Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Book in the house!

Very glad to report that we received our Amazon.com order today, and we finally saw the Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 book for the first time. It's much larger than I expected, but that just means it chock full of great information about Microsoft CRM. In addition, it includes two CD's so that you can install a 90-day trial of Microsoft CRM (Small Business Edition or Professional).

Remember if you're going to Convergence this weekend, make sure you attend the "We All Win with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0" session to receive your own free copy of the book!

Amazon.com shipping!

Just checked Amazon.com, looks like they are shipping Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 within 24 hours (i.e. it's in stock)!

Microsoft CRM and Microsoft Dynamics GP integration released this week?

Over the weekend, Microsoft Dynamics corporate vice president Satya Nadella posted on his blog:

We are going to be releasing the integration between GP and CRM at Convergence next week and this will set the standard for real seamless integration even at the user experience level.

It's not clear what exactly Satya means by saying "releasing", but last week on a partner webinar they said that we should expect to actually receive the Microsoft CRM - Microsoft Dynamics GP integration software sometime in April. Therefore I expect that Microsoft will use the Convergence conference to "release" some of the details about the new integration software and hopefully they will announce a delivery date.

Free book giveaway at Convergence!

I just looked at my calendar and realized that the Microsoft Convergence conference is next week! I am getting pumped up to learn about new products and ISV solutions at the show. In addition, I always love the great networking and ad-hoc meetings that take place. I attended the my first Convergence conference last year in San Diego and I had a great time.

If you're attending Convergence, here's another reason to get excited...you can get a free copy of our Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 book if you attend the "We All Win with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0" session on Sunday March 26th! Microsoft CRM General Managers Brad Wilson and David Thacher will be presenting, so in addition to a free book you'll get to hear two great speakers as well.

Make sure you get to this session early! Conference organizers had to turn people away from the Microsoft CRM sessions at the Partner conference last July due to excessive demand. So many people wanted to hear about Microsoft CRM that it created a potential fire hazard...and that was 5 months BEFORE the new version was released. Based on the success of the great new Microsoft CRM 3.0 release and the book giveaway, I would expect more standing room only crowds.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 list web part for SharePoint is now working!

Yesterday, I posted my woes about trying to get the Microsoft CRM list web part working for SharePoint. We received an email from a program manager on the Microsoft CRM product team with the following advice:

If you are using a configuration other than a single server (SBS) you will need to setup some level of trust for delegation. In the readme.doc file located in the same folders as the MSI there is a section that tries to describe setting up ‘trust for delegation’ between the SharePoint server and the different servers that might be in your CRM installation. Due to the need to impersonate the connecting user when talking to the CRM web services and CRM SQL server this extra configuration becomes necessary.

What a novel concept, reading the directions! Jim went back through the directions for our setup (CRM, SQL and SharePoint each on their own server) and eventually we got the list web part working. It is a little embarrasing that the readme.doc file included the steps we needed, but I think we got thrown off because the error message we received "You must specify a valid Microsoft CRM server" did not indicate the REAL problem...setting up the trust for delegation properly. In addition, the readme.doc was a little difficult to follow in some sections. In summary, Jim followed these steps to get the Microsoft CRM list web part working:

  1. Ran the following script on the SharePoint Web server
    cscript adsutil.vbs set w3svc/1/NTAuthenticationProviders "Negotiate,NTLM"
  2. Configured the SharePoint server to allow trust for delegation through AD. I wasn't able to follow the readme.doc steps exactly as the MSSQL service wasn't showing. I am assuming it is because that was running under an AD account, but not sure. I instead just trusted the entire SharePoint Web server computer as shown below.
  3. Ran an iisreset on the SharePoint web server.
  4. Waited 30 minutes for everything to propagate and then it started working.

So now that we have the install and configuration notes out of the way, let's talk about how cool this web part is! Conceptually, you can plug this list web part into a SharePoint site and use it to expose data from your Microsoft CRM deployment. This screenshot shows a simple Microsoft CRM "My Active Cases" view from within SharePoint.

You can see from the screenshot that the list web part includes a lot of the native Microsoft CRM functionality such as:

  • Column sorting
  • Creating new records
  • Editing existing records
  • Pagination (multiple pages)
  • Record search/quick find
  • Multiple view access
  • It respects Microsoft CRM security settings so users can only access data they have permissions for
  • Double-clicking a row will launch the appropriate Microsoft CRM record

If you click the "Modify Shared Part" link, you can access the Microsoft CRM list web part admin screen where you can specify how the list web part should appear in SharePoint, such as specifying the entity and default view.

This web part is very slick, and you can easily imagine how you might customize it for your own business. And of course this Microsoft CRM list web part is free for you to download and use immediately. Way to go Microsoft!

I admit it, I am defeated

I was all excited on Friday when I saw that Microsoft posted a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 List Web Part for use with SharePoint. We immediately downloaded it and installed it our SharePoint site. However, after trying several different configuration settings, I am ready to admit defeat. Regardless of the value we enter for the CRM Server URL (http://crm, crm, http://crm.sonomapartners.local, etc.) we keep getting a "You must specify a valid Microsoft CRM server." error message. When we click the Note, it says:

This version of the CRM List Web Part only supports binding to a single Microsoft CRM server per SharePoint server. Since this part has already been configured on this SharePoint Server, the CRM Server URL has been defaulted for you.

I'm not aware of any other web parts binding to a different Microsoft CRM server...so what's up? It also says the Server URL is "defaulted for me", but in fact the CRM server URL was blank.

Damn! I'd really love to see this thing working, does anyone have any suggestions?

**3/14 UPDATE** We now have this working, our problem was caused by Trust for Delegation configuration settings.

Book release date update

Who-hoo!

I just spoke with the book distributor, they said the book is scheduled for release to retailers on March 15th...that's next Wednesday!

March 15th is almost one month ahead of the release date of April 12th that Amazon.com lists. Nice.

**3/17 UPDATE** Thanks to everyone who called us or emailed us asking about the book release date, but we don't have any more information about when the book will be available at retailers. We don't even have a copy of the book for ourselves! We expect to see it for the first time with everyone else at the Convergence conference next week.

Book price drop, and sample chapter comments requested

Good news for all you procrastinators out there...I just noticed that Amazon.com dropped the price of the Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 book from $32.99 to $31.49.

In addition, I checked our web logs and almost 500 people have downloaded the free sample chapter (Chapter 8 Workflow) that we posted last week...but we have not heard any feedback yet. If you downloaded the sample chapter (and read it!), we'd love to hear from you! Please post a comment to the blog and let us know what you think.

3/12/06 UPDATE: Looks like Amazon.com bumped the price back up to $32.99. That's weird how they changed the price for just a few days.

The things we'll do for customers...

At Sonoma Partners, we pride ourselves on always going the extra mile for our customers to make sure the project gets done right. To take it even one step further, we frequently go to great lengths (pun intended) for our PROSPECTS too!

Yesterday, Jim and I flew from Chicago to a remote city in southern Colorado to meet with a large Microsoft CRM prospect. Flying to Denver is no problem, we do it frequently because we have a great customer there. However to meet with this particular prospect we had to fly to to Denver and then take a second flight on a TINY plane to get to our destination.

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As you can see, this was a small plane. The inside of the plane was even tighter. Here's a shot of Jim (who's pretty tall) trying to access something in the overhead bin!

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Despite a few bumps, the ride was pretty smooth and we arrived safe and sound. Even better, we had a great meeting with the prospect and we're very excited about their project. You can tell pretty quickly when you're meeting with a customer if they will be fun to work with, and this prospect definitely seemed like a great fit for us. Hopefully we'll win the gig!

In addition to a fun break from the normal travel experience, the plane ride did offer some pretty amazing views of the mountains.

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