Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Global Beta Launch for MS CRM 2011

Beta for MS CRM 2011 launched globally..

For a sneak preview of MS CRM 2011 visit: http://www.screencast.com/users/coloradojules/folders/Default/media/094c821f-c71f-448d-88bf-5b627b586004

Catch the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 beta or sign up for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online beta at www.crm2011beta.com.

Friday, July 23, 2010

GrapeCIty Telemarketing voted as top rated solution

GrapeCity Telemarketing Solution has scored 2nd place in XRM Showcase challenge. Over 80 unique XRM Solutions particated in XRM showcase challenge. Around 2570 individuals registered to vote and submit solutions
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2010/07/22/xrm-showcase-challenge-results.aspx

Congratulations to GrapeCity CRM team and I wish lot more rewards in future.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Public Beta

As announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 12, 2010, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - formerly codenamed "CRM5" - will be publicly available as a beta release in September 2010 for both online and on-premises deployments. Please refer to following URLs for details

https://offers.crmchoice.com/betaofferlanding/
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2010/07/12/introducing-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2011.aspx

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Localizing your custom solution and Silverlight

While localizing my custom website hosting a Silverlight 3 control, I added multiple resource files (.resx) to my xap and when I hit the page I got this error:
System.Windows.Markup.XamlParseException occurred Message="AG_E_PARSER_UNKNOWN_TYPE
On hitting this link
http://www.telerik.com/community/forums/silverlight/navigation/navigation-samples-failing-with-silverlight-3-because-of-urimapping.aspx I realized the goof up. One of the resx files had the constructor still declared as ‘internal’, and you get this error when the application is getting initialized and trying to access and internal resource. So I made the changes to set it to public, and it worked like a charm!!

CTP3 for MS CRM 5.0 now available!!

CTP3 for MS CRM 5.0 now available!!
The main features offered by CRM 5.0 include:
1. Features for end users

  • Enhanced Navigation - A “Fluent UI” like Office 2007
  • Single Page Forms - Single scrolling page, “quick access” navigation shortcuts and less pop-ups and clicks to complete common task
  • Data Filtering –In-line filtering like Excel, visualization of numeric data using in-line charts and availability of drill through charts
  • WSS integration -Document management, site and document library provisioning and check-in check-out capabilities.
  • Team ownership for entities

2. Features for Administrators and Customizers

  • Filtered Lookups :)
  • Solution Management -A single unit solution (a defined set of entity customizations, workflows, e-mail templates, security roles, plug-ins etc.), version controlled solution and ability to specify selected attributes for exporting
  • “Global Picklists” at solution level that are re-usable across multiple entities.
  • Drag and Drop form editor
  • New server role for running custom code
  • Plug-In Transaction support
  • .Net 4.0 Support out of the box
  • LINQ for CRM

Read more about CRM 5 at
http://blogs.msdn.com/crm/archive/2008/12/18/an-early-look-at-crm-5.aspx
and CTP3 for CRM 5 at http://blogs.msdn.com/crm/archive/2010/03/25/microsoft-dynamics-crm5-technology-preview-released-worldwide-on-premises-and-online.aspx

Monday, March 15, 2010

This is for beginners in MS CRM 4.0 wanting to understand the Security Architecture in MS CRM 4.0. Download the whitepaper from:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=fb4bb16b-586f-4aae-aa4b-790023e95b61

A brief summary for the Role Based Security and the Object based security is explained from the article:

To determine the extent to which users have access to the system and the resources it stores, Microsoft Dynamics CRM leverages two complementary security mechanisms:

  1. Role-based security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM focuses on grouping a set of privileges together that describe the tasks that are performed for a user in a specific job function. The basic concepts of role-based security include the following:
    o Users are assigned one or more roles based on their job function or tasks
    o Roles are associated with permissions (privileges and access levels) for the different business objects (entities)
    o Users gain access to entities or groups of entities in the system via membership in a role that has been assigned the necessary privileges and access levels to perform the users’ jobs.
  2. Object-based security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM focuses on how users gain access to individual instances of business objects (entities).

Role-based Security
Role-based security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is based on the interaction of privileges and access levels, which work together through the use of security roles.

Privileges define what actions a user can perform on each entity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Privileges are pre-defined in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and cannot be changed; examples of privileges include Create, Read, Write, and Delete.

Access levels indicate which records associated with each entity the user can perform actions upon.The access level associated with a privilege determines (for a given entity type) the levels within the organizational hierarchy (User, team and Business Unit) at which a user belonging to a specific role can act on that type of entity.


Each security role provides a combination of privileges and access levels specific to a Microsoft Dynamics CRM job function.

Object-based Security

Object-based security applies to individual instances of entities and is provided by using access rights. An access right is granted to a user for a particular entity instance.
The relationship between an access right and a privilege is that access rights apply only after privileges have taken effect. For example, if users do not have the privilege to read accounts, they will be unable to read any account, regardless of the access rights another user might grant them to a specific account through sharing.

The article also provides greate examples for different combinations of privileges, access levels and access rights. Happy reading!!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Visual Studio 2010 RC Installation Issue on Windows XP machine

While trying to install VS 2010 RC on my windows XP sp3 machine, I was facing this issue that the installer wasn't able to install any of the components after it installed .Net Framework 4.0. Once I installed .NET Framework 4.0, it prompted me to restart the machine, and on restart nothing really happened (though the setup was expected to resume). I re-clicked the setup and still nothing happened.


So after trying to re-install VS 2010 a couple times, I found out the solution to the problem -
Display the language bar at the taskbar, right-click on it and choose settings. Then remove the hand writing support from the list. There is a bug in the RC for computers with touch screens.

MS CRM 4.0 Worflow Issue

Recently I came across a scenario where it was required that workflow be triggered on change of a read only only field.

While testing I found that the workflow wasn't getting fired. I added the code to ForceSubmit the field OnSave of record.
Even after that the workflow didnt execute on change of that field.

Ultimately, I had to enable that field so that the workflow could trigger on field change. Additional logic (simply a workaround) had to be applied in order to achieve the desired functionality.

JavaScript code to pre populate fields on associated record opened from parent or related record

Recently, I came across a scenario, where it was required that some fields be pre-populated on a new form opened from associated view of a record.
One possible solution is to fire a SOAP Xml retrieve request to get the desired fields of the related record and set them on the new form. But this approach requires a database interaction using MS CRM web services, that can cause a noticeable delay in form load.
An alternative to this approach is to access parent record using JavaScript object model and access the fields on form to set values on new form.
Following sample code can be added to OnLoad event of form to achieve the same:

//*****************************************************************************
//Functionality- In create mode, get default values from associated location record
//*****************************************************************************
if (crmForm.FormType == 1) {

//If form is being opened using an existing parent record
if ((window.opener != null) && (window.opener.parent != null) && (window.opener.parent.document != null) && (window.opener.parent.document.crmForm != null)) {
var oParentCrmForm = window.opener.parent.document.crmForm;
if (oParentCrmForm == null oParentCrmForm == undefined) {
}
else {
if (oParentCrmForm.ObjectTypeName == 'parent') {
//Set field value as on parent
crmForm.all.field1.DataValue = oParentCrmForm.all.field1.DataValue;
}
}
}
}
//*****************************************************************************

Data fetched using this approach is the current data on the form that may not be saved to the database yet.

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Server Error in application on navigating to Items link in Portal Integration and Partner Relationship Management Accelerators

On navigating to "Items" link in Portal Integration and Partner Relationship Management Accelerators, following error message is obtained:
Server Error in '/' Application.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The type specified in the TypeName property of ObjectDataSource 'ObjectDataSourceCategories' could not be found. Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.
Exception Details: System.InvalidOperationException: The type specified in the TypeName property of ObjectDataSource 'ObjectDataSourceCategories' could not be found.
Source Error:
An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.
Stack Trace:
[InvalidOperationException: The type specified in the TypeName property of ObjectDataSource 'ObjectDataSourceCategories' could not be found.] System.Web.UI.WebControls.ObjectDataSourceView.GetType(String typeName) +1122515 System.Web.UI.WebControls.ObjectDataSourceView.ExecuteSelect(DataSourceSelectArguments arguments) +1171 System.Web.UI.DataSourceView.Select(DataSourceSelectArguments arguments, DataSourceViewSelectCallback callback) +19 System.Web.UI.WebControls.DataBoundControl.PerformSelect() +142 System.Web.UI.WebControls.BaseDataBoundControl.DataBind() +73 System.Web.UI.WebControls.GridView.DataBind() +4 Items.Page_Load() in C:\MSA_Drop\Web\Portals\Portals\PRMPortal\PRMPortal\Items.aspx.cs:82 System.Web.Util.CalliHelper.ArglessFunctionCaller(IntPtr fp, Object o) +8 System.Web.Util.CalliEventHandlerDelegateProxy.Callback(Object sender, EventArgs e) +8664611 System.Web.UI.Control.OnLoad(EventArgs e) +99 System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +50 System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) +627


This error occurs because catalog provider is in the Fabrikam.Application.Catalog namespace, where all the other providers are without a namespace.
Therefore, to resolve the error, we need to make the following change to the Items.aspx page:




<asp:Panel ID="PanelCategories" runat="server" Visible="true"> &nbsp;<asp:ObjectDataSource ID="ObjectDataSourceCategories" runat="server" SelectMethod="GetChildCategories" TypeName="Fabrikam.Application.Catalog.Catalog">

Since we are making changes to aspx page, we do not need to re-compile the application.
Hope this helps.




Thursday, March 4, 2010

Microsoft CRM Outlook Client

Just a tip for the user installing Microsoft CRM Outlook Client for Outlook 2003. Ensure that you install the Update Rollup 7 for the Outlook client, else couple of menu items (Change Organization, Options) will not be available from the CRM menu installed.

Also, use the CRM->Options->Synchronization tab to change the duration of synchronization between MS Outlook and the web client (which is 15 minutes by default).

Get the Update Rollup 7 for Outlook Client at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=A4893988-7804-4E23-AB58-740441CC696E&amp;displaylang=ja&displaylang=en

Read more about synchronization of records and activities between MS CRM and Outlook at:

http://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/regcont/en_us/OP/help/ug_ol_RecordsActivities.htm

Unable to restart the Email Router service

Ever got 'The E-mail Router service could not run the service main background thread. The E-mail Router service cannot continue and will now shut down' while re-starting the MS CRM Email Router Service.

The trace logged is :

"System.Configuration.ConfigurationErrorsException: The E-mail router service cannot access system state file Microsoft.Crm.Tools.EmailAgent.SystemState.xml. The file may be missing or may not be accessible. The E-mail Router service cannot continue and will now shut down. ---> System.Xml.XmlException: Root element is missing."

Root Cause: The Microsoft.Crm.Tools.EmailAgent.SystemState.xml file is corrupted.

Solution:
1. Browse to 'C:Program FilesMicrosoft CRM EmailService'. Delete the Microsoft.Crm.Tools.EmailAgent.SystemState.xml file.

2. Restart the Microsoft Dynamics CRM E-mail Router Service.The Microsoft.Crm.Tools.EmailAgent.SystemState.xml file is re-created.

Read more at:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/954522

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Update Rollup 9 is available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

The latest cumulative update rollup for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 has been released on Feb 11, 2010.
The details of which can be accessed at:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/949256
Update Rollup 9 can be downloaded at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5869f2b3-d1a0-4f71-8be3-fde6e8053a2e&displayLang=en

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Error publishing a workflow with an Email step

Recently I created a test workflow to send an email when a new task is assigned to any MS CRM user. Everything was in place but somehow the workflow just didn't publish and I kept getting the message:

"An error occured when the workflow was being created. Try to save the workflow again."

This was what was logged in the MS CRM trace logs:
"Activity 'SendEmailStep4_policy' validation failed: Property "RuleSetReference" has an invalid value. Rule set is invalid. Rule "main" validation failed. Type System.Globalization.CultureInfo is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file."

And here is where I found the resolution:
http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/crmdevelopment/thread/e0a8b1f3-5bbf-4040-ab5c-2a67df362b5b

Add the following entries in the web.config file for Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

<!--
* CRM SE 6681 V4: Hotfix needed for CRM Workflows before WF.Net security patch
-->
<authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System" TypeName="Void" Authorized="True"/>
<authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Reflection" TypeName="AssemblyFileVersionAttribute" Authorized="True"/>
<authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Reflection" TypeName="AssemblyVersionAttribute" Authorized="True"/>
<!--
* CRM SE 5934 V4: Workflow Designer and Runtime Do Not Handle Decimal Numbers Correctly
-->
<authorizedType Assembly="mscorlib, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" Namespace="System.Globalization" TypeName="CultureInfo" Authorized="True"/>

Reset IIS and the workflow is successfully published.

Microsoft.Crm.WebServices doesn't exist for custom web page

Ever got this error while trying to access a custom web page from your virtual directory hosted in Microsoft Dynamics CRM/ISV folder:

Microsoft.Crm.WebServices.Crm2007.MultipleOrganizationSoapHeaderAuthenticationProvider, Microsoft.Crm.WebServices, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35' doesn't exist

This typically also appears while accessing you custom web page for the first time on a 64 bit CRM box.

The reason for the error is that CRM adds 2 HttpModules (MapOrg and CrmAuthentication) to web.config in the root of the CRM website. The CrmAuthentication HttpModule is in the microsoft.crm.webservices.dll assembly, which is not in the path of the custom virtual directory.

There are two solutions to this. Either:

1. Add microsoft.crm.webservices.dll to the bin folder of your web site and then add it to the global assembly cache. Run iisreset.
OR
2. Remove the CrmAuthentication HttpModule from the virtual directory. To remove the HttpModule, add the following to the web.config in the custom virtual directory (within the system.web element).

Option#1 has always worked for me :). Hope this helps!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Salesforce vs Microsoft Dynamics CRM - What will you choose for your growing business?

I  went across the features of both Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM , after complete analysis I could draw the following comparisons and how Microsoft Dynamics CRM competes with SalesForce

Configuration
Salesforce supports On Demand Configuration where as Microsoft Dynamics CRM supports On-Demand, On-Premise and Partner Hosted setups.

Interface
Salesforce has a web based access wherein Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides its users both Web Based and Native access through Microsoft Outlook.

Microsoft CRM also provides Off - Line Access with all its versions and editions whereas off line access is limited to Enterprise editions in Salesforce.com

Databases
There is no dedicated database in Salesforce.com and there is a storage limit of 1GB or 120MB/User in all versions.
Dynamics CRM has dedicated Databases. Storage varies from 20GB to 5GB depending on installation.

Web Service Support
Web Service Support is only available in Enterprise and Unlimited Versions where as Microsoft Dynamics CRM supports web services in all the versions.

While Salesforce.com had an advantage in previous years due to the inadequacies of previous versions of Dynamics CRM, the newest version of MSCRM has truly set Microsoft appart from the competition. Microsoft CRM is all set to capture mid markets and SMBs. Apart from Dynamics CRM, Dynamics NAV/GP have also set their routes in the Indian Market.
Earlier we could hear about Oracle or SAP when we talked of ERP and Siebel or Salesforce in CRM but market researchers have already predicted the expansion of Dynamics in 2010 and its likely that Microsoft CRM will compete neck to neck with Siebel and Salesforce soon in the growing markets in coming years.

*********
For detailes comparison of CRM products check the following link:
http://www.milesconsultingcorp.com/Microsoft-CRM-Advantages-Salesforce.aspx

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2010 - Atlanta

Microsoft Convergence  2010 Atlanta, April 24-27


Convergence is the Microsoft Dynamics premier event! Here are 4 great business reasons why one should attend this event.
  1. Learn how to get the most out of Microsoft Dynamics solution.
    • Learn how to use the technical resources and support available.
    • Understand how to empower people to use functionality.
    • Investigate additional Microsoft Dynamics functionality, plus third-party vendor solutions that could better position you for success.
  2. Connect with other users and Microsoft product experts.
    • See firsthand how other users optimize their solutions to drive business success.
    • Consult with solution provider and Microsoft product experts.
    • Get free technical support and participate in hands-on lab exercises.
  3. Get up to date on Microsoft products and technologies.
    • Take advantage of more than 400 sessions covering Microsoft Dynamics and the latest Microsoft products including Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP (including Microsoft Dynamics GP 11), Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Office SharePoint, and Microsoft SQL Server.
    • Learn how solution integrates easily with these technologies to maximize efficiency.
  4. Learn the Microsoft strategy and future plans for Microsoft Dynamics software
    • Understand the product development strategy 
    • Get insight into Microsoft’s future direction and investments 


Sounds great !! To learn more about Convergence 2010 Atlanta, just visit the
 Convergence Web site.

Leverage The Power Of Dynamics Live For Your Business

Its a chilly winter night and I just bothered to sneak into MIX Conversation Video over you tube and finally i realized the power of Dynamics CRM and how it aids web based Line of business applications development. Sometimes I wonder why people get so crazy about CRM application development and  I have seen the CRM buffs in my organization trying new things now and then ranging from Telemarketing to Bing Maps Integration to SMS Integration with Dynamics CRM and CRM Live and then I thought why not to expose the power of Dynamics Live for the readers of this blog.

As all of you know Microsoft Dynamics CRM is not just an Account or Contact Management Suite. It incorporates Sales, Service and Marketing as well. I guess this product has hit the roots in the Sales Force sector. This CRM Suite really fascinates people with its rich set of integrated technologies, Business Analytics and extensiveness. It has deep process automation and one fine day we could see this suite expanding branches in all enterprise domains.

With the launch of Dynamics CRM Suite a wave crossed the minds of CRM geeks on how to customize an entirely new product. Over the years Microsoft has been providing constant support with Web Services, APIs to aid easy development and customizations and provide a good night sleep to all the developers.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live combines your everyday productivity applications with powerful online CRM software to improve marketing, boost sales, and bolster customer service interactions.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live equips business professionals with online and offline access to customer information through a suite of marketing, sales, and service solutions within a familiar Microsoft Office Outlook interface to ensure quick results and process automation.

For Sales

Enable salespeople to create a single view of the customer with tools that streamline and automate everyday sales processes promoting shorter sales cycles, higher close rates, and improved customer retention. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live gives sales professionals fast access to customer data and history online or offline so they can work smarter and spend more time selling rather than sipping more and more coffe along side searching customer data . It has strong integration with third party applications like communication server and Skype to aid sales people to quickly communicate with customers. I wonder if later on they integrate a video tool with this suite for visual meetings.

For Marketing

Powerful campaign management features, and  insightful marketing analytics to increase the effectiveness of marketing programs, generate demand, and better track key performance indicators. It provides comprehensive tools to monitor results for better performance. It also supports bulk mailing and email campaigns. I would definitely promote this CRM Suite for Marketing sector.

For Service

Deliver customer information, to the desktops of customer service people, giving them the tools to deliver consistent, efficient service that enhances customer profitability. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live provides a comprehensive customer service solution that is familiar to users, and is completely customizable to match support process.

Using your Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser, one can quickly create online CRM solution and begin transforming your business right away. Start using the marketing, sales and service capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live. It provides configuration capabilities to quickly add or modify fields, forms, workflow, and reports to tailor it to fit your business needs.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live helps ensure that customer data is available when and where it’s needed and in the necessary format through the user interface, web-services interface or as a file.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live works in a way that is familiar to users. Whether accessed online through a browser or Microsoft Office Outlook, users can work in an environment they already use and understand.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live can fit the unique needs of any size business and can adapt and grow as your company grows without expensive upgrades to hardware. This will definitely ensure huge money in your wallets.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live comes in two versions Professional and Professional Plus. Both editions offer a full suite of sales, service, marketing, and analytics functionality.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live Professional has the following capabilities.
  • Data Storage per Organization 5GB 
  • System Customization 
  • Workflow Automation 
  • Microsoft Office Integration
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live Professional Plus has the following capabilities.
  • Data Storage per Organization 20GB
  • System Customization 
  • Workflow Automation 
  • Microsoft Office Integration
  • Offline Data Synchronization

Microsoft Dynamics Live has come out as a lifeline for thriving businesses as well as startups.
Recently I heard a loud noise about Microsoft Office Live and lets see how far it helps to make businesses better. I would definitely share some more information about Microsoft Office live in my next post.




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Import Data Wizard and Automatic Customizations

The Import Data Wizard for CRM Online makes customer’s life easy by powerful features such as the automatic customizations of field width (for text data) and list values (for picklists).


1. The Field width customization feature increases the length of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM text or ntext field on the fly based on the length of data in the source file.
When import data wizard encounters a mismatch in the field lengths of source data and target field it deduces following:

i. Is the field customizable.
ii. Finds the maximum length of the source data in respective column of given source file.
iii. Checks whether the length found in step 2 is more than the default length of the field and is less than the maximum allowed length for the Text column (which is 4000).

If both conditions mentioned in Step iii are satisfied, it updates the metadata of an attribute to the length found in step2 and changes the column length in database.

Import Data Wizard applies field width customization even if some advanced transformations like Concatenation are applied on source data, and concatenated data is then mapped to some CRM field. If the data obtained after concatenation has length more than the default length of the field to which it is mapping, Import Data Wizard will apply field width customization in that case also.

2. Import Wizard can handle the picklist customization when user has chosen Map Automatically or has chosen to Use and existing data map while importing data. This is what the import data wizard does in case of picklists:

i. Identifies all the unique values of the column in source file, which is mapping to picklist column.
ii. Identifies which source values are having an exact string match with Microsoft Dynamics CRM fields' picklist string values and can be imported without additional customization.
iii. To create new picklist value for the unmatched source values, system verifies:
a. Whether the number of new picklist values which need to be created is less than 400 else system fails the entire import file.
b. If the target field is customizable. Pick list is not created unless the field is customizable and those records fail with appropriate error otherwise.
c. In case field is customizable then system creates new picklist values in CRM with the same label as that specified in source unique value.

Read more about the Import Data Wizard and Automatic Customizations at:
http://blogs.msdn.com/crm/archive/2010/01/11/microsoft-dynamics-crm-automatic-customizations.aspx

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mid Market Buzz



Microsoft is trying to exploit its desktop applications strength in large enterprises and promote its now-more-robust business applications to this sector.

Buyer interest in Microsoft solutions is high in the market and is growing in the enterprise segment. Enterprise buyers will be attracted to Microsoft Dynamics CRM if they have made a commitment to a Microsoft infrastructure in order to lower their TCO in buying and managing business technologies. Buyers also like Microsoft Dynamics CRM usability and its quick time-to-value compared with traditional CRM applications. 




Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a wealth of sales analytics and automation capabilities that help organisations to zero in on their sweet-spot and institutionalise best practices for improved sales alignment. Microsoft has branched into various in-house technology integration with CRM Suites. The latest concept of (X)RM has proved to be a successful engagement to leverage rich set of technologies to counter diseased markets.


When you are looking for a feasible CRM, it's important to draw comparison with other products. If you consider the mid-market you can see that Oracle Siebel and SAP are moving down in the market, and Microsoft is busy with efforts to extend the customer base. Siebel's scores high when it comes to functionally rich CRM applications and first rate interface. Microsoft dynamic CRM seems to have bright prospect with the mid marker companies.However, Microsoft should consider including more effective business-to-business (B2B) marketing and sales features.






Friday, January 15, 2010

Marketing Campaigns - Recording Campaign Responses


Nice read on how to capture Campaign Responses in MS CRMMicrosoft CRM includes four ways to create campaign responses:


• Record responses manually : Enter responses based on a direct marketing campaign activity.

• Convert an existing campaign activity to a campaign response: When someone responds to the marketing material you’ve sent them, you can convert the corresponding campaign activity, such as a phone call, e-mail, or appointment, to a campaign response.

• Automatically generate responses: For e-mail activities you’ve included in your campaign, you can also use Microsoft CRM to generate the campaign responses automatically. When customers respond to e-mail activities, you can choose to have Microsoft CRM create the corresponding campaign response records automatically.
This option is available only if e-mail tracking is enabled. This is a setting your administrator can set. If you are an administrator, set the Track e-mail option to Yes on the E-mail Tracking tab on the System Settings dialog box, and verify that Create campaign responses for incoming e-mail is set to Yes on the Marketing tab in this dialog box.

• Import campaign responses into Microsoft CRM from an external file: In addition to creating campaign responses within Microsoft CRM, you can also create them outside the system and then import them.

You can find the article at:

http://www.ics-inc.com/bpa-blog/?Tag=Microsoft%20CRM%204.0

Report server : Encryption Keys Error


Ever got the error when viewing any report in MS CRM:
System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapException: The report server cannot decrypt the symmetric key used to access sensitive or encrypted data in a report server database. You must either restore a backup key or delete all encrypted content.
Here's the solution to it:1. Open Reporting Services Configuration Manager
2. Connect to your RS server
3. Select 'Encryption Keys' from the left pane
4. Press the 'Delete' button to get rid of your encrypted content

5. After doing this, you will need to re-set the connection strings and stored credentials on your reports.

PS: If you do have a backup, press the 'Restore' button instead of the 'Delete' button.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Error message in the Environmental Diagnostic wizard when you try to install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector for SQL Server Reporting Services

When MS CRM and SQL Server are installed on separate server machines, we need to install MS CRM Connector on the server running SQL reporting services. While installing this, I faced an error saying “Unable to validate SQL Server Reporting Services Report Server installation” in the Environmental diagnostic wizard.

As stated by Microsoft support, this issue comes in the following scenarios:
1. You try to install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector for SQL Server Reporting Services on a server that is not running Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS).
2. You try to install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector for SQL Server Reporting Services on a named instance of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.
3. You try to install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector for SQL Server Reporting Services on a SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services installation that uses a nondefault Web site.

In my case, the issue was due to named instance of SQL server 2005.
To resolve this issue:-

For the first scenario above, install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector for SQL Server Reporting Services on a server that is running SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.

For the second and third scenarios, follow these steps:

1. Copy all the files in the SrsDataConnector folder on the installation CD to a folder on drive C. For example, copy the files to the following folder:
C:\SrsDataConnector
Note The SrsDataConnector folder is located in the following folder on the installation CD:
drive:\Server\i386

2. Locate the folder in which you copied the installation files. Right-click the Install-config.xml file, and then open the file in Notepad.
3. Add the following information to the Install-config.xml file:

• The reportserverurl tags
• The URL for the server that is running SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services

For example, if the server that is running Reporting Services has a named instance of Titan, the reportserverurl tags resemble the following example.
http://servername/Reportserver$Titan
4. If the server that is running SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services has a named instance, modify the instancename tags.

For example, if the server that is running Reporting Services has a named instance of Titan, the instancename tags resemble the following example.
Titan
5. After you complete steps 3 and 4, click Save on the File menu, and then close the Install-config.xml file. The Install-config.xml file should resemble the following example.
<crmsetup>
<srsdataconnector>
<configdbserver></configdbserver>
<autoupdateconfigdb>1</autoupdateconfigdb>
<reportserverurl>http://servername/Reportserver$Titan</reportserverurl>
<autogroupmanagementoff>0</autogroupmanagementoff>
<instancename>Titan</instancename>
<configsku>OnPremise</configsku>
<!-- Set enabled = true for DB webstore integration. Set configdb="true" for config db webstore integration-->
<webstore enabled="false" configdb="false" />
<monitoring>
<!-- Monitoring service account name and password. It can not be local system or network service account -->
<serviceaccountname></serviceaccountname>
<serviceaccountpassword></serviceaccountpassword>
</monitoring>
</srsdataconnector>
</crmsetup>

6. Open a Command Prompt window, and then locate the folder in which you copied the installation files in step 1.
7. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
C:\SrsDataConnector> SetupSrsDataConnector /CONFIG path of the folder that contains the Install-config.xml file\install-config.xml

That’s it! I hope it helps.