Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Sonoma Partners’ xRM Socialization Demo @ PDC09

On the last day of PDC09, I had the opportunity to present a brief demo of our internal socialization application (code name “SideBar”) with Andy Bybee from the CRM Product Team during his Developing xRM Solutions using Windows Azure.

SideBar started as an internal intern project for us this summer. We wanted to explore leveraging Dynamics xRM to create a compelling Enterprise 2.0 application which provides another mechanism for communication throughout our organization, especially our remote user base.

This is achieved through a combination of user updates (similar to Twitter or Facebook) along with derived system data from our CRM application and other external sources, such as our blog and back-end analytics database.

SideBar is built against Microsoft Dynamics xRM platform (of course) and has multiple interface options, including a couple of Web interfaces, xRM forms, and a nice custom WPF application. Further, we now leverage the Azure App Fabric Service Bus to provide updates without the need for VPN access!

In addition to our SideBar demo, Andy provides some additional insight to the features of CRM 5 and how it can be combined with Azure. The session also has some awesome demos from Shan McArthur and Girish Raja. Microsoft posted the presentation and slides at http://microsoftpdc.com/Sessions/P09-07 (the SideBar demo starts at 47:30).

So take a look and see how you can quickly combine the power of the Dynamics xRM platform with Azure to provide compelling solutions for your users.

UR7 and the Known Issues in Outlook

As I mentioned in my last post on Update Rollup 7 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, there are a few known issues appearing in Outlook after the rollup is installed. I've noticed a few of them on my own workstation, so I thought I’d share the details:

  • The Microsoft Dynamics CRM icon does not appear in the taskbar in Windows 7. Note that this can be fixed by customizing the taskbar and selecting "Show icon and notifications" for the "Microsoft CRM Outlook" option (pictured below).
  • The CRM toolbar remains active when you disable it under Manage COM Add-Ins in Outlook, but does not respond to any actions.
  • The View in CRM button remains disabled after your click "Track in CRM" on an Outlook record until you close and reopen the record.
  • When you track a contact, then edit the record in Outlook, the standard Outlook contact icon appears next to the record instead of the "tracked in CRM" contact icon. The correct icon displays only after the synchronization process runs.
  • If the Outlook client is installed but not configured, or if you are connecting to an organization other than the one configured in the Outlook client, the following error appears in Internet Explorer: "Internet explorer has blocked this site from using an ActiveX control in an unsafe manner."
  • During the configuration wizard, the debug assertion fails and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM role is removed from the user.
  • If you set a record to "regarding" in Outlook when synchronizing data with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you will receive an error, since you cannot track e-mail messages when the manual sync is running. The Outlook and regarding CRM record will not be linked correctly until you open the e-mail in Outlook, click "Track in CRM" to un-track the record, and then delete the record in CRM. When the manual synchronization is finished, you can track the message in CRM again.

That said, even with a few of the issues listed above, the Outlook client is much improved with UR7 and seems to be faster and more stable. If you've run into other issues, feel free to comment.

Add-CRM-icon-to-taskbar

Make your CRM Voice Heard

Convergence2010

Planning has begun for Microsoft Convergence 2010 in Atlanta, GA, and you can help set the direction.  Microsoft is asking for your input on subject matter for the conference.  If there are specific topics you would like discussed at the conference now is the time to act. 

Submit your Topic for Convergence 2010

They are taking feedback for a limited time so make sure you take a few minutes this week and provide some input.  We hope to see you at Convergence 2010!

Creating an Appointment through Workflow with a busy status

Recently one of our clients was implementing a sales process via workflow and asked the following question:

 

"When I am creating a  Appointment record through workflow, why can’t I select  busy in the “Show Time As” field?"

 

  Create-Appt 
 
They assumed this was a CRM defect because when a user creates a new appointment they can select the Busy value in this field.

Create-Appt-CRM

The “Show Time As” field is actually the Status Reason (statuscode) field from the Appointment entity.  The Status Reason displays values based on the Status (statecode) of the record.  When a record is created, the status is set to ‘Open’.  As a result, the only corresponding statuscodes available are ‘Free’ and ‘Tentative’.  Therefore, within workflow you need to add a step after the appointment is created to change the record status to 'Scheduled - Busy'. 

Update-Appt

 

Many CRM entities have similar statuscode and statecode relationships which would require similar changes in workflow.