CRM 2011 – Try the cloud version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011before you buy

I have written my second article for the Crimson Company blog, you can go to the blog and read it here

It’s basically an article about CRM 2011 and why I think it’s a great idea Microsoft are offering a free 30 day trial.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 – Try before you buy

The release of CRM 2011 has seen Microsoft’s cloud strategy starting to take shape and become a viable alternative to on premise hosting or hosting your CRM installation with a third party. The release of CRM 2011 has been seen by some people as a Renaissance for Microsoft and some of the figures would certainly suggest it:

•             Over 24.000 customer across 80 countries
•             Over 1.4 million users
•             Available in over 40 languages

The release of CRM 2011 has seen Microsoft add in some great enhancements such as dashboards, improved reporting, dialogs, a market place to purchase certified accelerators, better office experience, SharePoint 2010 integration, auditing and lots more new functionality.

To promote CRM 2011 online, Microsoft has come up with an interesting promotion – A free 30 day trial. Yes, you can try CRM 2011 Online version free for 30 days.  This is a great way for prospective users to see the functionality offered by CRM 2011 and a chance to see some of their own data in the system. It also allows users of CRM 4 to see if the new functionality is worth upgrading to.

This offer has also been useful to Crimson because it has allowed us to demo CRM solutions to potential clients, which is easily accessible to the potential clients (all you need is Internet Explorer and an internet connection) and without having to open our CRM servers to the outside world. In one instance we were able to make some customisations to the CRM solutions to match the company’s current work processes; it changed the next meeting from a sales pitch that relied on the customer imagining how it would work, to showing them a quick ‘mock up’ of the solution and allowing them to investigate the other features of CRM 2011.

The other bonus of CRM 2011 online is that Microsoft are currently offering a discounted rate, so if potential customers were interested in using CRM 2011 they would get a very competitive rate in comparison to other CRM vendors.

During your trial experience, you can:

· Access your trial directory through a web browser with internet explorer
· Individual logins for 20 users
· View introductory videos, diagrams and access tutorials/articles
· Access Outlook CRM client
· Activate your subscription at any time during the 30 days
· Visit CustomerSource — a powerful knowledge base for online training, fresh updates, information and resources 24 hours a day

Currently Microsoft is offering CRM 2011 Online for an introductory price of £22.75 per user per month or £14.50 per user per month for charity and educational groups up until 31st June  2011.  There are also some circumstances where Microsoft will pay the customer to switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, at a rate of £134 per user.

It is possible for users and companies to try the CRM cloud solution themselves by using a CRM Gold Partner to help customise CRM and show the company features that would benefit them in a way to ensure they get the most out of the trial. Crimson has already done this for a number of customers and if you are interested in this please contact us on             01675 466 477       or email nathan.smith@crimson.co.uk.

CRM 2011 – MB2-866 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration

Well I was on linkedIn today and I saw someone had started a discussion mentioning a CRM 2011 exam.  Oooh I thought, I hadn’t heard anything about the new CRM 2011 exams for so long I had stopped looking for information about it.

You can check for more details on the official page here.  I have no idea how you upgrade from CRM 4 and it looks like they have a new course for you to go on.

here is the information. New test criteria includes Solutions, auditing, headers/footers on forms, charts and field level security

About this Exam

This certification exam measures your ability to understand and articulate how to customize and configure Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 including configuring a Microsoft Dynamics CRM organizational structure, managing users & teams and security, customizing attributes and entities, customizing relationships and mappings, configuring auditing, managing forms & views and charts, and implementing a Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution.
Exam Topics Covered

The following list includes the topic areas covered on this exam.
  •  Configuring a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Organizational Structure
  •  Managing Users & Teams and Security
  •  Customizing Attributes and Entities
  •  Customizing Relationships and Mappings
  •  Configuring Auditing
  •  Managing Forms, Views, and Charts
  •  Implementing a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution
Skills Being MeasuredThis exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below.The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam.

Configuring a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Organizational Structure (15 percent)

  • Manage business units.
    • This objective may include: creating and maintaining business units; disabling and deleting business units; transferring records
  • Identify and apply Microsoft Dynamics CRM architecture concepts.
    • This objective may include: how to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM; where to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Configure system settings.
    • This objective may include: applying system settings to Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment
  • Manage solutions and properties.
    • This objective may include: creating a new solution; identifying the components of solutions; applying managed and unmanaged solutions; configuring the properties of managed solution components

Managing Users & Teams and Security (15 percent)

  • Apply entity-based and task-based privileges.
    • This objective may include: differentiating between the two types of privileges
  • Apply the five types of access levels within the security roles.
    • This objective may include: differentiating between the five types of access levels
  • Create and configure new security roles.
    • This objective may include: copying privileges and access levels from existing security roles; applying security roles to specific business units; assigning security roles to teams
  • Manage customization permissions.
    • This objective may include: identifying the security rights necessary to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Manage field security profiles.
    • This objective may include: creating security profiles; managing field permissions
  • Create and maintain user accounts in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
    • This objective may include: adding single users; adding multiple users; identifying characteristics associated with each user licensing option; adding users to roles
  • Create and maintain teams of users.
    • This objective may include: creating teams; adding users to teams
Customizing Attributes and Entities (16 percent)
  • Manage options sets.
    • This objective may include: creating options sets; configuring options sets; deleting options sets
  • Create and manage custom attributes.
    • This objective may include: selecting an attribute type; including types and dependencies; editing custom attributes; deleting custom attributes; setting attribute security
  • Create, configure, and delete custom entities.
    • This objective may include: creating one-time only settings; identifying entities that cannot be disabled; modifying a custom entity; saving a custom entity; configuring security settings to control access to custom entities
  • Configure the properties of attributes and entities in a managed solution.
    • This objective may include: modifying the display name; creating new forms; creating new charts; creating new views
  • Manage different types of customizations.
    • This objective may include: differentiating between types of customizations; publishing customizations; re-using customizations
Customizing Relationships and Mappings (15 percent)
  • Differentiate between supported and unsupported entity relationships.
    • This objective may include: identifying relationships that can link system and custom entities
  • Configure 1:N and N:N relationship behavior.
    • This objective may include: creating a manual N:N relationship; creating a native N:N relationship; implementing cascading rules
  • Create and apply maps.
    • This objective may include: adding a mapping to a relationship; using Connections to implement relationships; managing connections and relationships

Configuring Auditing (9 percent)

  • Configure auditing.
    • This objective may include: identifying actions that are audited; turning on auditing; setting auditing at the field level; selecting entities to be audited; implementing partitions
  • Audit data and permissions.
    • This objective may include: granting permission to configure auditing
  • Manage the audit log.
    • This objective may include: examining the log; testing a customized form

Managing Forms, Views, and Charts (17 percent)

  • Customize forms.
    • This objective may include: editing tabs; editing sections; editing fields; editing the navigation area; editing the header and footer; adding a sub-grid; adding a web resource
  • Create a new form.
    • This objective may include: creating a main form; creating a mobile form; creating a preview form; assigning roles to forms; ordering forms; parent/child forms
  • Create a customized view.
    • This objective may include: organizing data in a view; adding and maintaining fields in a view; selecting a default view
  • Create and manage charts.
    • This objective may include: adding charts to entities; selecting a chart type; applying advanced options; charting capabilities; importing and exporting charts

Implementing a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution (13 percent)

  • Implement, import, and export solutions.
    • This objective may include: managed solutions; unmanaged solutions; importing errors; importing logs; importing and exporting appropriate system settings
  • Update a managed solution.
    • This objective may include: configuring and implementing managed properties in solutions
reparation Tools and ResourcesTo help you prepare for this exam, Microsoft Learning recommends that you have hands-on experience with the product and that you use the following training resources. These training resources do not necessarily cover all of the topics listed in the “Skills Measured” tab.
Classroom Training

Microsoft E-Learning

  • 80294AE: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration (18 Hours)

CRM 2011 – CRM Wiki Recommended Articles

I was having a peak at the CRM wiki today and have to admit I found it rather confusing and difficult to find relevant information.

I think it was because the way the front page was set out, they split the wiki into these sections and from here I wasn’t really sure which option I needed to choose.

Overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM wiki

The Microsoft CRM wiki is organized into the following high-level chapters:

  1. Learn – articles and resources to help you get started with Microsoft CRM if you are a employee with a Microsoft customer or partner
  2. Implement – technical content about installing Microsoft CRM
  3. Configure and customize – articles and resources to help you with CRM configuration and customization
  4. Extend with .NET – learn how to extend Microsoft CRM
  5. Deploy – plan your CRM project, train users, maximize user adoption
  6. System integration and data migration – learn how to import/migrate data into Microsoft CRM and perform common integrations with other systems
  7. Support – find out how to maintain Microsoft CRM and troubleshoot common issues
  8. Upgrade – overview on upgrading to the current version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM from earlier versions
  9. <a title="Click to create new page titled: Enterprise Resources for Microsoft Dynamics CRM” href=”http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/add.aspx?WikiParentPageID=2486&WikiPageKey=Enterprise-Resources-for-_3C00_strong_3E00_Microsoft-Dynamics-CRM_3C002F00_strong_3E00_”>Enterprise Resources – overview of a series of whitepapers include Nuts and Bolts and Optimization tips and tricks.

but whilst looking around the wiki I found this interesting page with the title CRM recommended articles

and the list of articles is intriguing and made me want to click on them. This to me shows me useful information is in the wiki but it’s difficult to navigate at the moment.

Article Recommendations

 Article Title/Stub

 Article Summary

 Understanding Cascading Events in Microsoft Dynamics CRM  Should discuss the types of events that can cascade, the various cascading options, and cascading pitfalls to avoid.
 How To:  Use Searching with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Lookups  Should present a graphical guide to populating Lookup field values using in-field and dialog-based searching; perhaps also touch on customizations for altering attributes being searched.
 Understanding Entity Relationships in Microsoft Dynamics CRM  Should dissect the 3 provided relationship types (1:N, N:1, N:N), and explain how to utilize them in reporting and customization.
 How To:  Use Record Status in Microsoft Dynamics CRM  Should examine various approaches and methodologies for using the status of records within CRM to indicate progress, process, or state.  Should also explain how to customize, and where custom entities and system entities differ.
 Improve Your Data Analysis With Microsoft Dynamics CRM  Should examine the value of capturing data outside of “required” fields, and how cross-pollination of records by users in disparate roles can improve collaborative analysis.  Perhaps also worth touching on the merits of finer data constructs, like replacing Picklists with Lookups for non-static value sets.
 How To:  Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Offline  Should cover the use of the CRM for Outlook client for offline purposes, how to secure data, synchronize it, and optimize the local data-set for size.
 How To:  Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Task Management  Should cover the basic use of various types of activities within CRM, how to tie them with Outlook, and perhaps a thorough explanation of Services, Employee Schedules, and the Service Calendar.
 How To:  Locate Inactive Records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM  Should cover the deficiencies of the Quick Find to locate specific inactive records (via search), and what alternate approaches can be taken to discover them.
 How To:  Accelerate Data Entry with Microsoft Dynamics CRM  Should cover various methods of inputting data to CRM with speed, from “Save and New” to data imports.
 Customizable Limitations of Microsoft Dynamics CRM  Should cover supported methods of updating limitations, such as AggregateQueryRecord or Uploading Attachment size.
 Marketing Campaigns in Microsoft Dynamics CRM  A quick, newcomer-based explanation and tutorial for using Campaigns.
 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Calendar  A quick, newcomer-based explanation and tutorial of the Service Calendar.
 Release Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Recommendations on how to organise development and testing in Microsoft CRM 2011 using managed and unmanaged solutions, multiple databases, automatic builds, etc. Team development, source control, ISV development vs. customers projects, horizontal vs. vertical.

CRM 2011 – Excellent Microsoft CRM resources

The mighty Jim Glass today blogged the Top Ten Microsoft Dynamic CRM resources.

I recommend you read the blog entry here

The list does show the comprehensive list of resources created by microsoft for CRM and I think I have mentioned all these resources in my blog over the last few months

After looking at some of the resources of information I would try these resources these four first

Team Blog  ~ This is a great source of information, its the best CRM blog on the internet and has contributions from MVC’s and members who work on the CRM product, if you are going to follow one CRM blog, makes sure it’s my blog but if you are going to follow two blogs then choose mine and the CRM team blog.

Developer Center  ~ This has lots of great information the best source of information is the CRM SDK, basically if you are going to do any coding/developing in CRM then you start with the SDK and follow the basic examples and look at the sample code

Forums  ~ If you need to raise any questions or need some advise from senior or experience CRM developers then this is the place to go, often an MVP will ask respond to your question.  LinkedInin Groups can also be useful to asking less development related questions

Twitter ~ Add MSdynamicsCRM and JaAG to your follow list.  You might not think twitter would be such a good source of information but there are lots of good CRM twitter feeds which link to good information with out a whole blog post about it.