Archive

Archive for July, 2009

Restricting Access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Direct E-mail

clip_image002In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, when you open the Account or Contacts entity, you will see an e-mail button on the toolbar on top of the view.  This button allows you to select a group of contacts or accounts via a view or advanced find, and send them an e-mail.  This functionality can be a very useful way to communicate with a large number of people with a minimal amount of effort.  But it can also be dangerous, as a user can fairly e-mail every contact or account in your database, so you probably will want to restrict access to direct email to only those users who need to have access.

But restricting access to direct e-mail is not a very obvious process.  There is no permission in CRM security roles for “Direct E-Mail” or “Bulk E-mail.”  There is a permission option for E-mail; however, you won’t want to restrict users from creating e-mails—if you do, they will not be able to track their e-mail communications in CRM, which is a major reason to use CRM in the first place.

The answer lies in the way that Direct E-mail works.  Direct E-mail is dependent on templates—you can’t just hit bulk e-mail and type a message.  You have to first create an e-mail template, and then select that template from the Direct E-mail form.

So if you wish to restrict Direct E-mail functionality from a group of users, the following process will help:

1.  In CRM go to Settings—> Administration—> Security Roles

2.  Open the Security role of the group of users for which you wish to restrict Direct E-mail functionality

3.  Click the Core Records tab

4.  Remove permissions for E-mail templates

5.  Save and close the Security Role.

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Now when the users with this role log in to CRM, they will no longer see the Direct E-mail button on the toolbar

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Want to learn more about CRM bulk e-mail options?  Check out this fantastic post written by Jim Steger on the CRM Online blog.

Technorati Tags: Microsoft CRM,Microsoft Dynamics CRM,Bulk Email,E-mail,Direct Email

Cheers,

Joel Lindstrom

Improved Suggestions Program

You gave us feedback and we listened. A few months back we rolled out a “suggestions” program to provide a tool for customers to give suggestions for the product. We’ve received a lot of fantastic suggestions and all of them are being looked at by the product team. I’ve personally looked and responded to hundreds of suggestions and trust me, many of them will make it in the next major release of CRM.

While customers in general appreciated the fact that we provided an “official” forum for them to post their suggestions a constant piece of feedback that we received is that the old connection had only one program with all the dynamics products included which made very difficult to search for feedback. In fact many of our customers told us that they would like to focus on CRM specific feedback and not have to wade through other products feedback.

So, how did we improve our suggestion program? We created a brand new connection with separate programs one for each major Dynamics Product (thanks a lot to our friends in the Dynamics AX team for making this happen). Now you can opt-in or out individually of each program and use product tailored feedback forms that will make the search and submission process easier.

New Connection: https://connect.microsoft.com/dynamicssuggestions

And what happened with existing feedback? Did we toss it away? Of course not! J The old connection is in read only mode now but we are still tracking your suggestions and will take them into account for product development.

To close out I want to point you to this post with some tips that will help you and us make your feedback more effective; the most efficient technique is to “vote” on existing suggestions and provide additional comments rather than creating new feedback; that really helps us figure out the importance/impact of any given suggestion.

Thank you for being such a great community and remember that we always appreciate hearing from you.

 

Cheers,

Humberto Lezama Guadarrama

Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Top Sites and Downloads

Whether you’re interested in an online or on-premise solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has you covered. Check out just a few of the content and community areas available to help you create the perfect experience for your business.

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Visit crm.dynamics.com.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web site is the place to go for information on all things CRM. You’ll find everything from an introduction to CRM and its value to your business to white papers, product specifications, customer testimonials, links to CRM communities, and much more.

Resource Center

Visit rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/default.aspx.

The Resource Center is a one-stop shop designed to help you get started, maximize your efficiency, and build your business. Using a community-centered approach, the Resource Center brings some of the best ideas via blogs, forums, and newsgroups right to your desktop. But if you like to explore them on your own, you’re just a click away. Ramp up now and gain the knowledge that will help you care for your customers and maximize profits.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Video Gallery

Visit www.democrmonline.com.

The Video Gallery introduces you to the functions and capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in a visual, task-oriented style to help you learn how to use CRM Online to your full advantage.

Developer Center 

Visit msdn.microsoft.com. Search for “crm developer center”. Click the first link: Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer Center is the place to go for information and sample code for developers. You’ll find both introductory and in-depth articles, overview and reference documentation, entity model diagrams for you to download, links to community and support, and much more.

SDK Download

Visit msdn.microsoft.com. Search for “crm 4.0 sdk”. Click the first link: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 SDK.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK download package contains all the same documentation found in the MSDN library, as well as hundreds of code samples in both C# and Visual Basic .NET, code to build tools for registering plug-ins, and a design guide to help you create CRM add-ins that match the look of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

CRM on the MSDN Code Gallery

Visit microsoft.com. Search for “code gallery”. Click the first link: MSDN Code Gallery.

The MSDN Code Gallery is your one-stop resource for finding code to customize and enhance your CRM experience. Developers and software vendors can start here to find code solutions.

 

CRM on CodePlex

Visit codeplex.com. Search for “CRM”.

CodePlex is the Microsoft open-source, project-hosting Web site. Developers and software vendors can start a new project, join an existing one, or download software created by the community.

Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Visit codeplex.com/crmaccelerators.

CRM Accelerators are a range of add-on solutions developed for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 customers and partners. These ready-made solutions include event management, sales forecasting, service, notifications, and analytics. The accelerators are available at no cost and showcase how the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 platform can be configured and extended.

Implementation Guide

Visit microsoft.com\downloads. Search for “crm implementation”. Click the link: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Implementation Guide.

The Implementation Guide contains comprehensive information about how to plan, install, and maintain Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. The planning tools include over 40 templates, projects, and worksheets to help plan your implementation.

Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

Visit microsoft.com/downloads. Search for “crm mobile express”. Click the link: Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives users access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM data through a Web browser on a mobile device. Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM is installed on the server, not on the mobile device. The current release of Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is available in English only.

Community Home Page

Visit community.dynamics.com/crm/home.aspx.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community is the place to go for information about all things CRM. You’ll find articles and links to blogs, forums, newsgroups, MVPs, and much more.

Team Blog

Visit blogs.msdn.com/crm.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog is the place to go to get to know and connect with the CRM team. You’ll find posts on customization, development, and implementation.

Team Blog Specifically for CRM Online

Visit blogs.msdn.com/dynamicscrmonline.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Team Blog is the place to go to get to know and connect with the CRM Online team. You’ll find posts on many hot topics, including Windows Live ID, code samples, and customizations.

Forums

Visit social.microsoft.com/forums. Scroll down to the Dynamics section.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Forums are your question and answer resource. You’ll find answers to many of your most pressing questions and a team of crack experts ready to help.

 

MVPs

Visit microsoft.com. Search for “mvp”. Click the first link: Microsoft Most Valuable Professional.

The Microsoft MVP site recognizes exceptional technical community leaders from around the world. Here you can find experts who love to talk about all aspects of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

CRM on Facebook

Visit facebook.com. Search for “Microsoft Dynamics CRM”. Click the link: Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM group in Facebook is a community that facilitates networking and collaboration. Go here to meet people in your part of the world, view videos, and introduce your company to the group.

 

CRM on LinkedIn

Visit LinkedIn.com. In the group directory, search for “Microsoft CRM”. Click the link: Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

LinkedIn.com and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM group is a community that fosters business networking. Here you can place a public resume, create and maintain business connections, and provide feedback to business acquaintances.

Cheers,

JaAG

Getting Started: CRM Mobile Express

This post will help you in getting started with Mobile Express for MS CRM 4.0. Mobile Express consists of 2 components:

  1. Mobile Console
  2. Mobile Application

Mobile Console

The purpose of the console is to allow users (with sufficient (e.g. System Customization) privilege) to configure Mobile Express for their instance of CRM. Some of the things that can be done here are:

a) Select which entities you would like to enable for Mobile

b) Select which attributes (fields) of a particular entity you would like to add it to Mobile Form

c) Select the order of the attributes (moving them up and down on the form)

To access Mobile Console:

  1. Launch your CRM Application
  2. Navigate to Settings > Customization > Customize Mobile Express

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When you click on Customize Mobile Express, you will see the following:

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As can be seen from above screenshot, we have 2 lists here:

Available Entities – This is the list of entities that can be enabled for Mobile Application. For example, you would not see these entities in Mobile Application until you move them across to the Selected Entities list and publish the changes.

Selected Entities – This is the list of entities which are currently selected for Mobile Application. Launching Mobile Application would show you these entities.

You will need to publish the entity once it is moved from Available to Selected or vice versa to see the changes on the mobile application (device).

Mobile Application

This is the component where an end user can access Mobile Express on a browser on their mobile device. By default, the URL of the Mobile Application is http://CRM_Server_Name/OrgName/M:

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Time for some FAQ’s:

1) What is the landing page of the Mobile Application?

Landing page is the first page which users see after they’ve signed in with http://CRM_Server_Name/OrgName/M. This landing page would show you all the entities which are available for Mobile and the ones which have its own home page.

2) In Mobile Console, why are some entities listed in bold text and others not?

Not all the entities supported for Mobile has its own home page (i.e.: Mobile Grid, View Selector, Quick Find, Paging etc). The entities which are in bold are the ones which have its own home page So, in order to distinguish these entities we have bold them in Mobile Console. The entities which are not in bold do not have its home page and can only be reached via Related Entities section or by clicking a lookup link from an mobile entity page. Another way of looking at it is that the entities in bold are the ones that are shown on the landing page.

3) My CRM has a base language which is ≠ 1033, why am I not able to use ME?

At this moment Mobile Express is only available for US English as a base language. As a result you would not be able to install ME on a system where base language is not US English.

4) How do I navigate to an entity mobile form if it is not listed in landing page?

You can do this either via a lookup link in Read Mode or via Related Entity section in Mobile entity page.

Till next time, go Mobile!

Manoj Kithany

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customized Entity Form Performance

Some customers extensively customize their CRM installation so that CRM is optimized for their unique business scenarios. When you add a lot of fields on an entity form you might notice it’s load time increases. The performance is not hampered on “out-of-the-box” Microsoft Dynamics CRM configurations. For the majority of users the default settings work fine. But for heavily customized installations, performance can become an issue.

Inside Form Controls

In CRM v4 we actively utilize DHTML behavior scripts. These, small, scripts, reside in files with HTC extension and can be attached to HTML elements using “behavior” keywords in an element’s style definition. That lets developers enhance the standard element’s behavior in various ways. A very powerful mechanism for web UI development, this mechanism can have problems in the IE implementation.

Almost every CRM form control (internally represented by some HTML element) has an HTC behavior file attached to it. In addition to its own unique behavior script, every control also has so-called “data slug” (or simply, “slug”) behavior script attached. An example of slug is shown below.

 

Slug in Create Account dialog

Even though slugs on dialogs are only needed in a very limited number of cases, mostly from Workflow/E-mail templates creation forms, the corresponding behavior scripts are attached to the elements every time a dialog is loaded. Unfortunately, the time IE spends to parse a page with behavior scripts attached to it, is in the direct proportion of number of attached instanced and number of JS blocks within the script. That’s how the form load time increases; the slug support script attaches to every control and it has a lot of JS blocks in it.

Now, having all this information, figuring out how to improve the performance is easy—we would remove slug support from where it was not needed.

New Form Control Performance

Depending on a number of custom fields, form load time (the time between clicking New button on an entity list and the moment when entity dialog is shown up and ready to use) could reach 10-20 seconds. The new behavior decreases this time to 4-6 seconds which is a 60-70% win. The time diagram below helps illustrate the timing here.

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Besides some obvious things like only adding attributes to forms that you will actually use and verifying your custom JavaScript code for performance, you could also check to see if the antivirus running is on your client machines has poor performance. Sometime an antivirus has inefficient script scanning modules. This would significantly slow down scripts executed in IE.

Where can I get this performance enhancement?

This new behavior is already available for CRM Online users and has been released as a part of Update Rollup 5 for On Premise users.

Cheers,

Alex Igrushkin

White Paper: Implementing an ADFS Solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM by Using Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG)

By default, an on-premise implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 leverages Active Directory (Integrated Windows) Authentication to accommodate access by internal users. However, many businesses also require the ability to provide external users with access to the highly sensitive information that is stored in the CRM system and to accommodate this access without having to create Active Directory trusts.

Because providing external access to internal CRM resources can also introduce potential security risks from both external and internal sources, in these scenarios, the CRM implementation must be protected by a gateway, such as Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) 2007, which is sensitive to application logic and data and can ensure that internal and external users perform their routine tasks in a secure manner.

By using a combination of IAG and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to establish an authentication gateway, companies can provide access to CRM resources by any identity, from any organization and from any computer, complete with strong authentication and full Single Sign On from the end user to the internal CRM system with a full audit trail (including username and source IP).

The white paper Implementing an ADFS Solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM by Using Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG), recently released by the MS CRM Engineering for Enterprise (E2) team, provides high-level guidance on using IAG to implement an ADFS solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM  4.0. Developed in collaboration with the IAG team in Israel and the CRM Product team in Redmond, the document is available on Microsoft Downloads at:
https://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=47ee7f73-6059-4b20-a305-1b8b2b23f0e9

Cheers,

Jim Toland

Customizing OU User Access in a Hosted Environment

July 21, 2009 1 comment

Sometimes an organization unit (OU) will want to restrict Active Directory (AD) User queries in a hosted environment in CRM 4.0. This allows them more security from external organizations.

In the multi-tenant or hosting environment, all CRM administrators can browse the entire AD structure and add any user to their CRM organization. This presents the following security challenges:

1. CRM administrators are able to see the entire AD structure of the host.

2. CRM administrators are able to see other users in the host’s AD domain and add them to their CRM organization.

A design change was requested to have CRM administrators only see and add the users from their own OU into their CRM organization.

The CRM 4.0 platform has no concept about the user root path for each individual organization in the AD structure. It can always traverse and add the CRM user under the root of the AD domain. So to adjust this to your company’s requirements lets use this example. In a multi-tenant hosting environment, the OUs in an AD could be structured as below:

            Hosting.com (Domain)

                        + OU-A (Org-A)

                                    + User-A1 (User)

                                    + User-A2 (User)

                        + OU-B (Org-B)

                                    + User-B1 (User)

                                    + User-B2 (User)

With the design change, the root path for the CRM organization users is set in the configuration database using the CRM Deployment and Configuration tool. The CRM administrator is restricted to browse, resolve and create the new user under the user root path for their organization.

To set (add/update) the UserRootPath OU-A for organization Org-A, the hosting admin needs to run the tool using this command line:

Microsoft.Crm.DeploymentConfigTool.exe userorgsettings update -organization:Org-A -propertyname:UserRootPath -propertyvalue:LDAP://hosting.com/OU=OU-A;DC=hosting;DC=com

To remove the UserRootPath for organization Org-A, run:

Microsoft.Crm.DeploymentConfigTool.exe userorgsettings update -organization:Org-A -propertyname:UserRootPath

After the UserRootPath OU-A is set the CRM administrator of the organization Org-A can only see and add the user under the path such as User-A1 and User-A2. After the UserRootPath is removed, CRM will be restored to its previous state based on the default V4 design, the CRM admin can see and add the users from the entire AD structure.

Here are the steps for the host admin to set the CRM server to restricting the CRM administrator’s access to their own organization:

1. Install Update Rollup 4 or later onto your CRM server.

2. Download the CRM Deployment and Configuration tool to CRM server.

3. Run the tool to add the UserRootPath in AD to the specific organization.

4. Restart IIS.

Now the CRM administrators can only view and add users in their UserRootPath that is set for their organization in AD.

More Information:

This change is available in CRM 4.0 Update Release 4 or newer. You can download UR 4 here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968176.

The CRM Deployment and Configuration tool can be downloaded here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/949079.

Cheers,

Chris Xia