Archive for July, 2010

xRM Showcase Challenge Results

The xRM Showcase Challenge is over!  Thank you, CRM community, for your participation and votes.  And the winners are:

Overall we were impressed with all the solutions submitted; there were so many fantastic examples of what partners and customers have done with xRM.  Here are some more highlights:

  • We had 83 unique solutions submitted over 10 weeks
  • 2,570 individuals registered in the showcase to vote and submit solutions
  • Votes submitted totaled 2,942
  • The US led in solutions submitted with 39, UK with 10, and a three-way tie between Canada, Austria and Australia at 4

The site will remain up indefinitely for you to view solutions and explore what can be accomplished with xRM.  The xRM Showcase Challenge is itself a cloud xRM solution as it’s built in CRM Online and Windows Azure.  Special thanks to our sponsors ADXStudio, CoreMotives and Neudesic, and to our community leaders at the xRM Virtual User Group and the CRMUG.

Thanks to all who participated!

Laura Robinson


Using CRM Error Codes to Enhance Customer Support

If you are a CRM Consultant, ISV or even an IT department supporting your own CRM implementation this article is relevant for you.

As a developer of CRM ISV solutions our users are sometimes presented with rather cryptic error codes that don’t shed a lot of light on the corrective action they should take.


They in-turn send this information to us to decode and troubleshoot. We have customized our internal CRM 4.0 system to track information about these errors in the Case entity so that we can more quickly resolve the issue and get the client running again.

The CRM Team has included in the online MSDN Library the error codes you may encounter when you are debugging code.

Shown below are the first few lines from the listing.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<crmerrors xmlns:xsi="">
       <ErrorMessage>One or more imports are not in completed state. Imported records can only be deleted from completed jobs. Wait until job completes, and then try again.</ErrorMessage>
    <ErrorMessage>The workflow does not contain UIData.</ErrorMessage>
    <ErrorMessage>The entity relationship role of the referencing entity is required when creating a new one-to-many entity relationship.</ErrorMessage>

There are 1359 error codes. Not finding a CSV file version readily available, I contacted Matt Peart, technical writer on the CRM team who in turn obtained a file that I could import into CRM from one of his peers Jim Daly. If you would like the file you can download it from our website.

I then created a custom organization entity called ‘CRM Error Codes’ :

· Primary attribute for Error ID (primary Key) – text 15 characters

· Managed Error Name – text 100 characters

· UnManaged Error Name – text 100 characters

· Error Message – ntext 3,000 characters


I also set it up so we could attach notes and activities such as links to blog postings we find when we Bing the Error Code.


After publishing the new entity I imported the data file using our company’s import tool (Data2CRM).

Then to make it more functional I created a 1:N relationship with the Case Entity and added it to the Form.


Now we can track Cases by not only the Subject (organized by product) but back to the specific CRM error code. When a new case is created support personnel can quickly go to that error code and see all the cases that have been created for the code and how they were resolved.

We also organize our Knowledge Base Article to reference the Error Codes so we have end user suitable documentation to make available to our reseller partners and/or end users.

This is just one example of how you can extend the Service Module in CRM to make it work the way you work.

Jerry Weinstock

New: Customer Care Accelerator

One of the newest accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the CCA, Customer Care Accelerator. And I dare say – CCA is not just an accelerator! CCA is a powerful platform to build integrated solutions for call centers.

Care Accelerator in brief

The CCA is different from other accelerators, because it was not created from scratch as a “supplement” to Dynamics CRM. CCA is a new version of the platform to build solutions for customer service, which had hitherto been a separate product, Customer Care Framework. CCF has been successfully used in dozens of banks and telco companies from Australia, India up to the USA.

Now, Dynamics CRM customers get it for free as CCA. I could not stop wondering when I first heard that news during the training in MS CEE HQ in Munich. Definitely Microsoft is not joking that they want to rule the CRM market. They made a very big step :by offering CCA, in my honest opinion:


Customer Care Accelerator – Technology

It is impossible to explain what the CCA is, without a brief explanation of the underlying technologies and the following abbreviations: LOB, ICC, IAD, UII, AIF, HAT, DDA.  In this post I will briefly describe what is hidden behind those 3-letters sets that compose the CCA:
LOB (Line-of-business application) – each application and system that supports business and may require integration.

ICC (Integrated Contact Centre) – a concept or a vision of a solution based on Microsoft technologies to fully support the powerful and advanced call center.

IAD (Integrated Agent Desktop) – a “one window” application that allows its users to utilize multiple systems used in the Call Centres.  No matter whether these systems are web applications or thick clients; whether they were written in .NET or Java; whether they are accessible via Citrix or are located on a mainframe – they all can be somehow integrated into the mythical “one screen” desktop, the Integrated Agent Desktop.

UII (User Interface Integration) – a set of components and SDK for building controls, which allow to integrate the various Line-of-Business apps, Dynamics CRM and other applications in the Integrated Agent Desktops.

AIF (Application Integration Framework) – the part of the UII that enables applications to be integrated on interface level.  What does that mean?  In short it means that thanks to AIF the user can login to the Java Swing application, take data from it, and in the same “session” switch the window to the ERP system, retrieve data from there then can be redirected to the CRM form with prepopulated data about the contact taken from the Swing app, the credit data from ERP and new token from CRM.

HAT (Hosted Application Toolkit) – a set of tools and add-ons to Visual Studio to automate the integration of different applications.  HAT utilizes so-called Data Driven Adapters and  Windows Workflow Foundation.

DDA (Data Driven Adapter) – a component that facilitates access to various types of applications.  It is a sort of API that knows what can be done with different types of applications. And so e.g. when we deal with the web application, it can be opened for example by the URL; when we deal with a Swing application, we have to follow certain steps to get the value of the textbox and so on… CCA contains several ready Data Driven Adapters, and we can write our own for our applications and special needs.


Customer Care Accelerator – Architecture


CCA, using the above mentioned abbreviations, allows us to use the UII, to use the DDA and WWF as well as the AIF to connect various LOB apps in one IAD, which in turn may become a powerful part of the ICC in the future. Creating such integration is easier with HAT, and all the applications are registered and managed in our CRM (I will skip the explanation of CRM :O).


Kuba Skalbania

WPC: Demo Videos CRM 4 various functional areas


This report is from Max Fatouretchi who leads the business development for Microsoft Dynamics™ products in the financial services industry for all territories outside of North America. In this role, his main responsibilities are establishing partners and solutions, supporting key customer projects, customer satisfaction and driving industry readiness.

This week the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference show cased the latest videos about Microsoft Dynamics CRM and industry related solutions, you can find most of them here:


A Special thank you goes to Susan Ralston for putting these great videos together. Read more about WPC 10.


Max Fatouretchi

SAMS Book: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4 Integration

CRM MVP Marc Wolenik and CEO of Webfortis and the SAM Publishers has provided MSDN with a chapter from his book for the SAMS Unleashed series.

In Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 4 Integration Unleashed, two leading experts present proven techniques, best practices, and example code for going far beyond the out-of-the-box capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Using these solutions and sample applications, you will enhance all of your company’s relationships–with vendors, distributors, employees, users, affiliates, and customers.

Authors Marc J. Wolenik and Rajya Vardhan Bhaiya walk you step by step through integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft SharePoint, Office Communicator, Microsoft Office PerformancePoint, BizTalk, Silverlight, VoIP phone systems, and both Google and MSN mapping tools. They also present a full analysis of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM accelerators and advanced topics and three full chapters on integration using Scribe’s state-of-the-art adapters and templates. You’ll discover how to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 with enterprise dashboards, stronger “deep-dive” data analysis, and much more. Wolenik and Bhaiya even demonstrate how to make custom Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications available directly to your customers, without compromising security.

  • Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 as an “xRM” platform for developing custom applications to enhance any type of business relationship
  • Leverage new Azure cloud computing solutions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Design infrastructure to efficiently run your customized Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation
  • Extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM internally, with plug-ins, source-to-source integration, IFRAME-based custom application integration, and JScript
  • Extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM externally, with accelerators, public Web services, direct SQL interaction, and customer-facing Web sites
  • Implement KPIs and gain deeper business insight by integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 with PerformancePoint
  • Create dashboards and other visual Microsoft Dynamics CRM tools with Silverlight
  • Develop custom Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications with Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Team Foundation Server
  • Use Scribe templates and adapters to streamline data integration and migration

About the Authors

Marc J Wolenik, MCP, PMP, MBS CRM, is founder and CEO of Webfortis, a consulting company and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in solutions built with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. He has extensive experience with CRM implementation, integration, and migration and is deeply involved in building custom vertical solutions around the Dynamics platform.

Rajya Vardhan Bhaiya, MCP, MCSD, MCTS is a software practice manager at ExtraTeam, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. He has extensive experience supporting large-scale Fortune 500 applications that use and integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and PerformancePoint.


Marc Wolenik

Introducing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference is officially underway here in Washington, D.C. and some exciting news coming from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team.  Today Stephen Elop, in his keynote is introducing– Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Formerly code-named “CRM5”, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 beta will be released this September, starting with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Also as you may recall, at Convergence 2010 we announced that the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online would be available in 32 markets. Well, today we are adding 8 more markets where businesses will be able to get Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, expanding the total worldwide reach to 40 markets and 41 languages by the end of 2010, enabling Microsoft to meet the CRM needs of businesses, around the world.

So what can people expect from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011? “The Power of Productivity”

With a global environment encountering unprecedented challenges and opportunities, taking rapid action based on informed decisions is a no brainer. Thus, our “Dynamic Business” vision of bringing people, processes and ecosystems together so organizations can quickly adapt to change before change happens, helping people be better informed, make smarter decisions and  be more productive.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will deliver on this vision through the “The Power of Productivity”, giving customers familiar, intelligent and connected experiences for people inside and outside an organization. How?

  • Familiar Experiences – Deeper integration with Microsoft Office tools, such as Outlook, Excel, Word and the contextual ribbon ensures a more natural and familiar working experience reducing training requirements and improving user adoption
  • Intelligent Experiences – Helping people make informed decisions by giving them better intelligence about their organization, customers and other relationships by giving then new ways to visualize their data and analyze details
  • Connected Experiences – Connecting people, processes and data from inside and outside an organization to work together more efficiently and effectively.

To sign up for beta notification for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, visit

Today, more than 23,000 customers and 1.4 million users are benefitting from Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Giving customers a new way to find solutions and services as well as opening up new business opportunities for partners, we are also announcing the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace. Launching in September 2010, this new online catalog will provide an easy way for partners to market and distribute solutions to Microsoft Dynamics customers. The marketplace will allow customers to quickly search, discover and apply industry-specific applications and solution extensions from Microsoft and its partners to help them accelerate and extend their CRM and ERP implementations. Partners can find out more about Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace at

So, check out the press release we issued today for some more details and if you are at WPC 2010, hope you have a great show.


Umran Hasan

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Resource Center Redux

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Resource Center for 4.0 and Online has become a very popular place to find information. The following tables highlight the top videos for CRM Online and CRM On Premises last month.


CRM Online: Top 5 Videos in June
Accept an invitation to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
Account basics
Take a tour of Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Importing customer data
Getting started with leads


CRM On Premises: Top 5 Videos in June
Set up your product catalog
Work with mail merge and mail merge templates
Create a simple workflow
Create and apply e-mail templates
Create and run duplicate detection rules


It is also worth noting that the Resource Center for CRM Online was successfully published into three new languages:

A big thanks to Andrew Becraft, Amy Langlois, Satish Kadam, Josh Chang, the Editing team, SE and Service Delivery team, and the Localization team for all your hard work and perseverance. (And to anyone else who I’ve forgotten to mention. Thank you!)

Renee Wesberry