First Techie After Work in 2014

It’s time again for Techie After Work! So if you are a Dyn CRM Techie and Work or live Close to Stockholm, make sure to head over to Scandic Anglais on Feb 27:th at 5 pm where we’ll have a couple of beers and discuss CRM mobility, apps and custom built UI:s. As usual Alan Varcoe (Cinteros), Peter Björkmarker (Intuni) and myself will be hosting the event together with Microsoft.

It will also be a great time to meet the new CRM Partner Technology Strategist Elin Ståhl, so make sure you book  it in you calendar, the previous events have been very popular and it is a great way to get to know your techie peers.

And remember, if you are not a techie, you are not welcome. 🙂

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

Our website down – vulnerabilities of online services

As some of you might have noticed, my Company website is at the time of Writing this currently down. Well, it isn’t actually down, you just cannot reach it, as Microsoft moved it to Another server and the DNS’s don’t match any longer. We are working to get it rectified as soon as possible.

This does, however, show an inherent weakness in the online delivery model, as the service provider might choose to move the service and if you are not 100% in sync with how that is delivered and to be integrated with, you risk a stop in the services.

This was also evident, a few week ago when a client of mine who uses CRM Online with an integration to an on-premise integration had a sudden stop in the entire integration between the two systems. After some intense troubleshooting, we found that the source of the error was a timeshift of 9 minutes between the on-premise and online services rendering the SSL links invalid, why all Connections broke. After correcting the timeshift, it all started working.

Keep this in mind when working with online services.

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

New features of CRM 2013 Online and now in Swedish!

New features of CRM 2013 Online and now in Swedish!

Just provisioned a CRM Online with Swedish settings and if you had not noticed it before, you will now be getting the new and beautiful CRM 2013 and in Swedish. With the previous releases we had to wait for a month or two, but not this time.

Main dashboard of CRM 2013 – I guess asking for demo data in Swedish would be stretching it

For those of you who have not had the time to look that much into CRM 2013, there are some main areas that you should notice.

1. New navigation. The navigation has moved from the left hand side to the top, and folds out. I Think this is great as it removes a lot of the clutter on the screen an frees a lot of real estate. From a more subjective perspective it also makes the application be perceived as simpler to use which will increase user adoption.

The new navigation on Dynamics CRM 2013 – expands from the top

2. Flat browsing. Almost all pop-up windows have been removed. This is a huge change, and some might be scared now and wonder how am I going to be able to compare to accounts, not to worry, just press the right button and select “Open in new Window” and it will open in a separate window, but in general everything will happen in the same window. This is also a huge plus when using the system on a tablet.

Flat browsing in CRM 2013 – Ex. when adding a phone call in an account, this is done in a small inline window.

3. Auto save. Previously, in CRM 2011 and earlier versions, users were required to save each form explicitly, the data inputted was not “sticky”. This has now changed and the data inputted will now remain as inputted without any need for pressing save buttons from the users. I think this is a great feature as it makes the use of the application faster and easier, however, for users coming from CRM 2011, you do have to be a bit aware as the system does behave a bit different in this perspective. For example, if you open an account, check which values exist in a picklist/dropdown and just happen to pick one and then move to some other part of the system, you selection has been saved. This was not the case in earlier versions.

4. Processes driven UI. This is really a great feature of CRM. It allows you to see where in a processes you are. This can be any process which can span across several different entities. There are two processes included from the beginning, one for Lead-Opportunity and one for Case. The processes are of course customizable and can be put into solutions (solution aware).

Processed driven UI as seen in the Lead entity. When qualified, the process will continue in the opportunity entity.

There are of course heaps of other new features around, including a mobile client MoCA, that is now included in the CRM license, but I think these features are among the most outstanding additions to the system. We did already see a preview of some of these in Polaris, but they were very limited at that time. And as Always, this is a brand new version of an extremely dynamic product, if Microsoft have missed getting a corner right, report it on Microsoft connect, ask your friends to vote for it and have faith that it will be rectified, after all, Rome was not built in a day, and I do love Dynamics CRM a whole lot more than Rome!

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

Interview with Markus Erlandsson

Yesterday I was interviewed by Markus Erlandsson who has just started up a new blog called CRM Rocks which is an audio-blog, which is quite uncommon in the Dynamics CRM Community.

He asked me if I would consent to do an interview, I thought it was an interesting new take and I am also a big fan of anybody trying to bring value to the Dynamics Community. It doesn’t have to be bleeding edge or include 5000 lines of C# code to be good, there is good use for blogs and other content of a lighter level as well.

Markus’ initiative with his new audio blog brings a personal side to the CRM Community and I hope he gets to interview some of the other interesting personalities around so if he asks you, please try to make time, it’s for the good of the Community!

I would also like to wish Markus the best of luck with his new blog. Give it your best, and be persistant!

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

Single most important thing when implementing CRM?

Many people often ask me, “what is the most important thing to think about when implementing CRM?”

Some might think that getting the right features in place or having the coolest colours is the most important thing or maybe to have it integrated with the ERP system. This is not my belief, I think it is all about making a system that your users love to use. This might sound a bit strange coming from a Tech junkie like myself but there is really sound logic behind it.

Many other systems, like ERP-system (Dynamics AX, SAP etc.) require their users to use them. If they don’t they cannot do their job. However, when working with CRM systems, this is usually not the case. There are usually other ways of recording customer information for your own purposes, like in Excel, Word, OneNote or in an old fashioned notebook with a pen.

The number of companies that have tried to force users to use the CRM system by pain or gain methods have almost always failed. If you tell your salespeople that if they don’t enter their won opportunities into the CRM system, they won’t get any bonuses, usually results in a system that has a huge rise in opporunties with really short start-to-end time and no lost opportunities. If you then try to figure out the ratio the the Company has between sent quotes and won quotes, you will get very strange numbers. The data in the CRM system will be very hard to use or unusable as it only represents a small portion of the real world data.

However, if you make the CRM system so good, that all the users, really see their own performance increase by using the system, not decrease their performance, they will want to use the CRM system for their own purposes, and let’s face it, people in general are a bit egocentric and salespeople are even more so.

As many people really like using Excel for their own productivity, keeping track of things, I like to put it to the point, the CRM system, has to make each user more productive than Excel, that is what we are combating. If we do not succeed, they will just go back to using Excel again, and the entire investment is lost.

And if you hadn’t thought about it, this has been the driving thought behind Microsoft Dynamics CRM since version 1.2 which has now been crystalized into making the users love CRM.

So, let’s spread the passion! CRM 2013 is soon here and it will blow your mind! (not to talk about the competition’s :))

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