Archive

Author Archive

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Personal Options

Today I created a new CRM Online trial organization to enhance some training that I am taking.  Generally, the first step I take after setting up a trial organization is to configure my personal options.  I’ve done this more than a hundred times over the last few years and realized today that I’ve never shared it in a blog post.  So today I thought I would share with you the options I select.

The first thing we need to do is select the small gear icon in the upper right corner and select Options from the drop down display:

image

I’ll begin with the general tab and walk through each tab.

General Tab

The first setting is the Default Pane and Tab you would like to navigate to when you log in.  As you will notice, the Default Tab options change based on the Default pane selected.  I select Settings and Solutions for my default login option.

In addition to the login, I change the number of records to display to 250 (maximum allowed), Change Advanced Find mode from Simple to Detailed (saves me a click or two when initiating a search), ensure the time zone is correct, set default currency to US and select the option to Enable high contrast.

 image

Synchronization

For CRM Online trials, I generally deactivate all of the Outlook synchronization filters.  I take that action because I want to control the synchronization of data rather than have it automated.

image

image

image

A different option that I sometimes use it to setup a different Outlook profile and select that profile when installing the CRM Outlook Client.  When using that approach, I leave the default synchronization settings activated and allow the CRM Outlook Client to synchronize records.

The important thing to keep in mind when setting personal options is to ensure you’ve selected the options that support the work you perform most frequently.  You want to automate as much as possible and reduce work when completing your task.  The careful selection of your options will help you meet that objective.

Activities

The activities tab is fairly straightforward.  I generally set my default calendar view to weekly and leave the default work hours start and end times.  You can make whatever changes you choose to this area to reflect your needs.

 image

Formats

The formats tab allows you to determine how you want to see the format of things like numbers, dates, times, and currency.  When I setup a trial, my options are always set to English and I’m generally satisfied with the default formats provided.  However, you can choose from a long list of formats and you can further refine the display by selecting the customize button.

Default settings for the trials I create

image

Select the Current Format drop down for a list of available options

image

Select the customize button to further customize the display

image

Select the Reset button to return to the default settings

image

Email Templates

Personal email templates display on the Email Templates tab.  You can also create personal email templates from this area by selecting the New button.

image

Email

From my perspective, this is one of the more important tabs and you should spend a little time here thinking through your needs. 

By default, the option to allow other users to send email on your behalf is not checked.  This option needs to be check if you have workflows that send emails.  Since almost all organizations have those email notification type workflows that can be triggered by other users, you will most likely need to select the option to allow.

I always select the option to track emails in response to CRM mail.  I choose that option because I’ve found that it gives me greater flexibility.  I sometimes receive email from CRM contacts that I do not want tracked in CRM.  If for some reason I receive an untracked email that I would like tracked, I can always use the Set Regarding option.  Having said that, I’ve found that sometimes organizations prefer to have users set the option to automatically track emails from either email enabled records or from Contacts, Leads and Accounts to ensure important communication is not missed.

I also uncheck the option to automatically create records.  I don’t want CRM to automatically create Contact or Lead records based on the email sender and I generally don’t recommend it for others.  The reason is because CRM is only as good as the data.  When records are automatically created, only a small amount of data is added and users must remember to open the record to add key data points.  I prefer to have users purposely create records when needed to ensure that important data in not missed.

 image

Privacy

I always set the option to automatically send error reports to Microsoft.  I do that because I don’t want to be annoyed by those pesky Script error messages.  Some people, like developers, choose the Never Send or Ask for Permission to send because they want to see the error message in the event it is something they can fix. I encourage you to select the Automatic send option if you do not planning on fixing Script errors.  My thought is that the more error information that Microsoft receives the better because

image

Languages

You can use the language option to set the desired language display for the User Interface and Help files.  The base language is set at installation and can no be changed.

Now you have all the information you need to set personal options in CRM.  Take a few minutes to review your settings and ensure they are optimized to support you while you work.

Cheers

Please note that these are my personal preferences and do not necessarily represent “best practice”.  You should configure your user settings in a way that supports the work you perform. 

CRM Outlook Profile & CRM Online Trials

February 2, 2015 1 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.

Cheers

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:

image

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.

Cheers

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 https://curah.microsoft.com/211516/crm-2015-helpful-resources.

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!

Cheers

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.

Cheers

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

Cheers

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.

 

image

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:

connect-msolservice

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:

image

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

image

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

image

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 {$_.name -like “*msol*”} | format-list | Out-File c:\MSOLHelp\msolcmdlets.txt notepad c:\MSOLHelp\msolcmdlets.txt

 

image

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

Cheers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,226 other followers

%d bloggers like this: