What is Yammer and how should you use it

When I mention Yammer some people have no idea what it is, apart from something that sounds like a conversation between two Black Country folk (For non UK readers, black country is an area in the West Midlands).

With regards to CRM 2011 it’s basically a well polished and properly done version of activity feeds and as Microsoft purchased Yammer for $1.2 billion I fully expect Yammer to be integrated with CRM in a future release.

If you are really keen Yammer already has a CRM app but unfortunately it does cost, you can read more about that here

https://yammer.zendesk.com/entries/21284143-yammer-for-microsoft-dynamics

hopefully in the future Microsoft will bundle this into CRM, which will hopefully nullify another of Salesforces functionality benefits over CRM 2011.

So those of you who are wondering what Yammer is, here is a amended version of an email I sent around work.

What is Yammer – Quick Answer

The quick answer is Yammer is social networking for your company, a bit like a Facebook and twitter for a company.   Only company domain users can access the company Yammer site.

Yammer is designed for private communication for members of an organisation/company

What is the purpose/point of Yammer

The purpose of Yammer is to enable and improve efficiency regarding company communication, collaboration, file sharing, knowledge sharing and team efficiency.

The goal of using Yammer

  • One of the goals for of using Yammer is to reduce the amount of internal emails and meeting,
  • Information, articles, documents can be shared to groups of people e.g The company, sales, Developers etc
  • Another push from saving information on individuals computers/shared folders where this information cannot be easily found by other people.
  • Improved visibility of Metaphorix employees to employees
  • Collaboration

How should I use it/ First steps

  • Go to the Yammer website – https://www.yammer.com (bookmark it), you can download a desktop app as well.
  • Look at the news feeds (like something if its good)
  • Join some groups which interest you
  • Follow relevant people
  • Post information to a yammer group
  • The more people user Yammer the more useful it will be
  • Configure email notifications to ensure you don’t get loads

What would be good

  • Sales people to post quick posts on demo’s/engagements
  • Consultants to post a quick post
  • Developers/everyone to share interesting articles to the relevant groups
  • For people to use it

Point of interest

Microsoft purchased Yammer for $1.2 billion and will integrate it with CRM in a future release.

For a more detailed and well written explanation of Yammer read the benefits as described by Yammer themselves – https://www.yammer.com/solutions/

If you are wanting more below is a good article describing what the heck Yammer is

http://www.pcworld.com/article/260517/what_is_heck_is_yammer.html

Windows 8 and Yammer

Software updates can be sometimes be easy and sometimes cause howling of frustration

People have started to updated to windows 8, which seems a lot a faster than the previously version of windows but does take a little bit of time to get used to (there’s no start button!).  The first impressions of Windows 8 is it looks fantastic and new interface is easy to use.  The one puzzling aspect is it does act like a tablet screen which means you can only have one application on screen at one time, this is great for tablets but not always ideal for desktops.

The developer who upgraded his windows 7 desktop had a very simple job taking under 2 hours to upgrade but the person who had to update their MAC had quite a task on their hand, which even involved visiting an Apple shop to get some help from someone known as Obi-Wan.  Obi-Wan used the force and we now have Windows 8 successfully running on a Mac.

I haven’t taken the plunge myself yet because I (in my wisdom) setup my laptop to use windows server 2008 so I could have hyper v on my laptop.  The downside is I would have to have a totally new install to have Windows 8.  I am at the moment working up the ethusiams for the task, it might be a new year thing.

One gotcha with Windows 8 and installing .NET 3.5, the full details are below in the Microsoft kb article

Error codes when you try to install the .NET Framework 3.5 in Windows 8 or in Windows Server 2012

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2734782

Yammer

The company I work for (Metaphorix) have decided to use Yammer.  I think this is a good idea because hopefully in a future release of CRM yammer will be fully integrated.

My first impression is Yammer seems to be a bit like an internal company twitter feed where you can create groups (twitter lists maybe or hashtag) which enables users to subscribe to groups (sales, developers, CRM, NAV, Support, etc etc) and share/receive information for certain groups.

The main driver for wanting to use Yammer is reduce the amount of internal emails being sent because  this is not an efficient method of sharing information.  Also users who receive a lot of emails can basically lose information because their inbox is receive too many emails for them to read and respond to all of them.

Like most new pieces of software the trick is understanding how to use it to fit in your companies working ecosystem and processes, not to mention it can be difficult to change peoples working habits.

CRM/NAV Connector – State Code or status code is invalid

I was getting the error above when trying to add an order in CRM

the reason I was getting this error because I was using the service user to try and add records into CRM 2011.  This won’t work because the service user can only create/modify records using the SDK.

This is a new edition to the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics, so watch out.

Also once you have set the service user you cannot unset him easily.  You can change this but I’m afraid you are moving into the realms of unsupported changes.

if you try to change the service user by running the CRM configuration utility again with a different user you will set up two users who can’t create orders and yes I did find this out the hard way.

Basically there is a field on the SystemUserBase table called IsIntegrationUser .

When a user is used to run the CRM config utility it will set this value to true and assign the user the Dynamic Integration security role.

To unset you a user you need to set the IsIntegrationUser field to false

as an alternative and much safer method you could show the field on the user form and then set the value on there.

Once you have done this you can then sign in as that user and start using CRM again.

This is all well documented in the installation guide but for those of you who haven’t read it for a while it’s well worth remembering.

Don’t use your CRM user to run the CRM config utility in the connector

CRM/NAV Connector not working after Connector upgrade to V2

I was trying to set up a new connector configuration whilst updating an existing connector installation.

One of the things I haven’t worked out is to have the connector connecting multiple NAV databases that use different services.

When you setup the connector you can only point it at one service in the adapter settings, unfortunately I would like to link to multiple services but this would mean having lots of different connector installations.

So instead I was replacing one and I thought I would upgrade the connector whilst I was there.

After upgrading the connector, I then couldn’t connect to the integration services.  The first reason was I didn’t have the correct license, DOH.  The second reason was the code units hadn’t compiled?!

I was getting the error below along with quite a few other error messages

I’m not sure why but when I was connecting to the connector integration web services I was getting compiled errors.

I initially recompiled the codeunits but this didn’t resolve the problem, so I then googled the problem and found some instructions which didn’t just compile the code units but ALL. I found these instructions on information about upgrading instructions for NAV 2009 R2, so it might have been a problem with the database I was using but I thought it was R2 (but my knowledge of NAV is not extensive)

Install and Upgrade Instructions for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2

Performing a Solution Upgrade

You perform the following steps to upgrade a solution from Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2:

  1. Back up your Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 database.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1.When you uninstall Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1, your database is not removed.
  3. Install Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 components. For more information, see Install and Configure Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 in the MSDN Library.If you use SQL Server with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, then you must select SQL Server Database Components, which were removed when you uninstalled Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1, and select the Demo Database subcomponent of the Database components as Not available. If you do not exclude the Demo Database subcomponent, then you may see the following error message:Fatal error during installation. A database with name Demo Database NAV (6-0) already exists.

    The message may also advise you to delete the database. If you see this error message, then you can ignore it.

  4. Open the Classic client, and then connect to your database.A dialog box opens and says that the database must be converted before you can use it with this version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV Classic. ClickOK to convert your database.
    Gg502497.Important(en-us,NAV.60).gifImportant
    If you have installed the Classic client and the database on the same computer and you are running Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Vista, then click Start, point to All Programs, click Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, and then right-click Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 with Microsoft SQL Server. On the shortcut menu, click Run as administrator.
  5. Recompile all objects in your database. To recompile the objects, in the Classic client, on the Tools menu, click Object Designer. Click All, press CTRL+A to select all objects, and then press F11.

After I did that then I could connect to the connector integration services without any problems and I was on to the next step of adding a non standard map.

CRM – Who are the Premier Field Engineering–Dynamics Team

I have recently posted a few articles from the blog CRM in the field an excellent blog with really useful information on trouble shooting and investigation problems that may occur in CRM 2011.

I was impressed with the high technical level of the blog so I wondered who wrote it and what/who are the premier field engineers!

I found this interesting blog which explains it

Premier Field Engineering–Dynamics

It basically seems like they are a team working to help resolve problems pro actively and help Microsoft customers look after the products and servers before you hit problems and trouble shoot them afterwoods.

 

As well as the blog they have these other sources of information

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/pfedynamics

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pfedynamics

BlogTalkRadio (podcasts): http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pfedynamics

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/pfedynamics

PFE Dynamics blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/pfedynamics/

it also makes a bit sense to me now, they offer premium support for a fee of course.  This is how the blog describes them, which makes them sound a bit like A Team

If you happen to be wondering what PFE is, the Premier Field Engineering (PFE) team at Microsoft is a worldwide organization that provides proactive and reactive services to our customers. We provide technical leadership for Microsoft customers around the world, promoting health in their IT and business environments through onsite, remote and dedicated support services. The mission of the Premier Field Engineer Team is to “improve the IT and business health of our customers. Help them grow revenue, reduce cost, gain efficiencies & improve profit, improve their customer and vendor relationships, and improve their employees’ lives.”

 

Interesting to know

Warning – Certified and Gold Certified partners, your Microsoft partner logo and software usage rights ends today – October 31, 2011

I read this blog post today which was on the Microsoft Partner email (yes I do actually read them!!) and I saw today is the last day you can use the Microsoft Gold Partner logo

Microsoft says this

  • Continue to use Gold Certified and Certified logos in their marketing materials until October 31, 2011 and to refer to their Gold Certified or Certified status in communications and documents, such as bidding documents for tenders, until their membership renewal date.
  • Continue to use their current Gold Certified and Certified partner software benefits until October 31, 2011, regardless of which new membership opportunity they chose at their next renewal date

So what does this all actually mean, I’m copy the useful parts from the blog post

What this means is, as of November 1, 2011:

  • Use of the “Gold Certified Partner” or “Certified Partner” logos should cease entirely, including your marketing materials (websites, newsletters, advertisements, etc.) or in your communications and documents, such as bidding documents.
  • If you are a former Gold Certified or Certified partner and you have not achieved a gold or silver competency by October 31, 2011, you must uninstall any software licenses that have been provided to your organization based on achieving the Gold Certified or Certified partner level. The only licenses you will be eligible to use are those that you have earned based on your current membership in the Microsoft Partner Network. Check out the License Calculator tool to see what Internal Use Rights you receive with the various competencies in the Microsoft Partner Network.

As of November 1, 2011, the branding that you must use is the Microsoft Partner Network branding that includes the Microsoft Partner logo with the associated silver and/or gold competencies that your company has achieved to date, as the former branding is officially retired:

image

if you want to create a new logo you can use their online logo maker, which you can find here. If you are puzzled by what this all means then I suggest going to the Frequently asked Questions and you might find some answers. You will need to be a member of partner source but if this blog started you panicing or you are bothered about the content then I guess you already are.

I hope that helps a few people

Passed Sure Step 2010 Certification – MB5-858 – Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations

I have spent the last month or two studying for the Sure Step 2010 certification and passed yesterday.  It’s a great feeling passing a certification and you know you can now relax in the evenings rather than reading technical books (made worse by knowing the rest of the world is out enjoying themselves)

I will add some of the test questions don’t seem to be testing you on the Sure Step methodology and are a bit dubious.

I’m sure there are a lot of employees from Microsoft partners who have been doing the same thing, with companies having to have more Sure Step 2010 certified people in their ranks.

Sure Step 2010 is quite a funny beast, when you first load Sure Step onto your machine and then look at all the documents, you suddenly get struck by fear that your employees are suddenly going to make you fill out 50 documents for every project (and that’s before you start).

It’s a difficult product to get to grips with and there isn’t an easy way to start with it.  Going through the eLearning was interesting and the scenario based learning was tiring.

The statistics back up Sure Step, I think it’s something like it increases project sanctification and success deployment by 20 percent.

There were some interesting things in Sure Step, a lot of work should be done by the sales team!!!  if you can get them to fill out these documents then that would be very impressive.

The more I read about Sure Step and I have started using it the more I like it.  It basically covers a lot of the things you would normally do anyway but it does it more professionally and makes sure you don’t miss things out.

The most important feature of Sure Step is it makes sure all the requirements and things which are in scope are documentation and things which are out of scope.  It then gives you a standard process for the customer to request changes.

It gets the customers to agree the scope and project before you start developing and gets them involved with the project, so they fully understand what is being delivered.

This is why I think it leads to more successful projects because it stops scope creep.

A lot of people who look at Sure Step think it seems like “lots of documents” and “too American” but I bet these same people are the ones who are then scrabbling around at the late stages of the project trying to squeeze in unpaid changes to the project, which the customer assumed would be included.

It’s also useful to have the documents to consider doing things even if you think it’s not worth it, at least you can say I don’t need to bother to do that document.

Hopefully it will make my own projects run smoother and hopefully make my projects run smoother.