Archive

Archive for January, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Fiscal Settings and Goal Management

January 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 had the capability of defining the fiscal setting for an organization but there was a limitation that this could only be defined once and cannot be modified thereafter. Primarily the fiscal settings were used in CRM 4.0 to set salesperson quotas. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 the fiscal settings feature is revamped and it now provides user the capability of modifying fiscal settings multiple times. With deprecation of the Quotas in CRM 2011 Goal Management is one of the primary consumers for fiscal settings. This blog post explains how the fiscal periods for the organization can be set and how it interacts with the goal management.

How to configure the fiscal settings for organization

Fiscal settings can be configured by navigating to Settings-> Business Management -> Fiscal Year Settings. The following dialogue provides the options for setting values for fiscal start date, fiscal period type and various display formats. Note that as opposed to CRM 4.0 where the fiscal settings were absent in an organization until set, CRM 2011 defaults fiscal period to quarterly starting January 1. Also the various input options for the fiscal settings are now context dependent which prevents user from entering conflicting values.

clip_image002

Fig: CRM 2011 Fiscal setting dialogue with defaulted values 

Following are the various fields required for organization fiscal settings:

  • Start Date: When the fiscal year is going to start from. This date typically would mark the start of the financial year in sales organization. 
  • Fiscal Period Template: What is the fiscal period type? Possible options are Annually, Semiannually, Quarterly, Monthly, 4- Week period. Once the start date and period type is defined the system can calculate the start and end dates of fiscal periods for various fiscal years.

Fiscal Display options help user to define the display format for various fiscal settings. For example consider the following monthly fiscal settings with Start Date as April 10. Note that we have selected the “Name Based on” value to “End Date” and “Fiscal Period” drop down has the options specific toMonthly fiscal period template.

clip_image004

Fig: Fiscal dialogue having Monthly fiscal period starting 10th April.

Goals and Fiscal settings

Fiscal periods are tied closely to goal management. Sales people usually have the quarterly sales targets, Customer service representatives need to achieve their goals for the case resolutions and so on. When the new Goal form is launched, Goal is defaulted to the current fiscal period automatically. Because for current fiscal period there are fixed start and end dates, the goal start and end dates are also displayed in read only mode.

For example if we have the monthly fiscal settings are per the fig above and user clicks new goal form, following fiscal values are defaulted on goal form (on 31 Dec 2010)

clip_image006

Fig: New goal form defaulting dates to current fiscal period.

FiscalPeriod: December (Based on fiscal period display value “Month Name”)

FiscalYear: FY2011(Based on Prefix:FY, YearFormat:YYYY, NameBasedOn:EndDate(on 31 Dec 2010))

From (Goal Start Date): 12/10/2010 (Based on 4/10/2010 fiscal start date)

To (Goal End Date): 1/9/2010 (Based on Goal Start Date above and monthly fiscal period type)

Updating Fiscal settings for organization

Fiscal settings in MSCRM 2011 can be updated multiple times by using the same fiscal dialogue shown above and hence provides the supports for scenarios arising from mergers/acquisitions , partnership changes, financial restructuring etc. There can be goals existing in the CRM system which are already using the old fiscal settings. To better handle situations arising from fiscal changes which can lead to data inconsistency, MSCRM goal management offers the notification and realignment mechanism. For following examples consider the goal created with fiscal settings for the current (default) fiscal period. FiscalPeriod: December, FiscalYear: FY2011, From (Goal Start Date): 12/10/2010, To (Goal End Date): 1/9/2010.

Case 1: Fiscal period template remains same but the start dates changes:

CRM system administrator moves the fiscal start date ahead by 5 days i.e. from 4/10/2010 to 4/15/2010. In this case the fiscal period template remains the same but the start date has changed. Data in the goal record still retains the old values for all fiscal and date fields. When this goal record is opened the following warning message is displayed on the goal form to notify the fiscal settings change and provides user the option to realign.

Message: “The fiscal settings of your organization have changed since the time this goal was changed. You might want to realign to the new fiscal settings. ”

clip_image008

Fig: Fiscal change warning when the fiscal start date is changed.

Note that the “Align with Fiscal Period” ribbon button is now enabled for this goal record. Clicking this updates the new start and end dates for the goal which is now according to the current (new) fiscal settings. Realignment is optional for the goal manager based on the business need. Note that even after realignment goal fiscal period and year still remain same as there is only the change in the date. Also the warning message is now gone.

clip_image010

Fig: Goal form after the realigning the fiscal period.

Case 2: Fiscal period template changes:

CRM system administrator changes the fiscal period type from monthly to quarterly (3 months). In this case also the existing data is retained as is and there is a warning message on the goal.

Message: “The fiscal settings of your organization have changed since the time this goal was changed. You might want to realign to the new fiscal settings. ”

clip_image012

The goal manager on seeing this warning can either choose to switch to the new quarterly fiscal settings by changing the fiscal period to quarterly as shown in the above figure. Else he can convert this goal into the custom period goal by clicking on the “Goal Period Type” radio button and can retain the goal start and end date and also get rid of the fiscal change warning.

Fiscal settings upgrade

If the fiscal settings are configured for an organization in CRM 4.0 these are retained in CRM 2011 as is, otherwise the fiscal settings are defaulted to quarterly with January 1 as the start date. Additionally the existing CRM 4.0 quotas are also upgraded to CRM 2011 but the new quotas cannot be created as these are deprecated in favor of goal management.

Thanks,

Hemant Gaur

Advertisements

Cloud-Based Version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Now Available Worldwide

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, Steve Ballmer and Kirill Tatarinov unveiled the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service to an audience of customers and partners at a launch event in Redmond, WA. With this release, businesses all over the world can sign-up for this breakthrough CRM solution in 40 markets and 41 languages, at a promotional price of $34 per user per month.

As you have heard the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team say, the focus for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is to deliver the “Power of Productivity” to customers, through familiar, intelligent and connected experiences. This was a key aspect highlighted today by customers such as Magma Design Automation, Ceridian Corp. and Sandri who are already benefiting from what Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has to offer.

Some of the things, among others, people are excited about here include:

  • The familiar Microsoft Office 2010 user interface experience, which is adaptive by job task and role within one’s organization, helps people complete and take action on work activities with ease.
  • Enhanced collaboration across workgroups and teams as Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 provides users with more effective team management and collaboration through shared data access and SharePoint Workspace for collaborating on work activities and documents.
  • Real-time business and personal dashboards that allow each user to quickly create visual and immersive business intelligence dashboards to help envision their work activities.
  • And especially for developers, deep configuration and customization with full .NET development in Windows Azure that provides rich customization and integration for business applications.

The excitement for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 just continues to grow amongst customers, partners and the overall CRM community. In the upcoming months, expect the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team to host virtual and in-person launch events around the world as they introduce the new product features and functionality. The first event kicks-off at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on January 20, 2011, and you can register to attend this and other scheduled events at: http://crm.dynamics.com/2011launch/. To experience the new online service, register for a free trial at http://crm.dynamics.com.

The full press release issued today is located here and an interview with Brad Wilson, general manager, Microsoft Dynamics Product Management Group and Craig Unger, general manager, Microsoft Dynamics Research and Development is located here.

Cheers,

Bill Patterson

Update Rollup 15 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sustained Engineering (SE) team released Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Update Rollup 15 on Thursday, January 13, 2011.

The links below will take you to the necessary information about Update Rollup 15.

General details about Update Rollup 15

 

Update Rollup 15 is cumulative. However, the Update Rollup 15 CRM Client and Data Migration Client packages require Update Rollup 7 to be installed. For all other CRM components, you do not need to install any previous Update Rollups prior to Update Rollup 15.

The Update Rollup 15 download contains updates for the 40 supported Language Packs. Prior to installing the Update Rollup 15 Language Pack, you must install the original Language Pack. If you have Language Packs installed, you should:

1. Download the Update Rollup 15 Language Pack

2. Install the Update Rollup 15 Language Pack

3. De-provision the Language Pack

4. Re-provision the Language Pack

  • Information about how to avoid reboots when installing the CRM Outlook Client can be found in the Update Rollup 4 blog posting.
  • The Update Rollup 15 Client can be deployed before the server is upgraded to Update Rollup 15.
  • Steps to make the Update Rollup 15 Client available via AutoUpdate can be found in theUpdate Rollup 4 blog posting. The Link and Patch IDs can be found in KB article 2449283.
  • Each update rollup could have fixes that require manual configuration. Please see the “Hotfixes and updates that you have to enable or configure manually” section in KB article2449283.

How to get support for Update Rollup 15

For support, please contact Microsoft Product Support. For a complete list of Microsoft Product Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;[LN];CNTACTMS.

Note: In special cases, charges ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for the specific update in question.

Cheers,

Matt Brown

Sure Step: the guarantee of successful Microsoft Dynamics project implementation

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Lately, I attended a training session, concerning the Microsoft Dynamics project management methodology: Surestep. Here I share with you some insights and best practices to follow during Microsoft Dynamics project implementation.

The six phases of Sure Step methodology are:

–          Diagnostic

–          Analysis

–          Design

–          Development

–          Deployment

–          Operation

Depending on the project type and size, some phases could be simplified or even ignored.

NOTE: Surestep methodology covers project management for all the following Microsoft Dynamics solutions:

–          AX (ERP solution, formerly Axapta)

–          GP (Accounting solution, formerly Great Plains)

–          NAV (ERP solution, Navision)

–          SL (Accounting solution, formerly Somolon)

–          CRM (Client Relationship Management solution)

–          CRM Online (CRM solution in cloud)

Each phase is composed of activities, ends at a milestone and requires deliverables.

 

Description of the activities, milestones and deliverables of the phases:

–          Diagnostic

This phase happens before the signature of the project. We can treat it as a part of the prospection. The activities to do are:

  • Prepare the RFI (Request For Information)
  • Prepare the RFQ (Request For Quote)
  • Prepare the accelerators if necessary. Accelerator means the additional actions to do to accelerate the sales cycle. It contains:
    • Requirements and Process Review OR Upgrade Assessment
    • Fit Gap Solution Blueprint
    • Architecture Assessment OR/AND Scoping Assessment
    • Proof of Concept OR Business Case
    • Sales proposal (License and Service)
    • Launch meeting

Milestone: Sales proposal signed

–          Analysis

Main tasks are:

  • Prepare the project planning
  • Analyze the potential risks
  • Plan the communication
  • Train the key users
  • Analyze the Fil&Gap (if it was not done in the accelerator)

Milestone: FRD (Functional Requirement Document) signed

–          Design

The objective of this phase is mainly to terminate the analysis, to conclude the developments to do and the startup of the configuration. So the main actions contain:

  • Continue to plan the project
  • Prepare the FDD-Fit (Functional Design Document) and the FDD-Gap
  • Prepare the TDD (Technical Design Document) and SDD (Solution Design Document)
  • Prepare the integration and interface documents
  • Startup of the configurations
  • Prepare the data migration

NOTE: the data migration should be started at this step. In the dynamics projects, almost all the failure or delay of the data migration is caused by the lateness of preparation.

Milestone: FDD, TDD, SDD confirmation by the client

–          Development

In my understanding, all the 3 previous phases are to develop solution which is the most adaptable to the clients’ requirements. It contains the following actions:

  • Plan the rest part of the project
  • Develop the specific requirements
  • Develop the integration and the interface
  • Finalize the configurations
  • Prepare the training documents
  • Do the unit test and the integration test
  • Basic test and prepare the pre-production

Milestone: Test validated by the client

–          Deployment

Main actions contain:

  • Review the project planning
  • Train the final users
  • Prepare the Go Live of the production
  • Migrate the data
  • Acceptation test

Milestone: Go Live of the production

Until this phase, the GoOnline of the production means the termination of the implementation. The final users begin to use the solution. But attention, there is left the last phase, which is also important and could be a good opportunity and should not be forgotten: Operation.

–          Operation

In fact in this phase, the sales people will be integrated to propose the Support.

The main actions contain:

  • Review the project planning
  • Support post Go Live
  • Step into the Support
  • Optimize the solution
  • Review the modifications during the implementation
  • Finalize the project 

Obviously, besides the project type and project size, many unexpected factors can impact the project management, such as the culture, the personality of the client and the project manager, and so on.

Our objective is to follow this structure, and add or remove some actions to best adapt the different projects.

Enjoy!

Chao Zheng

http://www.javista.com

Accessibility in CRM 2011 lists

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Accessibility-compliance is one of the key new features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. We on the CRM team believe that no person should be denied from using the product even if one is visually challenged. Accessibility in CRM is useful not only to the visually challenged users but also to the user who prefers keyboard to mouse.

You can do almost everything in CRM 2011 lists quickly and easily using just a keyboard. For the visually challenged, using CRM 2011 lists with Job Access with Speech (JAWS) is a breeze. Also for them, we have also made enhancements to ensure that CRM lists display well in the high-contrast mode.

clip_image002

Sample Accounts list in CRM 2011

Compatible Screenreaders

Accessibility features in CRM 2011 work well in tandem with JAWS 11, the most widely-used screenreader in the world. We have also tested it on Window-Eyes, another popular screenreader.

Let us see how we can perform some of the common list operations in CRM 2011 using JAWS and keyboard.

Sorting

Sorting is one of the most commonly used functions in a list of records. Just follow the 2 simple steps below to sort on your favourite column using JAWS

1. Perform one of these actions:

    a. Press Ctrl+Insert+T to list all the tables in the current page. Scroll through the list and choose the table with the following title: From each column header, you can sort and filter the records.

OR

    b. Press Tab repeatedly until you get to the list header. When you reach the “Select/Clear All” checkbox, you are inside the list header.

2. Press Tab repeatedly until you reach the desired column in the header table. E.g. – To sort on Address 1: City (the 3rd column in the list), press TAB thrice. You will then hear “Table Nesting Level1 Column1 Row1 Address1: City link”.

3. Now press Enter to alphabetically sort the list based on Address 1: City. Press Enter again to sort it in reverse alphabetical order.

Similarly you can sort a list on any sortable column in the current view in increasing/decreasing order using JAWS. Simple, isn’t it?

Filtering

If sorting does not solve it for you and you need more advanced ways to filter your records, the Column Level Filtering feature in CRM is the way to go.

1. Tab to the link which reads “Filter button” Press Enter to enable filters on the list.

2. Now reach the list header using action 1 given in the sorting section given above.

3. To reach the desired column, use action 2 from the sorting section.

4. Press TAB again to go to the filter link. JAWS should read “Table Nesting Level 2 Column1 Row1 – ‘No filter applied’ link”

5. Once on the link, press Enter to open the filter menu. The filter menu has some common filters and a custom filter option as well.

6. Goto the desired filter option and press Enter to apply it on the list.

7. If you select Custom Filter, then the Custom Filters menu will open up which can be used to apply more powerful filters.

Opening primary/related records from the list

In CRM 2011 lists, all the primary field and lookup columns are hyperlinks which enables a JAWS user them to be able to open them.

1. Press Ctrl+Insert+T to list all tables in the current page.

2. Scroll through the list and select the table which reads “This list contains x Account records” where x is the number of records in the list. The focus moves to the table which contains the list of records.

3. Press TAB repeatedly until you get to the desired record. E.g. If you want to open the account with the name “Advanced Components”, press TAB until JAWS reads “Advanced Components Link

4. Press Enter to open the “Advanced Components” form.

Reading the contents of the list

Reading the contents of the list using JAWS is easier than ever before since the row/column headings are now read along with the value of a cell.

1. Goto the table which contains the list using the steps 2&3 described in the above section.

2. Use Ctrl+Alt+Arrow keys to navigate around the list.

3. Move horizontally to read the different fields of a record. When moving horizontally, the field name (column title) is read before the actual value of the cell.

4. Move vertically to read the same field from the previous/next record in the grid. When moving vertically, the record name (row title) is read before the actual value of the cell.

Selecting one or more records in the list

Selecting non-contiguous records in made easy in CRM 2011 lists with the introduction of row checkboxes.

1. Goto the table which contains the list using the steps 2&3 described two sections above.

2. To select the “Advanced Components” record, go to the checkbox corresponding to this record.

    a. Press Tab repeatedly until JAWS reads “Advanced Components, Checkbox unchecked”

    b. Press Space to check the checkbox thus selecting the record

3. Repeat the above step to select as many records as you want.

4. Once you have selected the desired record(s), you can perform edit, delete, share, assign and other record actions.

5. If you have selected multiple records, you can perform bulk operations on them like bulk delete, share, etc.

6. You can use the step 2 also to unselect a selected record.

Bye-bye Ctrl-Click!

We hope that this blog helps a bit in fulfilling our commitment to make CRM available everyone!

Cheers,

Aditya Agrawal

How To: Configure Tracing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 allows SharePoint site collection administrators to configure tracing (enable/disable tracing, configure trace levels and view traces) using a graphical user interface.

In this blog I will walk you through the steps to accomplish above and will also share some facts about Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 tracing which should help you understand and configure it in an easier manner.

Steps to configure tracing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component

Step 1: Open Configuration UI

Navigate to the URL http(s)://<sitecollection>/crmgrid/configuretracing.aspx in a new browser window.

The <<sitecollection>> is the site collection where Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 is activated.

For example if your site collection URL is http://myspserver/sites/mysitecollection then the URL of tracing page would be http://myspserver/sites/mysitecollection/crmgrid/configuretracing.aspx

After navigating to this above URL you should see the user interface as shown in the following figure.

clip_image002

2. Enable or Disable tracing

Select Enable tracing check box, specify the required trace level and click on save button to enable tracing. Following are the possible values and meaning of Trace Levels:

image

3. View/Access Trace logs

When you click on the save button in the above UI it creates a trace list under the root site of your site collection. The name of this list is CRMListComponentTraceLogs_4FB367FB-A16E-481e-B56F-5788EEB27E5C. All traces are stored in this custom list.

The tracing UI gets refreshed with the URL of the created trace list as shown in the following screen shot.

clip_image004

You can view/access the traces using one of the following possible ways :

a. Click on the hyper-link in the trace configuration page.

b. Navigate to this trace list from SharePoint UI

(Site Actions -> View All Site Content -> Under Lists Heading -> CRMListComponentTraceLogs_4FB367FB-A16E-481e-B56F-5788EEB27E5C

c. Navigate to http(s)://<<sitecollection>>/Lists/CRMListComponentTraceLogs_4FB367FBA16E481eB56F5788

4. Save Trace Logs

“Export to Excel” ribbon action on SharePoint list can be used to save the trace logs for future reference.

Some facts about Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component Tracing

1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM List component is deployed as a sandboxed solution on SharePoint. It doesn’t have access to file system due to sandbox restrictions. Due to this reason a SharePoint list is used to write trace information.

2. Only SharePoint site collection administrators can configure tracing. Other users will see error when they’ll try to access the configuration UI.

3. Only SharePoint administrator has read access to the trace list. While creating the trace a new permission level “CRM List Log” and a new group “CRMListLog” is created at the site collection level to configure such unique permission set. By default all users of the site collection are added to this new group.

4. The security configuration had done only once while creating the list for the first time. If you have made any changes to the list permission after you have enabled the tracing for this component you’ll have to manage the security for this list yourselves.

5. Also if any user is added in the site collection after tracing was enabled then he/she should be added to the “CRMListLog” group manually.

6. As traces are generated the list can grow in size and can have impact on SharePoint performance. It is the responsibility of the admin to manage the trace list size. He can periodically take backup of this list or disable tracing if it is no longer required.

7. To get more detailed trace information SharePoint administrator can also enable tracing on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. For more information on how to enable tracing on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee748619.aspx

8. There is no entry point to tracing configuration page from within CRM. SharePoint administrator will have to navigate to the URL as explained in step 1.

Cheers,

Huma Ramawat