Monday, June 29, 2009

Choosing what records to Sync Offline

Finding the location of how to modify what records are actually synchronized between a user’s personal Outlook and CRM isn’t always apparent to the average user. The good news is that once you find it, modifying it is very easy and just like the Advanced Find tool. With this post I hope to help people find this setting and see the power of managing your own records for offline synchronization.

First, if you do not have the ability to “Go Offline” then you will only be able to modify your synchronization with contacts (without going offline, activities are the only other items that sync with your install). If you have the Outlook client that allows you to “Go Offline” then you have the full capability to modify each record type according to your security role.

Here’s where to find the setting:

From within Outlook, click on the “CRM” Menu, and then choose “Modify Local Data Group.”

A new window will appear showing all of your active data groups. You can create a new group, delete a group, or deactivate any of the groups shown in your window.
To edit a data group double click on the group. This will bring up an Advanced Find window. Modify the query and whatever is returned in the query is what you will sync to your personal computer once saved. By adding date ranges, records owned by certain users, or other options will expand or limit what is actually synchronized.

To synchronize all California Contacts that I owned, I would use the query below:

If you need to reset back to the default “My Contacts” Group, use the option under “More Actions”.

You can rename a group.

You are only allowed to have one data group for each record type. It doesn’t matter if it is active. If you think you don’t have a data group, it’s probably inactive. (The only record type you can have in your local data groups are contacts, unless you have the offline client.)

Also, bear in mind that you are only allowed one data group per record type.

To delete a group, highlight and click the delete button. I personally don’t recommend doing this; I recommend deactivating and creating your own.

To deactivate a data group, just highlight the group and click on the red square within a circle button. This makes is so that you keep any filter but don’t apply that filter’s logic when synchronizing.

To activate an inactive group, go to the “Inactive Data Groups” tab, highlight the group to activate, and click on the arrow within the circle.

Remember, you need to have your contacts synching or it doesn’t matter what you do with your local data group.
Also, be sure to check the box to update the outlook company field with the CRM Parent Account Name.

David Fronk
Dynamic Methods Inc.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cool CRM 4.0 tools that may not be generally known

I have come across a number of different tools, some shown to me by Microsoft reps, others by other partners, some by clients and still some (more typically) by my coworkers. I always find it funny when I have a tool that I've been using for a really long time but I never told my coworkers about (or that situation in reverse). All of a sudden life is so much easier. So, here's a list of some tools that I have found and use to make my life easier.

1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Demonstration Tools
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Demonstration Tools provide a simple user interface that allows you to easily enter and edit data to populate or modify your instance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It also allows you to load and store your data in XML format, so that you can reuse your data in the future.
This is one that one of my sales team members showed me how it helped him with his demos. I told him it would be great for implementation too.

2. MSCRM Plugin Registration Tool
PluginRegistration tool is enhanced version of the tool that is published with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 SDK (if you're using plugins I hope you know about this one, if you don't, it will change your life)

3. Microsoft CRM Support Tools
Things like the diagnostic tool for tracing and the email connector logger.

4. Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 Performance Toolkit
Helps to stress test an environment. A lot of set up but you get a lot of good data.

5. Microsoft Dynamics Internet Facing Deployment Configuration Tool
You could set up IFD manually, but why would you do that when this tool makes it so easy?

6. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerators
I've blogged about these before, but these essentially are free "modules", external portals, or reports that help make CRM be more effective to you and your organization. Codeplex has a number of other CRM tools that you can easily search for and try out.

7. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Logical Database Diagram
Maps whatever entities you choose in Visio. If you keep your select entities to only a few, this can be very useful. But don't expect to use this for your entire system. This maps out EVERY relationship on any specified entity (activities, notes, users, imports, plus all the regular ones you want).

8. Stunnware's FetchXML Wizard
Great for scripting. Stunnware has lots of other great tools, so poke around and see what you can find.

There are lots more. If you have any that you really like, post it in a comment.

David Fronk
Dynamic Methods Inc.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Money Fields and Multicurrency

I was adding fields to an existing entity, and one field I accidentally made a money field rather than a float. So, I went back and deleted the field and recreated it as a float. No big deal. Well, it is a big deal if you have ever had multiple currencies in your system. All of a sudden, users were getting the infamous "Object reference not set to the instance of an object." error. I looked on the server and found that the error was coming from the following plugin:


That wasn't any plugin I had ever put on the server so I was surprised to see it. As it turns out, once a money field is added to an entity within a system that has ever utilized multiple currencies, there must ALWAYS be a money field on the form. Otherwise you get the above error. I tried deleting the extra currencies in the system to see if that would fix the problem; it didn't. I guess something changes once you add more than one currency that doesn't change back. I ended up in having to add a money field to the entity. I didn't put it on the form, and I'll never use any data from it, it's just there to prevent that error from popping up. Awesome.

Hopefully this helps someone else.

David Fronk
Dynamic Methods Inc.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Annoying Outlook Pop-up windows

I have seen some users of the Outlook client be pestered by pop-ups every time they open any CRM window from within Outlook. The message they get is:

One fix that was found for this issue is to go to the Internet Option Settings in Internet Explorer and turn "Protected Mode" OFF on the INTERNET ZONE under the Security tab. You will be warned that your computer will be at risk of getting something bad the easies solution to that is responsible web browsing. For whatever reason doing this on the Intranet or Trusted Sites zones didn't fix the problem (even though the CRM site was put in each zone).
Perhaps there are other better ways out there but this is one that works.
David Fronk
Dynamic Methods Inc.