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What's New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 For Administrators: Editable Tooltips

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is bringing administrators the ability to put help tips right where users benefit the most - at the form fields themselves.  The new editable tooltips let admins set short messages to display when a user hovers (browser) or taps (mobile) on a field label.  Using the Description field of the data field, admins can populate tips, hints, or suggestions to display to the end-user, making the CRM system easier for your employees to use.
In the video, we'll see how the tooltips show up on the form and where we go to configure them.


Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

What's New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 For End-Users: Access Teams

Today's guest blogger is Jacob Cynamon-Murphy, a Sales Engineer at Sonoma Partners

In Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft introduced team-based ownership, enabling either individual users or predefined teams of users to own CRM records.  When you have sufficiently few such teams or they are fairly static, this is a great system.  However, if you have many such teams or they are quite dynamic, team-based ownership is no panacea.

With Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft is introducing the concept of access teams - dynamic teams that are defined at the record level.  Users can be added and removed from access teams directly from the record form, making it easy to manage user rights that may change dynamically.  This simplifies administration and ensures that users are able to get the data they need, when they need it.

In this video, we'll see access teams in action and how they are defined and managed in Dynamics CRM 2013.


Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Dynamics CRM 2013 Phone App Released

CRMUG Summit Day 2 was just as exciting as Day 1.  As the second day was coming to an end, I decided to search the iPhone App Store to see if the iPhone app was released for Dynamics CRM 2013.  Following up on yesterday’s post, I knew it was coming soon, but didn’t expect to see it in the app store today.

To my surprise, the app was available today in the iPhone App Store!  I notified a few Sonoma Partners colleagues of mine that have the Windows Phone, and they found it in the Windows Store as well.  Therefore it looks like the app has been released to all stores!  I went ahead and downloaded the iPhone version of the app so I could try it out.


In order to get in and try the app out quickly, I went ahead and signed up for a trial org of Dynamics CRM 2013 Online.  After the provisioning completed, I was able to go through and log in and configure the application for my new 2013 Online org.



After logging into the application, you can see the list of entities that are enabled for the phone application. 


The list of entities that are available for the phone application are driven based on a checkbox on the entity customization “CRM for phones” which is the same location where you enable entities for tablets.  Note:  You can have a different set of entities available for tablets than you have available for the phone application as there are two separate checkboxes for each type of device.


From the list of entities, you can click into an entity type, and view the different records that are available on the phone.  When presented a the list of records for a particular entity, you can click the plus sign to create a new record.  Once you fill out the details of the new record you have the option to save or cancel your changes.


Alternatively, when presented the list of records for a particular entity, you can instead refine your search for an existing record by clicking the magnifying glass and searching for a record.  Once you find the record you’re interested in you can click on it to drill into it.


Once in a record, you can view the details of the record.  You can also click on an email address, phone numbers, or URL’s to launch the native applications to send an email, make a phone call, or view a web page.  You can also use the hyperlinks to drill into parent records (e.g., the Primary Contact for an Account).


If you scroll down within a record, you can view the related data for that record.  Clicking on a related entity will bring you to the records related to the parent you just came from. 


From here you can create a new record directly related to the parent record from these associated grids.  When doing this, specific data will default just like in the web client based on the relationship mappings that are defined.  However, if you didn’t want to create a new related record, you can drill into an existing related record to view it’s details.


In order to edit existing records, you can click the pencil (edit) icon in the bottom of the application to turn the record into edit mode.  From here you can update any of the fields listed on the form and either save or cancel your changes. 


You can also delete records from the phone app as long as your permissions dictate that you have this privilege.

No matter where you’re at within the application, you can always click on the Home button at the bottom to return back to the main list of entities.

It’s a great start to see Microsoft  moving more and more into the mobile space.  This is there first attempt at mobility and there’s a lot of features that can be added to make these tablet and phone applications better.  However, this is a great first start.  Also, being at CRMUG Summit this week and talking to Microsoft representatives about the future direction for these applications, I’m very excited with what functionality they’re contemplating adding in future releases to make these applications much more powerful.

Sign up for your free trial of Dynamics CRM 2013 Online, download the phone application, and start enjoying the latest mobility offering from Microsoft today!

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

CRMUG Summit 2013 - Day 1 Recap

Day 1 of the 2013 CRMUG Summit has come to a close…a successful close at that.  The first day was packed full of a variety of breakout sessions, 3 hours of the Expo, and an informative (and often humorous) keynote session.  The keynote humor was fueled by Reuben Krippner's great demo of Business Process in 2013 using a custom “Baby'” entity with how he reacted to the upcoming addition to his family.

CRM 2013 hasn’t fully been released yet and discussion was already around what’s next.  The next batch of releases (code named Subra, Mira, and Leo) will be around enhancing Marketing Pilot and Netbreeze integrations with CRM.  These will hit the shelves in Q1 and Q2 of 2014.

The keynote also revealed some new announcements made by Microsoft this week.  They announced a strategic alliance with InsideView Inc. and the first part of that alliance is embedding Social Insights into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for the cost of….wait for it…NOTHING!  There’s a small stipulation that you need to have the Professional License of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to use the functionality for no additional cost.  However, Social Insights delivers real time account and contact information from 30,000 sources right into CRM Online.  This will help find more leads, win more deals, and grow accounts.

The breakout sessions were equally informative.  The Mobility Session by Beth Steinke was so popular, that there was standing room only, and a quick announcement that a repeat session will be held on Wednesday.  Some interesting information discussed during this session was the fact that Android tablets, and Windows Phone/iPhone/Android Phone apps would be coming shortly.

After a long day of sessions, day 1 of the Expo was equally successful.  The Sonoma Partners booth (#312) saw a lot of foot traffic of CRM (and non-CRM) users who were interested in discussing the Sonoma Partners Mobility Test Drive, experience with UX, and solutions that were built for mobile devices.  The Expo is open longer on Day 2, so if you’re interested in hearing more about Sonoma Partners, UX, and enterprise mobility, please stop by and say hi.


Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

What's New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 For End-Users: Inline Editable Grids

Today's guest blogger is Jacob Cynamon-Murphy, a Sales Engineer at Sonoma Partners

Customers gave Microsoft feedback that the process of adding line items to an opportunity/quote/order was cumbersome - add new line item, set the values, save the record, recalculate the parent record - and Microsoft listened.  In Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft is introducing inline editable grids to manage the line item process.  With the click of a button, you can add a line item as a row of the table, then edit the price, quantity, and discount values… right from the grid.

This is one of many areas where Microsoft has identified ways to reduce clicks and increase user productivity.  Dynamics CRM 2013 will make your end-users faster and happier than they've ever been with a CRM system.

In this video, we'll see the inline editable grid in action on an Opportunity form.


Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

What's New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 For End-Users: Native Mobile Apps

Today's guest blogger is Jacob Cynamon-Murphy, a Sales Engineer at Sonoma Partners

End-users want CRM to work wherever they are, whether on a desktop, laptop or mobile device.  In the past, Microsoft has addressed this demand with the Mobile Express product.  With the launch of Dynamics CRM 2013, end-users now have a rich tablet application that provides dashboards, charts, and CRM record access from iPads and Windows 8 tablets, enriching the mobile user's experience and productivity.

By simply downloading an app from the App Store or the Windows Store, tablet users can unlock a consistent, intuitive experience like that of Dynamics CRM in the browser. No longer do road warriors need to be tied to a desk to be productive; Microsoft has provided CRM on the go, so mobile users can now touch, tap, and swipe their way to record sales and service results.

Enjoy the video preview of this great new mobile application!


Topics: Enterprise Mobility Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Microsoft Dynamics 2013 Goes Big With Mobile Apps

Today’s guest blogger is Aaron Robinson, a Consulting Manager at Sonoma Partners.

Following on the post from Pete Majer on the release of Dynamics CRM 2013, the mobile apps for Dynamics CRM 2013 are available on the Apple App Store and Microsoft Windows Store. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for a trial environment of Dynamics CRM 2013 Online so you can test the mobile apps!

One of the most compelling features I have noticed about the mobile app is that it is consistent across devices. I downloaded the app for the iPad, the Surface, and a Windows 8 desktop, and it’s the same experience across all devices. This is a tremendous win for end users, because they can use it in app form across all of their devices and not have to relearn the user interface. The look is very clean and intuitive, and from my very limited exposure offers much more functionality than the mobile website of the previous version of Dynamics CRM.


Clicking into a record offers not only the details of the particular element you have opened, but you can also view all of the related information. They have also embedded some very nice controls for items like date pickers and lookups which are much more touch friendly for mobile devices


If you are interested in trying it out and have signed up for a trial online version, here was the very fluid experience I had in downloading and getting up and running with the app on an iPad.

1. Open Safari, and login to your online trial environment using the same URL as your PC. Once you sign in on the iPad, you will be greeted with a slide down window which notifies you of the availability of an app. Alternatively, you can go directly to the App Store, search for Dynamics CRM 2013, and download the official Microsoft app.


2. Open the App. Click on the app to open it, and you will be presented with an initial screen asking for the URL of your environment. Be sure to include the https:// on the URL string, e.g. Then click the arrow in the bottom right hand corner.


3. Login with your credentials.  Now enter your credentials for the environment URL you have entered. Then click Sign In.


4. Application setup.  The app will now connect to the environment and get things ready. You’ll see a nice splash screen giving you some helpful tips on using the app.


5. Access the app.  Depending on what you have access to in your environment, you will see your initial dashboard. In my case, I have access to the Sales Dashboard and can navigate from there.

I also downloaded this for my Windows 8 devices. You’ll quickly see that the experience is just as seamless as on the iPad, with the added benefit of having access to all of your other Microsoft tools such as Microsoft Office 2013.

As you can see from the above there’s a lot to be excited about that is coming out of Redmond with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 release. While I haven’t seen an official announcement with the mobile apps, they are currently available. I’m looking forward to getting into it much more and providing additional details.  Download it today for your device and give it a try and let us know what you think!

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Drive More Business With Mobility

Today’s guest blogger is Kyle Gerstner, a Principal Mobility Architect at Sonoma Partners.

When you hear iPad, Surface, Droid Tablet, what do you think about?  Shooting birds at pigs, slicing fruit, checking Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?  We have been trained to think of these mobile devices as consumer products intended for fun, but its time to start thinking of how to leverage them for business.

Every company knows that in order to be successful, they need to make the right decisions; and in order to make those decisions, they need data.  Companies have spent thousands if not millions of dollars on complex systems that allow you to enter in your data and then report on that data, see charts, and help make decisions.  These tools can be customized to fit your exact business process, which makes them excellent for your analysts and decision makers.  Analysts are noticing a new problem; there isn't enough data?  Why?

Unfortunately, the highly customizable systems quickly become too complex for the people who need to fill in that data.  The people that make up the public facing side of your company: sales people, support staff and anyone else who interacts with your customers.  These are the people who have their own system of tracking the data that is important to them.  They use notebooks, napkins, or sometimes, just their memory.  A lot of these people become overwhelmed by these complex backend systems and when it doesn't work the way the expect/want, regress to their system of napkins.

A mobile application allows you to present a streamlined interface to your complex backend systems.  In fact, a well designed application means your users don't even have to know what that backed system is!  In my experience, most users in the same role follow roughly the same set of steps when they meet with a customer.  If you provide an intuitive interface that walks the user through those steps, gathering the data your company needs along the way, and sending that data back into your system, everyone wins.  Your employees will be happier because they can ditch their notebooks and carry a tablet.  The company will be happy because you'll have more and better data entered into your system, which allows you to make better decisions.

A key point here is a streamlined interface.  A mobile app should not be all encompassing.  It should be focused on a key set of use cases and make that experience the best possible experience for the user.  There will be cases where the user will have to break out the laptop either right away or at the end of the day to deal with a unique circumstance that isn't covered in the app.  Also, you don't have to hit all possible use cases in the first iteration. Many successful applications I've built have had second and third iterations defined by the users, and what they feel they need. When a company allows their user base to drive the feature set of the application, they see an increase in adoption.

It's time to stop thinking about mobile devices as toys and start thinking of how you can leverage them to build your business.


Topics: Enterprise Mobility

What's New In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013: Portable Business Logic

Today's guest blogger is Jacob Cynamon-Murphy, a Sales Engineer at Sonoma Partners

In Dynamics CRM 4.0 and 2011, a developer can write JavaScript to automate the form in various ways.  With Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft brings that power to non-technical administrators and business analysts with Portable Business Logic (PBL).  Also referred to as "business rules," PBL empowers business analysts to visually define firm automation rules.  These rules are define as simple If-Then statements, combining one or more data conditions with one or more form actions.

With PBL, administrators can publish rules to dynamically alert a user, hide/show fields, lock/unlock read-only fields, set fields as required/not required, and even set values on fields, without the need to write any code. These business rules can be associated with a single entity form or all forms of the entity, and run in both browser and mobile application forms, so you are guaranteed consistency. 

The following video shows the end-user and administrator experiences with the new Portable Business Logic.


Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Server-Side Sync in CRM 2013

Today’s guest blogger is Jacob Cynamon-Murphy, a Sales Engineer at Sonoma Partners.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and 2011 offered administrators the email router, a separate server component that could be used to deliver emails created in Dynamics CRM and track email conversations to CRM records in an automated fashion.  Although it is certainly useful, there is more to activity tracking then email.

Conveniently, there was also Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Office Outlook, a.k.a. the Outlook client.  This extremely functional add-in extended Outlook, making it a comprehensive personal information manager and CRM interface.  Users could sync emails, tasks, appointments, and contacts with the click of a button, and changes to records in CRM would be automatically synchronized with the records in Outlook… as long as the user's instance of Outlook was running.  Like the email router, this was not a perfect solution.

Enter server-side sync, introduced as part of the Dynamics CRM 2013 feature set.  This capability, baked in to the CRM 2013 server rather than a separate component (like the email router), allows Dynamics CRM and your email server to chat directly - this will simplify administration.  On top of that, it can also be used to sync appointments, tasks, and contacts if you use Microsoft Exchange Server, removing the requirement to have the Outlook client sitting open on users' desktops.  Calendars, contacts, appointments, and tasks will be up-to-date, even in Outlook Web Access and mobile devices, once you handle the simple configuration on the server.

Although there are some limits on the supported configurations, this is a huge first step to ensuring that all users have access to all of the data that they need to market, sell, and serve your customers.

CRM Deployment Email System Email Sync Appointments,  Tasks, Contacts Sync Protocol
CRM (on-premises) - Exchange Server 2010 Yes Yes Exchange Web Services
- Exchange Server 2013
CRM (on-premises) - Gmail Yes No POP3/SMTP
- Windows Live Mail
- Yahoo! Mail

The following scenarios, however, are unsupported.  It is possible that some of these will be supported in the future, but there is no word yet on which or when.

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online with Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Hybrid deployments:
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online with Exchange (on-premises)
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM (on-premises) with Exchange Online
  • Mix of Exchange/SMTP and POP3/Exchange
  • Creation of mass email marketing campaigns
  • Extensibility scenarios like extending EWS/POP3/SMTP protocols and creating custom email providers
  • Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2007
Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013