Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

We moved, but we're not quite settled

On Friday, we moved our office from our old Lincoln Park location to a brand new buildout in Chicago's Loop. All things considered, I think the move went pretty smoothly. The movers did a real nice job and none of our equipment was damaged. We got our network setup and running on Friday, and we did some minor clean up over the weekend. We're still waiting for our new conference table and to get our white boards installed but for the most part, we're pretty settled and now we're just working out the idiosyncrasies of our new space. Here's a photo of the finished product:

One of the design features I really like is the acrylic panels (instead of drywall) on the front of private offices that are on the window line. These panels allow the sunlight from the windows to come in, but they still give employees a visual screen from people walking through the hallway. We're thinking about having a happy hour/house warming event at office in a few weeks so that we can show off our great new space.

Remember that we have new contact information, so please update your records!

Sonoma Partners
525 W. Monroe St.
Suite 240
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 627-0700 phone
(866) 766-6621 toll free
(312) 627-1305 fax

Microsoft CRM downloads update

We updated the Microsoft CRM downloads page on our website with two new documents:

  1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Suggested Hardware for up to 250 concurrent users - this is a 22 page PDF file that goes into exhaustive detail about how to setup and spec out the hardware for your deployment. It is 100 times more useful than the System Requirements link on the Microsoft CRM website. (thanks to Ben Vollmer for the document!).
  2. Powerpoint presentation on the differences between Microsoft CRM 3.0 Mobile and Microsoft CRM 3.0 Mobile Express (thanks to crmpartners.nl).

We also decided it was time to take down all of Microsoft CRM 1.2 documents from our downloads page!

Clarification on update rollup versus compatibility update

Last week, we blogged about the upcoming Microsoft CRM 3.0 "Compatibility Update" and how it will enable users to run the Microsoft CRM client for Outlook with Vista and Office 2007. Some people read our blog posting and confused the Compatibility Update with the also soon-to-be-released Microsoft CRM "Update Rollup". The Update Rollup is basically almost all of the previously released updates combined into a giant update, similar to a Service Pack like you would with an operating system Windows XP.

As fixes accumulate during a product’s lifecycle, it’s appropriate to bundle them up into an Update Rollup, which essentially is a “big hotfix” containing all the changes made to date.

The Update Rollup is in external testing now, and it will be released when it's ready. The original Update Rollup target release date was the end of October. However the Compatibility Update is contingent on the release Vista and Office 2007 (obviously). Christian said on a partner conference call last week that they are targeting late November/early December for the Compatibility Update release.

In summary, the Compatibility Update is NOT the same as the Update Rollup. I hope this clears up some confusion!

Come meet us at our Microsoft CRM seminar!



If you're going to be in the Chicagoland area later this month, please take two hours to come meet us at a free Microsoft CRM seminar we're hosting at the Microsoft offices. I'll be presenting about how EASY it is use to use Microsoft CRM with Microsoft Office, and we're giving away free books to randomly selected attendees. If you've been considering if Microsoft CRM might be right for your company, this is a great chance to learn more about the product from real industry experts.

The event takes place on Thursday October 26th from 9am to 11am, and it's at the Microsoft downtown office (77 W. Wacker, Chicago, IL). Space at the seminar is limited and the event will definitely book up so don't hesitate.

Register for our Microsoft CRM seminar online right away!

If you can't attend, please feel free to pass this invite along to other who might be interested.

We're moving soon!

For the past 5.5 years, our office has been located in a cool loft building located in Chicago's trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood. It's a great location for shopping and eating, and it's super convenient for commuting if you live in downtown Chicago. However, we realized about 6 months ago that our current office would not meet our growth needs so we started researching new offices. Our office requirement list included:

  1. Must be equally convenient for people who live in the city versus people who live in the suburbs.
  2. Must be a top quality building with state-of-the-art facilities for electrical, heating, cooling, etc.
  3. Must offer excellent security with key card access and a manned guard desk.
  4. Should have other nice amenities and perks within the building such as a conference center, storage, workout center, etc.
  5. Must have the ability to let us take on more space as our company grows.
  6. We wanted to build out the office to meet our exact needs.

It took us a long time to find a building we liked, but we signed a lease for a space at 525 W. Monroe St. about 2 months ago. This is a class A office building located in Chicago's Loop and it was one of the few buildings that met ALL of our requirements! It is almost perfectly situated equidistant between the two Metra train stations (for suburban commuters) and the El train station (for city commuters). If you've ever been to Chicago, it is right next to Sears Tower on the west side of the river...it's really a killer location.

As you can see from the picture, it's a great looking building too.

 

As a company, Sonoma Partners believe very strongly that our employees are our greatest asset and consequently we wanted our office design to reflect that. Therefore, we are building out a custom office space that includes a private office for EVERYONE, not just managers. Our architect practically begged us to put in cubicles because it would be less expensive to build but we were adamant that everyone needed their own office.

Six weeks ago, our office space looked like this:

 

I stopped by the office this morning to check out the construction progress, and it's looking good! Here's a shot looking down one of the hallways.

 

Here is where our kitchen area will be.

 

And this will be our server room, complete with an in-ceiling air conditioning unit to keep all those servers running nice and cool.

 

Right now we're scheduled to move on Friday October 20th, and our construction vendor says we're right on schedule. Once we get in and settled, we'll have to host a little house warming party, and of course we'll post updated pictures of the final office.

CRM 3.0 getting ready for Vista and Office 2007

I sat in on a partner conference call today, and the product team is starting to make public some of their Microsoft CRM 3.0 plans in regards to how the software will work with Windows Vista and Office 2007. Some of the interesting tidbits they released include:

  • They are targeting late November / early December to release a "Compatibility Update" for Microsoft CRM 3.0. This software update will allow customers to run Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 with Office 2007 and/or Windows Vista. This compatibility update will be available via online download and in the CRM media kits.
  • The compatibility update for Office 2007 will switch the Microsoft CRM Laptop client for Outlook from an MSDE database to a SQL Express database. This means you can now take 4 GB of data offline with you, instead of the current 2 GB that MSDE supports.
  • Because of the cool ribbon user interface in Office 2007, the Outlook add-in will be much more integrated (is that possible!?!) than the current add-in for Outlook 2003. I apologize for the low resolution screenshot below but you get the idea.