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Archive for August, 2010

FAQ: Using the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Help

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

We strive up update help with the newest and best info. But we end up sending this to a lot of people.

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We noticed that you are referencing an older version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Help. We have updated Help based on answers to questions and feedback from customers like you. The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Help is now available for download.

Please ask your Microsoft Dynamics CRM administrator to install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Help update.

Updating your help can be especially helpful for people and organizations who have never updated their help. Empower your users by providing them the latest and greatest documentation and help.

Cheers,

JaAG

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More on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Error Reporting

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever seen this little dialog while using Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

When you saw this dialog, did you click the “Send Error Report” button? If you have, thank you! You have helped make our product better just by clicking a button.

Andy Magee wrote a great post on how we collect errors and report them back to Microsoft. To supplement his post, I just wanted to let you know that we as a product team take these error reports very seriously. We want to build the most robust and reliable product possible and one way we do that is by addressing errors reported by Watson. (For more on Watson, check out this post.)

For example, as part of the UR7 release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Microsoft Office Outlook, the Dynamics CRM team focused a lot of attention on fixing bugs that were reported by customers in this manner. This is one of the reasons why we feel our customers have been very pleased with the reliability improvements in the client.

Shifting focus to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, we also leverage Watson during the development process prior to release. We have baked Watson error reporting into our automated tests. So if a test case runs and we see that an error was reported by Watson, we automatically fail the test case and file a high priority bug. Therefore, before we release any code, we have already identified and resolved many errors that would have been reported by customers. We think this is a very innovative approach that we have taken to Watson error reporting and one that really helps to ensure the highest quality product at release.

Of course, following the release, we still need customers and partners to let us know about errors that we may have missed during testing. So the next time you see the Send Error Report dialog, you can be assured that your error report isn’t being lost in the Internet ether. The product team is actively reviewing these error reports and fixing problems to make Dynamics CRM even better.

Cheers,

Michael Guthmann

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support Service Level Agreements

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

There are a variety of plans that include corporate support—from basic to advanced, depending on your needs. You can also access online self-support 24 hours a day. Remember, you can also purchase or upgrade a service plan through your Microsoft Certified Partner.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Service Support

Self- and peer-support options offer your team around-the-clock access to online assistance, product updates, tips and tricks, support hot topics, and more, so you can stay productive.

CustomerSource is a password-protected site for customers using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and related business products, provided as a benefit of a service plan. Use it to search the knowledge base, download updates, view online training, and find other information resources virtually 24 hours a day. (Log in required.) See a preview and find out more about CustomerSource.

When personal support is required, service technicians can resolve most requests quickly and directly, and Microsoft guarantees a specific response time on others. In addition, you can count on ongoing support from your local Microsoft service partner.

Get an overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM service plan options for Microsoft Dynamics and related products. You can also find Support in a Public Newsgroup which enables partners and customers to solve real-world problems through a peer-to-peer exchange of ideas, experience, and resources. To access a newsgroup, visit Microsoft Dynamics Product Support Newsgroups.

If you’re a Microsoft partner, visit PartnerSource or call (888) 477-7877 in the United States or Canada, and enter your authorization number. Or call the local support number for your country.

If you’re enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Program, you may have professional support as a benefit. To see if you have incidents available that can be used for Microsoft Dynamics technical support, visit Online Assisted Support Options.

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Service availability is listed in our Uptime SLA, found on http://crm.dynamics.com/en-us/deployment/ondemand.aspx

Explanation of our maintenance windows can be found here: https://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/regcont/en_us/live/articles/crmonline_sysreq_maintsched.aspx

Additional Technical Microsoft Dynamics CRM Resources Available to You

  • Knowledge Base
    Access our support resources to find solutions to your technical questions on your own, 24-hours a day, so you can get back to work faster.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Downloads
    Stay current by updating your system with the latest service pack, product releases, and hot fixes. These updates, along with resources such as updated documentation, help make you more self-sufficient.
  • New Support Request or 1-877-CRM-CHOICE
    Get help from a support professional by submitting your support requests online or by phone to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Support team.
  • Existing Support Requests
    Refer to your support history if a problem recurs or update an open case with new information.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support Information
    Find information related to support hours, whom to contact, tips for using online support features, and more.

Cheers,

Jaden Blake

What makes you a valuable CRM talent?

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

This keeps coming up in many places, so I decided to write up my thoughts in one place.  I read a lot of resumes, I hire people for our company, I know a lot of people in this industry.  Today, regardless of industry, you need to be more than a one-trick pony.

From what I’ve seen the economy is heading up and on a path to recovery.  Firms are ready to invest, but maybe still a little gun-shy.  So it’s important for them to make good decisions about technology choices, so what better than a fast to market Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution?

For any CRM solution/customization implementation you have a few primary roles needed.  Keep in mind not each implementation will have an individual associated with each of these, however the skills are needed in some form.  The key to employability is to be able to fill more than one of these roles with your own professional skill set.

  • Data analyst– this person needs to have a grasp of the needs of the client and the ability to translate that to CRM functionality.  The deeper the level of customizations the more involved of a business analyst you need on the project. It is important to be able to know the difference between what the client asks for and what they really need, all in the realm of CRM capabilities.
  • CRM customizer– this can be as simple at the label changes, but can also extend to custom entities, attributes, views, reports and workflows.  This person doesn’t have to know code, they have to know CRM.
  • CRM coder– you know where, when and how to place custom code in CRM.  You know WHAT code to place.
  • CRM architect– not only do you know the moving parts, you know how they move together, when and where you can and should interfere with the defaults to make your solution better.
  • CRM report writer- this person picks up where the built-in wizard ends.  I’ve had projects that this person is the busiest of all, and has the most extensive project knowledge, this person cannot be under-rated.
  • External webmaster– when your CRM grows and has the external component, your portals, etc.  Someone needs to manage this, implement this.
  • The CRM Infrastructure expert/guru. This person is often employed by the client and supported by the partner depending on size of firm. The CRM Infrastructure expert knows how to configure the e-mail router, knows how to teach the internal programmers about localhost. shares in the build and deploy best practices.
  • Standard project manager and QA resource should be included.

Each of these roles has a different level of technical skills required.  The more of these roles that YOU can do (and do well) the more employable you are AND the higher pay you can demand  (one biz analyst with customization skills at $125k is cheaper than 2 people at $75k, no?).  The one of these that I think is the most difficult is the business analyst, with the architect a close second.

I’m sure I don’t have all the roles needed, just the ones I see most often.  At some level for every CRM project we do, I play the role of each of these to some degree except for the coder.

Cheers,

Julie Yack

Tip o’ the Day: Quick Codeless Auditing Tool

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

The workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 are very powerful. Here is an example of an auditing tool which can be implemented without code, without additional attributes or additional entities and if you just need an audit log to roll back when people make mistakes, it should do the job.

Step 1: Setting up the Workflow

The workflow is pretty simple. All you do is create a note when a new record is created or when a specific field is changed.

In this case I’m auditing the first name attribute of the Contact record. The details of the note are thus:

That’s 90% of the work now done. We publish and the engine is in place.

Step 2: Make some changes

When we create a new contact or change the ‘First Name’ field, a new note will be created against the contact showing the current value. To determine the previous value we look back through the notes.

If there are extensive notes, we can use Advanced Find

We can even save the Advanced Find as a View and while there is no simple way to access the log through the interface, we can always go to Advanced Find – Saved Views.

Each time you need to audit a new field you just create a new workflow. If you are monitoring many fields, a plug-in may be a better option but if you need an audit tool to manage a few key fields and don’t want to spend a lot of time messing about, this should do the trick.

Cheers,

Leon Tribe

A New First for Microsoft Dynamics CRM ~ Update 12 Podcast

August 13, 2010 Leave a comment

For the first time, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Premier Field Engineering team has released a podcast regarding Update Rollups, specifically Update Rollup 12.  In it I describe how CRM Update Rollups are produced, how they work, popular methods of client rollup deployment, and the need for testing any changes in your pre-production environments before introducing change into your production environments.

If you’re interested, the podcast is available via  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pfedynamics/2010/08/10/microsoft-dynamics-crm-40-update-rollup-12-podcast

Cheers,

Greg Nichols

Cloud of Innovation: Whitepapers

August 13, 2010 Leave a comment

The Power of Process: A Pragmatic Approach to Continuous Process Improvement, 1 August 2010
Processes drive business success, define the brand, and determine the bottom line. The innovative organization embraces ongoing change, recognizing that no single process improvement project will fix a process for all time. Rather, an organization must continuously improve all of its processes to meet competitive challenges. This whitepaper outlines a pragmatic, agile approach to continuous process improvement: start simple and build incrementally. Read it to learn more.

Better than Buy, Better than Build: How to Reduce Software Costs with xRM, 27 July 2010
xRM stands for eXtensible Relationship Management, and it amounts to a powerful platform for enabling agility. It means an escape from the buy-build dilemma that has long bogged down IT departments. It means you can satisfy business requirements at the speed the business expects. Read this whitepaper to learn more.

Cheers,

James Downey