Microsoft recently released a beta version of a Microsoft CRM Assessement Wizard / Tool. This interview-style tool is designed to help guide you through the planning of Microsoft CRM system deployment. There are lots of questions about your business processes and how they relate to your CRM install. Here is a sample screenshot:
We downloaded and evaluated the Needs Assessment Wizard. Most of the interview is really nice and well-thought out. However, some areas didn't seem too practical for larger organizations. For example, users have to manually type in all of their products one at a time (instead of an upload feature). To make matters more challenging, you can not save your work once you start the Needs Assessment interview. Considering the interview takes an hour to complete...be extra careful you don't close the window!
After you work through all of the interview questions, you can output two files:
- A planning guide (view sample)
- A customization configuration file (view sample)
As you can see from the samples, the planning guide could be a document that you hand to a customer at the start of a project...but it wouldn't be too helpful in managing the nuts and bolts (details) of an actual CRM implementation.
We're not 100% sure what to make of the customization configuration file yet, because we could not find the Microsoft CRM Assessment Utility that actually imports the file into CRM! We assume this utility has not been released yet because the Needs Assessment Wizard is still in Beta. However, we like the concept of setting up a bunch of system customizations using a friendly interview-style application instead of the Microsoft CRM Deployment Manager...which is a little too technical and cryptic for the average business user.
Overall, it looks like a great start but we will reserve judgement until Microsoft releases the final version of the tool.
We have seen this "Strong name validation failed for assembly" error on a few of our machines, but not all of them. All of the test machines were Windows XP SP2. We submitted a support request to Microsoft and we'll let you know what they say...
We submitted a trouble ticket to Microsoft about this error, and they posted a new version of the Needs Assessment Wizard late yesterday. We downloaded, installed and ran it with no problems (even on machines where the first version didn't work correctly)!