Snowden, Prism and if there is anything new under the sun

If you have been reading my blogs previously you might have noticed that I several times (More on the insecurity of dataExternal posting on if your cloud system is safe from the law) have written about the fact that I think that many companies are viewing clouding a bit too lightly, especially from the legal perspective that many countries governments perceive themselves of having the rights to your data if the data either resides in that country, travels through that country or is owned by a company in that country.

From this perspective, I must conclude that the Snowden case is not very surprising. It mearly confirms what I expected to be true all the time and I would say that anybody being surprised is rather showing exceptional naivety towards our governments.

Hence I would just again remind you, that if you have sensitive data, beware of all the threats to the data. There are hackers, lawyers, FBI agents, and XYZ-agents and you have to assess the interest of all potential parties to you data. Then understand and handle the risk in a controlled manner.

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

Hiding Email Script Warnings

Hiding Email Script Warnings

As some of you might be have noticed, when working with emails there are some rather nasty warnings about scripts in the emails. These take up quite a lot of realestate on the screen and many users would just like to hide them. But it is not so simple as there is no simple configuration to remove it.

This is what it looks like in a Swedish version of CRM:

A customer of ours at CRM-Konsulterna had this problem and we solved this for them. However, the solution is not kosher in the meaning that it is unsupported. It is also not very large so we thought we’d share it with the Community to the annoying problem go away until Microsoft fixes it, which they hopefuly will have done in Orion.

If you would like it, just head over to our website and download it:

What does it do? It is a small JavaScript that is executed in the onload of email which checks to see if the yellow Component exists and if so hides it. The problem is that the yellow box is not documented and hence might not work in the future, why we are very careful to check that it exists before

And is there no way of solving this in a supported way? Well, we did try to filter the email data with a plugin to take out all the parts that might cause the problems, but that was just to hard and too many emails were just unreadable.

Last but not least, I would like to give huge kudos to my colleague Konrad who put a great deal of effort into trying to solve this and coming up with this solution. If you havn’t alread checked out his blog, do so, you’ll find it here:

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

Retook an exam today #1

About a year ago I took the CRM 2011 application exam (MB2-868) and passed it, but somehow it never got registered properly and I did not save the score report so I could not prove this, so today I retook it.

It is a very interesting certification. One of the hardest things is to Think about which update rollup (UR) it is written towards. I have Heard that many people have said that all certifications (for CRM anyway) should be written based on the RTM (Release to Market) version (=UR 0) but that also seems a bit strange as there have been some significant Changes made in UR6 (like multi series charts) and especially in UR12.

The sad thing is that there is no clear indication in the certification which version it is based on, so you do not know. I also do not know which questions I did not answer correctly, I only know that I got 90% correct which is rather funny considering I have held all the four application courses and also written my own MB2-868 Certification prep course of which more than 60% of all the attendees passed.

My recommendations to you are the following:
– Study explicitly for the application exam. Just working in the application is not enough.
– Try to learn the language used, find key Word like “all”, “should”, “never”. There are practice exam questions in the course material.
– Base the answers on RTM. I know how irrational this might be for you as you are not used to seeing CRM this way, but focus on passing the exam.
– Don’t be discouraged if you fail the first time. Most people fail the first time, especially the CRM 2011 Application exam as that is quite weird.
– Try to work a bit with all the parts of CRM. Try to use also the parts that often are never or seldom used like service contracts, facility management, complex service scheduling, Product catalog. Most people are quite used to the account, Contact, opportunity, lead, case part of CRM but there are surprisingly few questions about that. You will get a better understanding of what the parts are and how they are connected.

My recommendations to Microsoft:
– Make it clear which version the exam is for. RTM or URx. Just to be clear.
– Remove questions from the exam that are incorrect due to new features. It is extremely confusing.
– If someone leaves comments that are constructive after an exam, as I have done, also leaving my email address, I have not felt that there has been any response to that at all. If you have the ability to leave comments, do make sure that these are responded to, otherwise the function should be switched off.
– Peripherial features are a bit important, but the main processes are essential and these should be more prominent in the exam.

For all of those Writing the exam, I wish you the best of luck!

Today I also noticed that on Rockstar 365, I got the badge “#1 in the World”. That was a great honor!

If you work with CRM, register and I bet you’ll beat me soon. Game on!

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

Organization Language field when provisioning CRM Online

Organization Language field when provisioning CRM Online

In one of my recent postings I discussed the implicit settings that were set when choosing country, in a recent update, one of these implicit settings was converted to an explicit setting, namely the Organization Language.

The new field when provisioning CRM Orgs in CRM Online – Organization language

An interesting thing about this field is that it cannot be selected to any language, but only to specific language. In Sweden, only to Swedish and English. In Switzerland, English, French, German or Italian. I think this is a good move forward but I don’t see any reason to why they are limiting the available languages. If a Chinese company wants to have chinese for an org in Sweden, why should that be a problem?

An interesting note is also that there seems to be a language hickup, “Organization Language” has not been properly translated to Swedish…

I have also not checked if the collation is connected to the language or the country, but I would expect it to be connected to the language. If anyone reading this has any input, please feel free to leave a comment.

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

CRM Test Drive… and BCM

There have been some large and small stuff changing in the last few days in the way that new customers are being handled when the want to register for a trial.

If you go to the global site, you will notice that there is a new “Get Started” orange rectangle on the right hand side. In this box, there is no “Start 30-day trial” but instead “TestDrive CRM”. This is rather interesting. If you choose this, the next screen will start asking you some questions, on what role you have, what size you company is, and where you work.

If you in this selection, choose 1-10, you will, and this might very well be changed, be show a page that welcomes you to download Business Contact Manager for Outlook. End of story. The logic being that no companies in the size of 1-10 could possibly be interested in Dynamics CRM. I find this a bit strange as I know for a fact that this is not true as I have many customers that have less than 10 users and still are very happy with their system.

The other interesting thing in the questions, is the role selector. The available roles are the following:
– Sale Representative
– Sales Manager
– Customer Care Representative
– Customer Care Manager

I find this list rather short, for instance lacking in roles such as CEO, CFO and CIO/IT-Manger or IT-Adminstrator.

But this is also only the first version so we might very well see updates to this very soon.

It seems a bit hard to find the original form for regisitering a trial org from the american site, but from the Swedish Microsoft CRM site it still works and this link should work:

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB