Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Just one more reason

Today we added one more bullet point to the long list of reasons why Sonoma Partners is a fun place to work...we installed a new Flavia drink system. We had been using the sad old single pot of coffee for drinks in the morning but that was a drag. However with our new Flavia system we can choose from over 30 different flavor packets to make:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot cocoa
  • Cappuccinos
  • Mochaccinos
  • Chai Lattes

The packets even include a cool Milky Way flavored drink! The Flavia system is more convenient than the old pot o' coffee because it is hooked up to a water line so that it never has to be manually refilled. Cleaning is a breeze too because you just have to throw out the used packets.

If this sounds good to you, we want to remind everyone that Sonoma Partners is hiring. Please contact us ASAP if you're interested!

Super Bowl shuffle?

We recently updated our website home page at www.sonomapartners.com to show off one of our newer Microsoft CRM customers...the Chicago Bears. I know this might be a sensitive subject for our Microsoft friends who are Seattle Seahawks fans (the Bears just beat them), but we're very excited to be working with the Bears!

The Bears are using the sales module of Microsoft CRM to track and manage sales of their corporate sponsorships and stadium skyboxes.  When we won the project last fall, the Bears I.T. Director said "we need this system to maximize corporate sales after we win the Super Bowl!". And guess what? If the Bears win this Sunday then they'll be headed to the Super Bowl. And if (when!) they win that game, their sales team will be ready with Microsoft CRM to make sure they capitalize on the success of the football team.

Excellent new Out of Office feature in Exchange 2007

I noticed the other day that Microsoft RTM'd (Released to Manufacturing) Exchange Server 2007 and it is available for download on MSDN. I decided to spend a few minutes researching exactly what's new in Exchange 2007. There are tons of new features of course, but one that is near and dear to my heart is an improvement to the Out of Office Assistant.

In Exchange 2003 you have to manually turn your out of office email message on and off. The problem is that I was always running out the door to a meeting so I would forget to turn on the Out of Office message!

In addition, Exchange 2003 will deliver the same out of office message to every single person.  I would like to let my co-workers see a response like "Hey I am at Client XYZ but call my cell with any emergencies" but I want external users to see a message like "I will be out of the office today, please contact customer support with any questions".

I tried several times to build a custom rule in Outlook to solve these problems but I could never get it working just right. Now with Exchange 2007, those two features come out of the box with a new and improved Out of Office Assistant! You can see that you can schedule to turn on/off your Out of Office replies plus you can specify two different messages (inside and outside your organization).
 

Now I just need to work with our internal IT guys to figure out when we can make some time to upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 so we can start taking advantage of this.

Importing customizations with IE 7.0

Lately I have been having a lot of issues importing customizations. When trying an import, the dialog would never close, no matter how long I left it running.

I originally assumed the recent Rollup 1 update caused the problem. Therefore my workaround was to just import a couple entities at a time, wait a bit, and manually close dialog. In most instances, my changes actually made it into the database.

However, today I got fed up when this workaround failed and I finally contacted Microsoft Support. It turns out the failed import is a known issue with IE 7.0 and Microsoft CRM. Even better,  there is knowledge base article (KB #927667) describing the issue and a hotfix that solves the problem altogether. If you contact Microsoft Support they will provide you the hotfix free of charge (and usually within a few hours). I want to thank Shaun of Microsoft Support for assisting me.

Here are the details of the hotfix (I had trouble finding the article today on PartnerSource):

The Import Customizations Web page does not close as expected when you try to import customizations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 after you install Internet Explorer 7

SYMPTOMS

You install Windows Internet Explorer 7. Then, you try to import customizations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. However, the Import Customizations Web page does not close as expected after you click Import All Customizations or Import Selected Customizations. Additionally, the import process is not completed.

RESOLUTION

A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft. However, it is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 service pack that contains this hotfix.
To resolve this problem immediately, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services to obtain the hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support

Note In special cases, charges that are ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for the specific update in question.

File information

The English version of this hotfix package has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time item in Control Panel.

Installation information

Install this hotfix on computers that are running Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 server.
After you apply this hotfix, you must delete the cache in Internet Explorer 7. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Start Internet Explorer 7.

2. Click Tools, and then click Internet Options.

3. Under Browsing history, click Delete on the General tab.

4. Next to Temporary Internet Files, click Delete files.

5. Click Yes when you receive the following message:

Are you sure you want to delete all temporary Internet Explorer files?

Titan TAP release update

Things have been quiet on our blog recently, mainly due to the holidays but also because we've been spending some time working on the Titan release of Microsoft CRM. As you might expect, Microsoft has us buried in Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA's) about the Titan product so unfortunately we can't talk publically about the great new features and benefits it will offer. However, Microsoft did just give a public update on the Titan progress via a press release today, and we were even lucky enough to get a quote included!

Microsoft Debuts Multi-Tenant CRM Offering to Partner Community

New version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivers the power of choice to customers with
on-premise, partner-hosted, and Microsoft-hosted deployment models

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 10, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it is previewing the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM — code-named “Titan” — with a broad range of partners through the company’s Technology Adoption Program (TAP). The new version introduces an advanced multitenant architecture, and uses a single code base to support on-premise deployments as well as software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments through hosting partners and through the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service. It also uses a single code base to support on-premise deployments as well as software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments through hosting partners and the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service. The “Titan” release is an evolution of the popular Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 product, and will offer a smooth upgrade path for existing on-premise and SaaS customers. It reinforces Microsoft’s long-term strategy to provide customers with the power of choice, with the ability to choose on-premise or SaaS deployments and access rich CRM capabilities within Microsoft® Office Outlook®, through a Web browser, and from a broad range of mobile devices.

“The partner TAP program for ‘Titan’ is another milestone in our strategy to deliver the power of choice to customers,” said Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Our partners are getting an in-depth look at the power and flexibility of the upcoming release, as well as the terrific upgrade path that it will provide to current customers. With early access to the new release, our partners can develop common offerings that span the deployment options: on-premise, partner-hosted or Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM.”

Partners Laud Usability and Flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM

The “Titan” TAP program includes approximately 300 partners in the first quarter of 2007, and will include over 1,000 partners in the second quarter of the year. Partners in the “Titan” TAP program are building vertical applications, SaaS mash-ups, integration connectors and other solution extensions, as well as providing valuable feedback to Microsoft as part of the program.

“Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM gives us another way to address our customers’ needs,” said Jason Hunt, chief technology officer, Invoke Systems. “The ability to write applications once on Live CRM and then run them anywhere allows us to bring vertical CRM solutions to our customers quickly and easily. The choice in deployment models allows us to keep our focus where it should be — on delivering the right CRM solution for each customer.”

“The ‘Titan’ release is going to enable us to deliver a great set of CRM solutions to a broad range of companies,” said Mike Snyder, principal, Sonoma Partners LLC. “We can deliver the right CRM solution for different companies based on their size, their business requirements, their user roles and their IT capabilities. If their needs evolve over time, we can grow with our customers, and provide them with a CRM platform that fits their needs for the life of the business.”

Availability

The “Titan” release of Microsoft CRM and the new Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service are targeted for mid-2007. The Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service will initially be available in North America; plans for international expansion of the service will be announced at a later time.

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.