Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference

I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the first ever Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference.  For those of you not able to attend, we had a panel of four Microsoft MVP’s to include Alex Fagundes, Chris Cognetta, Shan McArthur and me.  Of course, the topic was the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The panel provided a strong mix of both functional and technical areas of expertise.  We discussed and provided clarity regarding things like the new CRM naming convention, update navigation menus, ability to update themes, email tracking flexibility, mobile, transactions at the SDK level, upsert capability, plug-in logging, Microsoft update rollup strategy and how to leverage it to your advantage, and more.

For those of you that missed the session but want to hear what the MVP’s have to share about the new CRM 2015 features, take some time to view the video on Channel 9 and hear what the MVP’s have to say about the 2015 Spring release.

Dynamics CRM MVP’s – Ask the Experts

Check it out and leave comments to let us know what you would like to learn more about in the coming months.  We love your feedback and will take it into consideration for future plans.


Technorati Tags: ,,,,,

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Record Update Enhancement

After watching a video or two about the Dynamics CRM Record Update enhancements, I decided to try out the new features.  The enhancements make updating records in CRM much easier and more seamless so I wanted to share the information with you.  I wrote an article that was posted on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog. 

Check it out when you have a few minutes then try out the new feature and let me know what you think.


Power BI Free Preview for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

In the event you are not aware, you can obtain a preview instance of Power BI for free.  When you go to the Power BI sign-up page it will ask for a work or school email address.  The sign-up process will complain if you try to use a personal email address.  In the event you don’t want to use your work address, you can spin up a CRM trial instance and use that email address to sign up.  That is the approach I took and it worked well.  The nice thing about that approach is that you can connect Power BI to your trial CRM instance with just a few clicks.  Let’s take a look.

After signing in to Power BI you’ll see Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the left navigation window.  When you select it a Connect button will appear.


Select the Connect button and you will be asked to enter your Dynamics CRM OData Service URL which can be found in CRM under Settings, Customizations, Developer Resources.


Copy and paste the OData URL into the Power BI field and select Next.


You’ll be presented with sign-in options.  Select oAuth2 from the list and Power BI will connect to CRM.  The initial data load will take several minutes but once complete you will see a Dashboard, Reports and Datasets section.


You are now ready to begin exploring Power BI.  Check out this Power BI getting started article for a host of information to include working with Datasets to create charts (drag and drop), creating reports and dashboards, sharing dashboards and a whole lot more.

You can also download and try out the Power BI for Mobile App, Power BI Designer Preview and Analysis Services Connector Preview.


Keep an eye out for future articles as I begin exploring all that Power BI has to offer for Microsoft Dynamics CRM analytics.

Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference 2015

In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft is hosting the first US MVP Virtual Conference on May 14th and 15th.  The really excellent news is that we will have a Microsoft Dynamics CRM session. 

That’s right, I will be hosting an Ask the Experts session and we will be talking about your favorite subject this time of year which is the CRM Spring release, CRM 2015 Update 1 aka 7.1.  You can find the session information under the IT Pro track.


We have a panel of superstars ready to deliver their knowledge, tips and tricks related to CRM Online 2015 and we will, of course, be taking audience questions.  Panel experts include Dynamics CRM MVP’s Alex Fagundes, Chris Cognetta, Matt Wittemann, Shan McArthur,  and me, as the host and moderator.

In addition to our session, there are many others that you will most likely find interesting.  Topics like Azure, PowerBI, Skype for Business, and Windows are sure to be high on everyone’s list and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the keynote delivered by Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate VP & Chief Evangelist at Microsoft, on Thursday, May 14th at 8am PST

Check out the Agenda page to get a complete view of the event schedule for both days.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with my fellow MVP’s to discuss the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, share our product knowledge and tips with you and respond to your questions.  Bring your coworkers and all your tough or even easy questions and we’ll be happy to respond.  I hope you can join us on May 14th at 5pm PST. 

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint & One Note Step-by-Step Integration

With the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring 2015 release just around the corner, I wanted to try out the OneNote integration. The setup is amazing easily.  If you would like a preview, check out the step-by-step article I wrote for the Microsoft MVP Award blog site.

I think this integration is definitely going to make the most frequently used, new feature, list.


Inspire the Next

At Hitachi Solutions one of our logos displays the phrase, Inspire the Next.  

Hitachi corporate logo

The Merriam Webster’s definition of inspire is, “to fill with courage or strength of purpose”.  I personally love the phrase because it points to inspiring whatever is next; in life, in work, in play… and applies to every day, hour and minute.   

It’s not always easy to inspire ourselves or others because life can be challenging at times.  That is why I think it is important to share our inspiration with others whenever we can and celebrate those times when we’ve been able to achieve positive results. 

I recently had an opportunity to do just that and shared my story on the Microsoft MVP Mentor Blog site. I hope you take a few minutes to read the story and you are inspired by how we can work together to support one another to achieve our life aspirations and dreams. 

When life or work gets tough, you can always bring yourself back to this simple yet vibrant and full of promise, affirmation; “Inspire the Next”.  I hope it helps to lift you to a better place during challenging times and keeps you there when things are good. 

I look forward to hearing your stories about how you inspired yourself and others along life’s journey.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ribbon Workbench

Scott Durrow’s Ribbon Workbench has been out for a few years now.  I recently had a project where I had an opportunity to use it.  I was quite impressed so thought I would share my experience and provide an example of its capability.

I obtained the tool from Scott’s site.  For those of you that have not visited the site, he has done a really great job of providing everything needed to get started including, getting started videos, a forum to post issues and lots of documentation.

The first step is to read and carefully follow the installation and setup instructions.   Spending a little extra time on this step will save you some potential pain and frustration later.  The first thing I did after installation was to create a solution file with the entities I planned to modify and exported the file for backup and recovery.  It is important to ensure you keep the backup file in a safe place so that you can restore it in the event something unexpected occurs.

In this example I am modifying the Opportunity entity so I created a solution with the Opportunity to open in the Ribbon Workbench.

To open the Ribbon Workbench you need to go to Settings Customization and select the Ribbon Workbench icon then select your solution file from the list of available options.


After loading the solution you can view the three areas of the entity available to work on; Home, Subgrid and Form. For this example I am working on the Form. I plan to move some custom buttons forward and remove some out-of-the-box buttons from the form.


Find the button you want to move, right click it and select the Customize Button option


This will result in placing a red checkmark on the button. Now you can select the button and drag it to the desired position.

Dragging button


Button’s new position on the form


Since you’ve already created a backup solution in the event you need to rollback changes, you can now publish your changes and when completed, open an entity record in CRM to check your work.  It is important to know that your changes are not saved until you publish them. 

Here’s a tip; if you’re having trouble getting the drag and drop feature to work as expected in Internet Explorer, try the Chrome browser to see if that works better. If not, you can file a support issue in the Workbench Ribbon forum.

Thank you Scott for a great toolset! It makes modifying the Microsoft Dynamics CRM command bar incredibly easier.