CRM Outlook Profile & CRM Online Trials

February 2, 2015 Leave a comment

I wrote an article for the Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog on how to create a Microsoft Outlook profile for use with a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online trial.  Check it out and watch for my next article on configuring Microsoft Dynamics CRM user settings.


Categories: CRM Outlook Client

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Licensing Highlights

January 14, 2015 2 comments

Although Dynamics CRM licensing is not my forte or passion, I still like to understand the basics.  Given that, I recently spent some time reading through the December 2014 version of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Licensing and Pricing Guide and wanted to share a few highlights that I found of interest. 

One item that caught my attention was the definition associated with Internal and External for CRM Online User Subscription Licensing (USL) and how the licensing is handled.  External, third-party users do not require a license.  They are included in Online subscriptions.  Third party users are those who do not use CRM client applications, are not employees or employees of a company affiliate, are not onsite contractors, vendors or individuals performing business processes on the company’s behalf.  There is a nice graphic in the document that provides further definition:


Additionally, a single USL allows a user to access all Dynamics CRM instances associated with a Online Tenant.  That means that if you use CRM Online non-production (sandbox) instances, users in your production environment have licensing privileges to those instances and do not have to purchase additional licenses.   An important thing to keep in mind is that Online sandbox instances do not have separate storage capacity.   Your non-production instances will consume storage from the same storage as your production.  You’ll want to ensure you plan for that as you roll out your online sandbox deployments. 

Each USL not only allows the associated user to access all other CRM Online production instances in the same tenant but also non-production instances in the same tenant and a CRM OnPremise instance owned by the same company / organization.  That means that if you subscribe to CRM Online, you can purchase a CRM OnPremise server license and your Online users do not need to purchase a Client Access License (CAL).  This is a nice benefit for those companies who have the need to use an Online / OnPremise hybrid deployment scenario. 

While there are three CAL type licenses (Essential, Basic and Professional), there are four USL licenses available: Essential, Basic, Professional, and Enterprise.  There is a good summary description of each license type on pages 6- 8 and a detailed chart of privileges on page 24 – 25. I’ve had some ask me for a use case for the Essential license type and I’ve explained that it is of value for XRM type solutions where only custom entities are used.

Microsoft has ramped up its offering with Dynamics Marketing, Parature, Social Listening, and Unified Service Desk.  Check out pages 8 and 9 for information on the pricing requirements for each service offering. 

Not only are there four levels of license types but there are also four levels of support offerings: Subscription, Enhanced Support, Professional Direct Services, and Premier Services.  Subscription level service is included with each license purchased and also included with trial licenses.  Each level beyond that has an associated cost and benefit.  Page 15 has a good summary of benefits to include the cost for each type.

There is additional information in the guide to include but not limited to Stepping up to higher support plans for existing customers, International Pricelist, different types of Licensing programs like Volume licensing and their related programs, pricing associated with transitioning to the cloud, etc. 

I hope you found this helpful.  In the event that you have licensing questions or need assistance, please reach out to your Microsoft Partner or Microsoft Account Representative.

 Big Disclaimer:  This is my personal interpretation of the document.  You should check with your Microsoft licensing professional to address all Dynamics CRM licensing questions.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 – Hurrah for Curah!

October 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Since Microsoft Dynamics CRM is in preparation and ready for release this year, it is time for a new Curah!  To that end, I’ve begun the task of compiling helpful resources.  You can check it out at

This is a work in progress and I plan to add new links as I discover them.  Feel free to share your favorite CRM 2015 links with me, in comments below, and I will add them to the Curah with a nice big callout to You!


Categories: Uncategorized

Leo Came in with a Roar!

Microsoft called it the Spring Wave but I think Spring Tidal Wave is more appropriate.  Since I’ve been working with Dynamics CRM, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a Service Release this significant.  The feature set and services delivered are both deep and wide.  If this is any indication as to what we can expect going forward, I don’t know about you, but I’m all In!

So where does one begin?  We’ve already seen blog articles popping up that provide an overview of the new features and products, deep dives into specific features and everything in between.  The nice thing is that there is so much fodder in this release that it could and most likely will take several months for the community to digest it.

I thought the best initial contribution I could make is to build out a Curah with links to helpful resources for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SP1 so that is exactly what I did.  Check it out when you have some time and let me know if you have a favorite link you would like added.  I’ll be sure to give you a mention for your contribution.

Now its back to work finding more resources and learning about all the new features and services.


What Should You Expect from an Opportunity & Quote Solution?

April 24, 2014 3 comments

Does your company have a complex inventory model with product and service dependencies that have corresponding business rules, dependencies or other characteristics that are challenging to remember or change?  Do your Opportunities, Quotes and Orders require your users to add several products and / or services from product inventory?  If so, I highly recommend that you take a look at Experlogix .

As your CRM users are probably aware, it can take up to 5 mouse clicks to add an inventory line item to an Opportunity, Quote or Order.  If users need to add 10 items, that equates to 50 mouse clicks or more, plus searching through inventory, remembering to add dependent items, doing manual calculations to identify correct quantities, etc.  What if I told you that your users could generate that same Opportunity or Quote in just 5 clicks or less with no manual calculations required, and users do not have to remember to add the inventory dependencies.  Have I captured your attention?  If so, then read on because that is exactly what this product did for the company where I previously worked.

VisionAIR is a software development company for the Public Safeoty marketplace.  Their Opportunities and Quotes can often be complex due to product / service dependencies and the various calculations required.  Order related CRM records (Opportunities, Quotes, etc.) can contain upward of 50 line items and for more than a year their Sales Team had to manually add all those line items to Opportunity records.  Yes, it is true, the Sales Team generated those records, remembered the line items needed and submitted their quotes for review prior to delivery so calculations could be checked, inventory added if needed, etc.  As you can imagine it was a time intensive task.

Then along came Experlogix and their Sales Staff now generate the same record in CRM with sometimes 10 or less mouse clicks.  Yes, it’s true, from potentially 250 mouse clicks down to 10 ish.  Talk about a nice return on investment, happy users, reliable calculations, more time available to do what Sales people do best, Sell.

Add to the above, a company whose products are Microsoft Certified, fully integrated with Dynamics applications, and you have a winning combination.  Oh and one more thing, the product support team is responsive and provides outstanding service.

You may be wondering why I took a few minutes to blog about Experlogix.  My reason is that I’ve seen Experlogix in action.  I’ve witnessed times where Experlogix made the difference and was a critical part of the CRM implementation project success.  Over the years, I’ve heard stories from other companies who struggle with generating Opportunities and Quotes from CRM so I wanted to share this information in the event that it might help if you are faced with similar challenges.

Need help improving staff productivity, take the effort out of generating Opportunities, Quotes, Orders and / or Service Contracts, give time back to your Sales and Finance team and significantly reduce the possibility of errors on sale’s related deliverables then Experlogix is worth a look.

Online, Offline, Portals


Office 365 Password Expiration Policy

April 23, 2014 1 comment

I recently purchased an Office 365 account and wanted to set the Password Expiration policy to never expire.  I understand that is not necessarily a recommend practice but given the particulars of my scenario, it was ok.

The good news is that it only took about 10 minutes for me to make the change. Having said that, I’ve seen several community posts from people who have struggled with this so I thought I would post the steps:

All of the information you need to set the Password Expiration policy to Never Expire can be found in these articles:

Manage Azure AD using Windows PowerShell

Configure user passwords to never expire

One important step is to ensure you meet the software requirements.  So the first step is to select Review software requirements.  It is important to ensure you have the the correct Microsoft Online Services version.  If you don’t have the right version, you will receive an error when you attempt to install Windows Azure AD Module.  You will need Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant for IT Professionals RTW for the AD Module to work.

One you have Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant for IT Professionals RTW installed and assuming you have a supported Operating System (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012 with the default version of Microsoft .NET Framework and Windows PowerShell).  You should be able to proceed with the Windows Azure AD Module installation.  You have two options:


Select the option that matches your machine.  When the install completes, select the option to save a Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows shortcut on your desktop.  This will make it easy to complete the remaining steps.

After the install completes, select the Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell application from your desktop to open it.



Next we are going to follow the steps outlined in the article Manage Azure AD using Windows PowerShell

The first step is connect to your online service.  You have a couple of choices.  Either enter the following command at the prompt:


Or enter:

$msolcred = get-credential

connect-msolservice -credential $msolcred

For this example, I selected the second option.  You can copy and paste the commands by selecting the Powershell icon from the open program and select edit:


After entering the command, a credential prompt will open. Here you will enter your Office 365 login credentials and select Ok.


At this point, you are connected and can run the password policy scripts.  In this example, I am setting the Password Expiration policy for the Office 365 Organization.  If you want to set the policy at the user level, then you can follow those instructions as provided in the article.

The first script I will run is to set the password expiration policy to Never Expire for all users in the organization.  If you prefer, you can follow the sequence in the article by first checking to see what password expiration policy is set for an individual user or everyone in the organization.  I plan to take that step last because I know what policy is currently set.

Since I want to set the policy for all users in the organization, I will run the following script:

Get-MSOLUser | Set-MsolUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true


Select Enter on your keyboard and the script will complete

Next I will run the script to check the password policy for all users to ensure it was set as expected:

Get-MSOLUser | Select UserPrincipalName, PasswordNeverExpires

After selecting Enter, I can see that the PasswordNeverExpires is set to True for all users as expected:

O365PowerShell_SC 4.14

That is all you need to do to set the Online Service account password for your organization to never expire.

In the event you didn’t notice it in the article, I suggest running the scripts to create a help file and save that to your desktop.  To take that action simply run the following commands and a text file will open that you can save.

new-item c:\MSOLHelp -type directory get-command | Where-Object {$ -like “*msol*”} | format-list | Out-File c:\MSOLHelp\msolcmdlets.txt notepad c:\MSOLHelp\msolcmdlets.txt



Have fun exploring the other things you can do with PowerShell scripts & Office 365.


Update Rollups – Should I or Should I Not, that is the Question

March 24, 2014 4 comments

With the recent release of CRM 2013 Update Rollup 2 aka UR 2, I thought this might be a good time to share what I’ve learned over the years from my experience and the experience of others regarding the deployment of Update Rollups to production.

Here are a few guiding principles that should help to ensure a more smooth rollout of Update Rollups.

Sometimes there can be unexpected issues related to the UR that could break something that is working.  Yes, it does sometimes happen even when the most rigorous regression testing is applied.  Following the tips below should help to ensure you do not experience an unexpected issue.

Read, um read & read one more time.  Update Rollups include fixes to issues.  Also, listen to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Podcast that the Premier Field Engineer team does for each UR.   If you are not experiencing issues that are addressed, it is ok to skip a UR or two.  Keep in mind, sometimes there are hidden gems in the UR, like performance enhancements, so take your time when reading through the list and making your decision.

Turn off automatic updates to the CRM servers.  You’ll want to devise a methodical and tested approach to applying updates to servers.  A methodical approach should include always applying the Update Rollup to a development environment first and ensure end users have fully tested the UR prior to deploying to production.  I recommend creating a test plan that includes a list of test scripts that users are required to run on the test environment.  You should have a ‘base’ list of test scripts to work from and update the list based on the information you glean from the UR.  Add scripts that will test the components referenced in the UR.

Understand that Client side update rollups will automatically be delivered through the Windows Update Service in a week or two after the UR release data.  Therefore, be sure to include tests to the Outlook Client in your scenario.  If you do happen to run across a breaking issue, you can temporarily turn off Windows Updates to the client machines until the issue is addressed.

Taking some time up front to apply a methodical approach to testing Update Rollups could save you some time and frustration if or when something unexpected happens. You can work with a cross functional team made up of IT and CRM end users to create your testing process to included test scripts.  Once you’ve done a couple of these, it will become quite easy.

Be sure to check out the CRM 2013 UR 2 Podcast



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