New Blog Owner Added

May 7, 2012 1 comment

G’day everyone,

I’ve had a blast developing this Blog and serving the Australian community of Dynamics CRM enthusiasts. Life-to-date this Blog has had over 20K page views. So thanks! I’ve also enjoyed the years I have had working at Microsoft Australia. I recently left Microsoft Australia and have joined a leading Dynamics CRM ISV, CWR Mobility, to start their Asia Pacific operations. Full details of that news is here. I really look forward to that challenge. The exciting thing is that it allows me to stay involved with the growing world of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Australia and across the region.

I have added Craig Steere, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Specialist at Microsoft Australia as a co-owner to this Blog. He will keep us informed on important and relevant information about Dynamics CRM. Details are on the About page. You can follow Craig on Twitter as he operates the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Australia Twitter account, http://twitter.com/msdyncrmau.

Thanks for your support, readership, comments, etc.

Farewell, but not goodbye!

Ross

I Love This Time of Year

March 19, 2012 Leave a comment

For those of you at Microsoft Convergence 2012 this week in Houston, Texas, have a great time!! Microsoft is glad you’re there and with a keynote from retired General Colin L Powell, I’m sure it will be an amazing event.

image

If you’re a fan of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you’ll have a choice from an amazing 42 breakout sessions to attend where the rich variety of speakers will be getting into various details of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. I’m sure you’ll also get a great download on what’s install with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 Update.

The main reason I love this time of year is that Convergence brings out the best in our partners. This is the event where not only is there great new content and announcements from Microsoft, but the movers and shakers in our partner ecosystem also ready new products and services and can’t wait to tell attendees at Convergence, but also all of us who don’t get a chance to be at the conference via their news releases, etc.

Most of these new products and services will be on display at the giant partner expo hall. With approximately 10,000 attendees at Convergence, the partner expo hall is always filled with the latest and greatest solutions for Microsoft Dynamics from around the world.

So that I can monitor all the exciting announcements this week, I’ve created a little RSS feed using Bing Search and you can click here to see the latest announcements yourself. Here is a small screen grab of the current announcements, but this will change dynamically all week:

 

image

 

If you’re into Twitter, then use the #CONV12 to follow real time updates from Convergence, or just click here to see what people are saying on Twitter about Convergence now. Here is a sample of what that looks like:

 

image

 

I hope you love what Convergence brings to your corner of the Microsoft Dynamics world, wherever you are. You don’t have to be in Houston to love ConvergenceSmile.

Regards, Ross

Twitter: @rossd_crm

Dynamics CRM Industry Vertical Template Program

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

imageThe Dynamics CRM product team at Microsoft have an Industry Vertical template program. It was created as a vehicle for identifying, validating and distributing vertical specific IP as templates to be used to assist partners and Microsoft deliver easy to use vertical specific demonstrations.

The product team have recently released three vertical templates based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. These can be used in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and in on-premise based demonstrations too. The new templates are for:

  • Wealth Management,
  • Non-Profit (donation management)
  • Health Plan Sales

Typically a template will consist of the following components specific to a vertical:

  • Sitemap
  • Vertical workflows
  • Vertical custom entities
  • Vertical reports
  • Vertical dashboards
  • Vertical sample Data
    All the templates have gone through our detailed security and privacy review processes.  They can be used as a conceptual framework for vertical usage scenarios but are not intended to be used for actual implementations as they are not production level solutions or code and there is no technical support or warranty for these templates available from Microsoft. Microsoft strongly recommends that an implementation partner be engaged to effectively match Microsoft Dynamics CRM to the unique needs and specific vertical requirements of customers.

The templates are delivered as solution packages that can be easily downloaded through the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketplace for partners to import and use in sales engagements. The solutions can be found on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketplace under the search “Microsoft Dynamics Labs”, alternatively I have supplied the individual links below:

When you import and publish a template onto an existing instance of CRM, with other solutions already published, the template will be made available as a managed solution. In essence it will be added to the existing instance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The solution framework for Dynamics CRM supports layering; hence you can typically install one solution on top of another. Please refer to MSDN for more info.

If you need to further customise the template for a specific customer demonstration the existing components of the managed vertical template cannot be edited or changed. However, a template can be used as a reference to build more complex components when required. For example, consider that a workflow, WF1, is provided with the template. WF1 cannot be edited to satisfy customer needs. However, you can build a new workflow referencing WF1 and use that for the demo, if required.

Important Note for Use in Australia

In Australia, there are a few workflow processes that do not activate during import. This is because the default currency in the base system was set to US Dollar. If you want or need to activate these workflows, after import, you will need to go to ‘Customise’ and open the affected workflows, locate the Currency field on the form and change the lookup to Australian Dollar. In addition, the ‘dynamic’ area on the right of the workflow designer includes a default lookup to US Dollar, you will need to delete this default. This should fix the problems with the workflows so you can then activate them.

 

Microsoft is excited about this Industry Vertical template program and we look forward to releasing additional templates in the future.

Regards, Ross

Twitter: @rossd_crm

Microsoft White Paper: Security Features of Dynamics CRM Online

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment

imageBusinesses often express concerns about security when they consider the cloud services model for key communications and collaboration applications. Security when accessing, storing, and retrieving an organisation’s data is of paramount importance, as is the privacy of that data within the online service.

Microsoft takes a holistic approach to providing a highly secure environment for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service and within the application itself, which helps to guarantee that only users with the appropriate rights can access sensitive data and personally identifiable information (PII) within the unique CRM deployment.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is based upon an end-to-end approach to security that begins with the development of the application through to the service’s operations and management. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online follows the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL). This is the process by which we take services from the design through the build and implementation and release phases of its lifecycle, and consider security from all aspects.

Safeguards are applied on multiple fronts, including:

  • Secure web application communication using SSL
  • Customisable security roles governing user access and the actions they can perform
  • Field-level security
  • Full business data auditing
  • Stringent physical security of Microsoft datacentre’s, including building and system/database access
  • Additionally, the application itself uses the standard security features of the Microsoft infrastructure on which Microsoft Dynamics CRM runs (e.g. Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Exchange Server).

After an overview of the inherent risks to four key areas of the service, the remaining sections of the paper describe how Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft’s core commitment to build software and services that better help protect customers and the industry, is reflected in the design and operation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

To download the white paper, follow this link: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=15543

Regards, Ross

Twitter: @rossd_crm

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap – Q4 2011 Service Update

September 23, 2011 3 comments

image

Microsoft has delivered significant innovation and value in customer relationship management (CRM) software over a number of years now. Earlier this year Microsoft released Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, a flexible CRM solution that provides the power of productivity through familiar, intelligent, and connected experiences for organisations of all sizes worldwide.

At the end of August Microsoft released a new "Release Preview Guide" that outlines the next wave of Microsoft Dynamics CRM innovation to be released soon and known as the "Q4 2011 Service Update".

The upcoming Q4 2011 Service Update represents the first release in Microsoft’s new program where additional capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (both cloud and on-premises) are delivered approximately twice yearly with releases targeted for the 2nd  and 4th quarter of each calendar year. The functionality detailed in the guide is completely optional for all customers depending on their business needs.

Quick Summary of New Capabilities in Q4 2011 Service Update

  • Unified Office 365 Experience: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will begin the process of transitioning customers to a common administration, billing and provisioning platform which Office 365 customers use today.
  • Enterprise Cloud – Identity Federation: more options to control user access with single sign-on via Active Directory.
  • Enterprise Cloud – Enhanced Disaster Recovery: Investments in additional data centre capacity across the regions and the ability for system fail-over to occur across data centres within a region (e.g. Europe, Asia, Americas).
  • Feature Enhancements:
    • Dialogs – extended to support lookups, dates and generate dynamic hyperlinks
    • Business Intelligence – configure multi-series charts and new chart designer features and new chart types
    • Extended de-duplication rule processing – more configuration and duplicate assessment rules.
  • Social Investments: Wave 1 of several waves of social technology innovation. This release will deliver Activity Feeds which simplify collaboration across internal communities. Additionally a new mobile client for Activity Feeds will debut and runs on Windows Phone.

I encourage you to read the whitepaper to preview new capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM that will provide value for our customers around the world. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team and I believe you’ll agree that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is well-positioned to provide tremendous value to organisations of all sizes and industries going forward.

Regards, Ross

Twitter: @rossd_crm

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Offers a Better Overall Value for Customers

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers customers a strong ROI. A recent Microsoft-commissioned study by Forrester, “The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011,” found that a 2,000-employee composite organisation with an initial deployment of 50 users would experience a three-year, risk-adjusted ROI of 243% over a payback period of 4.1 months, as well as streamlined processes and operations leading to lower cost of sales, marketing cost savings and productivity savings.

Summary

Overall this study concludes that the composite organisation achieved a three-year NPV of U.S. $665,086 as a result of deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for an initial team
of 50 users. The payback period was over four months with an average NPV per user of $13,302 over three years.

Benefits

The composite organisation achieved the following benefits that represent those experienced by the interviewed companies:

  • Increased sales productivity of 5% with the ease of use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM software and integration with Outlook leading to higher adoption, improved opportunity and lead tracking and routing, and a more accurate picture of its sales pipeline. The interviewed companies improved their sales reporting and better managed their customer database and achieved faster and more efficient processes for sales
    forecasting.
  • Customer service productivity savings from a better UI and documented processes. The composite organisation avoided hiring 1.5 full time equivalents (FTE) for its 10-person customer service team even as its division grew. Customer service agents improved issue resolution as new processes were implemented, and agents had access to all the customer information they needed to resolve cases quickly and with precision.
  • Streamlined processes and operations leading to lower cost of sales as Microsoft Dynamics CRM enabled the composite organisation’s technical consultants to shorten time spent on the proposal process by 10%. The interviewed organisations saw process improvements for their account management, engineering, order taking, and project delivery teams, which led to lower operational costs and improved customer responsiveness.
  • Acceleration of sales conversion cycle by 50 percent and corresponding revenue gain as teams worked better together across different business systems, processes, and geographies.
  • Marketing cost savings of more than $200,000 (risk-adjusted over three years) due to more real-time insights and improved campaign management from better analytics.
    o Productivity savings of 16 man-hours per month due to the better reporting tools in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with data consolidation, reporting automation, and richer dashboard capabilities.
  • Improved customer service delivery with quicker response times, dialog boxes, and segmented levels of customer service through insights from Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
    o Improved cross-sell collaboration within sales and customer service teams by providing access to reporting tools and other collaboration software such as Microsoft SharePoint® Server 2010.
  • Lower costs and effort to customize the solution to unique requirements, including extended CRM scenarios.
  • Ease of integration with other business technology systems, improving process efficiencies.
    Get the full report here.

image

Regards, Ross

Twitter: @rossd_crm

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Virtual Machine

June 6, 2011 4 comments

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Virtual Machine (VM) is now available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners to download from the PartnerSource extranet.

This VM is intended to address these main objectives:

  • Accelerate customer-facing demonstrations by providing baseline infrastructure, enhanced data, and rich scenarios.
  • Enable development and testing of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 demos and solutions in an offline environments where an Internet connection is not readily available.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 VM bill of materials consists of two separate VMs:

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 VM-01: DC, SQL, CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 VM-02: Exchange (optional)

Included in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 VM-01 are the following deployments:

Microsoft Dynamics Core CRM 2011 Environment
A basic CRM environment that contains sample data and preconfigured SharePoint integration.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Demo Scenarios Environment
More comprehensive demonstrations illustrating core CRM capabilities in expanded scenarios.

  • Marketing, Sales, and Service scenarios
  • Enhanced data, dashboards, customisations, processes (workflows, and dialogs), SharePoint integration, and customer and partner portals
  • End-to-end script that ties each scenario together

xRM Environments
Configured examples of how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be extended to vertical solutions.

  • Facility Management
  • Employee Management
  • Vendor Management

The VM can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/jcqY5i

Regards, Ross

Twitter: @rossd_crm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers