Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Mobility webinar recording now available

Last Thursday we conducted our Microsoft CRM mobility webinar and overall it went pretty well. We were able to cover the main topics we wanted to hit and share our mobility thoughts with prospects and customers. While researching information for the webinar, I received great responsiveness from Erik van Hoof at CWR Mobility BV and Mark Watts at Ten Digits. So thanks very much to those two guys!

Unfortunately we did have two minor hiccups during the event:

  1. We received an authentication error during the demo of Microsoft CRM Laptop Client for Outlook. We didn't miss anything major but it was frustrating.
  2. The conference call line muting didn't work 100% and I could hear someone playing music lightly in the background. The music is audible in the recording background but I wanted to let everyone know it wasn't me playing that non-sense!

So we're getting pretty good at the webinars but clearly we're still not perfect yet. I am not sure why we received the authentication error but we have been experiencing problems with the August 2007 VPC image provided by Microsoft. Every once in a while it will randomly prompt you to login again. I am not sure if this is related to the error we saw, but my guess would be "yes". I ask Menno if he has seen this login prompt/error himself and it sounds like he has. Therefore, I'm hopeful Microsoft is working on a solution.

You can watch the mobility webinar recording here, it is about 46 minutes in duration. Summarizing the entire event in a nutshell:

  • If you have a laptop, use the Microsoft CRM Laptop Client for Outlook. It will give you (nearly) full CRM access offline and it will sync CRM Contacts, Appointments and Tasks into your Outlook...which you can in turn sync onto the mobile device of your choice.
  • If you have a mobile device (PDA or cell phone):
    • Don't plan on using Microsoft CRM 3.0 Mobile unless you don't have any custom entities or your needs are VERY basic around the sales module.
    • Use Microsoft CRM 3.0 Mobile Express for infrequent access to CRM data because it is slow to browse. On the plus side, it's free and there is no software to install on the device. You also get the source code if you want to modify or extend it.
    • If you want to use CRM data extensively (logging calls, adding notes, etc.) on your mobile device:

As a reminder, you can watch any of our past Microsoft CRM webinars from our Events page.

Here we grow again

Due to the great success of Microsoft CRM worldwide and the wonderful support of our customers, we're in the process of expanding our offices here in Chicago. We're building out approximately another 3,000 square feet to our current space to give us more room for employee offices (and one new meeting space). We need more square feet per employee than most companies because every Sonoma Partners employee gets a full 10' x 10' office to themselves. Construction started this past Monday and we're supposed to be moved in entirely by November 1st. We're planning that this expansion will cover our headcount needs for the next 12 months but that could change in a hurry if the Microsoft Titan release takes off like we hope (expect).

On a related note, we're actively hiring consultants and project managers! Click here to read the PM/Consultant job description if you're interested in learning more (even if you don't have experience with Microsoft CRM) about working at Sonoma Partners.

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My new favorite feature in Titan?

Jim showed me a new feature in Titan today that I think I might rank as my favorite new upcoming feature! Of course, we're under non-disclosure so we can't go into details yet... but I think it is safe to say that it involves slick integration and ease of use with Microsoft Excel. Dynamics worksheets in Microsoft CRM 3.0 are VERY nice, but the new features in Titan are much better. Can't wait.

Trouble tracking appointments?

Just recently, I noticed that I was having problems tracking my Outlook appointments to Microsoft CRM. When I tracked an appointment and saved it, I would receive the following error message:

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To make matters worse, if you click "Yes" and save the appointment with errors the next time that the CRM Client for Outlook syncs it will remove this appointment from your calendar entirely. Yikes! Obviously tracking Outlook appointments in CRM is one of the key benefits of the system so I wanted to get it working again...and fast.

Fortunately, Microsoft's support website is very strong so I was hopeful that I could find a resolution to my problem online. I logged into the PartnerSource website(customers would log into the CustomerSource website) and I entered the error message text into the KnowledgeBase search feature. Voila! I found KB Article #911516 had the answer to my problem. If the owner of the appointment (the person clicking "Track in CRM") has their email address in the CRM database more than once, you will receive this error. Each record in Microsoft CRM only has one owner, so duplicate email addresses would obviously cause this problem because the system can't determine which record should be the owner. It would be nice if the error message said that instead of the somewhat misleading "No resources have been selected for this activity" text, but I was still able to track down this problem within just a few minutes.

This problem appeared recently because I had entered my email address into a test Lead record to send sample ExactTarget emails to ourselves. When I removed my duplicate email address, I was able to track appointments again without any problems.

On a side note, you won't be able to access this KB article in the public Microsoft support search so you'll need to make sure you get access to the KB articles on CustomerSource/PartnerSource. The content there is different sometimes than the public support site.

Pre-order the Titan book at Amazon.com

Much to our surprise, we found out that people can actually start pre-ordering the Titan version of our Microsoft CRM book! The official title (as of now) is Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. It has a target release date of January 18, 2008.

I took at look at the product description and I think someone did a copy/paste job from the 3.0 version of our book. Therefore I don't think the product description is entirely accurate. For example, there won't be any discussion about using Microsoft CRM with InfoPath. But don't worry, we'll get it squared away as we get closer to completion. We really started writing in earnest over the last few weeks (based on the release of CTP3) and admittedly Jim has been putting in more time than myself.

Of course we can't disclose any of the nitty gritty details about Titan right now but suffice to say it is going to be an incredibly exciting release. We use Microsoft CRM 3.0 internally at Sonoma Partners (of course) and I already can't wait to fire up the Titan build... it will provide tons of great new benefits for us and our customers.

Registration now open for our Microsoft CRM mobility webinar

Empower Your Sales Team with Remote and Mobile CRM solutions
Analyst firm IDC predicts that more than 70 per cent of the US workforce will be mobile by 2009. Is your current CRM system capable of supporting the various needs of these remote and mobile workers? Are you tired of looking for a Wi-Fi hotspot just so that you can check in on your customers? How much more efficient would your sales team perform if they could access all of their key customer data from any mobile device at any time?

Join this Sonoma Partners seminar to learn about the various remote access and mobile worker options that Microsoft Dynamics CRM empowers. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Microsoft CRM Laptop Client for Outlook
  • Microsoft CRM Mobile
  • Microsoft CRM Mobile Express
  • Third party solutions

    This one hour webinar will explore these different Microsoft CRM mobile offerings and outline the various benefits of each solution. In addition, we’ll also show these mobile and remote solutions in action and provide some ballpark estimates regarding cost and implementation time.

    Thursday September 27, 2007
    10:00am Central Time
    Register Now!
  • Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 client is here

    This morning I hopped on to the Central Region Quarterly Partner Marketing call, and I was prompted to install the Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 client to join the meeting. Of course I did, and it installed with no problems. If you're never seen the Live Meeting 2007 client before, it is QUITE different than the previous versions! The first thing you will notice is the great video display. I am not sure if we'll use the video option when we present but I thought it was nice to see as an attendee. I also like the new streamlined user interface so that attendees get the "big screen" by default. In Live Meeting 2005, users have to hide all the extra panes that appear which sometimes causes some confusion. Overall, the 2007 version seems like a great improvement and I'm looking forward to being able to use it as a presenter.

    Finding the link to install the Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 client wasn't easy, but our good friend Menno was kind enough to post it on his blog:
    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/HA101733831033.aspx

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