      Review User Access (web, Outlook Client, Mobile, IFD)
4.      Review usage of Jscript for security, sub grids, and web service calls
5.      Review SDK enhancements for plugins or workflow assemblies
6.      Review integrations with 3rd party IVS
7.      Review data integrations with scribe, SSIS, etc.
8.      Review data for decision on upgrade or reload
Rollup Rules: Read (make sure there is something you want), Wait (stay 1 behind)

Opening General Session: CRM 2015 – Jujhar Singh
Product Growth – Customer Service, Social Listening, Marketing and acquisition of Capptain (mobile marketing)
Sales productivity solution from Microsoft: Zero In -> Win Faster -> Sell More
Check out these slides about the future enhancements:

Techie Talk: Upgrading Complex Systems –Alex Fagundes, Jerry Weinstock
Upgrading is not a strategy, it’s a tactical exercise
CRM 2013/2015 is about 40% more efficient than CRM 2011 because of the consolidated tables.
On Premise Upgrade Scenarios: (1) In Place, (2) Connect to existing, (3) [RECOMMENDED} Side by Side
Some codeplex tools to check out to enhance your 2013 experience: (1) One Click Navigation, (2) Quickview Menu, (3) Quick Navigation

Partner Showcase: Resco Glass, wearable CRM – Ivan Stano
They have a working version of a CRM App for Google Glass – so cool!

Security and Performance – Adam Vero
Try to use a layered security model – start with a base role for all users, add roles for specific functions that ONLY contain the additional privileges
Security Roles assigned to teams are giving access based on the team (BU access would be the BU of the team NOT the user)
Access Teams are still regular teams and sharing but they remove the admin overhead of team creation. They are easier for users because they do not need to use the Share dialog and choose permissions.
Owner teams have security roles. Access teams do not have security roles.
If the Access team template is modified, this will not change any existing shares. It will only affect shares from that point forward.
When creating new lookup fields remember you are creating the RELATIONSHIP. You must think about and configure the cascading behavior.
Cascading Options for Delete:
1.      Cascade All – Kill all the orphans
2.      Remove Link – create orphan records
3.      Restrict – prevent orphan records

Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10 Blog Review

There are only a few more days before CRMUG Summit so next week will be full of news! Let’s see what has been going on this week.

The CRM Team posted – Looking for help for the CRM product family. This has lots of links to help, information and blogs about the different Dynamics CRM products (CRM, Marketing, Social Listening). This is a great resource to keep handy.

McGladrey posted two blogs about their takeaways from eXtream CRM 2014. What to Expect for CRM 2015 goes over the key features and functionality we can expect to be seeing in the next version. Then Looking beyond CRM 2015 talks about Microsoft’s vision and the things we can expect to see highlighted in the development of future products.

There were two CRM Tips that I would like to highlight today:
  • The Undo Button – this discusses the functionality of Jason Lattimer’s Audit undo solution which allows you to roll back changes on your form to an earlier audit record.
  • My Workflow is my business – here you can learn about the impact of the scope field on a workflow to segment your business processes or for use in testing.

CRM in the Field posted CRM Outlook Client Performance Troubleshooting and Optimization Guide. This goes through everything you need to look at and know when troubleshooting problems with CRM for Outlook.

Donna Edwards started her compilation of CRM 2015 Helpful Resources. Refer to this when you begin the process of upgrading to 2015 and find all the information you need.

Adam Vero posted a compilation of CRM 2015 YouTube Videos. This features three videos from Microsoft about what to expect in CRM 2015. The topics consist of Upgrading (must be on CRM 2013 SP1 to upgrade), Field Level Security (now for built-in fields!!), and Business Process Flow Improvements.

Finally, PowerObjects talked about the CRM 2013 Performance Center. This describes how to use this new functionality (2013 SP1) and how to review the data.

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend and I hope to see you at Summit!

Friday, October 3, 2014

October 3 Blog Review

Somehow it has become fall. Even though it is getting colder, the CRM news keeps coming. Let’s take a look at the news and blogs from this past week.

PowerObjects discusses Importing and Updating Records in CRM 2013. This talks about how to update records if you cannot use the Export/re-import functionality.

Hitachi Solutions also talked about CRM 2013 in The Best Little CRM 2013 Feature you might not Know what to do with: Timers. This discusses the timer feature release with 2013 service pack 1 and how to use it.

The CRM in the Field Blog blogged about Table Bloat Due to Workflow Log Entries. This talks about issues related to workflow history retention and what you can do about it.

Leon Tribe discusses Bringing Graphs Down to the Record Level. If you have ever wanted a graph on a record form – now you can learn how to do it!

Finally, Jukka Niiranen talked about 10 tips for Designing a Great User Experience in Dynamics CRM. Use these tips to increase user adoption and help your users enjoy the system experience.

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend!

Originally posted here: