Friday, March 27, 2009

Viewing "Customizations" Area while Outlook Client is Open

I made mention to one of the Microsoft CRM Product Managers that the fact that I cannot access "Customizations" from the Outlook client, or the Web client when I have Outlook open seems silly to me. When the Outlook client first came out it was titled "The Sales for Outlook Client" and with that title not including "Customizations" made sense. But now the client has moved far from that title and this really shouldn't be an issue for end users.

The Product Manager looked at me in a confused way and said, "Why don't you just update the Site Map?" I couldn't believe that something so simple could solve my problem. Previously I've had users go to a separate URL, like the IP address, or I would set up another host header to work around this. But I tried this and this way is much better.

All you have to do is export the Site Map and find the XML tag "nav_syscust" under the "Settings" area tag and add:

Client = "All"

Save, import, publish and you're all set. Here's the full line:

<SubArea Id="nav_syscust" ResourceId="Homepage_SystemCustomization" Icon="/_imgs/area/18_syscust.gif" Url="/tools/systemcustomization/systemcustomization.aspx" Client="All" />


David Fronk
Dynamic Methods Inc.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Convergence Summary

Convergence this year was held in the New Orleans Conference Center, which is rather large. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The New Orleans Morial Convention Center (formerly the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center) is convention center in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The lower end of building one is located 1,640 feet (500 m) upriver from Canal Street on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is named after former Mayor of New Orleans Ernest N. Morial. As of 2006, it has about 1.1 million square feet (102,000 m²) of exhibit space, covering almost 11 blocks, and over 3 million square feet (280,000 m²) of total space. The front of the main building is 1 kilometer long (for full article click here).

Microsoft had about two thirds of the Convention Center rented out so running from classes on one end of the first floor to the other end of the third floor took a fair amount of time to walk to.

I was able to sit in on a lot of user experience sessions with the Dynamics CRM team to discuss their thoughts on the future for the product. Unfortunately I am sworn to secrecy (signed NDA) about anything that was discussed but I did ask if I could share one or two specific things. Since anything and everything could still be changed there wouldn't be much point in me sharing much anyway. However, I can share that the team has heard the cries from the community and is working very hard to add functionality and improve other existing items. One of the specific things that the Outlook team is focusing on is increasing the RELIABILITY and STABILITY of the Outlook client. All of the issues that were mentioned the team had full knowledge of and was working on getting those things resolved. I must say that after sitting through those sessions (where the product team was raked over the coals) they were very coridial, professional, and understanding. One of the biggest things that I got out of these sessions was that I will submit my errors to Microsoft much more often now because I know there really are people reading them on the other end, I've met them and shook their hands.

That all being said, I'm going to try to bullet point out everything to make this a bit more readable/scannable for those just looking for highlights. So, here it goes. These are some of the highlights that I picked up from the show (not in any particular order):

1. If you haven't seen any of the CRM Accelerators, go check them out at

2. SQL 2010 is going to have a lot of great new enhancements one of which will be managing multi-terrabyte systems quickly

3. Performance Point will become a part of SQL and SharePoint (most likely pieces will go to each, with either minimal or no overlap between the two systems)

4. Microsoft's CRM to GP integration - great for out of the box integrations, any additional fields will have to be added by someone with "developer" type skills. Plugins and triggers will most likely have to be written. Interface looks clean but the extensibility doesn't appear to be as strong.

5. If you went to Convergence and do not own CRM you can sign up for CRM Online for $9.99/user for up to 20 users for 6 months. That's a steal.

6. CRM Developer Toolkit (available in April) - Visual Studio add-on. Looks solid, makes developing much easier by being able to see all objects, fields, etc within Visual Studio. This is code complete and documentation is all that is really being completed.

7. Don't look at MSCRM just as a CRM solution but an xRM solution. It's extensibility really makes it so that customers don't have to be your center, you can have whatever you want as the center of your Relationship Management system you want.

8. Newsfeed Accelerator - use workflow to augment your user's daily actions to further the data that is put into the system. Use a user's actions and workflow to populate you system to give a more full 360 degree view of what is going on in your CRM system and with the relationships between what you track in your system.

I don't do the show justice as there was a lot learned and gained from attending. For those in the Southern California Area, keep your eyes open for the Dynamic Methods Convergence (Titled "DM Convergence") where we will be putting on a similar but very focused event focusing on things from this year's Convergence specifically for Dynamics GP and CRM where we will have classes and give people the ability to "Ask the Experts" just about anything they want so we can help everyone along in whatever stage or scenario they are in. With Convergence having just finished we are looking into what content we want to present as well as when we will be holding it. Most likely we will be holding the event in May, so keep stay tuned for updates.

Also, this is specifically targeted at Southern California Dynamics GP and CRM users but that doesn't mean you can't come. If you're really interested stay tuned as I should be posting a method of registration or contact in the near future. We typically just have a 1 day event so the travel doesn't always justify the attendance.

David Fronk
Dynamic Methods

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quick Convergence Note

Convergence is almost over (only a half of a day left) and while I thought I was going to be able to put up a couple of posts a day I quickly found out that a lot of my time was spent running from one end of the New Orleans Converence Center to the other...this place is huge! I almost feel like I should have trained for speed walking before I came here :).

Convergence has been great so far, I've gotten to sit in a lot of User Experience Labs with the CRM development team, where they basically show us a preview of what they are considering for the next version of CRM and get the customer's and partner's feelings on the direction they have, or are considering. All in attendance of those sessions had to sign NDA's (Non-Discloures Agreements) so I'm not allowed to talk about the details of the labs.

I was able to attend a handful of other sessions and ask some questions to other CRM experts, including the support team, and I will be posting more once my walking/running marathon is over.

David Fronk
Dynamic Methods Inc.

Friday, March 06, 2009

On-Mouse-Over Custom Tool Tips

Ever want to give users more information into what they should enter into a field? You can either make the label of a given field really long, put a field in a section on it's own, and write the description out in the section title, or you could use scripts to override the tool tip of the field.

Here's the script:

var oPopup = window.createPopup();
var oPopupBody = oPopup.document.body; = 'Tahoma'; = '1px solid black';

function My_OrgName_showRatingPopup ()
oPopupBody.innerHTML = "<div><table style='font-size:xx-small'>";
oPopupBody.innerHTML += "<tr><td><b></b></td><td> Custom Tool Tip Text Here</td></tr></table></div>";
var x_coord = -100;
var y_coord = 20;
var width = 350;
var height = 90;
var documentElement = event.srcElement;, y_coord, width, height, documentElement);
//Be sure to modify the field name here so that you attach your OnMouseOver event
//to the correct field. The "_c" indicates the label of the field.
crmForm.all.new_customfield_c.attachEvent('onmouseover', My_OrgName_showRatingPopup);

Now just hover over your field label and you'll see you new custom tooltip pop up.

David Fronk
Dynamic Methods Inc.