A co-worker ran into this pesky Site Map error the other day after importing and publishing customizations into a new organization.
Unfortunately the ability to download the log file was disabled and the CRM trace was of no help. Since we knew the Site Map was the culprit, we opened up the XML and began to review it. After scanning the XML we discovered a privilege requirement for an entity that was no longer being used and the entity has been removed from the main solution, therefore the new organization doesn't contain this entity.
Once this privilege was removed and the Site Map imported back into the organization, we were error free!
Hopefully this can save someone from a lot of troubleshooting time if you run into a similar error.
We are excited to announce the release of the DefenseReady Daily Standup app on the Windows 8 App Store!
DefenseReady is a Dynamics CRM solution built by Permuta Technologies, Inc. that provides DoD and DHS organizations out-of-the-box mission-enabling solutions for Force Readiness, Mission Execution and Training Management. Developed jointly by Sonoma Partners and Permuta, the Daily Standup app provides military commanders and leadership real-time insight into PERSTEMPO and strength levels throughout their organizations. The app will be available for free to users of DefenseReady.
The app also has a built-in Demo Mode so even if you are not currently a DefenseReady customer, you can still check it out!
The Daily Standup app will default to the PERSTEMPO view. PERSTEMPO stands for Personnel Tempo which is the amount of days a troop has been away from home. A column will be displayed for every child unit of the selected unit as well as the individuals for the selected unit. Four ranges of PERSTEMPO are used to visualize the breakdown of each unit and individual. A unit column can then be selected to drill into that unit and see its child units and individuals.
The strength view displays how many positions are needed and how many are filled. This helps monitor if the organization is under or over staffed. The Strength view is shown by Rank or by Skill and each one is represented by a bullet chart. The gray background bard represents the number of positions needed while the solid blue bar indicates the number of occupied positions. The light gray bar indicates a 25% overage range. The value and percentage to the right of the chart show the amount of occupied positions.
The map view uses Bing Maps to display where troops are currently located as well a past and future locations. The map will group the troops by location and display the number of troops in that location. The Projection slider can be used to visualize troop locations in the past or future.
The follow-up list can be displayed from the application bar. The list will display any open waivers or tasks. Waivers are used to get approval from a superior to go ahead and deploy a troop that has a high PERSTEMPO score. Tasks can be used to flag a certain individual or a unit and take any notes which will be sent to the DefenseReady system.
I highly recommend checking out this app to see the ease of use and the power of DefenseReady. It also displays the great potential of mobility with Dynamics CRM. If your organization is looking to bring a powerful new app to the Windows 8 store, let Sonoma Partners help. Contact us at email@example.com.
For more information about DefenseReady or to schedule a demo, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Today's guest blogger is Luke Simpson, a Technical Architect at Sonoma Partners.
This is the 3rd in my series on Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) with salesforce.com. If you haven’t read the first two posts, I definitely encourage you to do that. You can find the 1st post here and the 2nd post here. The last two posts have covered CTI in a general sense and the CTI Adapter implementation method specifically. In this final post, let’s evaluate the Open CTI framework that was introduced in the Summer ’12 release for salesforce.com.
As I mentioned in my last post, the name of this series is ‘CTI is Not Just for the Big Guys Anymore’. As the name implies, everyone is considering CTI today. When a consumer interacts with a call center today, she or he expects a personalized experience. Social Media has spoiled us to the idea that if you are trying to sell me something, you should understand my specific situation instantly and be able to adapt to it. So having all of the customer information immediately at a service representatives fingertips is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is a ‘must have’. This also becomes an area where organizations can differentiate themselves based upon the level of personalization that they can provide to the call experience. This is where the Open CTI framework proves to be a difference maker, in the way the UI can be customized while lowering maintenance costs.What is so Different About Open CTI?
In Figure 1, below, we can see the standard architecture for a CTI desktop adapter prior to Open CTI. The caller is routed from the CTI Server through the salesforce.com CTI adapter to the agent. The adapter, which is prebuilt and installed on each client machine, performs all routing between the systems. Most CTI desktop adapters are configurable to a point, and salesforce.com does an excellent job of providing the ability to configure the softphone within the salesforce.com UI to display a fairly large variety of entities and fields when a call is received or made.
figure 1 - courtesy Gautam Vasudev
If you would like more detail about the Open CTI architecture, I would encourage you to read Gautam Vasudev’s post on CTI integrations in the cloud here. Gautam does a great job explaining the technical benefits and considerations.Customization Detail is Greatly Increased
Because Open CTI is a framework, each organization has the ability to modify the UI of the softphone to an incredible level of detail. When using the softphone that is available to a desktop adapter, the basic UI cannot be modified. Organizations can choose what entities and fields should be displayed, but there is no way to modify color schemes, phone layout, menus or to integrate data from other systems. Compare the two images below, figures 3 & 4. In Figure 3 we see the standards salesforce.com softphone that must be used with the desktop CTI adapter. In figure 4, compare the layout of the demo Open CTI softphone layout
The softphone displayed in figure 4 is an entirely custom HTML5 pages that interacts with the CTI server via the Open CTI framework. Obviously the example is fairly simple: 1) We have a dropdown that can be set by the user to show current status; 2) a menu bar that allows the user to select options, dial out or search a help page; 3) A Search dialog to look for contacts in the system; 4) A list of recently people recently contacted. The Action buttons located to the left of the Contact names allow the user to answer an incoming call or dial out with a single click.
The possibilities for customizations within this framework are outstanding! Any information that you have which is accessible via the web is now available to be displayed within your softphone. So you have information not currently stored within salesforce.com, but that you want the user to have the ability to see within the context of a call, you can retrieve it. An example of this would be for current account balances. It would be incredibly advantageous to an organization to allow users to see a flag of account status based upon the current balance immediately on the initiation of a call. Often many customer issues can be resolved with a simple piece of information such as notifying that a credit card has expired, that a bill is overdue, or on the bright side that a credit is owed back to the customer.
In addition to the customization options, Open CTI still provides the organization with basic CRM integration that we have come to expect. Screens automatically opening to a Contact or Case record, options to change status or open a new Case? All of these and more are available through the framework.
click to expandPro’s & Con’s
Open CTI is not without its challenges, and it is understand the differences between the two approaches:
The first obvious difference between the Open CTI framework and the desktop adapter is the UI. Open CTI is incredibly customizable, but begins as a blank slate. An implementer will need to spend time considering the layout of the softphone, the various buttons & menus, etc. The desktop adapter, on the other hand, provides a softphone UI that is ready to deploy out of the box. The limitation to this is that you have much less capability of modifying this pre-built UI. Also, while the desktop adapter only requires configuration, the Open CTI framework requires custom code to customize and setup the UI. This means that the skillsets needed to deploy an Open CTI softphone need to be far more technical than those needed for the desktop adapter.
Another difference comes in the architectural requirements for each method. While the desktop adapter requires a small application to be installed on each client machine that Open CTI does not require, the Open CTI framework requires a web server to host the pages that interact with salesforce.com. Those pages may be deployed within salesforce.com as an application, but that would then require testing and architectural support for communications between the application and the telephony server through whatever firewalls and security are deployed. The desktop adapter does not require a web server, and is designed to communicate directly with the telephony provider.
In addition to the architectural and customization differences, Open CTI requires the implementer to consider authentication and security when designing the solution. As the softphone is a custom HTML5 web page, organizations will need to determine what security concerns must be addressed within the application, and then create solutions to those potential issues, prior to deployment.I’m Interested in Implementing CTI Within my Salesforce.com Deployment, Which Way Should I go?
Without trying to sound like a Consultant, “That depends on what you need!” Sonoma Partners has a long history of helping organizations determine the right solutions for you specific problems and then helping do solve those problems. Whether you are a small firm looking to integrate your phone and CRM system for the first time, or a Fortune 500 that would like to catch the wave of the next big thing in the Salesforce.com customer experience, we would love to help. Hopefully this series has helped you to understand a little bit of the options that are available to you. If you have any questions regarding the use of CTI or the Service Cloud, please reach me at email@example.com.
Microsoft recently provided an update on the support lifecycle for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Mainstream Support for Dynamics CRM 4.0 has ended, and it is now in Extended Support which goes until 4/10/2018. What this means is that CRM will continue to be supported through 2018, but there will be no special treatment unless you pay.
For the most part, this will have little impact as paid support (support plans, Pay Per Incident, Premier hourly, etc.) will continue as before with no changes. The biggest change is the removal of non-security hotfix support (except for customers who purchase an Extended Hotfix Agreement) and design change requests. Except in very limited circumstances, there will be no new hotfixes generated for Dynamics CRM 4.0 except the currently in-progress 4.0 fixes.
If you want to sign up for the Extended Hotfix Agreement, you need to have a Premier Support Agreement in place (or you need sign up for one if you don’t have one already).
What is the difference between Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and online self-help support for software products? The table below provides this information:
|Support provided||Mainstream Support phase||Extended Support phase|
|Paid support (per-incident, per hour, and others)||X||X|
|Security update support||X||X|
|Non-security hotfix support||X||Requires extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending.|
|No-charge incident support||X|
|Design changes and feature requests||X|
|Product-specific information that is available by using the online Microsoft Knowledge Base||X||X|
|Product-specific information that is available by using the Support site at Microsoft Help and Support to find answers to technical questions||X||X|
The table below shows a full grid of the different Dynamics CRM versions and the current support that is being offered (or not offered in some cases) per version.
Lifecycle Start Date
Mainstream Support End Date
Extended Support End Date
No longer supported
No longer supported
Dynamics CRM 3.0
In Extended Support
Dynamics CRM 4.0
In Extended Support
Dynamics CRM 2011
In Mainstream Support
More details on the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy can be found through this link.
Our new Sonoma Partners Community is now LIVE! To access the site, click here or “Community” on the Sonoma Partners website toolbar.
Check out the key areas of our community site:
- Blog – find countless articles on MSFT Dynamics CRM and SalesForce.com lessons learned, trends, and Sonoma Partners solutions
- Applications – download and access help for all of our free solutions and apps
- Forums – post and browse discussions and issues related to our products
- Ideas – search and provide suggestions for product enhancements
Today's guest blogger is Cherish Orozco, a Consultant at Sonoma Partners
Universal Search is now working again for all CRM Dynamics Online customers!
As many of you know, Microsoft deployed a patch to CRM Online late February which adversely affected two supported functions used by Universal Search – Xrm.Utility.openWebResource (used to open the Universal Search page) and Xrm.Utility.openEntityForm (used to open the results records). Mid-March, Microsoft provided a fix for the first function. This allowed online customers to launch the Universal Search page, but still prevented users from opening up the results records. Last week, Microsoft deployed a fix for the second function, Xrm.Utility.openEntityForm, to all geographies. We have confirmed that Universal Search should now be working again for all CRM Online customers. NOTE: On premise Dynamics customers were not affected by any of these changes.
If you have any additional issues or questions regarding Universal Search, please visit our Community Site Forum for Universal Search.
Today's guest blogger is Cherish Orozco, a Consultant at Sonoma Partners
We have just released a new version of the Sonoma Partners Dynamic Forms-Community Edition – 22.214.171.124938. Click here to download.
This version includes the following updates:
- Fixed bugs associated with calculation and hiding actions.
- Fixed minor cosmetic issues in configuration page.
- Improved behavior with saving and publishing records.
- Removed all dependencies to the 4.0 endpoints.
If you already have the Dynamic Forms Community Edition installed, please be aware of the following:
- Be sure to choose Overwrite Customizations when installing the updated solution.
- If you already have rules in your environment, they will not be affected by this new version. You do not need to delete or recreate those rules. You can simply install the updated solution on top of what you already have and the rules should be visible to you in the Dynamic Forms configuration page as they were before.
We hope that you continue to find Dynamic Forms to be a useful tool in your Dynamics CRM environment. For issues, questions, and suggestions, please visit our Community Forum for Dynamic Forms.
Update Rollup 13
Update Rollup 13 was released last week. This update provides long-awaited support for Windows Server 2012 as well as support for ADFS 2.1. The important thing to note here is that to install CRM 2011 on Windows Server 2012, a setup update is required first which won’t be available until April 9th. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn167638.aspx
Head here for the download.
A new version of the SDK was released last week as well. This update provides new DLLs that are compatible with UR 13 as well as CRM Online. Also worth noting is a new version of the Metadata Browser that adds new properties from UR 12.
Important new design considerations were added to the SDK for the new Auto Save feature in CRM Online as well. Microsoft explains that the reason for moving to an auto save is to keep consistency with modern applications and that it can’t be disabled or configured. Although I like the option of having auto save for advanced users, it would be nice to configure the behavior as I think this could be an abrupt change for users who have been using CRM for awhile now.
Also listed is a very important note to customizers and developers explaining that each auto save is considered an update so workflows, plug-ins and auditing will trigger each time. With that being said, the filtering attributes in plug-ins and workflows will be even more important so that they trigger only when specific fields are updated.
The following excerpt was taken from this page in the SDK - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh913610.aspx.
Modern applications are moving to an implicit save model. The updated forms introduce this behavior in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Auto save is not configurable. You cannot disable it or change the behavior. There is no save button. The auto save control appears in the bottom right area of the updated form and has the following behaviors:
- When creating a new record there is a Create button in the command bar.
- Auto save does not apply until the record is created.
- After the first edit of the form, auto save occurs every 30 seconds.
- Auto save retrieves any changes to the record and displays them without reloading the form.
- Only data that has been changed since the last save are saved.
- The field currently being edited is not saved.
- Command bar actions like New, Close, or Qualify saves the record.
- Closing the form saves the record.
Each time auto save occurs, it is considered an update to the record. Plug-ins, workflows, and auditing of records will treat each update as a separate event. Developers and creators of workflows need to consider the impact this will have on the business logic included in their plug-ins and workflows. Rather than triggering business logic on each update, you should include conditions to check the values of specific fields in the update to initiate your logic so that they won’t occur indiscriminately with each update.
Below is the full release history taken from the MSDN page - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn130122.aspx
|New and updated topics||Description of changes|
Updated the assemblies for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 13. These assemblies are also compatible with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
Updated the readme for this version of the SDK package.
Browse the Metadata for Your Organization
Updated the metadata browser so that the HasChanged and RelationshipType properties added in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 12 and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 Service Update can be viewed.
Added the Auto Save Control for Updated Forms section to provide more details about the auto save control behavior.
Added to the remarks for the Targets property to indicate that the attribute is not supported if the Targets property is null.
Updated the topic to provide examples of valid values for this element.
Added the description “For internal use only.” for the phone value added in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 12 and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 Service Update.
Updated the list of walkthroughs. Added links to the sample code and walkthrough categorized views on the Developer Center on MSDN. Added a section for links to other developer resources and social media.
Added more information to the OnChange Event section about when this event occurs.
Added a new sample to Controls Collection showing how to use the attribute controls collection to show or hide all the controls for an attribute.
Finally, head here for the latest SDK download.
Here at Sonoma Partners we have created a group focused on charity called Sonoma Cares. Sonoma Cares will be giving back on a quarterly basis through donations and volunteering.
Last week a group of Sonomans went up to the Inspiration Cafe in Chicago to help out with their dinner service. The Inspiration Cafe is a part of the wonderful Inspiration Corporation and they provide restaurant-style meals to homeless or poor men, women and families in a therapeutic community that promotes dignity and respect. Half of our group cooked up some delicious beef tacos, rice and beans, as well as an array of desserts while the other half served.
We had a blast and we’ll definitely be going back in the near future. The Inspiration Cafe is always looking for volunteers for a variety of jobs so if you’re in the Chicago area, check them out and head here to sign up!
Today's guest blogger is BJ Dibbern, a Senior Developer at Sonoma Partners.
There are a bunch of scenarios where you might want to debug plug-ins in CRM 2011 where at first glance it may not seem feasible. Need to debug while others are debugging? Need to debug sandboxed plug-ins? Plug-ins for CRM Online? Plug-ins that are registered in a production environment? All of these scenarios have a valid solution, and one that is not that hard to achieve.
Enter the Plug-in Profiler. Long story short, it lets you debug plug-ins offline. While you may have heard of the Plug-in Profiler before, you may not have considered it for your situation. This may be because it’s not as readily advertised as the standard debugging process of un-sandboxed plug-ins in a local on-premise deployment. Hopefully this post will help you have a better understanding of why the Plug-in Profiler is a great tool, and how it may be able to help you in the future.
First things first, you need to ensure that you have the latest and greatest version of the Plug-in Registration Tool which is included in the Dynamics CRM 2011 SDK. You can grab the latest version of it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=24004. If you have an older copy of the Plug-in Registration Tool, you may not be able to see the Plug-in Profiler as it was introduced in version 5.0.5 of the SDK. In the latest releases of the SDK, you should find the Plug-in Registration tool in the Bin folder of the SDK download.
I’m going to assume in this post that you are familiar with the Plug-in Registration Tool already and know how to connect to an environment. If not, please see this article for more information: Walkthrough: Register a Plug-in Using the Plug-in Registration Tool.
Now let’s follow through the few basic steps of debugging a plug-in with the Plug-in Profiler.
- Connect to your target environment.
- If you have not already, register a plug-in and step in the target CRM environment. Ensure that you keep a copy of the debug version of the plug-in assembly on the computer where you are running the tool – this is needed to use the Profiler.
- In the main toolbar of the Registration Tool, select Install Profiler. This will take a few minutes to complete as it installs a solution to your target environment. You can uninstall the solution at anytime without any worry.
Now we can enable profiling on a plug-in step. To do so, select a plug-in step (not a plug-in class) and click on the Profile button (highlighted below).
- In the dialog that presents, the defaults are fine for most use cases. Click OK.
- Back in CRM, perform an action that causes an exception to occur in the plug-in step you are profiling. You will be presented with a Business Process Error dialog box. Note the key difference here is that the exception is not immediately visible in the dialog. Instead the error detail actually contains the profile the tools uses to allow you to playback execution.
- Click the Download Log File button and save the details to your computer. This is the profile that the Profiler will use to allow you to playback execution.
- Open your Visual Studio solution and attach to debut the process named PluginRegistration.exe and set your desired break point in the code.
- Back in the Plug-in Registration Tool, click the Debug button, the below dialog will be presented.
- In the Step #1 box, browse to the file we downloaded in step 7.
- In the Step #2 box, browse to the location of the debug version of your plug-in assembly. The plug-in type (field labeled “Plug-in”) should default if you’ve selected the correct log. Note that if you get an error here stating it could not parse the organization service fault, that you probably don’t have profiling enabled correctly.
- Once you’re ready to debug, click the Start Plug-in Execution button on the dialog. This will allow you to step through your plug-in as you would normally when attached to the actual service.
Note that while it’s an awesome and powerful tool, the Profiler isn’t perfect. One thing to be aware of: errors with partial trust do not seem to be caught when attached to the profiler. You will need to debug those another way. You’ll notice that in playback of these types of issues, the profiler will throw an exception (generally on service calls) basically telling you that you’ve stepped through the execution past the point where the actual exception occurred.
Other than that one caveat however, the tool is excellent and I highly recommend checking it out.
Microsoft announced the acquisition of Yammer back in June of 2012, and rumors spread throughout the blogosphere about what that possibly could mean for their suite of products, including Dynamics CRM. Recently we all found out.
A handful of features trickled out for CRM Online after the December Update or Polaris release. Both the iPad Sales Experience and now an integration with Yammer were released in what we’re calling “Polaris Plus”. These two new features, along with the Polaris release, are available for CRM Online only. These components should be available for On Premise deployments when Orion is released later in 2013.
We recently got our hands on an CRM Online org with the Yammer integration, and wanted to share our thoughts.
First off, you must have a Yammer Enterprise account to be able to enable the Yammer integration with CRM. I can see this requirement going away in the future, but for now, the Enterprise account needs to be obtained first which comes with a $3 per user per month price tag.
Another important thing to note is that if you enable the Yammer integration, then Activity Feeds for user posts go away. Activity Feeds are still used for system posts, but for user posts, Yammer will replace the Activity Feeds that used to display. Also, once you enable Yammer, you cannot disable it and go back to using Activity Feeds for user posts. Therefore, be absolutely sure you want to update your organization to integrate with Yammer before you do so.
One limitation is that there currently is no migration plan to move the old Activity Feed User Posts to Yammer User Posts. User posts in Activity Feeds will still be in the CRM database, but will not display in the CRM UI.
To enable the Yammer integration, in CRM go to Settings –> Administration –> Yammer Configuration. Enter in your enterprise account details and you should be good to go.
When individual users hit a Yammer page for the first time in CRM, they’ll be prompted to log in. The Yammer email address used to log in must match their CRM User’s email address
Yammer has a similar look and feel to many other popular social networking sites such as Facebook so the user adoption should be very high. Some of the features that you can perform with Yammer within CRM are:
- Like and reply to messages
- See where the message was created from
- Click on the thread to view within Yammer.com
- Preview docs, download docs, and even add comments to certain documents (such as Word) that other users will see when they preview the document.
- Follow / Unfollow specific records (e.g., Opportunities) from CRM – This will automatically follow and unfollow the record in Yammer
- Post to specific Yammer Groups or Users
- Mention Users in posts using @
Some limitations of Yammer, and and functionality you currently cannot do within CRM with Yammer, but you can do on Yammer.com are:
- Upload documents to posts
- No migration path currently defined for old User Posts in Activity Feeds to the new Yammer User Posts
- View Recent Activity (e.g., who’s followed records recently
- Creating Polls
- Praising another Yammer User
- Following / Unfollowing in Yammer does not automatically follow and unfollow the record in CRM
- Yammer search (searches conversations, people, groups, files, and different pages that are created in CRM)
- Yammer posts will not appear when viewing CRM on an iPad (only system posts will show). However, you can use the Yammer iPad app to get around this current limitation.
- Yammer only supports English.
- Cannot reply / like System Posts (if Activity Feeds are used instead of Yammer, this functionality is available)
- “More” options on conversations (Add Topics, Stop Following, View Conversation, Bookmark, Email Me, Delete)
- Cannot mention records on posts, only other users (if Activity Feeds are used instead of Yammer, this functionality is available)
- No Lync integration currently with Yammer
The Post Configurations are still used to enable / disable an entity for Yammer. Certain entities cannot have Yammer enabled against them (e.g., Appointment, Phone Call, Recurring Appointment, Dialog Session). Remember that after you enable / disable an entity from the Post Configurations, you need to publish the entity for the changes to stick. Post Rule Configurations are still used for Auto Posts as well (e.g., Opportunity is Won). Workflow rules can be created to create Auto Posts as well, but for now, these will only be displayed in CRM and not in Yammer.
A huge benefit of the Yammer integration is that now external users of your CRM environment can see posts created from CRM, and also respond to them. Therefore you can send out information about product updates through Yammer, and see responses that come back from clients, partners, etc. that have access to your Yammer account. You can view and create Yammer posts from CRM, Yammer.com, or any mobile device like an iPad or iPhone (Yammer supports Windows Phone, iOS, Android, and Blackberry). The posts will even tell you what the source of the message was so you can see who frequently uses a certain medium over another.
Here’s how the same post looks in CRM, Yammer.com, and the Yammer iPad app:
In case you run into any issues with your Yammer to CRM integration, there are a couple things to try initially.
- Visit http://status.yammer.com (Yammer’s site status)
- Verify your CRM URL and Yammer.com are in the same security zone (e.g., Trusted Sites)
All in all this integration with a social networking site such as Yammer is a big step forward for Microsoft and should close a gap that was missing for some time. As the integration matures and additional releases of CRM are made public, I can see a lot of the limitations listed above become features within CRM. Therefore, I feel things can only get better from what should be a huge improvement to their previous solution.
The Convergence 2013 Keynote kicked off Tuesday with some exciting news of a new version of MarketingPilot that has a new UI with a Windows 8 look and feel as well as the ability to integrate seamlessly with CRM. Microsoft then announced a Netbreeze acquisition for social tracking and analytics seamlessly within CRM as well as unveiling a glimpse into a Sales Experience app for Windows 8.
Sales Experience Windows 8 App
Towards the end of the keynote, Fred Studer gave a great demo with Revlon on a Sales Experience app for Windows 8. They talked about a “tablet view of the world” that only focuses on what the sales teams need and not the other “noise” in the system.
The landing page is shown below, allowing easy and quick access to key information, accounts, tasks and account performance.
Drilling into an account displays important information such as related tasks, notes, stakeholders and cases.
Fred noted that the Contoso account had a related task to call Reuben to discuss a new product launch. Fred was quickly and easily able to click a Phone icon on Reuben’s contact information from the Contoso account to launch a Skype call with Reuben. He was then able to dock the Skype call to the left while writing notes against the Contoso account based on their conversation. Very slick!
Fred then jumped right into a Netbreeze demo. He drilled into a campaign which showed an overview of “Share of voice” which displays how the campaign is doing by language, channel and docs.
Fred then drilled into the sentiment for a product. The sentiment displays how well people are responding to campaigns.
Drilling down even further, you can look at individual tweets which are highlighted based on positive or negative feedback. Positive feedback is highlighted in green as shown below, while product names are highlighted in yellow. This will be a very powerful tool for measuring your campaigns and provide the ability to quickly react to the responses of your campaigns.
Fred then announced that everyone who has CRM will be able to get this as part of the product, great news!
So there you have it, another Convergence in the books! Overall we are pleased with the new announcements and we can’t wait to get our hands on the new functionality. The social tracking should be a great addition to help with campaign management while a Sales Experience app will help power sales teams with everything they need to succeed and grow the company.
At this week’s Convergence conference, Jujhar Singh (Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager of Program Management) presented a session titled “Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Product Recap & Roadmap Primer”. Being software geeks, of course we wanted to learn as much as possible about the product roadmap so that we can share it with our customers. Fortunately, Microsoft posted all of their Convergence sessions online so that we can really study the presentation, take screenshots, etc. Love it! Here are our notes summarizing Jujhar’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM roadmap session.
High Level Product Roadmap
This slide below outlines the key Microsoft Dynamics CRM releases. We have already spent a lot of time detailing Polaris, and the Polaris Updates related to Yammer and mobile iPad support so we won’t go into those details again. The more interesting stuff (to us) is what’s coming in the future! In particular, let’s talk about the Gemini release which is the release associated with the Marketing Pilot functionality.
Side note, this slide references “BCM” and “Orion MKT”…we assume BCM means Business Contact Manager but we are not sure what that has to do with the Dynamics CRM product roadmap. I would guess that Orion MKT is marketing-related but again we have not heard that codename before. It seems like a good guess would be that this is related to the Netbreeze acquisition? Jujhar didn’t talk to either of these, so we’re left with a little mystery there.
The slide above shows Gemini releasing right at the end of March / early April so we expect to see it shortly! Microsoft announced the Marketing Pilot acquisition back in October 2012. Marketing Pilot offers integrated marketing management capabilities, complete from asset tracking to email marketing automation.
More exciting to us was that Microsoft showed Marketing Pilot functionality in action. Here are some screenshots showing a campaign and email blast. Please note that these screenshots show email tracking (open, clicks, etc) along with email creation. This is great news because in the past this type of functionality required 3rd party ISV’s.
If you pay careful attention during the demos, you can see more of Marketing Pilot functionality areas flash by. With our quick trigger finger (!!) taking screenshots, we can see they are:
- Marketing Execution
- Assets & Media
Orion is the next product release after Gemini, and Jujhar’s slide shows it coming sometime in the “second half of 2013”. We could try and interpolate where in the second half it might land based on their line, but I think that is a little nuts even for us. Jujhar outlined the main development themes of Orion.
Jujhar gave some quick demos to give a flavor of what the Orion user experience will be like. He really emphasized the “single window” experience to reduce/eliminate the number of pop-up windows that appear. Yes!
This shows how to navigate from one area to another (moving from “Sales” to “Service” for example).
This screenshot shows how users can access recently used records.
This shows how users would access related records (such as Activities and Contacts related to an Account).
After talking through the new Orion UI, Jujhar spent a few minutes talking about mobility updates. The Orion mobile highlights include:
- Mobile client application for Sales (Windows 8 and iPad)
- Mobile browsing client for iPad for all entities (not just Sales like it is today)…plus this will be available for on-premise customers too!
After mobile, Jujhar talked through some of the planned Business Process updates. “Business Process” generally refers to the record header outlined below. Jujhar mentioned the following updates are coming for Business Processes:
- It will be available across multiple entities, including custom entities
- It will not be hard-coded anymore
- It will be solution aware
Post – Orion
Lastly, Microsoft outlined some of the areas that the product roadmap will address post-Orion. These releases have been mentioned in the past as “Leo” and “Vega” but they are not called out on the roadmap slide above…so guessing the release timing will be very difficult!
Lots of great stuff and innovation are planned for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including a total revamp of the user interface for Orion and beyond. Also great to see that Microsoft plans to support Android phones in the future as well.
The Sonoma Partners team has landed in New Orleans and we’re ready to take the city and Convergence by storm. We’ve got a great group of Sonomans on site in New Orleans this week as well as a decent sized booth in the Expo Hall. We have a lot of folks from the sales team, but also a few folks from the delivery side, and a few executives all whom are excited to meet with you and discuss some of the products we’ve built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform. Please swing by and visit us at booth # 616 in the Expo Hall.
If you weren’t able to see my colleague Jacob Cynamon-Murphy’s session Monday afternoon, we encourage you to stop by the booth as we have a bunch of great mobility products to show off. Our messaging and areas of focus this year are Enterprise Mobility and Professional Services. Therefore we’ve showed up with a slew of devices loaded with some red hot applications that our team of expert developers have been working on over the past couple of years. We’ll even have one of our senior developers on site who worked on an app for Permuta Technologies that runs on the Windows 8 device so swing by and be prepared with questions to try and stump us!
We have the following applications on a variety of Windows and iOS devices (IdeaPad Yoga 11, ASUS Taichi 21, Samsung ATIV, Dell Latitude 10, Surface Pro, iPad/Mini) that we’re ready to show off. These apps vary between applications that we built to address specific customer needs,
- Permuta Technologies – Manage Troop Readiness Levels (Windows 8)
- New Belgium Brewery - Field Sales and Quality Management (Windows 8)
- ABB Concise – Field Sales and Appointment Management (iOS)
- Medline – Field Sales and Appointment Management (iOS)
We’re excited to get the chance to speak with you and show off all the cool tools we’ve been busy building, as well as hearing updates from Microsoft throughout the week. With Microsoft’s recent releases, we’re excited to hear more about their Mobile direction, MarketingPilot integration, changes to the CRM UI with enhanced forms, and much more!
We're super excited to announce that the first-ever Convergence Mobile Party App is now available! We designed this app to be platform independent - meaning you can run it on your iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, or any other mobile device.
What does it do?
- Shows you all parties happening at Convergence
- Provides party details, including any registration links
- Lets you know which parties your friends are interested in
It's perfect for people who are looking for parties to attend, and designed for party organizers to make their public events advertised (for free, of course!) to the Convergence attendees.
How Do I Get it?
- Visit www.convergenceparty.com from your mobile device
- Log in using Twitter or LinkedIn
- Enter your company name and email
That's it! From there you can check out all of the bashes going on during Convergence from March 17-21.
Have a managed solution that you love but the ribbon and site map are not translated for your required languages? You came to the right spot! Thanks to my colleague Nick Coolidge, with a few easy steps you can have any custom ribbon buttons or site map links translated in minutes.
Create a New Solution
- Create a new Solution (Settings –> Solutions –> New).
- Add the Application Ribbons and/or Site Map to the solution.
- Export the solution as unmanaged
Extract and Edit the XML
- After the solution has been exported, extract the customizations.xml to edit it.
- For each supported language, add a Title to each LocLabel section. *NOTE: Make sure to include the base English (1033) version and one to match your organization’s base language.
Re-Import the Solution
- In CRM, navigate back to the Solutions grid (Settings -> Solutions) and re-import the solution.
- Click Import
- Browse for and select your solution file.
- Hit next twice. The solution will import.
- Then hit Publish All Customizations once it imports successfully.
- Clear browser cache and reload CRM. Your label changes should show up in the ribbon.
This is the 2nd in a 3-part series covering Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) with Salesforce.com. If you haven’t read the first post yet, I encourage you to do so and you can find that post here. In today’s post, I am going to be doing a brief walkthrough of 1 of the 2 main options for integrating your telephone system with Salesforce.com. This method has been around for quite a few years now, and is a desktop adapter that is installed on each client machine. This software then runs behind the scenes and acts as an intermediary between the telephony server and your Salesforce.com instance.
The name of this series is ‘CTI is Not Just for the Big Guys Anymore’. So, if you aren’t a ‘Big Guy’, what key items of functionality might keep you from attempting a CTI project? Obviously, the first would be budget! Small and Mid-Tier businesses definitely need to get the greatest value for their IT dollars. Second, typically you need a system that can be maintained by you! I work for a consulting firm and I am quite aware of the need for specialized knowledge and experience, especially when embarking into new territory. However, at some point the organization needs to be able to manage the system themselves without perpetually engaging outside help.
This is where the Salesforce.com vision and approach to CTI becomes a key differentiator. Salesforce has created a solution by which you may integrate practically any telephony provider with your CRM system. By using the Softphone functionality that is embedded within Salesforce.com, the Force.com platform allows organizations to quickly configure the appearance and functionality of the end-user experience. Additionally, it allows you to configure the way the screen appears depending on the type of call (Incoming/Outgoing/Internal). And it does all of this without requiring ANY code.
Installing the Adapter
CTI desktop adapters for Salesforce.com must be designed to integrate with the specific telephony system that you use in your business. This means that just as there are many different telephone systems, there are many different adapters. Several of these can be found on the AppExchange that Salesforce provides for partners to deliver add-on services. All of them run as an installer on your client desktops and require a minimal amount of configuration to set them up. Because there are so many, I will choose not to get into the detail of describing each of them, and instead focus on the thing that they have in common: the Softphone. The Softphone is a component within Salesforce.com that provides users with an interface for making and answering phone calls, as well as jotting notes about the call. As I said above, the Softphone with Salesforce.com allows a great deal of configurability in the way you want your users to interact with the phone and CRM system. It is the primary user interface for call center users or service users when interacting with customers.
Configuring the Softphone
Salesforce provides for a great degree of configuration when displaying your softphone, and I won’t be able to go over them all, but here are the key points:
You can modify the information that is displayed to users by editing the Softphone Layout. You do this by navigating to Setup -> Customize -> Call Center -> Softphone Layouts. Here you select the layout that you wish to modify, as show to the right. In this screenshot, I only have a single layout to modify.
(click to enlarge)
Once you have entered the Layout Editor, the administrator is provided with a series of options for modifying the layout of the softphone. As you can see from the image below, the configuration page also provides a real-time Preview of what the softphone will look like depending on the context of the call. In this example, we are modifying the Inbound call type to display the Caller ID and Dialed Number, as passed through from the telephony system.
(click to enlarge)
The ability to configure the softphone to display practically any object or field within Salesforce.com within the context of the call is where we get our true value. In this example, the softphone searches the Contact, Account, Lead and Case objects for the phone number in question. If a match is found, we can configure the system to display whichever fields we deem valuable.
I don’t want to search for Leads within my call center, so I’ll drop that object. Simply select Lead in the Selections box and click the remove button.
(click to enlarge)
If a Case is found, I want to make sure that the Priority of the case is displayed. So you simply expand the bullet for ‘If a single Case found, display:’ and perform the same action in reverse. Find the Priority field under ‘Available’ and click the Add button.
(click to enlarge)
Administrators also have the ability to set a series of parameters that control how Salesforce.com manages specific scenarios related to phone calls:
(click to enlarge)
As you can see, you can control whether Screen Pops open within the current window or open a new window. You can also direct Salesforce.com on what actions to take depending on No-Match, Single-Match or Multiple-matching records
User configured options
System Administrators aren’t the only ones who get to configure how the softphone works. Individual users have certain capabilities at their disposal to individualize the system as well.
Users may navigate to Setup then under Personal Setup: Call Center Settings à My Softphone Settings. Here the user can set Salesforce.com to automatically log them into the call center when opening Salesforce.com. Also, a user can override system settings for when a single record is found and set that record to automatically open or not.
What does it look like when I’m done?
Here are a few shots of what the Softphone looks like in action:
In this screen I have just logged into the system and have not yet identified myself as ready for any calls.
This example shows me answering a call with the softphone configured to automatically pop individual cases. As you can see, Salesforce found two contacts that matched my incoming phone number and so it displays both of them.
(click to enlarge)
This last screenshot was taken after I configured the layout to show the Status and Priority fields on the Case entity. When the call came in, the system automatically popped the appropriate record and shows me the relevant information.
(click to enlarge)
How is the desktop adapter different from Open CTI?
Microsoft recently released their iPad Sales Experience for CRM Online. Existing CRM Online orgs should now have the capability to now turn this on by Installing Product Updates. However, new customers that signup for CRM Online will have this functionality enabled by default. After you install the product updates or signup for a new Online org, you’ll be able to see the enhanced iPad Sales Experience on your iPad by simply hitting the website in Safari.
We were able to get our hands on this functionality and play around with it a bit and wanted to share some thoughts. First off, you can only access this from Safari on an iPad, and you must have iOS6 installed to use it. If you have a lower iOS on your iPad, you’ll be redirected to the Mobile Express UI. For those users who are big fans of Mobile Express and you do have iOS6, there’s an option to launch CRM in the old Mobile Express mode via a link at the top of the page.
As you can see above, a subset of the SiteMap is available on the iPad (including the What’s New and Dashboards). Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity entities are displayed in the SiteMap, and will open up in the new process based forms that were made available in Polaris. You can access other entities in Dashboards and Sub Grids, but not through the SiteMap, and when opening other entities, they’ll open up in either the Read Optimized or Mobile Express UI.
You can modify all types of fields on the iPad including lookup fields. Lookup fields will initially show you the available records in a dropdown fashion. However, you have the option to click Lookup More Records to get a modal lookup dialog that’ll appear overlayed on the CRM window.
You can even work with the Dashboards and Charts similar to how you do within CRM. When on a grid, you can expand the Charts pane to click on a section of the chart, and have your data in the grid automatically refresh for those records that section applies to, and even select a new field and chart type to report on different data. This functionality mimics the web client exactly!
There are some gotchas that you need to be aware of regarding the forms that appear for the native entities. While the COLA entities will usually open up in the enhanced UI, there are scenarios where they’ll open up in Mobile Express, or the Read Optimized mode. There are also scenarios for other native entities and what form mode they’ll open up explained below.
Script on Form
If Mobile Express is disabled, an message will appear stating you cannot view that record on the device
Enhanced UI Form Isn’t the Default
Read Optimized Mode with Inline Edit Capabilities
Enhanced UI Form Isn’t the Default, and Default Form has Script
If Mobile Express is disabled, an message will appear stating you cannot view that record on the device
Enhanced UI Form is Disabled
Read Optimized Mode with Inline Edit Capabilities
Enhanced UI Form is Disabled, and Default Form has Script
If Mobile Express is disabled, an message will appear stating you cannot view that record on the device
Special Native Entities with Ribbon (e.g., Competitor)
Read Optimized Mode with Inline Edit Capabilities
Edit Button doesn’t appear if Mobile Express is disabled
Special Native Entities without Ribbon (e.g., Business Unit)
Do not open on the iPad
Some entities bypass read optimized and go right to mobile express:
- Recurring Appointment
Entities that cannot be displayed on the iPad
- Rollup Query
- Rollup Field
- Marketing List
Do not open on the iPad
A message will appear stating you cannot view that record on the device.
Some of the functionality / limitations of the iPad Sales Experience are:
- Currently limited to just the Contact, Account, Lead, and Opportunity entities, as well as What’s New and Dashboards. With the Orion release and the new UI being applied to all entities, I can see this being extended so that every entity you see when working on your desktop will be available to work on the iPad.
- You can do touch base scroll, but there’s no pinch / zoom capabilities
- SiteMap cannot be modified
- Cannot multi-select in grids
- A maximum of 9 browser tabs can be opened
- Works in Landscape or Portrait mode with the SiteMap being collapsible to allow for more real estate to view your data
- Similar to how the enhanced UI forms work with CRM Online, on the iPad you cannot create new records from sub grids.
- Unable to create Charts / Dashboards / Personal Views
- Unable to add attachments to Notes
- The following items have been removed:
- Getting Started Pane
- Jump Bar
- Gold Bar Notifications
- Home/Most Recently Viewed Records
- Limitations of the New Forms – options removed for the iPad:
- Switch to Classic
- Form Editor
- Process Configuration Editor
Some more information on the iPad for CRM Online is available at the CRM Online Resource Center. Microsoft is making a bigger push in mobility recently, and this iPad Sales Experience is only the tip of the iceberg of where they’ll go over the next year or so. However, if this is any indication of where they’re headed, I for one am pretty excited. The iPad Sales Experience is very slick and a big step up from Mobile Express!
A common request that we hear from our Microsoft Dynamics CRM clients is the ability to quickly edit records directly in the grid, without having to open up each record one at a time to make updates. The great news is that now you can!
Sonoma Partners is pleased to announce the latest and greatest FREE solution available for download. You heard that correct. This solution is absolutely free and just takes a couple minutes to install. The Sonoma Partners Editable Grid for Dynamics CRM 2011 can be downloaded from the our download page. This is available for both CRM Online and CRM OnPrem versions of CRM 2011.
The editable grid solution works with the Lead, Contact, Account, Opportunity, and Case entities out of the box. You can also enable the solution to work with custom entities. Those instructions are detailed on the help documentation for the editable grid solution.
As mentioned above, after downloading the solution, the installation is very simple. Just import the solution using CRM’s native import process and you’re done. After that you’ll notice an Edit Records button in the ribbon of those entities listed above.
Clicking on this button will open up a new window (or tab) that has the editable grid in it. The editable grid that appears will have all the views that are available for that entity (System and Personal) so you can filter between records to edit. The view and data that appear by default is the view and data that was appearing in CRM’s native grid when you clicked the Edit Records button.
After selecting your view to work with, you can update any field that’s editable within CRM. System fields (such as Contact Full Name, Created On, Modified By, etc.) are not editable. Fields that are read only on forms aren’t automatically read only in the editable grids as CRM 2011 allows multiple forms. However, you can even configure additional columns to be read only by using the Editable Grid Settings entity. You’ll need to create one record in this entity per entity that you want to include additional read only fields. Simply enter in the schema name of the entity, and a comma delimited list of field schema names that you want to make read only.
Functionality that’s included with the Sonoma Partners editable grid:
- You can update any field that’s editable (taking in mind the detail in the section above). Changes aren’t saved until you click one of the save buttons.
- You can save the changes and stay on the editable grid, or save and close the editable grid window.
- Any unsaved changes you also have the chance to undo with the Cancel Changes button.
- You can open the records in the native CRM form by clicking the magnifying glass on the far of the grid.
- You can create a new record. This assumes that the view you’re using has all required fields included in it.
- You can change the view using the view selector.
- You can also filter the data more using the down arrow on each column. This is the same filtering that CRM makes available in the native grids.
Grab your FREE copy of the Sonoma Partners Editable Grid from our download page and enjoy!
The CRM SDK v5.0.14 was released yesterday and it includes a new utility as well as some insight into the upcoming Yammer integration.
Solution Down-level Utility
The solution Down-level utility is a brand new tool that has been released in this latest version of the SDK. According to the SDK article:
The Solution Down-level utility is a command-line executable program that exports a managed or unmanaged solution without any dependencies introduced by Update Rollup 12 or the December 2012 Service Update. The exported solution will be compatible with organizations that have installed Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 6.
This utility can only be used with an organization that has Update Rollup 12 or the December 2012 Service Update installed.
The SDK states that this utility should be used whenever you are distributing a solution from an Organization that contains UR 12 or the December 2012 Service Update. The SDK also notes that even if your solution excludes UR 12 and December 2012 Service Update dependent components, you should still use the utility to export the solution as the native solution export may still include some dependencies.
It is best practice to develop your solution using the same version as the environment that it is being released to in order to mimic the environment that it will be used on. In that scenario then this utility will not be necessary as you will be exporting/importing into the same environment version. That being said, with UR 12 solutions that will be distributed to multiple environments of different type, this solution will be necessary for export.
The SDK also contains some exciting new information about the Yammer integration. Yammer is a very powerful tool allowing your internal CRM users to interact with external clients, partners, etc. via the Yammer website.
The article titled “Connect to Yammer” talks about the ability to use Yammer in your CRM Online organization. It states that before you set up a connection to Yammer, you must first create a paid Yammer enterprise account for your organization ($3 per user). Each user must also have a valid Yammer account.
New CRM Online Resource Center articles are referenced in the SDK article as well:
- Installing Yammer: http://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/2011/en-us/online/5.1_osdp/help/source_sf_yammer_install.htm
- Introduction to Yammer: http://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/2011/en-us/online/5.1_osdp/help/source_sf_yammer_intro.htm
- Use Yammer to Collaborate: http://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/2011/en-us/online/5.1_osdp/help/source_sf_yammer_talk.htm