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

Introduction to Queues in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

December 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Release Candidate (RC) Announcement

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Release Candidate (RC) is now available for download in the Microsoft Download Center.  As with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta, the Release Candidate is available for anyone to download, and will be available until the RTM release scheduled for Q1, 2011.   This release represents the combined efforts and feedback from customers and partners working on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta so thank you for all of you involved in this process.

imageUpgrades:  On-premises Beta databases can be upgraded to this new RC release which can then be upgraded to the upcoming RTM release.  CRM Online Beta customers will continue to have access to their CRM Online Beta instance until the CRM Online RTW launch in January, at which time they can choose to opt-in to upgrade their Beta instance to a production subscription.

Release Candidate is the last external milestone before the CRM Online Release to Web (RTW) launch in January 2011, and the on-premises Release to Manufacturing (RTM) in Q1, 2011, so please continue testing and validating this new pre-release version as well as continue building your deployments and solutions to be ready for the RTW and RTM releases.

Thank you,

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Team   

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server Release Candidate

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c3f82c6f-c123-4e80-b9b2-ee422a16b91d

Available in English only 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Microsoft Office Outlook

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=22dc423a-7194-491e-a169-6ace16bfdd36

Available in 25 languages

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Language Pack

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=db44c564-2338-407e-980a-c9c83ad37729

Available in 41 languages

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 E-mail Router

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a995f6ad-0099-42fd-9b22-cf7b3d40a2bf

Available in 25 languages

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Report Authoring Extension

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=64a09b75-8376-4b9d-aea3-8a83a1837c4d

Available in 25 languages

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=23c0f351-8694-4d92-9ddf-34a949aec6a7

Available in 41 languages

Cheers,

Bryan Nielson