Extreme 365 – Hosk notes on ClickDimension advanced partner training

You cannot be too prepared #HoskWisdom

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. Alan Lakein

The first day at Extreme 365 were whole day sessions,I attended ClickDimensions advanced partner training and below are my notes and thoughts on the training.

  • Roadmap for ClickDimensions
  • User questions
  • Adobe Marketing
  • Performance tips/Discussion on Enterprise deployments
  • Freemaker (open source scripting language used for making email templates)
  • Power user tips

It was great to meet Matt Wittemann who is an 11 time CRM MVP and I remember from the good old Dynamics CRM 2011 days and reading Matt’s book the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible

To see the pictures and slides from the training you can see them Extreme 365 – 2017 Day 1 in pictures.

Matt talked about Adobe Cloud Marketing, which I covered in the post Dynamics 365 – Is Adobe Marketing the end of ClickDimensions?

Goals of the session

The session  with highlighting the goals of the session

Audience goals

  • Dev to Prod
  • Adobe and ClickDimension

ClickDimension goals

  • Scaling for Enterprise
  • Freemaker
  • Extending Dynamics 365 and ClickDimensions

Why should we care about Enterprise projects and how do we scale Dynamics 365?

Dynamics 365 and Enterprise software, needs good maintenance and performance.   Microsoft wants enterprise Dynamics 365 projects and is moving towards delivering this with the purchase of Adobe Marketing, Microsoft needs to improve to help partners deliver enterprise projects.

Great performance of enterprise Dynamics 365 projects does not come out of the box #HoskCodeWisdom

On an enterprise Dynamics 365 project you should focus on

  • Storage
  • Performance
    • Optimize
    • Database
    • performance degrades over time

Microsoft Dynamics 365 performance can slow down over time if you don’t do regular maintenance and control the number of records created and clean up the data regularly.

ClickDimensions can create a lot of data if not setup correctly, you must plan and decide what data you mean.  Start with business requirements and work out what functionality/data delivers those.

Dynamics 365 will slow down over time if you don’t maintain performance

  • Things which can catch you out if you don’t plan
  • Unexpected storage costs (ClickDimensions can create lots of data)
  • Dynamics 365 can slow down over time
  • Customers can feel ClickDimensions is slow to send emails and update stats

How do you keep Dynamics 365 performant?

Matt talked about a good approach to projects and likened it to regularly servicing your car to ensure good performance (and it not breaking)

  • Regular Dynamics 365 maintenance (Monthly/Quarterly)
  • Regular performance optimization
  • Database optimisation setup at the start of a project
  • Dynamics 365 database optimisation is different from normal SQL server optimisation

Dynamics 365 is not something you can deploy and forget, it must be maintained and optimized to ensure great performance.

With an Dynamics On Premise you have lots of options to change and tweak.

  • SQL server maintance setup
  • SQL server table indexes
  • WCF compression (it’s faster at sending data but you have to compress and uncompress)
  • bandwidth/Network speed
  • MaxDop

The points above can have a dramatic effect on performance, potential big wins.  Developers investigate these settings when performance is slow, I looked at MaxDop – What is max degree of parallelism option setting in SQL Server?

Dynamics 365 online offers no ways to improve performance and no real way of investigating the cause of poor performance.  For Dynamics 365 Online you can only delete unwanted records and make sure you don’t bloat the POA table with the security roles/and sharing lots of records.

Know what marketing data you need?

The biggest improvement in performance is knowing what data you need, why you need it? and what you are going to do with the data? identify which business requirement it helps to deliver.

Consider your business requirements and business goals, what marketing data do you need to help you analyse your marketing.

You can never plan too much and you can’t be too prepared, these goes triple for any Dynamics 365 project

Data out of Dynamics 365

Set up bulk deletes, work out an archive strategy for data and decide what data can be moved to an Azure SQL database?

Customisations and data will move out of Dynamics 365 database more and more.

An example is FieldService optimizing engine held in Azure.  ClickDimensions are creating an enterprise statistics warehouse hosted in Azure.  The enterprise statistics warehouse will analyse the email opens, clicks, crunching the data on Azure and sending it back to Dynamics 365.

Later information will be hosted in Azure and displayed in Dynamics 365 by ClickDimensions, an API is coming to allow you to query and display the data in Dynamics 365 but without hosted in Dynamics 365 (saving you data costs).

This architecture style will become common because Dynamics 365 is a single service (a bottleneck) which cannot be scaled up.  If you move functionality and data outside of Dynamics 365 it can scale and be accessed in multiple services.

If you remove data and customisations out of Dynamics 365, you can scale performance #HoskCodeWisdom

The more workload you can remove from Dynamics 365 the better it will perform – What are the limitations of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and how do you work with them?

ClickDimensions can help

Sending and tracking an email can generate 7 records but if you don’t need some of these events (time an email was read) , ClickDimensions can turn off individual events, reducing data by up to 25 percent.

This is a global setting and only ClickDimensions can turn this off, so you need to contact them to request.

Moving ClickDimensions customisations

Capgemini raised a question on how to move customisations between environments.  Capgemini work on enterprise projects with Automated deployments and continuous integration.

ClickDimensions is integration with Dynamics 365 data but much of the new functionality such as Campaign automation and the Email template is hosted by ClickDimensions on their servers.

There is no way to move customisations between environments, the only way is too recreate the marketing campaigns, email templates in a development environment and in production environment.  This means testing twice and testing on production!  Recreating customisations is prone to errors.

ClickDimensions is developing a tool to help export and import the ClickDimensions customisations but this is manual.  It is better than no process (like now) but Capgemini Dynamics 365 team automate everything we can, so this is frustrating and its difficult to use ClickDimensions on enterprise projects.


It was a great session, it included a section on Freemarker and how to add if/else and default values in your email templates.  There are lots of content on the ClickDimension blog on this subject.

A knowledgeable presenter will always teach you something, it makes you think about your approach to Dynamics 365 projects and it was great to meet Matt in person




picture from here

Dynamics 365 – Is Adobe Marketing the end of ClickDimensions?

the truth is never pure and never simple – Oscar Wilde

The story is never as dramatic as the headline #HoskWisdom

I wanted a dramatic headline because it’s a common question which gets asked.  What ever marketing moves happen in Microsoft Dynamics 365 people ask how it affects ClickDimensions and what does it say about Microsoft relationship with ClickDimensions.

  • What does Microsoft buying Marketing Pilot mean for ClickDimensions?
  • What does Microsoft partnering with Adobe Marketing mean for ClickDimensions?
  • Microsoft is bringing out some marketing functionality

I attended at the ClickDimensions advanced partner training at Extreme 365 and someone bravely asked what Microsoft’s new partnership with Adobe Marketing. It feels wrong to ask this question, the kind of awkwardness asking someone how their ex-wife is going with their new husband, ermmmmm Awkward.

I liked Matt Wittemann’s response and attitude

ClickDimensions welcome competition because a rising tide lifts all boats and will promote Dynamics 365 as a marketing solution

Competition is a challenge you can rise to and the response of a company who is confident their product will continue to win customers because they are good at what they do and ClickDimensions is going to improve in the future.

The simple answer is Adobe Marketing is suitable for enterprise projects where there is a large  marketing team (10 people plus).  ClickDimensions focuses on small to medium-sized companies.

An Adobe Marketing project will be in the millions/Multi Millions.  It’s not to say ClickDimensions can’t do big projects but it is saying Adobe Marketing would be too expensive and feature rich for smaller companies and isn’t competing with ClickDimensions for those deals.

There is room for both companies to successfully operate with Dynamics 365 and they compliment each other with regards to functionality/price.

Most people who have worked in the Dynamics 365/CRM industry for a few years probably knew the answer but I thought I would share the response I heard.