Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

ISV Customer Success Story: Campaign Monitor Invests in Dynamics 365 Integration

Today’s blog post was written by Kayla Silverstein, Marketing Specialist at Sonoma Partners.

Campaign Monitor is the email marketing and automation platform used by some of today’s fastest growing businesses. Their technology provides their 200,000+ customers, including Chandon, Rip Curl, Topshop, Huffpost, and Virgin, with powerful tools to help drive business results through email.

CRM plays a large role in the Campaign Monitor platform. When real-time customer data from CRM is integrated with Campaign Monitor, email marketers leverage that data to send more targeted campaigns that in turn drive engagement. Campaign Monitor recognized that one of the top CRM platforms their customers use is Microsoft Dynamics 365. To ensure these customers had a seamless way of bringing CRM data into Campaign Monitor, their team decided to build an integration between the two platforms.

Campaign Monitor hired Sonoma Partners to help build an integration between Dynamics 365 and their email marketing platform.

The result of this partnership was a scalable and robust integration between Campaign Monitor and Dynamics 365 that provided their joint customers with the functionality they needed to bring the right customer data into their email marketing campaigns.

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We sat down with Vibhor Chhabra, Head of Product Management at Campaign Monitor, to ask him about the project, investing in Dynamics, and his thoughts on integrating his solution with a a market-leading CRM platform.

Why did you decide to invest in Dynamics 365?

Chhabra: Our goal at Campaign Monitor is, and has always been, to build a platform for more sophisticated email marketing, while maintaining the simplicity of our product, and expanding globally. More and more of our customers want all of their subscriber data in Campaign Monitor. To bring in customer data the moment they interact with your brand is a powerful thing. You can use this data to engage in real-time interactions and market according to their behavior. By sending targeted emails based on user activity in CRM, you can ensure your messages are personalized and therefore more effective.

Beyond fulfilling a customer need, we also believe in investing in partnerships. We found the investment in Dynamics 365 to be a great opportunity to grow our partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft is a leader in CRM, and we are a leader in email marketing – it seemed fitting to join forces to better serve our joint customer base.

Why did you choose Sonoma Partners, and what was your experience in working with us?

Chhabra: I had heard great things in the market about Sonoma Partners and their advanced expertise with CRM and Dynamics 365. It became an obvious choice and one that truly served us well.

I enjoyed my experience in working with Sonoma Partners. I thought they had a very clear and professional process. Sonoma Partners came in with a plan and executed accordingly. With quite a few customers already requesting the integration, we had to significantly push up our development timeline. Sonoma Partners readily accepted the challenge and delivered. We’ve already received great feedback on the integration, and I’m very pleased with the result.

What were some of the tough decisions you had to make throughout the course of the project?

Chhabra: Balancing the functionality we needed in this integration with the delivery timeline was bound to be challenging. Is it better to get your customers something early that’s a bit simpler, or to make them wait for something more feature rich? Ultimately, we released an initial version that had a one-way sync between the platforms to get our customers up and running immediately/quickly. Shortly thereafter, we released a second version that operated with a two-way sync between the platforms. This allowed us to balance the desired functionality and delivery time.

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What’s next for Campaign Monitor?

Chhabra: There is a lot on the horizon for Campaign Monitor as we continue to invest in our platform and to serve our customers above and beyond their expectations. I think this Dynamics 365 integration is just one example of how we continue – and will continue – to invest in meeting the needs of our users.

Our thanks to Vibhor for sitting down with us to discuss the project! If you’re looking to build an integration between your application and a market-leading CRM platform or to learn more about our ISV Enablement practice, contact us.

Topics: ISV for CRM Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft AppSource Admin Portal Improvements

Did you know that Microsoft AppSource recently celebrated its one-year anniversary? Me neither…time really flies, as I just assumed it has been around so much longer. The progress made over one year has been incredible!

Microsoft recently improved the app submission process experience with the release of their Cloud Partner Portal (https://cloudpartner.azure.com). In a previous post, I discussed how to prep your Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement solution to make it AppSource ready. This post will delve a bit more into the submission portal pages and detail the assets you need to have ready to submit an app.

Getting Started

First, you need to sign in with an account authorized to publish apps.

After sign in, you'll be taken to your offers list. This will show the status of your offers, including if there are any with errors existing with the submission process.

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To create a new Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (ie CRM) submission, click New offer and Select Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.

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This will take you to the new and improved Editor experience. As before, you can save your progress at any point (I always recommend you save often!).

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The submission is broken into 4 key areas.

  • Offer Settings sets the Id, Publisher, and Name
  • Technical Info deals with Package information. The assets you need for this area is covered in detail in my previous post.
  • Storefront Details contains all of the marketing information required for the store.
  • Contacts simply collects the Engineering and Support Contact info

Storefront Details Section

Let's delve into my key takeaways from the Storefront Details section.

As you develop your solution for AppSource, be sure to have the following items ready from your content, product, and marketing teams:

App distribution logistics

  • A short summary and description of your application
  • Select your apps targeted industries, categories, and countries you plan to support
  • URLs to the following:
    • Help guide
    • App's privacy policy
    • Customer support
  • Terms of use
    • For some reason, this isn't a url, but the portal expects an HTMLI prefer to have our terms on our website, so we use the following HTML snippet:
    • <p>[App Name] is governed by the following terms located on our website.</p>
      < p>Please visit: 
      < a href=http://[url to license agreeement] target="_blank">http://[url to license agreeement</a>
      for full details.</p>

Marketing Artifacts

  • The new UI only requires two sizes for app logos. A 48x48 and a 216x216 sized logo. Be sure to the sizes correct
  • You can optionally connect videos that are stored on YouTube or Vimeo
  • You need at least one document. We usually add a product datasheet pdf
  • You can also add up to 5 screenshots of your app. Ensure your images size is 1280x720

Lead Management

Finally, you need to decide where you want AppSource to send the information it collects when users download your application. Your choices are:

  • None
  • Azure Blob
  • Azure Table
  • Dynamics 365 (CRM Online)
  • HTTPS Endpoint
  • Marketo
  • Salesforce

Additional Features

Compare

One final really cool new  feature is the Compare function. You can use Compare to find differences between the published version and your current draft version. This is helpful when you are making and trying to keep track of updates to your app.

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Additional Portal Users

The new Cloud Partner Portal also allows the admin to create additional users who can have rights to contribute to the submission process.

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This ensured that I am not a bottleneck in our app submissions and was a huge help to our organization. Smile

Final Thoughts

Once you are ready to submit, you will click the Publish button. Microsoft AppSource will go through a series of validation steps and email the contacts (and any additional email addresses you submit as part of the process) updates on completion or send you an email alert if it finds an error with something in your submission.

If you are an ISV and would like assistance with this process, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Topics: ISV for CRM Microsoft Dynamics 365

It’s Official! We’re a Microsoft ISV Development Center

Today's blog post was written by Ariel Upton, Marketing Manager at Sonoma Partners.

This week our team is at the Microsoft Inspire Conference in Washington D.C., meeting with Microsoft leaders and learning more about what’s to come for Dynamics 365. One piece of exciting news coming out of the Capitol – we’ve been identified as one of the inaugural Microsoft ISV Development Centers due to our CRM specialization.

As a member of this prestigious program, we have access to Microsoft ISV and product teams to work through specific architectural considerations and complex client requirements. If you’re a new or existing Microsoft ISV, this means we have an even stronger set of resources to help you build your solution for Dynamics 365, or re-platform an existing solution onto the Microsoft Cloud.

“Microsoft selected Sonoma Partners as one of our launch ISV Development Center partners based on their strong technical expertise, and their ability to help ISVs get their solutions through the AppSource listing process. Any ISV building a Dynamics 365 integration around sales, marketing and service should definitely consider engaging a company like Sonoma Partners to get their solution to market as quickly as possible,” Pat Fitzhenry, Director, Microsoft ISV Development Centers.

We’re thrilled to receive this designation and are here to provide advisory services to help ISVs get their teams up to speed on how to build, support, and maintain a D365-based solution. Thank you to our partners at Microsoft for selecting us as an inaugural Microsoft ISV Development Center!

Topics: ISV for CRM Microsoft Dynamics 365

ISV Customer Success Story: Glance Integrates Cobrowse Solution with Dynamics 365

Today's blog post was written by Kayla Silverstein, Marketing Specialist at Sonoma Partners.

According to a recent Forrester report: “Companies increasingly leverage visual engagement – video, cobrowsing, screen sharing, and annotations – to cut through the customer conversation clutter to be better understood, and to connect emotionally.”

Glance Networks is a key player in the visual engagement space, offering a platform that helps cut through “conversation clutter.” By leveraging Glance’s interactive visual offerings, users can provide better service experiences and online interactions with their clients.

We worked closely with Glance Networks to integrate their cobrowsing solution with Dynamics 365. We sat down with the Glance team to learn a more about their interest in building their solution for the Dynamics 365 platform, what it was like working with Sonoma Partners, and the growing importance of enterprise CRM in their industry.

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Why did you decide to integrate your solution with Dynamics 365?

Glance: We’ve worked with other CRM partners for years. We get a lot of opportunities from these partners, and our customers are happy with the tightly-integrated functionality. In discussions with many enterprise accounts, we’ve seen an increase in those who already have Dynamics, or are considering moving to Dynamics. Given the quality of these prospective users, it made sense to explore how we could integrate our cobrowse solution with Dynamics. We’ve had great success with other providers, and Microsoft was eager and excited to work with us.

Why did you choose Sonoma Partners?

Glance: We asked ourselves whether we should choose a partner who knows Glance really well but doesn’t know Dynamics, or do we go with a new partner who isn’t as familiar with Glance but is an expert in Microsoft’s CRM space. Ultimately, we decided that this partner would need to become an expert in the Glance platform anyway, so partnering with a firm that has Dynamics expertise was the key factor in our decision.

“We wanted to work with someone who had a great reputation in the Dynamics space, and choosing Sonoma Partners was the best decision we could have made. They were able to deliver on their promises with a great product, and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.”

Apart from the integration with the Dynamics service itself, we wanted to work with a partner who understands the process of listing in Microsoft AppSource, and the intricacies that follow. This was fundamental to our success with our other CRM providers, so we knew how important that would be in raising our profile among the customer base. Sonoma Partners offered the expertise we needed to get the job done and cross the finish line.

 

Are you looking for a partner who could help you get into AppExchange or AppSource and invest your solution in a market-leading CRM platform? We’d be happy to help.

Topics: ISV for CRM Microsoft Dynamics 365

Lightning Locker Service and You: Working with SecureDOM

Today's blog post was written by Nathen Drees, Senior Data Integration Developer at Sonoma Partners.

One of Salesforce’s recent major releases is the force enablement of the Lightning LockerService. While Salesforce has done their best to give plenty of warning about the LockerService being force enabled, we still see some of our partners and developers confused about what exactly it is, and if it affects them.

Today we wanted to review what the LockerService is, provide context for when it will affect you, and some recommendations on working within it.

What is the Lightning LockerService?

When Salesforce released the Lightning Experience, it had a vision for the AppExchange: developers could write lots of tiny components, and administrators could install them in their org, promoting code reuse and reducing the need to hire for custom development. It was a win-win proposition for both parties – developers have more chances to sell their individual widgets, while administrators have more options to choose from. But this vision comes with a problem: for this exchange to work, Salesforce needs to guarantee that the various components installed by administrators stay safe from one another, to prevent (accidental or otherwise) runaway scripts from causing too much damage. Unfortunately, browsers don’t natively provide a way for multiple scripts within a page to be sandboxed from one another – everyone has access to (more-or-less) everything on the page.

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Enter Lightning LockerService

This is where the Lightning LockerService comes in to play. It provides each lightning component a “locker” that is must fit within, stricter guidelines on what it’s allowed to do, and how it can communicate with other components.

Here’s a comprehensive introduction to the technical aspects of the LockerService on the Salesforce blog, but the key idea to understand is that components are not able to access anything on the page at any time. If components wish to communicate, they  need to coordinate in some agreed upon manner (such as application events).

Does the Lightning LockerService Affect Me?

If you write Lightning Components, the Lightning LockerService affects you.

Going forward (API version 40+), you will need to ensure that your components adhere to the LockerService’s rules or you may find that they no longer function as expected. However, adhering to the LockerService’s rules isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

Working Within the Lightning LockerService

If you are sticking to the native APIs provided by Lightning Components, enabling the LockerService doesn’t change much for you during development. The main area it impacts is when you try to navigate out of your current component into another – this may no longer work as expected, specifically if those other components are not in the same namespace as yours.

In an attempt to help developers ensure that they’re staying within the guidelines (and also pass a security review), Salesforce released the Salesforce Lightning CLI, which lints the components for known errors and mistakes. Using this tool liberally will help to avoid the common cross-component scripting mistakes that may break your components going forward.

If you do need to work across components, you need to start designing and writing events to let the components communicate amongst themselves. Depending on the structure of the components, you’ll want to consider either an application event or a component event.

Wrapping Up

There are of course many more tricks for making sure your components continue to work with the LockerService, most of them being not very difficult to implement. If you would like help reviewing and/or correcting your components, or are looking to launch your product on the platform but could use the help of experienced developers, contact us and we can help.

Topics: ISV for CRM Salesforce