Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

New KB Articles from July Published

We posted the 26 new Microsoft CRM Knowledge Base Articles that Microsoft added in July 2005. Scanning the list, none of the new articles really jumped out at us. Of course, Microsoft CRM Sales for Outlook had the highest number of KB articles again with six total.

Joris strikes again, use Microsoft CRM with Desktop Search

We love the blog postings from Joris Kalz! Even though we have worked with Microsoft CRM everyday for the past 3+ years, Joris shows us lots of new amazing tricks. His latest? Joris shows (and gives the code) how to integrate Microsoft CRM with Microsoft Windows Desktop Search.

Most people know that the search functionality in CRM 1.2 is very limited (can only search one Object at a time out of the box), so you can imagine how useful this tool would be. However I do have one minor complaint: I don't use Microsoft Windows Desktop Search. I much prefer the Google Desktop Search. Any chance of Joris working on the Google/CRM search in his free time? That's highly doubtful considering Joris works for Microsoft...but you never know!

Customized dashboards in Microsoft CRM 3.0?

I ran across this in a recent eWeek article, but I am not too sure about its accuracy:

"With the upcoming Microsoft CRM 3.0 release, expected later this year, users will be able to use Windows Sharepoint Services to create customized dashboards from content within Microsoft CRM and from external sources. At the same time, users will have the ability to collaborate around a sales opportunity or service request."

I guess technically this would be possible by customizing the software, but as far as "out of the box" functionality...I'm not sure. It does sound great though!

Microsoft CRM 3.0 screenshots released in white paper

As of today, Microsoft CRM 3.0 is in the "TAP" (Technology Adoption Program) phase of the product release cycle, and a very limited group of Microsoft CRM partners (including ourselves) have access to the software. However, all of the TAP2 partners are under strict non-disclosure agreements that prevent us from divulging any Microsoft CRM 3.0 information to anyone...including our existing customers.

Fortunately, Microsoft just released a new public white paper titled "Upgrading Unsupported Microsoft CRM 1.2 Environments to Microsoft CRM 3.0". This public white paper includes multiple screenshots of Microsoft CRM 3.0...which we have extracted from the white paper and posted for existing customers, partners and prospects not in the TAP2 program to review.

View the Microsoft CRM 3.0 screenshots now...and let us know what you think.

More dates & info about Microsoft CRM 3.0

We received a partner-only newsletter on Tuesday with these two little tidbits about Microrosoft CRM 3.0:

  • "The Microsoft CRM 3.0 Early Access Program will be available in end-September 2005. It will be made available as a downloadable item as well as an orderable item in CD format. Details to come."

  • "In support of our release of Microsoft CRM version 3.0, the U.S. MBS Partner Strategy Team will be coming to a city near you from October-November to help prepare partners in support of this launch. Details to follow shortly."

So based on these dates ("help partners prepare in October-November")...we guess that Microsoft will release Microsoft CRM 3.0 to customers in the December/January/February timeframe. We were of course hoping for an early Q4 release but these dates match their past statements.

New Internet Explorer 7 Logo

The Microsoft Internet Explorer Blog gave a sneak peek of the new Internet Explorer version 7 logo...very nice!

Internet Explorer 7 is in Beta 1 now, and there has not been an official release date for the final product yet...but hopefully it will be soon.

Two new documents about Microsoft CRM 3.0

Microsoft released two new documents about the upcoming version of Microsoft CRM 3.0:

  • Upgrading Supported Microsoft CRM 1.2 Environments to Microsoft CRM 3.0 - This document goes into very detailed instructions about upgrading from 1.2 to 3.0. However, considering only a very few partners currently have access to Microsoft CRM 3.0...this document won't be too helpful right now for existing Microsoft CRM 1.2 customers . However, we anticipate this document will be a good resource once Microsoft releases CRM 3.0 to the public beta version (date to be announced).

  • Invest in Microsoft CRM Today Whitepaper - This documents talks at a high level about the benefits of implementing a CRM software application. One point of emphasis is that customers will have a clean and simple upgrade path from CRM 1.2 to CRM 3.0. Obviously, the CRM 3.0 software update is free for customers current on their software assurance plan.

Neither of these doucments reveals detailed information about Microsoft CRM 3.0, but it encourages us to see Microsoft releasing official documents about the next version. Perhaps this indicates the widespread beta is just around the corner?

And of course, you can download both of these documents from the Sonoma Partners website.

Microsoft CRM Implementation Guide Updated Again

Microsoft posted a new version of the Microsoft CRM Implementation Guide on August 4th. I skimmed through the 17 page Table of Contents...but I did not see any obvious changes or updates. Therefore, we're guessing there are just some simple text changes sprinkled throughout the 420 page document.

You can download the latest version of the Microsoft CRM Implementation Guide off our website.

Great article on CRM UI customization

I recently found a new great blog about Microsoft CRM by Joris Kalz. Joris works for Microsoft in Germany as Product Solution Marketing Manager. Joris doesn't post too often (only 9 posts since October!), but when he does post the content is great.

A recent post showed how to perform Advanced UI customizations without breaking the SDK (so you don't void your support agreement with Microsoft). In this example, he shows how to hide an Account tab based on the pick-list value of the Relationship type. So if the Account is a "Reseller" then show the "Details" tab, but if the Account is a "Supplier" then hide the tab. Obviously, you can easily imagine how beneficial this type of customization would be.

Please download the sample code and check it out. Then email Joris and ask him to post more frequently because we love his posts!