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.

Is CRM 2011 getting more popular with Dynamics NAV users?

The company I work is called Metaphorix for specialise in Microsoft Dynamics NAV and also sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM and have experience in intergrating the two systems.

Customers are often surprised when I explain the two systems are actually two separate systems, especially when they both have the words Microsoft and Dynamics in the name of both products.

I have noticed that over the last 6 months there has been an increase in NAV customers wanting to use Dynamics CRM 2011.  There is some CRM functionality that exists with Dynamics CRM so it’s important for customers to have all the information when deciding if they want to use the Dynamics NAV CRM functionality or go for Dynamics CRM 2011.

If you are wondering what the differences are between Dynamics NAV CRM functionality and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 functionality then I recommend you read the flyer created to help explain the functionality and differences.

http://www.metaphorix.co.uk/files/ms/CRM_Flyer.pdf

I think the increased interest from NAV users indicates companies are realising the importance of CRM but also want to use CRM from within Outlook,  CRM 2011’s Outlook add in often allows users to work the same way as they did but also benefit from the advantages CRM 2011 gives them.

The users who are often responsible for CRM and marketing often are not NAV users which I think might explain their preference for using Dynamics CRM 2011.

I would also say CRM 2011 is easier to use and gives users the ability to easily modify the forms and fields used and has better marketing functionality than NAV CRM.

CRM 2011 is not always the best choice, it depends on what you want to use CRM for, how many users will be using CRM and some other factors.

If you are interested in interegrating Dynamics NAV with CRM 2011 then contact Metaphorix

Metaphorix also have an interesting blog which you can go to by clicking the link below

http://metaphorix.wordpress.com/

 

Dynamic Connector – Excellent Dynamic Connector blog

This is a quick blog post with two aims regarding the Dynamic Connector.

The fist aim is to point you to an excellent resource for the connector.  The blog written by Konstantin is one of the best blogs on the Dynamic Connector (CRM/NAV connector as I still sometimes call it)

http://www.nav-connector.com/

He has some great blog posts

The Most useful tool for troubleshooting the connector

How to include in integration custom NAV tables – Step by Step instruction

How to update Production Dynamics Connector from Development environment

Talking about good Connector resources, I should also mention the Microsoft Dynamic Connector blog, which has recently had some good blog posts and videos.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamicsconnector/

Konstantin also left a comment on one of my connector blog posts which explained something I had wondered about.  When you tick/untick the Synchronise Connector tickbox in NAV (in Marketing Setup)

Codeunit 5150 has property “Single Instance”=Yes, which mean if you run it, it will sit in memory until you close Client.
That is why “Re-activate” Connector function not working from first time properly. Every time, after you modify this particular Codeunit, you need to reopen Client to apply modifications in YOUR client (WebServices should pickup modifications immediately).

Dynamic Connector – Stop, Step back and start again logically

I had a very frustrating last few hours, I was having a date format error with the connector.

I was mapping Job to Contract and Job Planning Line to Contract Line.

The Job to contract was working perfectly and the dates coming across without any problems, unless I had forgotten to a put a date in.

Then when I was doing the planning line to Contract line I was getting odd date format errors.  I couldn’t understand why the dates were not always working.

I thought it might be the fact that CRM was in a US date format and NAV was in UK.

I then tried to hard code the date but even this was working, now I was really stumped.

I remember reading about a development team who had a card board cut out called Alan.  When they were having problems and were stuck or extremely frustrated they would get Alan the cardboard cut out and then talk and walk him through the problem they were having.  This action of explaining the problem to someone would often help the developer to understand the problem and find out they were doing something stupid.

unfortunately or perhaps fortunately I had a colleague working with me who said add that contract line in CRM.

When I tried to do this I then found out that CRM complained about the date, hmmm maybe this isn’t a date format problem.

I then realised that I had been putting in developer date e.g.  a load of random key presses to get rough values into boxes.

What I was basically trying to do was put in a start and end date outside of the Contract start and end dates.

So the problem was nothing to do with the connector and down to me putting in random dates.

It can be tricky to think problems are always because of the connector but when you have data which isn’t syncing then you should check you can put the date in CRM or NAV to see that it’s actually valid.

CRM/NAV Connector – How to map a custom table not included in the standard maps

If you use the connector regularly you will eventually want to map a custom table which isn’t covered by the standard maps.  To do this in CRM side is easy, you run the configuration utility and add the new entity but to do this in NAV requires a bit more work.

The connector works (as I understand it) by publishing tables/pages using a web service which is used by the connector to pass information from and to NAV.

The connector catches these web service calls in the code unit 5150 – intergration management.  If you were to open this up you would see the tables used by the standard maps mentioned.

So I am going to run through the process of adding Job to the custom maps.

First I open NAV and the correct database and company.  Then

Tools –> Object Designer  –> Codeunit –> 5150 –> Design

The first function you need to change is called

EnableConnector

You can see from the screen shot below I have also added in Site Address but that was just because I needed to do that, it’s not related to adding the Job table.

You need to copy one of the lines above,  paste it into the list and then change the details so you are referencing the Job table e.g.

If you are not sure what to add and you are adding something other than a Job then the first value is the Form Name and the second value is the table name, so if you were adding Job Planning lines then it would be

  SetupWebServicePages(FORM::”Job Planning Lines”,DATABASE::”Job Planning Line”);

 

 

The next function you have to change is called SetupIntegrationTables, you will need to add a new line for each table.

You might wonder why Job is not in double quotes.  Double quotes are needed if the table name has a space in it, otherwise you can just put the table name in.

The next function we need to change is IsIntegrationRecord, you add a reference to the table you want to add.  This function basically tells the connector you want the table to be added to the connector.

Be careful about adding  a comma if the row isn’t the last value

You have finished with the code changes, close the codeunit and press yes to save and make sure the compiled checkbox is ticked.

You now need to refresh the integration webservices so your new table is added and you do this by unchecking and checking the Enable Connector checkbox which is held in Marketing Setup.

You access the Marketing Setup by going to

Administration –> Application Setup –> Sales & Marketing –> Marketing Setup

 

Untick the box, check the tickbox.  After a bit of time you should see a new integration Web Service added to the list.

You can check this by going to

Administration –> IT Administration –> General Setup –> Web Services

You can see that the page is published and the new Integration Job Card Web Service is running.

Don’t panic if the Job Web Service doesn’t appear, first I would give it a bit of time.  I would try a good old close the NAV client down and open it again (this doesn’t really do anything but it will keep you busy for 30 seconds).

Finally if you don’t see the Web Service go back and check the code changes you have made, look for spelling mistakes, putting in the form name instead of the table name, missing comma.  The problem is going to be a syntax problem.

The final part of the puzzle is too run the NAV configuration utility in the Connector and tick the new Job Card entity

So

Open the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics

Adapter Settings –> Configure Microsoft Dynamics NAV –> Next –> fill in login details –> select Company –> tick Job Card

I think you might want to just enable the Job Card or the custom entity of your choice only on a specific integration.

hopefully the walk through above should help people add custom entities

CRM/NAV Connector – Video – New features of V2 of the Connector

Here is an excellent video from msdyncomm which runs through the new features in V2 of the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics.

This is an indepth video which is 23 minutes long and goes through some of the features in detail like the new filtering functionality (which is excellent by the way)

CRM/NAV Connector – Video – Connector for Microsoft Dynamics Installation

A very useful video to help anyone who is trying to install the CRM/NAV connector

The connector installation has to be done in a certain order and if you turn the maps on in an incorrect order then you could receive hundreds or thousands of errors when maps try to run without the prerequisites maps having been setup and run first.

CRM/NAV Connector – Video – Connector for Microsoft Dynamics – Upgrading versions

A very thorough video showing you how to upgrade the connector.

Microsoft have done a really good job with this video and it made doing an upgrade a lot easier having watched someone do it.

it’s interesting that you only need to run the upgrade and not have to change anything for the upgrade to work.

Key take aways for this process include:

  • Valid settings only need to be supplied for the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 adapter if you are changing your Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment to one that was not previously supported. If you are only upgrading your installation you can simply click the “Apply” button when propted for new adapter settings after luanch the client again after an upgrade.
  • If you are changing your Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 deployment you will need to create a new integration using the latest template for your ERP
  • This new integration can start over and sync all of your data again, starting from 1/1/1900, or it can be be set to query into the source with the last run time from the old version of a given map

CRM/NAV Connector suddenly stopped working

The CRM/NAV connector always likes to keep me on my toes and today it achieved the feet but suddenly stopping working.

One minute it’s working and the next minute none of the maps are running.

So what happened.

Looking at the logs (a NAV/CRM connector users best friend) I noticed there were some errors about a field I had deleted  on the CRM entity but was still mentioned in one of the maps.

Oddly it wasn’t a map that was running and the field didn’t have a value being mapped.

I restarted the CRM/NAV Connector and then looked at the event viewer applications log.  When you start and stop the connector it writes a value to the log.

Here I found an error

An unexpected error occurred while loading maps for site [Metaphorix \ Metaphorix]. Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

Now if you read my blog or have been searching for CRM/NAV connector errors then you will know I have seen this error before

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/crmnav-connector-object-reference-not-set-to-an-instance-of-an-object/

This highlights the confusion you can have when using the connector the same error can mean something different has broken and the error messages are not easy to understand.

What I think this error was complaining about  a field which was mapped which no longer existed.

To resolve this problem you have to run the configuration tool again to remap all the fields correctly.

I will add a word of warning, the connector configuration tool might forget if you had added entities to the mapping, so check to make sure they are ticked.

So there we go another error and another solution.  hopefully if the Dynamic community can keep blogging solutions to the CRM/NAV connector problems then it will make using it easier.

NAV/CRM Connector struggle – Customer No was not found

The NAV/CRM connector is such a painful piece of software to use and configure, I usually shudder when I know I have some connector work to do.

What makes it worse the connector is sold as an easy way to integrate NAV and CRM.

I had a problem today which sums up why the connector is so annoying and difficult.

When trying to sync a customer card in NAV to an Account in CRM I was getting an error saying Customer Number didn’t exist.

Initially I thought this was the customer number on the customer card but I could see that existed and I could see it existed in the webservices.

I created  a brand new map between customer card and account with the minimum amount of information.  It was still complaining about the customer no not existing.

I eventually found this page

http://www.matt-parkinson.co.uk/notes/2011/nav-2009-crm-2011-integration-requested-value-customer_no-was-not-found/

It was going on about a customer number not existing in the ship to address.  I thought this can’t possible be the reason why my simple integration which only had one map which did the customer card and the account.

ooh how wrong I was, it was the exact same problem but WHY WHY WHY.

I when I added the customer_no onto the ship to address (page 300) and then run the configure microsoft dynamics nav utility in the adapter settings (to refresh the mapping files) it then worked

this highlights the problems with the connector, things which are not relevant cause problems.