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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.

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SharePoint 2010 Granular Restores

I wanted to take a minute and talk about a really cool new feature of SharePoint 2010 relating to backups – Granular Restores.  While doing some test migrations from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010, we needed to choose the best method to selectively move data from an old site to a new site. 

In SharePoint 2010, you have the ability to restore content (down to the list level) from an unattached SQL database.  How cool is that!  Here’s the new Backup and Restore options in Central Admin:

SharePoint 2010 Granular Restores

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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.

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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.

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Review: Scribe Insight 7.0 for Dynamics CRM Integration

Scribe Insight 7.0 was released just a few days ago. As many of you know, Scribe is an outstanding tool for data migration and systems integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well as for Salesforce.com.  I had the opportunity to get access to this release early and have been happily surprised by what I've seen.  This posting provides a brief overview of some of the updates and details on some of my favorite new functionality.

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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).

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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.

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Best Practice: Should SharePoint Replace Your File Servers?

One of SharePoint’s popular features is Document Management, which leads many organizations to migrate their data from files shares or their Document Management System over to SharePoint.  Is this best practice?  Let’s not be hasty, and look at the various things to consider on both sides of the coin.

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User Adoption and Ideas for Getting Everyone On Board

Although the idea of user adoption is not a new idea, we consistently find our clients asking for more ways or better ways to get users to “use the system.”  Depending on the scope of the project, we always recommend some level of governance and training for our clients to get the most from their implementation.  These are critical pieces of the overall solution that we feel play a significant role in whether or not the product is accepted or rejected by the users.

In addition, with the recent release of SharePoint 2010, this topic has once again become a priority for many of our clients looking to implement this new version.  While superior to the previous version in far too many ways to mention here, the user interface has been completely enhanced with the “Ribbon” interface first seen Office 2007.  For users of SharePoint 2007, this will be a slight learning curve to use the new interface, but as with Office 2007, once learned the productivity and efficiency will increase exponentially.

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CRM Add-on for Outlook 2010 Prettied Up by Update Rollup 11

 just had the chance to install Update Rollup 11 for the Microsoft CRM Outlook client. (The update rollup is available here.) I use Outlook 2010 which Microsoft released just about a month ago (love it BTW), and this latest update rollup made a nice improvement in how Outlook 2010 displays the CRM add-in. Prior to this update, the add-in was displayed on a separate "Add-ins" tab on the Outlook ribbon.

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Closing vs. Deleting a Web Part from a SharePoint Page

I was reminded today about the difference of removing vs. deleting a web part from a site page today.  There’s already a great blog on the subject and it can be found here

The quick and dirty is that when you either choose to “close” on a web part or click the “X” in edit view, this does NOT remove it from the page, it only hides it.  There is a Closed Web Parts gallery where this closed web part gets placed, and if there are enough closed web parts, it can significantly decrease your pages load time, as it still loads the closed web parts. 

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SharePoint 2010: What is in each version?

Like SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010 comes in three different versions.  However, the version names have changed and what is available in each version is different.  So if you’re moving from the SharePoint 2007 world to the SharePoint 2010 world, it can be a bit confusing (it has been for me).  The versions are:

  • SharePoint Foundation 2010: This is the version freely included with Windows Server and is comparable to Microsoft Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) 2007.  It includes many of the basics and may be all that a small business needs to get started with SharePoint.
  • SharePoint Server 2010 – Standard: This is the next level of SharePoint and includes important features such as Enterprise Search and My Sites (including the social media components) that most businesses will find important.  This is comparable to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007.
  • SharePoint Server 2010 – Enterprise: This adds more functionality to Standard including better business data connectivity (for connecting to CRM and accounting applications, for example), Excel Services (for showing Excel info in SharePoint – very nice functionality for allowing users to create their own enterprise dashboards), and a number of other advanced workflow management, Office integration and analytics tools.

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“The given key was not in the dictionary” Error When Creating Managed Account in SharePoint 2010

When I was configuring a new installation of SharePoint Server 2010 the other day, I hit a snag when creating a Managed Service Account while creating a new Web Application.  My existing Application Pool account wasn’t listed and I couldn’t choose the “Configurable” option to manually type it in.  I attempted to make the existing application pool AD account a managed account, but got the error:

“The given key was not in the dictionary”

To correct this error, you need to go into Active Directory and make a security change:

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Welcome to the Re-Launch of the Ask Dynamics CRM Blog

After merging and holding 5 events in 4 cities in the last 6 months, we have migrated and re-launched our blog!  Welcome to the new AskDynamicsCRM blog.  If you want more information about what content was migrated and what to expect in the coming months, read on.

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Options for Data Migration and Integration

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 there are so many options for migrating, integrating and bulk updating data that it can be quite confusing. This entry presents many of the options and the appropriate time to use each.

Microsoft_CRM_Data_Migration_Integration

 

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Workflow Rules Based on Due Dates

This article describes how to use the workflow in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to trigger an action based on a date field in a CRM record.

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Official Release of SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010!

Today is the day!  Microsoft officially has released SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010 and related 2010 products like SharePoint Designer, Project 2010 and Visio 2010.  You can watch the event and get other information at the launch site:

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/businessproductivity/proof/pages/2010-launch-events.aspx

Other Resources

If you would like more information on SharePoint Server 2010, you can check out the following resources:

 

Breakdown comparison of the editions of SharePoint Server 2010

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/buy/Pages/Editions-Comparison.aspx

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Use Dynamics CRM Workflows to Improve Mobile Phone Call Activity

Dynamics_CRM_Mobile_Phone_Call_Activity Are you (or your users) ever away from the office and you need to quickly make phone calls, that you’ve planned in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, from your mobile phone? Do you find it painful to do this from your mobile device?

Wouldn’t you like to be able to just record a Phone Call Activity in CRM and have it put all the information you need (contact name, company name, phone numbers, etc) right into the task description so you can make the call with a single click?

This can be accomplished in CRM using Workflows. Read on to learn how.

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Quick Tip: Re-Using Data Maps in Data Migration Manager

When re-using data maps in Data Migration Manager, make sure the name of your source file is the same as the one you used when building the map

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Security Role Settings for Reassigning Activities and Cases

When your users contact you saying they cannot share a case or an activity with another user - the first thing to do is to check the basic security role settings for Cases, Appointments and related entities (such as Leads, Opportunities, Contacts - depending on what the Appointments are related to).  If those settings all appear to be correct (I won't try to document the correct settings here), then you should also check your Queue settings.

 

Yes, your queue settings.  On the Core Records tab.

Make sure that you have the security role set to read for the Organization.  See the image below.

Queue_Security_Role_Microsoft_CRM

You are probably asking, "Why the Queue entity?"  Activities and cases are both listed in your queues.  So if you haven't granted permission to read the Queue, then you can't assign your activities or cases to another person's queue. 

You may now be asking, "We don't use Queue's.  How can I get rid of the Queue item from the nav bar using Security Roles while still allowing users to reassign activities and cases?"  That's an easy one: You Can't.  But you can update the site map.

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SharePoint 2010, Office 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010 Hits RTM

The time has finally arrived!  Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Microsoft Office Takeshi Numoto recently announced the final release milestone for the 2010 wave of Office products including SharePoint 2010, Office 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010.  Here are the critical dates...

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Assembly Error in STSADM MigrateUser

During a recent migration, we ran into an issue when attempting to migrate users from one domain to another using stsadm migrateuser.  Hopefully this will help any others that are getting this strange error.  Our environment was a small MOSS 2007 64-bit farm installed with slipstreamed SP2, with the February 2010 cumulative update applied. 

 We were moving from an on-premise to Hosted solution, so this required a new domain and user accounts.  Since the new domain wouldn’t know anything about the old domain’s user accounts, we added the –ignoresidhistory switch.  We ran the following command:

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Personalized Menus in Microsoft CRM

Dynamics_CRM_Custom_MenuWe are frequently asked if each user - or even different business units - can have completely personalized menus in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.  With a little bit of work on the SiteMap XML file, you can give your users a lot of options for a menuing system that is tailored to their specific needs.

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Special SharePoint Video Library Offer From Bamboo Solutions

I wanted to pass-along a special promotion that Bamboo Solutions has going on…

For a limited time, when you purchase the SharePoint Video Library from Bamboo Solutions, you'll receive a free FLIP Video UltraHD Camera valued at $260.00 (see details below).

There’s no catch, no tricks; just a simple, great offer. Purchase the SharePoint Video Library for $500, and Bamboo Solutions will ship you the Flip Video UltraHD so you can start filling your video library with fun and useful video content.

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Upcoming Cloud Computing Event

I wanted to let all of our readers know about a cloud computing event that will be held in 4 cities along the East coast.  I admit, it is my company that is hosting the “4-City Tour” but this really is a going to be a good way to see many cloud platforms at work.

Highlights:

    Parallel sessions on Microsoft CRM, Salesforce.com, SharePoint, and Unified Communications
    Integration luncheon showing a live demo of integration between CRM, SharePoint, and UC
    Exclusive research on the top cloud challenges from CFOs and CIOs
    Exclusive demos of SharePoint 2010
    Exclusive session showing Microsoft CRM and Salesforce.com in a live side-by-side comparison

Cities:

    May 4 – Charlotte, NC
    May 6 – Washington, DC
    May 11 – Raleigh, NC
    May 13 – Atlanta, GA

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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.