Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In Place Upgrade - CRM 2011 to CRM 2013

Now that the latest and greatest version of Dynamics CRM has been released, I was ready to get hands on with the new features. Since I had my own VM (details on building a VirtualBox VM here) to mess around with, I planned on doing an in place upgrade. Please note that this is not the recommended approach especially in production environments. A new install of CRM 2013 or a migration upgrade would be the best options for stage/ prod setups.

Here are the steps to follow for an in place upgrade from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013.

Monday, September 30, 2013

CRM 2011 Point of View - What is the scope of a deactivated View?

Views are a great way to provide the user with data filtered on a very specific criteria that is easily accessible. The view can be a system level view, which means that all users with the right security role can see the view, or the view can be a personal view, visible only to the user (which can then be shared).

In this post, I want to talk a little bit about the system views and what it means to have a view in the deactivated state.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Proxy web service to connect to Dynamics CRM

While Dynamics CRM 2011 webservice endpoints are available for theoretically any client, there seems to be a few challenges while it comes to a Java implementation especially using NTLM/ Kerberos authentication. One easy workaround is to create a custom webservice that can then be hosted in IIS which will act as a prxy between the java client and Dynamics CRM. In this post, I will walk through the creation of one such simple webservice which will create a case in CRM.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Manually Uninstall Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server

I recently had a very weird experience installing Dynamics CRM 2011 server front end role. The front end server would start the install process and make the connection to the sql server. Midway through the install the sql connection was getting terminated, resulting in the following error:

Action Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Common.Update.DBUpdateAction failed.
A transport-level error has occurred when receiving results from the server. (provider: TCP Provider, error: 0 - The semaphore timeout period has expired.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bulk import and delete of Subject data - A most excellent adventure

The Subject lookup is very unique in Dynamics CRM due to the fact that it is the only lookup that is formatted in an hierarchical tree structure. The typical use, at least in the out of the box arena, is around incidents and knowledge base articles. Recently I was working with a customer who wanted to leverage the Subject lookup, and had a whole bunch of Subjects (both active and inactive) that needed to be imported. Here are a few things I learnt along the way which might prove useful to you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

CRM 2011 SSRS Drill down reports

While the CRM 2011 OOB report wizard will suffice in many cases, there are specific reasons to go the custom SSRS route. In this post, I will talk you through the creation of a drill down report using a summary table.

Create a summary table of the number of incidents categorized by Subject. The incident count should list the incidents, and the user should be able to open the individual incident by clicking on the ticket number

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Adding a sever to an existing CRM 2011 intallation

Recently I had a harrowing experience trying to add a front end server to existing install. The existing CRM 2011 setup had UR 12 rollup update applied on the Front End, Back End and SSRS Server. When trying to install the front end role on a new server, I kept getting the following error in the Installation Wizard: "The Product key is not compatible with installed version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM".

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

CRM 2011 - Pre-Install checklist for IFD/ ADFS setup

While there is a lot of good documentation on the web about the IFD setup for CRM 2011, it is still a bit daunting for a newbie to wade though the deluge. In this post, I will document a few items that need to be in place before the actual ADFS install and configuration can happen. This checklist is especially important if you do not have complete access/ control and are dependent on an external teams assistance.

Many thanks to my colleagues Ash Dupree and Rakaesh Navaneethan for validating the data!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

CRM 2011 native Import wizard - Dealing with humongous data files

While using the native CRM 2011 data import tool, the default file size that is acceptable is 8 MB. Yes, that is correct - 8MB. Not much, isn't it? Here are a few options to consider when the data to be imported exceeds the file import size.

Monday, May 13, 2013

CRM 2011 - Migrating Notes while maintaining history information

Notes in Dynamics CRM 2011 typically provide information about the note text, along with details of when the note was created (or modified) and by whom. If we think of how Notes are used, I think we can all agree that the history information (whom and when) is a critical component of the Note record.

The process of importing Notes and Attachments using the Data Import Wizard is pretty straightforward for the most part. The import wizard however does not map all possible attributes available in the system. For example, we cannot set the created by, modified on or modified by data using the import wizard. The only attribute that can be set (overridden) is the created on field. How do we solve this issue to make sure we are migrating Notes correctly? Here is one option to consider.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Adding Standard text to CRM 2011 Notes

The Notes section in the entity record is a easy way to keep track of changes to the record. The user text is automatically saved on "onblur" - meaning that when the focus is moved away from the editable notes pieces the information is saved to the annotation entity. The onblur feature is actually pretty nifty, as some CRM systems require you to save the note by clicking on a "Save" button. Extra clicks? No thanks!

In Notes, lets consider a scenario where the user needs to enter a few lines of canned text each time. A very common case is a set of instructions for the CSR on what information to capture from the customer. Right now, one option is to have a document with the text, and copy and paste the right sections to the Note each time. Does not sound very appetizing, does it? Here is an alternate approach that might be useful!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Convergence 2013 Day 1 - Dynamics CRM and Netbreeze

It has been a long and eventful day at Convergence 2013 so far. The customer stories were a nice way to kick things off, and Kirill Tatarinov, President of Microsoft Business Solutions Division, did a great job of moderating and keeping the flow going.

Specifically with Dynamics CRM, there were some nice demos around Marketing Pilot and the upcoming release which supports Yammer integration. In this post though, I would like to talk a little bit about what I felt was the most exciting news so far - the acquisition of Social analytics company Netbreeze.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Product Review - North 52 Formula Manager for Dynamics CRM

I am always on the lookout for tools that provides the Business user complete control  to create/ modify business logic, using an interface that is easy and intuitive. One such product is the North 52 Formula Manager. Formula Manager aims to transform custom coding into simple formulas using native Silverlight and HTML Webresource controls that drive a point and click customization tool.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Microsoft bought MarketingPilot for Dynamics CRM

According to Gartner analyst Laura McLellan, by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs. Gartner’s annual marketing budget research (for 2013) with high-tech providers also found increased budgets in every type of provider, in every geography, and every size of provider.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scheduled custom notifications for Dynamics CRM 2011

The closest thing that Dynamics CRM 2011 has to a notification is the concept of Announcements. There are some drawbacks to Announcements, most important being that they cannot be scheduled. Also, can we expect the user to keep going back to the Announcements page each time to see the latest? I think not :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CRM 2011 rsProcessingAborted error when running custom reports

Have you had a situation where the default reports in CRM 2011 and reports created from VisualStudio work, but reports created from the Report Wizard (or any Fetch based reports) result in a rsProcessingAborted error?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Product Review: InRule® for Microsoft Dynamics® CRM

Business logic can be applied to Dynamics CRM by a combination of these processes:
  1. OOB workflows
  2. Custom workflows
  1. Plugins
  2. JavaScript

Other than the OOB workflows (which has its constraints), the rest involve some knowledge of coding, with the plugins and workflows requiring background in C#. So if there is new requirement to create a business rule, typically the request is submitted to the IT/ Development team, and depending on their schedule the rule is created. If the rule needs changing, the business user needs to again reach out to someone outside of his/ her department.