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From the category archives: Customer and Employee Engagement Blog

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, Customer Engagement, Sales, Customer Care and Marketing

Using SQL Server Full-Text Search Services with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

imagesCANRN13KYou’ve probably seen the option to install Full-Text Search during a SQL Server installation without really understanding what it is and how it can be used. As with other database systems SQL Server has a full spectrum of features that typically reaches far beyond what is needed in any one software development project. I look at Full-Text Search Services as one of those step child type features I never felt was worth spending time on since it seemed so trivial at first glance. I couldn’t ever really recall a time when I had a problem searching text per say. If you are like me you probably thought about why would you need that feature for a second and then went on your merry way. Honestly I didn’t really know what the full-text search feature was in the scheme of things and never really had a situation where I felt like it was something I really needed.

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How Management Undermines the Successful Implementation of a CRM Solution (Part 1)

We all know that successful implementation and adoption is a major challenge with CRM implementation.  We all know many implementations never deliver the value that was promised.  However, I think very few people realize that the main culprit in derailing adoption is often the same group that approved the budget for the system and were the biggest proponents of everyone using the system.  Great requirements, great implementations and great training can and do get undermined.  It happens far more often than you might think.

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A Not-So-Common Web Service Found in SharePoint (2007 and 2010)

In our day-to-day client work, we recently stumbled upon a web service that is installed with SharePoint, but honestly we had never implemented. In fact, the web service is not listed on either MSDN page for SharePoint 2007 or 2010. However, we have now tested this web service, so I wanted to share our findings with the community.

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CRM 2011 Outlook Client Tracing 101

Have you run into a problem with the Outlook client and someone suggested, “Hey, turn on tracing and let me know what you find”? Gee, thanks. That’s helpful, right? Here’s what you need to know about tracing for the Outlook client: What is tracing? Tracing is a way to gather a list of the information passed back and forth between a program and a computer. For the CRM Outlook client, tracing will show a chronological, readable play-by-play of what the add-in is trying to do, inc ...

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Working with Views in Dynamics CRM 2011

Microsoft has continued its focus on improving the user experience in its new release of the software by incorporating a number of new features for users and administrators to make configuring, using and administering views easier and more powerful. Based on some recent demos we’ve done for clients, I’m putting together a few blog posts to examine some of these improvements. The first of these posts ...

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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.

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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.

 

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Join us at Decisions Spring 2011 (Virtual Conference)

I'll be presenting a session for CRM administrators at the upcoming Decisions Spring 2011 virtual conference on June 17, hosted by MSDynamicsWorld.com: What CRM Administrators Need to Know About CRM 2011. I'll cover the most important technical considerations that administrators need to be familiar with when considering implementing or upgrading to CRM 2011. MSDynamicsWorld.com has been hosting these semiannual events for a couple of years now, and they are tremendous, ...

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Trouble connecting to CRM 2011 from Scribe Insight

Scribe recently released their adapter for CRM 2011. I was very excited when I saw this release and wanted to test it out ASAP. After downloading and installing the adapter I ran into a few snags on the connection. The issues I ran into were my fault so I thought I would pass my lessons learned out to you. My issues revolved around connections to CRM 4 On-Line and CRM 2011 On-Line and what should be supplied for the “Organization” connection parameter.

For CRM 4 you need to supply the “Unique Organization Name” to find this in CRM 4 On-Line you will need to browse to: "Settings > Customization > Developer Resources.” Once in the Developer Resources area you will see the Unique Organization Name.

CRM_4_Unique_Online_Name

For CRM 2011 you need to supply the “Friendly Organization Name.” To find this name all you have to do is login to your CRM 2011 Org and look in the top menu bar on the right hand side. The name will be listed directly under your user name. Make sure you include any spaces or punctuation.

CRM_2011_Friendly_Name

I hope this helps you out when making your CRM connections! Good luck with your DTS creations!

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Released: Update Rollup 1 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Microsoft has released the first Update Rollup for CRM 2011. The knowledgebase article is located here, and the rollup can be download here. (Note that there are separate downloads for the server, clients, BIDS extension, E-mail Router, and SRS Data Extension.)

This update rollup includes fixes for a number of items as the KB article details. In particular, there are a few fixes that I've been looking for:

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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.

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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! 

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CRM 4 On-Premise to CRM 2011 Online Data Migration – C5 Insight Is LIVE!

Well it’s official, C5 Insight has officially migrated our data from CRM 4 On-Premise to CRM 2011 ONLINE!! I am sure a lot of you are asking well how did you do this? As you may or may not know Microsoft has not released any upgrade path for current or any new Dynamics CRM customers to move their data to cloud hosted.

When we first started thinking about doing this we wanted to be on the forefront of this new release and go “Online” as quick as possible. However we also wondered how we would get our data migrated since Microsoft did not have any published avenue for us to follow. As a Scribe MVP, Scribe Insight (www.ScribeSoft.com) was the product of choice to get this migration successfully completed. With that said we did have to overcome a few obstacles throughout the way which I will mention later on, but overall we had great success. 

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Getting a value from a Lookup field - the Xrm.Page way

CRM 2011 introduced a new page model for JScript and it has thrown some people for a bit of a loop because it is so different from the model in CRM 4.0. The SDK has a lot of examples, but they are often over-kill when you're just trying to figure things out. As a simple example to get started, let's say that you just want to get the GUID from a lookup field on a form. First, create a web resource with the following JScript function and then call the web resource and the function from y ...

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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.

  

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Manage Dynamics CRM 2011 with PowerShell!

powershell_icon_thumb6_thumbWith the recent highly anticipated release of CRM 2011, you now have the ability to manage some parts of Dynamics CRM 2011 with PowerShell!  Ok not entirely, but it is a great start from Microsoft to providing the incredible flexibility of PowerShell to Dynamics CRM.  More specifically, you are able to script deployment management tasks only.  For the time being, you can only run PowerShell with CRM on-premise, NOT CRM Online.  Currently the functionality of PowerShell for CRM 2011 is limited, so this mostly would pertain to eithers with a large organization, or companies that do CRM hosting through SPLA agreements.  With these new PowerShell cmdlets, you are able to do things like:

  • Create/Remove Deployment Administrators
  • Create/Import CRM Organizations
  • Review and configure CRM Organization settings

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Upgrade Paths for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

You may have heard that Dynamics CRM 2011 requires 64-bit architecture. This is true and is giving some folks some heartburn when they start to think about upgrading their CRM 4.0 deployments, many of which are still living in a 32-bit world.

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“An error has occurred” When Changing a Dynamics CRM User’s Business Unit

Recently while working on a client engagement, we needed to move users around to different business units in Dynamics CRM 4.0.  No problem right?  Well we very quickly determined things weren’t going to go smoothly.  When we attempted to change a user’s business unit, it would sit for 30 seconds and throw the lovely unhelpful generic message “An error has occurred”.  Gotta love Microsoft developer’s strong attention to error messages.  A lot of users have apparently run into this with no real good resolution.  We were able to find the true cause (at least in our case), so I wanted to share it to hopefully help others struggling with this.

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Dynamics CRM 2011 – Reading Attribute Values Inside Your Plug-In

As the Dynamics CRM product evolves to provide more flexibility and extensibility for the user, changes to the underlying object model are inevitable. Microsoft must provide more robust and flexible entity attributes that allow users to customize CRM 2011 to meet their specific needs. Fortunately for developers, the programming model has been changed to use native .NET types whenever possible. Often, developers need to capture an entity's attribute values to perform some custom function or action using a plugin. This might include updating other entities or even creating new entities based on the values derived from the base entity.

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7 Steps to Successful Client Scorecards

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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.

 

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Dynamics CRM 2011 Released for On-Premise Installation

The hits are coming fast and furious this morning. I previously blogged about the release of the Implementation Guide for CRM 2011, and only minutes later had to update the post to account for the release of the SDK

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 SDK, Implementation Guide & Planning Tools Now Available

Microsoft has released the SDK (Software Development Kit), Implementation Guide (IG), and Planning Tools for Dynamics CRM 2011. These tools are indispensable references that cover customizing and extending CRM, system architecture, process design, installation of the CRM server and related components, and much more. The SDK is available here. The IG and Planning Tools are available for download here.

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!

 

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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.  

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Microsoft CRM 2011: The Consumerization of Business IT

There's a great article over on Mary-Jo Foley's "All About Microsoft" blog on ZDNET that talks about some of the things that Microsoft has done differently with the release of CRM 2011. Microsoft has learned some lessons over the last few years since launching CRM Online, and they've adapted their approach to this release to match those lessons and the trends in the marketplace.

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Blog Topics

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CPR for CRM Study

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

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SharePoint Readiness Assessment

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

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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.

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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.

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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.