Follow Us: facebook twitter linkedin

Geoff Ables's Articles

Considerations for a Dynamics CRM 2011 AutoGroupManagementOff Installation

The installation of Dynamics CRM 2011 in tightly controlled multi-domain Active Directory environments can be a real challenge. Dynamics CRM’s tight integration with Active Directory (AD) is a double-edge sword: having built-in Kerberos single-sign on (SSO) for end-users is a big win for organizations using the Microsoft AD for desktop authentication, but the extraordinary permissions required by the CRM Installation Wizard to setup the directory groups and create SQL databases can be difficult to collect in an enterprise-class environment.

CRM 2011 and Outlook: 5 Functions Everybody Should Use

The CRM 2011 Pane in the Outlook 2010 Ribbon MenuThis is the third in a three part series I’ve been writing on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Outlook integration.  In the first two blogs, we reviewed the pros and cons of using CRM 2011 for Outlook and CRM 2011 for the Web.  In this article, we will take a look at CRM 2011 and Outlook functionality that everyone in your organization should use (regardless of whether they are using CRM 2011 for Outlook or not).  This integration functionality is easy for users to understand, saves a lot of time, and enables your organization to better track interactions with customers and other stakeholders.

For the previous two articles in this series see:

Activity Feeds, CRM 2011 Online and Windows Phone

Activity Feeds are a great new social feature in CRM 2011 that was made available with the November 2011 update.  Many organizations using CRM 2011 have begun to gain tremendous benefit by enabling Activity Feeds and training their users on how to take advantage of them.  Not as many, however, have started to use the Activity Feeds app for their Windows Phones yet.  This app has some great features, but it also takes a few tricks to get it working with CRM 2011.  This post will focus on the specifics of using Activity Feeds on a Windows Phone – and fixing a known bug with CRM 2011 Online and Activity Feeds on your Windows Phone.

4 Reasons to Use the Microsoft CRM 2011 Web Client

Microsoft CRM 2011 for Outlook

Microsoft CRM 2011 Web ClientThis is the second in a 3 part posting about accessing CRM within Outlook versus from the web.  In the first post in this series, I outlined some of the reasons why businesses should consider training their users in CRM for Outlook.  Given this powerful functionality, why would any business person prefer to use the web version of CRM (also called the “Web Client”)?  Well, as it turns out, there are some excellent reasons for doing just that.  Many of our clients (and many of our internal users of CRM) prefer to use the Web Client for various reasons.  In this article, we will explore the top reasons for choosing the Web Client over Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Outlook.

 

Quick Tip: Deactivating and Archiving CRM E-Mail Templates

CRM 2011 Email TemplatesDo you have old email, templates in CRM that you don’t use anymore?  You want to get rid of them because they’re cluttering up the views of users.  But you don’t want to get rid of them because you might want to use them again some day (or, like me, you’re just a packrat).  Unlike other record types, these don’t include the ability to deactivate the individual template records.  So what’s a CRM power user to do?

 

CRM and Outlook: 6 Reasons to Use CRM for Outlook

Should you use the web version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM or should you use the Outlook client?This is the first of a 3 part series of blogs that I’m writing on Microsoft CRM and Outlook.

With CRM 2011, Microsoft introduced significant new enhancements in how CRM works with Outlook.  These changes also introduced some differences in how the Outlook and Web versions of CRM work.  In previous versions, if you trained users on one version, they had all they needed to know in order to use either version.  Businesses now need to make an important decision on which version of CRM they will initially train their users on.  Users, too, need to decide which version of CRM they are going to use on a day-to-day basis.  This series of blog entries will examine the pros of using CRM for Outlook, then the benefits of CRM for the Web and will conclude with the CRM and Outlook functionality that you should use regardless of which version of CRM that you’re using.

This first article will focus on the 6 reasons why you should consider using CRM for Outlook as the primary way that you use the CRM application.  Dynamics CRM has always had better Outlook integration than any other CRM system on the market (no surprise there).  With all of the new features and Outlook integration that Microsoft has introduced in CRM 2011, the reasons for using CRM for Outlook are stronger than ever.

Collapse and Expand: Working with Tabs in CRM 2011

CRM 2011 forms include “tabs” to help organize information.  If you are a user of previous versions of CRM you know that tabs used to be presented across the top of a form.  In CRM 2011 tabs are now presented vertically.  Read on for the advantages of this change.

Quick Tip: Displaying the Data Grid for Part of a Chart in a CRM 2011 Dashboard

imageInteracting with dashboards in Dynamics CRM 2011 is a powerful way to monitor and manage your business. Frequently, however, it would be helpful to “drill into” only a portion of a chart (such as a bar in a bar chart or a slice of a pie chart) to see the grid behind it. Because of the way that dashboards function, however, it is not readily apparent how to do this. This post demonstrates how you can accomplish this in just two mouse clicks.

    1. While hovering over the chart that you want to drill into, click the “view the records” icon on the upper right-hand side of the chart. You will be taken to a grid showing all of the data for the cart (not just the data for the desired section). The chart will also appear next to the grid.
       
    2. Click the section that you want to see the data for.

That’s it! In two clicks, you’ve been able to drill from a dashboard, to a chart, to the data behind a specific slice of a chart. See the nearby video for a live example.

 

Connections: Dynamics CRM 2011 Gets Social

 

Standard-relationships-in-CRM-solutions

Customer relationship management systems typically handle relationships between records in a linear format. For example, in the image to the left, an account (aka a company) may have a relationship with one or more contacts (aka the employees of that company).  Similarly, the account may also have one more more opportunities associated with it.

In the strictest sense, this is how the business views the relationships.  Everything is nice and tidy and linear.

CRM 2011 for Outlook: Next Generation Outlook Email Integration

 

Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011Everybody knows that Microsoft Dynamics CRM has always been the leader of the pack when it comes to integration with Microsoft Outlook.  So nobody was expecting to see significant changes in this area with the introduction of CRM 2011.  But Microsoft delivered a very nice surprise to their customers when they not only improved the Outlook integration – but in fact gave it a complete overhaul.  In fact, the upgrades to CRM for Outlook are so extensive, that we expect to see fewer-and-fewer users accessing the Web version of Dynamics CRM at all.  Many of our clients are providing user training only in CRM 2011 for Outlook.

There are so many different improvements in CRM for Outlook that it’s impossible to cover all of them in a single article, so I am going to focus on my favorite new CRM/Outlook functionality – good old email! 

Visualizations: How to Create Charts and Dashboards in Dynamics CRM 2011

CRM 2011 Chart - Cases by Satisfaction RatingOne of Microsoft’s goals with Dynamics CRM 2011 was to deliver intelligent experiences across the enterprise. Some of the most important items that Microsoft included in the CRM 2011 toolbox for that are charts and dashboards – collectively referred to as visualizations. Visualizations not only provide a way to rapidly boil a lot of data down into a chart or graph; they also allow managers and users drill down on data and move from analysis to action very quickly. Visualizations can be created at the “system” level (for distribution across your enterprise), and users can create them at the “personal” level (for their own individual use, or to share selectively with colleagues).  In this entry, I’ll take a look at how to create personal Charts and Dashboards in 5 easy steps.

  

7 Steps to Successful Client Scorecards

image

Which clients should we focus more time on? Are there any clients that we should consider firing? How can we find new clients that look like our best current clients? Do we have clients that should be more profitable?

These are the questions that many B2B firms are asking themselves as they think through how they should prioritize their client list.  So read on for some of the how’s and why’s of establishing a client scoring system.

 

The Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible is Almost Here!

 

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible is only a few weeks away (March 1, 2011) from being available!  After lots of hard work and long hours, we’re going to celebrate by giving away five copies of the book for free!

To be entered to win a free copy, just sign up to follow C5 Insight on one of the various social channels that we offer (you must have a United States mailing address to be qualified).  You can click here to follow us on Twitter.  We’re planning to select 5 winners on March 21, 2011 (or once we have 200 new followers across our social channels – whichever comes first).

Or, if you’re in a hurry, then use the link to the left to order your copy today (our kid’s college funds thank you)!

For those of you who are interested in SharePoint 2010, the book includes a chapter on the “out of the box” SharePoint integration and a special appendix on customized SharePoint 2010 / CRM 2011 integration written by Curtis Hughes.

What’s next?  We’ve created a site for the book (www.dynamicscrmbible.com) and we need to get the finishing touches on it ... Gotta get going!

 

Get Social: More Options for Following Us

Our blogs, on-demand videos and events lists have expanded so much in the last year, that we’ve been asked if we can provide some options to follow selected topics only.

So if you would like to focus on information by product (Salesforce.com, Dynamics CRM or Microsoft SharePoint) or by role (Business or Technical) – you have options to do that.  You also have options to choose which channel you want to follow us on (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, RSS or e-mail).

If you’re already following C5 Insight – THANKS.  Take a few minutes today to visit the new follow us page and update the way you follow us so you will get only the information that you want.

If you’re not following us yet, now is the perfect time.  Follow us to keep up with the latest tips, techniques, best practices, on demand videos and live events.

AND … to sweeten the pot … we will be giving away 5 copies of our forthcoming book, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible” to a randomly selected list of those who are following us.  More details are in the full posting.

All it takes is two or three quick clicks.  

Internet Explorer 9, CRM 4.0 and CRM 2011

 image

The beta of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) is now available and I was trying it out both of the most recent versions of Dynamics CRM – it is definitely worth taking the time to download the free upgrade.

WARNING: Internet Explorer is in Beta right now - I do not recommend upgrading your browser until it is in full release (see notes at the bottom of this entry for more information).

Getting More Real Estate on Your CRM 2011 Screen

The ribbon menu in Dynamics CRM 2011 is a very popular new addition. This puts many function of the application within reach of all users and presents an interface similar to other Microsoft Office products – resulting in a shorter learning curve.  But it does have one drawback … the ribbon takes up quite a bit of real estate on the screen and users often would like to have that space in order to see more of their form or list. Read on for some options for expanding the available real estate on the Dynamics CRM web forms.

SNAGHTML271cc50

Dynamics CRM 2011’s Awe Inspiring Excel Export and Import Capabilities

Have you ever been working in CRM and wish you had a way to quickly create (or update) a bunch of records just like you can in Excel?  In many cases individuals just starting to use CRM are more comfortable with Excel spreadsheets and find that, while CRM offers many benefits over Excel, entering and updating records using Dynamics CRM can feel like it is slowing them down.

With Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft has rolled out significant enhancements for exporting and importing Excel data that makes data entry in Microsoft Excel a simple process for any user.  Read on to understand how this functionality is designed and how to put it to use!

Bulk Edit Campaign Responses

Bulk editing records in Dynamics CRM can be a huge time saver.  But how to bulk edit Activity records and, in particular, those pesky Campaign Responses?  Responses typically need to be managed in bulk, but accessing this functionality is not a simple for these records as it is for other types.  Fortunately, it's just a couple of extra steps to bulk edit your Campaign Responses.  Read the full article for the scoop...

Change Tag Spelling and Capitalization in SharePoint 2010

The ability to tag EVERYTHING in SharePoint 2010 is one of my favorite features. 

But, if you’re like me, you sometimes create a personal or enterprise tag hastily. And you know what they say about haste … you end up with typographical errors or inconsistent capitalization.

And, if you’re like me, it REALLY bugs you to see all of those inconsistencies in your terms.

CRM 2011: Breakthrough Functionality

It's the week after Microsoft unveiled Dynamics CRM 2011 at the Worldwide partner conference and my head is still spinning from all of the great new features and strategic improvements that will be coming soon. Read on to learn about a small number of the most powerful additions you can expect to see in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

Get Your Head in the Clouds – with Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has been the subject of much conversation (and hype) for about a year now. Our 4 City Tour (www.successaccelerators.com/4city) focused on this, as did some recent research with one of our partners (white paper forthcoming) and our partner Salesforce.com has long led the charge in the cloud computing conversation.

This past week, cloud computing took center stage at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington DC. From all indications, cloud computing will be the number one area of focus for Microsoft for the next 12 months (or more). So just what is cloud computing, why is it important to you and what is Microsoft doing that will impact it?  Let’s tackle each of those questions in sequence.

CRM 5 Becomes “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011” at Worldwide Partner Conference

Microsoft is making a number of groundbreaking announcements at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this week - in particular relating to the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.  Read the rest of the post to learn more.

11 Habits of Effective Activity Management

Dynamics CRM Activity icon - not reallyThe failure to understand and execute an effective activity management process is a leading cause of poor CRM adoption.  There are a variety of issues that can make activity management confusing and frustrating for users in ANY CRM system.  In this posting, I've detailed 11 suggestions for improving your activity management process. 

This is only a starting point.  Proper use of Queues and Workflows - in particular - are areas that can also improve your activity management efficiency and results.

Stay Tuned for News from WPC - CRM 5 and SharePoint 2010

We will be making a showing at Microsoft WPC in Washington DC from July 11-15 this year.  WPC - or Worldwide Partner Conference - is Microsoft's annual event targeted at their partner community.  Microsoft expects over 10,000 in attendance (in fact, I think I recently read that they had already surpassed that number).

Web-to-Lead with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

CRM Online Web-to-leadLast week I setup web-to-lead for one of our clients using CRM Online for the first time.  Compared to working with CRM On Premise, I must say that it was a bit of rude awakening.

Blog Topics

1
Image

CPR for CRM Study

The complementary paper includes over 12 years of research, recent survey results, and CRM turnaround success stories.

2
Image

SharePoint Readiness Assessment

This 60-second assessment is designed to evaluate your organization's collaboration readiness.

3
Image

CRM Self Assessment

Learn how you rank compared to organizations typically in years 1 to 5 of implementation - and which areas to focus on to improve.

4
Image

SharePoint Feedback Solution

This is a sandbox solution which can be activated per site collection to allow you to easily collect feedback from users into a custom Feedback list.

9
Image

SharePoint Upgrade Checklist

Whether you are upgrading to SharePoint Online, 2010, 2013 or the latest 2016, this checklist contains everything you need to know for a successful transition.